Belarus Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

The Republic of Belarus (Belarusian Республика Беларусь, Russian Республика Беларусь, English the Republic of Belarus).

Members of the government as of 31 May 2021:

  • Prime Minister: Roman GOLOVCHENKO
  • First Deputy Prime Minister: Nikolai SNOPKOV
  • Deputy Prime Ministers: Vladimir KUKHAREV, Yury NAZAROV, Igor PETRISHENKO, Aleksander SUBBOTIN.
  • Most important ministers:
  • Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART): Vladimir KOLTOVICH
  • Minister of Architecture and Construction (Minstrojarchitektury): —
  • Minister of Internal Affairs (MVD): Ivan KUBRAKOV
  • Minister of Housing and Communal Economy (Minžilkomchoz): Andrey KHMEL
  • Minister of Health (Minzdrav): Dmitry PINEVICH
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Vladimir MAKEJ
  • Minister of Energy: Viktor KARANKEVICH
  • Minister of Information (Miniinform): Uladzimir PIARTSOU
  • Minister of Culture (Minkuľtury): Anatoly MARKEVICH
  • Minister of Forestry (Minleschoz): Vitalij DROZHZHA
  • Minister of Defense (Ministry of Defense): Viktor CHRENIN
  • Minister of Education (Ministry of Education): Igor KARPENKO
  • Minister for Taxes and Fees (MNS): Sergej NALIVAJKO
  • Minister for Extraordinary Events (MČS): —
  • Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Minprirody): Andrej CHUDYK
  • Minister of Industry (Minprom): Pyotr PARKHOMCHIK
  • Minister of Communications and Informatization (Minsvjazi): Konstantin SHULGAN
  • Minister of Agriculture and Food (Minselchozprod): Ivan KRUPKO
  • Minister of Sports and Tourism (Minsport): Sergej KOVALČUK
  • Minister of Transport and Communications (Mintrans): Alexej AVRAMENKO
  • Minister of Labor and Social Protection (Mintruda i soczaščity): Irina KOSTEVICH
  • Minister of Finance (Ministry of Finance): Yury SELIVERSTOV
  • Minister of Economy (Minekonomiki): Aleksandr CHERVYAKOV
  • Minister of Justice (Minjust): Oleg SLIZHEVSKY

The head of the country is the president of the republic, who is formally only at the top of the executive power, but in reality, using the so-called power vertical, he also controls the other two branches of state power – legislative and judicial – through the appointment of executives and representatives. Legislative power is vested in the parliament, which consists of two chambers – the House of Representatives with a strength of 110 men and women elected in single-mandate constituencies and the upper chamber, the so-called Council of the Republic, in which eight representatives from each of the six regions of Belarus and the capital Minsk sit. The eight remaining “senators” are appointed directly by the president. Judicial power is exercised by judges of general jurisdiction and economic courts. The president also controls regional, district and city executive committees, the main audiovisual media in the country and a substantial part of economic entities using the same personnel method. Check computerminus to learn more about Belarus political system.

According to the constitution, Belarus professes security neutrality. In reality, this is not the case, as it is part of the so-called Union State with the Russian Federation and a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In response to popular protests in 2020 and at the request of the Russian Federation, a constitutional amendment is being prepared in Belarus, which should allow Alexander Lukashenko to hand over power to another president. New agreements with the Russian Federation on the fulfillment of the Agreement on the Creation of the Union State of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus could also be part of the internal political changes. The internal political tendency for the next few years is the strengthening of the authoritarian regime and the continuation (including deepening and expansion) of repression against all disaffected citizens, independent subjects of civil society, the independent press and political parties.

Foreign policy of the country

The foreign policy of Belarus develops over time in a spiral, which again and without exception ends in an alliance with the Russian Federation. The strategic partner of Belarus is the People’s Republic of China. Belarus has no other long-term allies and strategic partners, perhaps with the exception of some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which are united in the Collective Defense Treaty Organization (CDO) or the Eurasian Economic Union.

The foreign policy of Belarus is thus to a large extent situational and maneuvering, and it aims at difficult-to-achieve goals. For example, the concept of many vectorialities of foreign policy. According to her, foreign trade should be governed by a certain ideal ratio of thirds – one third with the RF, one third with the EU, one third with other countries. This doctrine was repeatedly confirmed even after the popular protests in autumn 2020 by A. Lukashenko. However, it is too ideal and detached from reality, which accounts for roughly half of trade with the Russian Federation, 25% with the EU, and 25% with other countries. As a result of political turbulence in the past year, repression and deterioration of the business environment as well as Belarusian counter-sanctions against the EU (collective West), it is clear that in the coming years the Russian Federation will dominate trade and the EU will collapse. Lukashenko also issued an instruction, to develop and open other possibilities in hard-to-reach territories (for example, in Latin America or in the developing countries of the African continent), which is extremely challenging even for experienced exporters with a good export portfolio. Belarus is not such a country, and therefore it is not clear whether the share of other countries has a chance to grow. Check relationshipsplus for Belarus defense and foreign policy.

Relations with the US are marked by Washington’s support for human rights. After a short period of several years of improved political relations and bilateral steps towards the restoration of diplomatic representation at the level of ambassadors, this process has completely stopped and will be restored to the previous level. Belarus perceives most of its neighbors as enemies who are advocating for a change in the political situation in Belarus. The accusations of the official Minsk stick the most to Poland and Lithuania, whose relations have been humiliated diplomatically and are now gradually frozen. However, it has recently also reached the Czech Republic, e.g. due to the presence of the RFE/RL headquarters in Prague. At the same time, bilateral relations with the Czech Republic were suspended by the will of the official leadership of Belarus already in the spring of 2020. The formal reason was a problem with an unfinished investment in the birthplace of A. Lukašenka Šklov, which, as a result of the lost arbitration, was financed by EGAP (it was about USD 10 million). Bilateral relations with the EU are in a deep diplomatic crisis.

Relations with the Russian Federation, as the only ally, undergo potential adjustments in 2021. The activity of the Russian Federation increased in December 2018. The Russian Federation does not wish to continue to financially subsidize the Belarusian regime, nothing has changed. However, there is still no indication that A. Lukashenko would be willing to exchange Russian support for his regime for greater political connection with the Russian Federation on the basis of the Treaty on the Union State of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. The Russian Federation will thus promote its economic, security and political interests in Belarus through negotiations with the Belarusian government. In turn, Belarus will monitor Russian foreign policy more and adapt to it.

In February 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Vladimir Makej, announced that a new (read first) concept of the foreign policy of Belarus would be prepared. In the last year, it became clear that foreign policy is always primarily dependent on the position of the countries concerned on the Belarusian authoritarian regime in direct proportion and the defense of human rights in indirect proportion.

Population

At the beginning of 2021, 9.349 million people lived in Belarus, of which million people were of working age (men: 15-60.5 years, women: 16-5 years). The urban population is 77.5%. Population density: 46 ob. / km² (142nd in the world). Demographic processes in the republic can be described by reduced fertility, higher mortality, a gradual increase in the number of children born out of wedlock and a growing negative balance of migration. According to the 2019 census, the national composition in Belarus is as follows: Belarusians make up 83.7% of the population, Russians 8.2% (785 thousand), a statistically significant minority is further made up of Poles 3.1% (295 thousand), Ukrainians 1.7% (159,000, apparently at present it will be tens of thousands more) and Jews 0.1% (13,000). Other nationalities are represented by Armenians, Tatars, Roma, Azerbaijanis, Lithuanians, Moldavians, Turkmens, Germans, Georgians, Chinese, Uzbeks, Latvians, Kazakhs, Arabs, Chuvash, etc. The last census took place at the end of October 2019. Roughly 60% of the population of Belarus consider themselves religious, and the overwhelming majority of them are Christians (82% Orthodox, 12% Catholic, 6 % of other confessions – especially Protestants and Uniates), Judaism and Islam are also present in Belarus. At the beginning of 2021, 26 confessions were registered by law.

Belarus Basic Information