Belarus An Interesting Place To Visit

By: Gordon Warre

Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly. Belarus is landlocked, relatively flat, and contains large tracts of marshy land. Belarus has historically been a Russian Orthodox country, with minorities practicing Catholicism, Judaism, and other religions. Belarus has been described as "a small-scale Soviet Union at its finest period".

Belarus receives heavily discounted oil and natural gas from Russia and much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices. Belarus has only small reserves of petroleum and natural gas and imports most of its oil and gas from Russia. Belarusian membership in the Council of Europe was not supported; bilateral relations at the ministerial level were suspended; and EU technical assistance programs were frozen.

Belarusian tourist visas are issued upon presentation of the original of the tourist voucher received from any Belarusian tour operator or tourist agency. Belarus won its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 but remains close to Russia economically and politically. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox. The change was made to reflect adequately the Belarusian language form of the name. The Belarusian Constitution forbids the use of special extra-judicial courts. Like many other European countries, Belarus has a negative population growth rate and a negative natural growth rate. At the end of the 19th century, major Belarusian cities formed their own opera and ballet companies. The largest media holding group in Belarus is the state-owned National State Teleradiocompany.

Ukraine's declaration of independence, in particular, led the leaders of then Belarusian SSR to realize that the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapsing, which it did. The BPF declared itself a movement open to any individual or party, including communists, provided that those who joined shared its basic goal of a fully independent and democratic Belarus. Because of these restrictive economic policies, Belarus has had trouble attracting foreign investment. By the end of Second Northern War the region of Prussia, Poland and GDL (Belarus and all Baltic states) was so demolished that for about 100 years culture and civilization was pretty much suspended here.

The areas were claimed because of a Belarusian majority according to demographic research, although there were also numbers of Lithuanians, Poles and people speaking pidgins of Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish, as well as many Jews, mostly in towns and cities (in some towns they made up a majority).

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