Republic of Belarus
Political Status: Formerly the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); declared independence on August 25, 1991; current 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); 9,606,000 (2008E).
Major Urban Center (2005E): MINSK (Miensk, 1,775,000).
Official Languages: Belarusan and Russian (the latter being the first language of most inhabitants).
Monetary Unit: Belarusan Ruble (official rate December 1, 2009: 2,783.00 rubles = $1US). On January 2, 2009, the ruble was devalued by 20.5 percent against the dollar and pegged to a basket comprising, in equal weight, the euro, the dollar, and the Russian ruble.[Page 121]
President: Alyaksandr LUKASHENKA; ...