The territory of belarus covers 207,600 square kilometers, and it has a population of 10.2 million people. The country was declared an independent republic in September 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Subsequent reforms were slow and did not indicate rapid economic change. The first president of the independent Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, was elected in 1994 and has aimed to create a dictatorship; his politics have been criticized by the international community, especially by the European Union (EU). The outcome of the presidential elections in 2006, when Lukashenko won around 85 percent of the votes, was not approved by the international community, except Russia. Following the election, the EU banned Belarusian leaders to enter the territory of the EU.

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