Republic of Belarus

Respublika Belarus

Political Status: Formerly the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; declared independence on August 25, 1991; new constitution declared to be in force by the government on November 27, 1996, following approval by national referendum on November 24.

Area: 80,155 sq. mi. (207,600 sq. km.).

Population: 10,045,237 (1999C); 9,779,000 (2004E).

Major Urban Centers (2001E): MIENSK (Minsk, 1,650,000), Homeil (Gomel, 478,000).

Official Languages: Belarusan and Russian (the latter being the first language of most inhabitants).

Monetary Unit: Belarusan Ruble (official rate July 1, 2005: 2,152 rubles = $1US).

President: Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA; elected at popular runoff balloting on July 10, 1994, and inaugurated for a five-year term on July 20, succeeding Mechislav GRIB (Myachaslau HRYB), who, as Chairman of the Supreme ...

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