Official Name: Republic of Belarus
Total area: 207 595 km2
GDP per capita: $15,633
Native Language: Belarusian, Russian
Government: Unitary presidential republic
Major Religion: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Monetary Unit: Belarusian ruble (BYR)
Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordering Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other large cities are Brest, Hrodna (Grodno), Homiel (Gomel), Mahilyow (Mogilev) and Vitsebsk (Vitebsk). Over forty percent of the 207,600 square kilometers (80,200 square miles) are forested, and the strongest sectors of the economy are service industries and manufacturing industries.
Most of the Belarusian economy remains state controlled and is known as the Soviet style. 51.2% of Belarusians are employed in state-controlled companies, 47.4% in private companies (of which 5.7% are partly foreign-owned) and 1.4% in foreign companies. The country relies on Russia for various imports, including oil. Important agricultural products are potatoes and cattle by-products, including meat. In 1994 Belarus' main exports were heavy machinery (especially tractors), agricultural products, and energy products.