Saturday, 6 October 2012


Belarus was also once part of the Soviet Union but since it collapsed the country demanded to be independence.  It is now trying hard to build a future of freedom and free trade for its people. The country is not quite as big as the UK and is land locked.  In the north and east it borders on Russia. Latvia and Lithuania are on its north west borders. Poland on the west and the Ukraine on the south borders
Most of the country is covered with low ridges and marches in between. The Pripet Marches were once Europe's biggest marsh but most of it had been drained and are used for agriculture. On a whole the country is low lying and its high point is 345m above sea level. The main river is the Dnepr and it flows from Russia on the east and                                                                                              into the Ukraine in the south.



The country has a temperature of -6oC in the winter and in the summer it can reach 19oC. Rainfall is mainly during between June and August. Snowfall starts in December or January and stays till March or April.



Belarus was once covered by forest but most of it had been cleared for agriculture in the 16th century. Some forest grew again around the Pripet Marches. The forest is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees but silver birches dominates it.  The Marches is home of hundred of species of March flora.  On the western border is the famous Belaveshskaja Pushcha Nature Reserves. It is the largest surviving area of primeval mixed forest in Europe. Belarus and Poland are managing the area together. The great success story is the European Bison which had only 40 animals in 1945 and they were in captivity. It is estimated that there are about a 1,000 in the park and several thousands across Europe.  The Nature Reserve also has elk, deer, wolf, fox, otter and badger,


Belarus has 21 per cent of the population working in agriculture. Cattle and pigs are the main farms. Other farm products are grain, potatoes and flax which is made into linen.

Heavy industries of manufacturing truck and tractors are in Minsk and chemical processing factories are at Soligorsk.

Belarus has only few mineral resources and is therefore completely dependent on Russia for gas and oil. When the Soviet Union collapsed Belarus was very affected. Also the Chernobyl disaster although in the Ukraine had a great impact. They were forced to abandon agricultural land.  A great deal of the nuclear fall-out landed on Belarus. The economy ran in 2000 per cent inflation in 1993.


With being under Soviet rules it had a disastrous effect on the Belarus population. It is thought that 2.2 million Belarusian died in the Second World War. The Jewish people almost disappeared and more than 700,000 disappeared during Soviet purges. To fill the gaps in agriculture the Soviet moved Russian into Belarus. Even today there is still 1.3million Russian living in Belarus.  The Second World War and Soviet industrialisation many people were forced to move into cities and hundreds of villages were deserted.


The earliest evidence that people were living in the area goes back to the Stone Age. Later on the Slavs moved into it in 6th and 8th centuries AD. The area was then ruled by Kievan Rus in 9th century.  At this time Orthodox Christianity was introduced.  During the 13th century a short time it was under Tartar vassals and then Lithuania was taking over Belarus.

During the 400 before Russia ruled Belarus the country developed its own culture and language. The name Belarus means ‘white Russia’ but it is not know whether it refer to the complexion of the white dresses. 

Poland began to rule Lithuania more and more and in the 18th century it was divided. Belarus was completely taken over the Russia.

The Tsars demanded everybody to be Russian. This idea was also continued by the Soviet rulers.
During the First World War there was lot of fighting at Belarus. During the German occupation the country received independence but in 1921 the Treaty of Riga gave some part to Poland and the rest was on of the founding Soviets which was councils of the USSR.

During the Second World War Belarus faced again heavy losses and Minsk the capital was almost flattened.  One in four of the people were killed. After the war the Soviet during the five-year plan restored much of the destroyed buildings and with Russian immigrants. Belarus became one of the Union’s most prosperous republics

The Chernobyl disaster affected Belarus especially baldy and it increased the anti-Soviet feeling. When in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed the Republic of Belarus was born and at long last independence was achieved.


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