Belarus Population and Economic Conditions

By | June 6, 2022

According to Homosociety, about 80% of the population is of Belarusian ethnicity; the rest is made up of the large Russian group (11.4%) and other minorities, of which the most consistent are the Polish and Ukrainian ones. Unlike the other republics of Eastern Europe formed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus has maintained relations of collaboration with Russia, and the use of Russian, to which the dignity of official language has been restored alongside that of Belarus, is still today very widespread. About a third of the population follows the Orthodox Christian religion, the remainder is made up mainly of Catholics and modest communities of Protestants, Jews and Muslims. After a steady growth until the mid-1990s (it was 10,045,237 in 1999), the population has begun to decrease at an ever faster rate due to the achievement of a mature demographic model, with a mortality rate now clearly higher than the birth rate. The average density does not show great differences between the various parts of the territory, although there is a fair concentration in the capital region, in the center of the country, and a marked rarefaction in the north-eastern area, near the border with Russia, and especially in Yes, in the Polessia. The urban population amounts to just under three-quarters of the total, and a significant part of it lives in the large agglomeration of the capital, Minsk. In addition to the capital, the largest cities are Gomel ′, in the SE, the only one with more than half a million residents, and more in the N Mogilëv, on the Dnieper, and Vitebsk, on the Dvina; to the West near the border are Grodno, on the Neman, and Brest, on the Bug.

Belarus has been very heavily affected by the detachment from the economic system that was established among the socialist countries. Furthermore, the consequences of the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in neighboring Ukraine in 1986 continue to weigh on the economy, which contaminated large parts of the agricultural land (especially in the south-eastern part of the country) and which still constitute a limiting factor in agricultural activity, as well as the take-off of a tourist economy. Agriculture, which absorbs almost 11% and contributes to the formation of GDP for a slightly lower share, supplies significant quantities of barley (18,000 t in 2005), rye (12,500 t), potatoes (86,000 t), beets sugar (31,700 t) and flax (40,000 t; in the very first places on the international scale); intense exploitation of extensive forests,in 2004); breeding contributes 60% to the primary sector. The agrarian structure previously relied on nearly 1700 collectively owned and over 900 state-owned farms; since 1991 the private ownership of plots of land has been allowed, with the possibility of leaving it as an inheritance, but not of selling it. To the traditional textile and food industries are added above all the metallurgical, mechanical and chemical ones. After the attainment of independence these industries were penalized by the insufficiency of national energy sources. In fact, Belarus has small natural gas and oil fields (refineries in Mazyr and Navapolack), which however are not sufficient to meet energy needs. In order to reduce energy dependence, peat is used to the maximum which, after extraction, it is compressed into briquettes; the calorific value per volume thus increases, but remains well below that of coal. The main trade exchanges take place with Russia and other former USSR countries.

Communications are based on a network of asphalted roads of over 90,000 km and about 5500 km of railways; Minsk, in particular, is located at the intersection of the two main lines, one connecting it with Moscow in the NE and Warsaw in the SW, the other with Kiev in the SE and Vilnius and Riga in the NW.


Belarusian belongs, together with Russian and Ukrainian, to the group of East Slavic languages. Typical traits of Belarusian are already present in Slavic-ecclesiastical writings starting from the 13th century; in the sec. 15th-17th was the official language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, a true codification of the language began only at the turn of the century. 19th and 20th, and was completed in Soviet times. The literary language is mainly based on central dialects, in particular on that of Minsk.

Phonologically, the characteristic phenomena of Belarusian are dzekanie (passage of the voiced dental d to a sweet voiced affricate dz in front of a palatal vowel), the cekanie (transition from the deaf dental t to a soft deaf affricate c in similar conditions), and pretonic to ja) and the akanie (passage of o unstressed to a).

As far as morphology is concerned, details are: the plural nominative of neutral nouns in -y / -i ; the plural genitive of feminine nouns in -au / -jau ; the singular locative of masculine nouns and the dative and singular locative of feminine in -i.

In the syntax it is worth noting the construction of verbs with the prepositions z (more genitive), pa (more locative), u (more accusative). The influence of Polish was very strong at the syntactic, lexical and phraseological level.

Belarus Population