Photos of Belarus

A panel on the World War II Monument in Minsk's Victory Square. An eternal flame burns at the base of the memorial that was constructed in 1954 to commemorate the country's war dead.

Introduction

Background

After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. In 1999, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union, envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place and negotiations on further integration have been contentious. Since taking office in 1994 as the country's first and only directly elected president, Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means and a centralized economic system. Government restrictions on political and civil freedoms, freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion have remained in place. Restrictions on political freedoms have tightened in the wake of the disputed presidential election in 2020. The election results sparked large-scale protests as members of the opposition and civil society criticized the election’s validity. LUKASHENKA has remained in power as the disputed winner of the presidential election after quelling protests in 2020. Since 2022, Belarus has facilitated Russia's war in Ukraine, which was launched in part from Belarusian territory. 

 

 

 

 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Geographic coordinates

53 00 N, 28 00 E

Area

total: 207,600 sq km

land: 202,900 sq km

water: 4,700 sq km

comparison ranking: total 86

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Kentucky; slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries

total: 3,599 km

border countries (5): Latvia 161 km; Lithuania 640 km; Poland 375 km; Russia 1,312 km; Ukraine 1,111 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime

Terrain

generally flat with much marshland

Elevation

highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m

lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m

mean elevation: 160 m

Natural resources

timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay

Land use

agricultural land: 43.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 27.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 42.7% (2018 est.)

other: 13.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

303 sq km (2020)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Dnyapro (Dnieper) (shared with Russia [s] and Ukraine [m]) - 2,287 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Dnieper (533,966 sq km)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Natural hazards

large tracts of marshy land

Geography - note

landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes

People and Society

Population

total: 9,501,451

male: 4,433,839

female: 5,067,612 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 93; male 99; total 97

Nationality

noun: Belarusian(s)

adjective: Belarusian

Ethnic groups

Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.9% (2009 est.)

Languages

Russian (official) 71.4%, Belarusian (official) 26%, other 0.3% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 2.3% (2019 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Книга фактов о мире – незаменимый источник базовой информации. (Russian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Russian audio sample:

Religions

Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.1% (male 787,849/female 741,293)

15-64 years: 66.1% (male 3,073,507/female 3,204,088)

65 years and over: 17.8% (2024 est.) (male 572,483/female 1,122,231)

2023 population pyramid:
2023  population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.8

youth dependency ratio: 25.4

elderly dependency ratio: 25.4

potential support ratio: 3.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 42.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 39.5 years

female: 45 years

comparison ranking: total 46

Population growth rate

-0.42% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 216

Birth rate

8.3 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 210

Death rate

13.3 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Net migration rate

0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 67

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Urbanization

urban population: 80.7% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

2.057 million MINSK (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female

total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.8 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

1 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Infant mortality rate

total: 2.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 2.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 219

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 69.8 years

female: 80 years

comparison ranking: total population 138

Total fertility rate

1.45 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 208

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 99.6% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0.4% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

4.54 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

10.8 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 98.3% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 1.7% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

24.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 58

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 10.57 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.26 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.98 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.67 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 2.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 18

Tobacco use

total: 30.5% (2020 est.)

male: 47.4% (2020 est.)

female: 13.5% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 30

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0.1%

women married by age 18: 4.7%

men married by age 18: 1.6% (2019 est.)

Education expenditures

4.7% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.9%

male: 99.9%

female: 99.9% (2019)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 15 years (2021)

Environment

Environment - current issues

soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime

Land use

agricultural land: 43.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 27.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 42.7% (2018 est.)

other: 13.6% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 80.7% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.28% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

1.02% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 121

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 15.48 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 58.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 17.19 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4.28 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 684,800 tons (2016 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 16% (2016 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Dnyapro (Dnieper) (shared with Russia [s] and Ukraine [m]) - 2,287 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Dnieper (533,966 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 550 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 410 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 370 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

57.9 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Belarus

conventional short form: Belarus

local long form: Respublika Byelarus' (Belarusian)/ Respublika Belarus' (Russian)

local short form: Byelarus' (Belarusian)/ Belarus' (Russian)

former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name is a compound of the Belarusian words "bel" (white) and "Rus" (the Old East Slavic ethnic designation) to form the meaning White Rusian or White Ruthenian

Government type

presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship

Capital

name: Minsk

geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the origin of the name is disputed; Minsk may originally have been located 16 km to the southwest, on the banks of Menka River; remnants of a 10th-century settlement on the banks of the Menka have been found

Administrative divisions

6 regions (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel'), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk)

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian

Independence

25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution

history: several previous; latest drafted between late 1991 and early 1994, signed 15 March 1994

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic through petition to the National Assembly or by petition of least 150,000 eligible voters; approval required by at least two-thirds majority vote in both chambers or by simple majority of votes cast in a referendum; amended 1996, 2004

Legal system

civil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family, and labor) were revised and came into force in 1999 and 2000

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belarus

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA (since 20 July 1994)

head of government: Prime Minister Roman GOLOVCHENKO (since 4 June 2020)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); first election held on 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999; however, Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the President LUKASHENKA to run and win a third  term (19 March 2006); a fourth term (19 December 2010); a fifth term (11 October 2015); a sixth term (9 August 2020); next election to be held in 2025; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly

election results:
2020:
Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA reelected president; percent of vote - Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA (independent) 80.1%, Svyatlana TSIKHANOWSKAYA (independent) 10.1%, other 9.8%; note - widespread street protests erupted following announcement of the election results amid allegations of voter fraud

2015:
Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA elected president; percent of vote - Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA (independent) 84.1%, Tatsyana KARATKEVIC (BSDPH) 4.4%, Sergey GAYDUKEVICH (LDP) 3.3%, other 8.2%.

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly or Natsyyalny Skhod consists of:
Council of the Republic or Savet Respubliki (64 seats statutory, currently 58; 56 members indirectly elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president; members serve 4-year terms)
House of Representatives or Palata Pradstawnikow (110 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: Council of the Republic - indirect election last held on 7 November 2019
House of Representatives - last held on 25 February 2024 (next to be held in 2028)

election results: Council of the Republic - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independent 58, other 2; composition - men 42, women 16, percentage women 27.6%

House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Belaya Rus 51, RPTS 8, CPB 7, LDPB 4, independent 40; composition - men 73, women 37, percentage women 33.6%; note - total National Assembly percentage women 31.5%

note: the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman and deputy chairman and organized into several specialized panels, including economic and military; number of judges set by the president of the republic and the court chairman); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges, including a chairman and deputy chairman)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 appointed by the president and 6 elected by the Council of the Republic; the presiding judge directly elected by the president and approved by the Council of the Republic; judges can serve for 11 years with an age limit of 70

subordinate courts: oblast courts; Minsk City Court; town courts; Minsk city and oblast economic courts

Political parties and leaders

pro-government parties:
Belarusian Agrarian Party or BAP [Mikhail RUSY]
Belarusian Patriotic Party or BPP [Mikalay ULAKHOVICH]
Belarusian Social Sport Party or BSSP [Uladzimir ALEKSANDROVICH]
Belaya Rus [Henadz DAVYDKA]
Communist Party of Belarus or KPB [Alyaksey SOKOL]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Aleh GAYDUKEVICH]
Republican Party [Uladzimir BELAZOR]
Republican Party of Labor and Justice [Alyaksandr STSYAPANAW]
Social Democratic Party of Popular Accord [Syarhey YERMAK]
opposition parties:
Belarusian Christian Democracy Party [Paval SEVYARYNETS, Volha KAVALKOVA, Vital RYMASHEWSKI] (unregistered)
Belarusian Party of the Green [Dzimtry KUCHUK]
Belarusian Party of the Left "Just World" [Syarhey KALYAKIN]
Belarusian Social-Democratic Assembly or BSDH [Syarhey CHERACHEN]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party ("Assembly") or BSDPH [Ihar BARYSAW]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (People's Assembly) or BSDP [Mikalay STATKEVICH] (unregistered)
BPF Party [Ryhor KASTUSYOW]
Christian Conservative Party-BPF [Zyanon PAZNYAK]
United Civic Party or UCP [Mikalay KAZLOW]

International organization participation

BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CEI, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant; recalled by Belarus in 2008); Chargé d'Affaires Pavel SHIDLOWSKI (since 9 August 2022)

chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 986-1606

FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805

email address and website:
usa@mfa.gov.by

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the United States of America (mfa.gov.by)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires Peter KAUFMAN (since June 2023)

embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002

mailing address: 7010 Minsk Place, Washington DC  20521-7010

telephone: [375] (17) 210-12-83/217-73-47/217-73-48

FAX: [375] (17) 334-78-53

email address and website:
ConsularMinsk@state.gov

https://by.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamentation in red; the red band color recalls past struggles from oppression, the green band represents hope and the many forests of the country

National symbol(s)

no clearly defined current national symbol, the mounted knight known as Pahonia (the Chaser) is the traditional Belarusian symbol; national colors: green, red, white

National anthem

name: "My, Bielarusy" (We Belarusians)

lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI

note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as "Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (3 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Białowieża Forest (n); Mir Castle Complex (c); Architectural, Residential, and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh (c)

Economy

Economic overview

declining Russian energy subsidies will end in 2024; growing public debt; strong currency pressures have led to higher inflation; recent price controls on basic food and drugs; public sector wage increases and fragile private sector threaten household income gains and economic growth

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$176.183 billion (2022 est.)
$184.867 billion (2021 est.)
$180.466 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 72

Real GDP growth rate

-4.7% (2022 est.)
2.44% (2021 est.)
-0.67% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 208

Real GDP per capita

$19,100 (2022 est.)
$19,900 (2021 est.)
$19,200 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 96

GDP (official exchange rate)

$72.793 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

15.21% (2022 est.)
9.46% (2021 est.)
5.55% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 190

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2018)

Moody's rating: B3 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: B (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 8.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.8% (2017 est.)

services: 51.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 175; industry 27; agriculture 100

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 54.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 5.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 67% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -67% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, sugar beets, potatoes, wheat, triticale, barley, maize, rapeseed, rye, apples (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances

Industrial production growth rate

-6.11% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 205

Labor force

4.994 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 86

Unemployment rate

3.57% (2022 est.)
3.9% (2021 est.)
4.05% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 59

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 11.3% (2021 est.)

male: 14%

female: 8.4%

comparison ranking: total 143

Population below poverty line

4.8% (2020 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

24.4 (2020 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 174

Average household expenditures

on food: 32.1% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 7.7% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.4%

highest 10%: 20.7% (2020 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

2.01% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.65% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.65% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $24.743 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $24.239 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

2.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Public debt

33.24% of GDP (2019 est.)
37.1% of GDP (2018 est.)
39.88% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 160

Taxes and other revenues

12.83% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 164

Current account balance

$2.517 billion (2022 est.)
$2.157 billion (2021 est.)
-$178.4 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 39

Exports

$46.846 billion (2022 est.)
$49.435 billion (2021 est.)
$37.183 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 70

Exports - partners

China 15%, Ukraine 12%, Poland 9%, Kazakhstan 8%, Lithuania 8% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

fertilizers, refined petroleum, rapeseed oil, wood, beef (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$42.28 billion (2022 est.)
$45.465 billion (2021 est.)
$35.236 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 71

Imports - partners

China 26%, Poland 15%, Germany 12%, Lithuania 12%, Turkey 9% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

cars, packaged medicine, fabric, plastic products, vehicle parts/accessories (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.923 billion (2022 est.)
$8.425 billion (2021 est.)
$7.468 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 78

Debt - external

$39.847 billion (2019 est.)
$39.297 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 76

Exchange rates

Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2.626 (2022 est.)
2.539 (2021 est.)
2.44 (2020 est.)
2.092 (2019 est.)
2.038 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 11.36 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 32,665,500,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 4.777 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 4.277 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.711 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 44; exports 37; installed generating capacity 60; transmission/distribution losses 142; consumption 60

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 1.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 2 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 0

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 2.22GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 14.1% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 40.8% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 0

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 621,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 1.574 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 2.117 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 34,300 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 134,600 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 32,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 383,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 198 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

477,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 34

Refined petroleum products - exports

351,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 25

Refined petroleum products - imports

14,630 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 135

Natural gas

production: 68.951 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 18,639,590,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 18,673,429,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 2.832 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

54.695 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.623 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 16.856 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 36.217 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 56

Energy consumption per capita

102.558 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 56

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4.23 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 44 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 33

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 11.771 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 85

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the Government of Belarus has successfully promoted the migration to an all-IP platform as part of a wider effort towards a digital transformation for the economy; the state-supported infrastructure operator beCloud has built an extensive fiber network, which reaches all but the smallest settlements in the country; Belarus has the second-highest fiber subscription rate in Europe, behind only Iceland; LTE coverage is almost universal, while considerable progress has also been made in developing 5G services (2021)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved, approximately 45 per 100 fixed-line; mobile-cellular teledensity now roughly 123 telephones per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 375; Belarus is landlocked and therefore a member of the Trans-European Line (TEL), Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line, and has access to the Trans-Siberia Line (TSL); 3 fiber-optic segments provide connectivity to Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; worldwide service is available to Belarus through this infrastructure; additional analog lines to Russia; Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik earth stations; almost 31,000 base stations in service in 2019 (2020)

Broadcast media

7 state-controlled national TV channels; Polish and Russian TV broadcasts are available in some areas; state-run Belarusian Radio operates 5 national networks and an external service; Russian and Polish radio broadcasts are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 8.352 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 87% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 70

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 3,255,552 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 44

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 30

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,760,168 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.9 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

46 (2024)

comparison ranking: 92

Heliports

4 (2024)

Pipelines

5,386 km gas, 1,589 km oil, 1,730 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 5,528 km (2014)

standard gauge: 25 km (2014) 1.435-m gauge

broad gauge: 5,503 km (2014) 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 34

Roadways

total: 86,600 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 58

Waterways

2,500 km (2011) (major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Neman Rivers and the south-flowing Dnepr River and its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Pripyat Rivers)

comparison ranking: 37

Merchant marine

total: 4 (2023)

by type: other 4

comparison ranking: total 171

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Belarus Armed Forces: Army, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force, Special Troops (electronic warfare, signals, engineers, biological/chemical/nuclear protection troops, etc)

Ministry of Interior: State Border Troops, Militia, Internal Troops (2024)

note: in early 2023, President LUKASHENKA ordered the formation of a new volunteer paramilitary territorial defense force to supplement the Army

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $2.11 billion)
1.5% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $2.05 billion)

comparison ranking: 119

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 45-50,000 active-duty troops; information on the individual services varies, but reportedly includes about 25-30,000 Army, 15,000 Air/Air Defense, and 5,000 Special Operations forces (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is comprised mostly of Russian/Soviet-origin equipment, and in recent years Russia has continued to be the leading provider of arms; Belarus's defense industry manufactures some equipment (mostly modernized Soviet designs), including vehicles, guided weapons, and electronic warfare systems (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 years of age for compulsory military or alternative service; conscript service obligation is 12-18 months, depending on academic qualifications, and 24-36 months for alternative service, also depending on academic qualifications; 17-year-olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2023)

note: conscripts can be assigned to the military, to the Ministry of Interior as internal or border troops, or to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (alternative service); as of 2020, conscripts comprised an estimated 40% of the military

Military - note

the military of Belarus is responsible for territorial defense; it is a mixed force of conscripts and professionals that is equipped with Russian or Soviet-era weapons; the Army’s principal combat forces are divided into two geographically based commands, each with two mechanized brigades and an artillery brigade; there are also separate artillery and surface-to-surface missile brigades; the Special Operations Forces has brigades of airborne, air assault, and special forces (spetsnaz) troops, which serve as the military’s high-readiness units; the Air and Air Defense inventory includes about 100 combat aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as air defense brigades and regiments with surface-to-air missiles

Russia is the country’s closest security partner, a relationship that includes an integrated air and missile defense system and joint military training centers and exercises; Russia leases from Belarus a strategic ballistic missile defense site operated by Russian Aerospace Forces and a global communications facility for the Russian Navy; in 2020, the countries signed an agreement allowing for close security cooperation between the Belarusian Ministry of Interior and the Russian National Guard, including protecting public order and key government facilities and combating extremism and terrorism; in 2022, Belarus allowed Russian military forces to stage on its territory for their invasion of Ukraine and continues to supply arms and other aid to the Russian military, including logistical support, medical care, and airfields for Russian combat aircraft; in 2023, Belarus agreed to permit Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its soil

Belarus has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and has committed an airborne brigade to CSTO's rapid reaction force; the military trains regularly with other CSTO members (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

Belarus Space Agency (aka National Agency for Space Research; established 2009); National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (2024)

Space program overview

has a modest national space program focused on developing remote sensing (RS) satellites; jointly builds satellites with foreign partners; develops some space technologies and components for space equipment, including satellite payloads and associated technology, such as optics and imaging equipment; has cooperated with a variety of foreign space agencies and commercial entities, including those of Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine; has a state-owned satellite company (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 42,785 (Ukraine) (as of 29 February 2024)

stateless persons: 5,626 (2022)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Belarus does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Belarus remained on Tier 3; the government decreased trafficking-related investigations and prosecutions; fewer victims were identified and referred to services; officials did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting any traffickers under its trafficking statute nor did they provide adequate protection to victims; officials reportedly returned many migrants and asylum seekers to their countries of origin without screening them for indicators of trafficking; similarly, authorities did not screen Ukrainian refugees; the government did not report conducting awareness-raising activities, and its efforts to prevent labor trafficking remained inadequate; for the sixth consecutive year, Belarus did not report investigating or filing charges related to illegal recruitment of migrant workers (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Belarus and exploit Belarusians abroad; the majority of trafficking victims are men subjected to forced labor, primarily in Belarus and Russia but also in Poland, Turkey, and other European, Eurasian and Middle Eastern countries; some Belarusian women traveling for foreign employment in the adult entertainment and hotel industries are subjected to sex trafficking; most traffickers are Belarusian citizens, and traffickers increasingly use online methods to coerce victims into forced labor and sex trafficking; the government has identified Belarusian, Moldovan, Russian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese victims in Belarus; Belarusian authorities continue to facilitate entry into Belarus of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers, mostly from Iraq but also from other Middle Eastern countries, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia under a government-orchestrated migration crisis that began in 2021; officials facilitate onward travel to the borders of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland where migrants are encouraged, and sometimes forced, to attempt irregular border crossings; these migrants remain vulnerable to trafficking (2023)

Illicit drugs

limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards and was weakened further when know-your-customer requirements were curtailed in 2008; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities