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The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked eastern European country bordering Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. About 40% of its territory is forested. The climate is temperate continental, with warm summers and very cold winters. The economy of Belarus is based on manufacturing and on service industries. Over 70% of the population is urban, and about 80% is ethnically Belorussian, although the country also has substantial Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian minorities. The country’s official languages are Belorussian and Russian. The prevalent religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with a small minority of Roman Catholics, but the state itself is secular.

Before the 1917 Russian Revolution, the territory of present-day Belarus belonged respectively to the Kievan Rus’, the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the ...

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