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NFE/5.0en-USnews-webmaster@google.com2019 Google Inc.Fri, 15 Feb 2019 18:08:11 GMTGoogle News
Belarusian Leader Skips Munich Conference Because Of Talks With Russia's Putin  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will not to take part in the February 15-17 Munich Security Conference because he is in Russia holding talks with ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Arsenal beaten in Belarus; Henderson return a timely boost  Irish Times

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with 'The Irish Times' sports team.

Irish Times
Alexievich: 'Atmosphere Of Violence' Contributed To Deadly School Attack In Belarus  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

MINSK -- Belarusian writer and Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich says she believes an "atmosphere of violence" in the country contributed to the deadly ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarus' GDP 0.7% up in January  Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – In January 2019 Belarus' GDP grew by 0.7%, which is above the government's quarterly forecast, BelTA learned from Belarusian ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Latvian business eyeing Belarus' market  Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – More Latvian business people are launching operations in the Belarusian market, BelTA learned from Ambassador Extraordinary ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Belarus to present cutting-edge military hardware at IDEX 2019 in UAE  Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – Belarus will present current products and promising defense prototypes at the 14th international defense technology expo IDEX ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Tut editor in Belarus court on charge of illegally accessing state media website  CPJ Press Freedom Online

Kiev, February 12, 2019--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Belarusian authorities to end their harassment of Maryna Zolatava, editor-in-chief of the ...

CPJ Press Freedom Online
France, Belarus sweep first-round series to reach Fed Cup semifinals  ESPN

France and Belarus reached the Fed Cup semifinals after sweeping their first-round series on Sunday. In Liege, Caroline Garcia clinched a 3-0 victory for France ...

ESPN
Belarus plans to take part in Davos forum  Belarus News (BelTA)

Belarus is considering the possibility to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Belarus Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi said at ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Belarus' Bolshoi Theater ballet company to tour Mexico  Belarus News (BelTA)

The ballet company of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of Belarus will embark on a tour of Mexico with Piotr Tchaikovsky's Sleeping ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Belarus editor on trial, faces possible 5-year sentence  Washington Post

The editor of the largest independent news website in Belarus is on trial for professional malfeasance in a case that could bring her a five-year prison sentence if ...

Washington Post
Belarus - Poland. Belarusian parliamentary delegation on a visit to Poland  TVR

High appreciation of the contribution of Minsk to the settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine was expressed in Warsaw at a meeting at the Foreign ...

TVR
Workshop on WTO problems to be held in Belarus  TVR

Negotiations with the headquarters of the WTO in Geneva on attracting major international experts to the event are underway. In addition, the OSCE PA Silk ...

TVR
Europa League winners and losers: Arsenal slip up in Belarus  Sportsnet.ca

The UEFA Europa League knockout stage began on Thursday, and while some clubs earned vital results, a couple of big teams suffered greatly in their ...

Sportsnet.ca
Belarusian Teen Suspected Of Stabbing Teacher, Classmate To Death  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

STOUPTSY, Belarus -- Authorities say a teenager is suspected of stabbing a teacher and a student to death with a knife in a rare school attack in the former ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarusian News-Site Editor Tells Court She Is Innocent  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

MINSK -- The editor of Belarus's largest independent news site, who is on trial on accusations that her publication has illegally obtained information from a ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Current Zaf boss signs dirty deal with Belarus company  Zambian Watchdog

Current Zambia Airforce commander David Muma has also started engaging himself in corruption by cutting dirty deals. General Muma has just signed a deal ...

Zambian Watchdog
UEFA round up: Tottenham rolls, while Arsenal is stunned in Belarus  NJ.com

It was a mixed week for the English sides in Europe, while the three-time running Champions League winners continue to find ways to win in the competition.

NJ.com
New report: Ukraine, Poland Belarus and Romania represent 'tech talent goldmine'  Emerging Europe

According to a new report published jointly by AVentures Capital, Aventis Capital and Capital Times. emerging Europe is a tech talent goldmine. The report ...

Emerging Europe
'Stop Harassing Independent Media,' CPJ Tells Belarus  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Belarusian authorities to “end their harassment” of the editor in chief of Belarus's largest ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Sacral culture on show at National History Museum of Belarus  Belarus News (BelTA)

The Sacral Culture of the Roman-Catholic Church of Belarus exhibition developed on the initiative of the Holy Trinity Church on Zolotaya Gorka in Minsk went on ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Regular meeting on accession of Belarus to WTO to be held in Geneva today  TVR

Our delegation is represented by the leadership and experts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Bank, the ministries of economy, finance, justice, and ...

TVR
Belarus's foreign trade flourishing  bne IntelliNews

In Soviet times Belarus was one of the best places to live in the USSR as it was home to many of the finishing and final assembly facilities for ...

bne IntelliNews
Barty, Aust to face Belarus after US win  SBS News

Australia Fed Cup team captain Alicia Molik's surprise move to pair Ashleigh Barty with Priscilla Hon proved to be a masterstroke.

SBS News
Oiling the wheels of Belarus-Russia relations  New Eastern Europe

Arguments about oil and gas prices have become a recurring feature of the Belarusian and Russian relationship. Is this year's discord different from earlier bouts ...

New Eastern Europe
Belarus expects Armenia to schedule meeting with Stanislav Zas  Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am

Belarus expected the Armenian side to announce the date of the meeting with the State Secretary of Belarus Stanislav Zas, said the spokesperson for Belarusian ...

Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am
Alleviating Tensions Between Russia and Belarus: Two Paradigms  The Jamestown Foundation

Those taking a stand on Russian-Belarusian tensions around the so-called oil tax maneuver (see EDM, October 1, 2018; December 12, 2018; January 14, 15, ...

The Jamestown Foundation
Belarus Police Bust 'Biggest Marijuana Operation In Years'  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Authorities in Belarus say they have busted "the largest marijuana production [operation] in years." Police searching for the source of "high-quality" marijuana ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarus Looking Into Russian Detention Of Former Model Who Claimed Kremlin Election Meddling  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The Belarusian Embassy in Moscow says it is looking into the case of a Belarusian model who was detained by Russian authorities after landing in Moscow ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarus opens online registration for foreign visitors  Belarus Digest

On 2 January 2019, a website for the digital registration of foreigners staying in Belarus for more than five days went online. Until now the majority of foreign ...

Belarus Digest
Belarusian Escort Who Claimed Evidence of Russian Meddling Is Detained in Moscow  The New York Times

A Belarusian escort who claimed to have audio recordings that could link Russia with President Trump's election was detained in Moscow on Thursday, ...

The New York Times
Wales: Ryan Giggs' side to host Belarus in September friendly  BBC Sport

Wales will play an international friendly at home to Belarus on Tuesday, 10 September, with the venue yet to be decided.

BBC Sport
Population Flight From Rural Belarus: The Security Implications  The Jamestown Foundation

Nikolai Statkevich, a leader of the opposition Belarusian National Congress, warned in late December 2018 that, if Moscow sends troops into Belarus in an effort ...

The Jamestown Foundation
Lukashenko, Putin play hockey in Sochi | Belarus News | Belarusian news | Belarus today | news in Belarus | Minsk news  Belarus News (BelTA)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko took the ice at Shayba Arena for some hockey action after visiting Sirius ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Belarus-Russia Tensions: Any Alternative to Hype?  The Jamestown Foundation

Like smoke with little fire, there has been a lot of anxiety surrounding the current Belarusian-Russian tensions (see EDM, January 15, 2019). Prolonged agitation ...

The Jamestown Foundation
UPDATED: ED seals eight deals in Belarus  Chronicle

Mabasa Sasa in Minsk, Belarus President Mnangagwa and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko yesterday sealed eight agreements, and also ...

Chronicle
Alina Zmushka Breaks Belarusian Breaststroke Records at Belarus Open  SwimSwam

The 21-year old Zmushka broke both the 100 and 200 meter Belarusian Records at the Belarus Open.

SwimSwam
A Brotherly Takeover: Could Russia Annex Belarus? (Op-ed)  The Moscow Times

Minsk and Moscow are like an old married couple; they tend to air their long-standing grievances in public. This time, a dispute over compensating Belarus for a ...

The Moscow Times
Checks of foreigners in Belarus: they need to submit work certificate  Belsat

Nadezhda Listopadova, a resident of an agro-town in the Zelva district, Hrodna region, has Russian citizenship, but she has been living in Belarus for the last 11 ...

Belsat
Expert suggests scenario for Ukraine in case of Russian occupation of Belarus  UNIAN

Expert of International Democracy Institute (IDI) Yevhen Dykyi has suggested a scenario for Ukraine in case of the Russian occupation of Belarus. Ukraine would ...

UNIAN
Belarusian model says Russian agents tried to silence her  CNN

A Belarusian model who claimed to have information on Moscow's attempts to interfere in US elections told CNN she had been ordered by Russian security ...

CNN
In Belarus, Pseudo-Events are Events, Too—Maybe Even More So  The Jamestown Foundation

Russian-Belarusian tensions are still a major topic of discussion in the Belarusian media. Artyom Shraibman of Tut.by, notably predicts that neither side will yield ...

The Jamestown Foundation
Russia’s Orbit of Risk Could Weigh on Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova  Bloomberg

Uncertainty about interest rates, trade and oil prices could weigh on emerging economies in 2019. Countries of the former Soviet Union and its allies have to ...

Bloomberg
Ukrainian MP urges Ukraine to prepare for potential occupation of Belarus  Belsat

The Verkhovna Rada deputy Igor Guz suggested that the Ukrainian special services, together with Belarusian activists, prepare a “network of patriotic structures” ...

Belsat
No better time to discover Belarus  Travel Weekly

The country, once part of the Soviet Union, has eased visa restrictions and will be hosting a pair of high-profile sporting events in 2019.

Travel Weekly
Belarus orders more Flirts  Railway Gazette International

BELARUS: Stadler announced on January 17 that it had received an order from Belarussian national railway BC for a further 10 Flirt trainsets. The...

Railway Gazette International
Belarusian 'Sex Trainer' Stands Up The Press, Praises 'President Of My Favorite Country'  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Self-described "sex trainer" Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, was a no-show at her own press conference, a day after her release from ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Why Astravets NPP so close to Vilnius? Belarus violated Espoo Convention – parties  Belsat

On February 7, the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention in Geneva decided that Belarus had violated the Espoo Convention in choosing a ...

Belsat
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus O.Kravchenko visits USA - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

On January 29-31, 2019 the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Oleg Kravchenko, visited Washington, DC. During the visit ...

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus
We need Union State, integration as Russian is state language in Belarus – envoy  Belsat

Russia has fulfilled all its obligations for Belarus as well as Purin's extra orders, Russian Ambassador Mikhail Babich said in an interview with TV station Rossiya ...

Belsat
BelTA and Belarus. Today become official media partners of II European Games  TVR

Belarusian Telegraph Agency and the publishing house Belarus. Today are the official media partners of the II European Games. The relevant documents were ...

TVR
Belarus developed new special chassis for missile systems  defence-blog.com

Belarus's Minsk Wheel Tractors Plant (MZKT Volat) has developed a new special wheeled chassis to carry missile weapon systems. During the meeting of the ...

defence-blog.com
Belarus celebrates 100th Anniversary of Belarusian Diplomacy and 27th Anniversary of relations with Việt Nam  Viet Nam News

On January 22, 2019, the Republic of Belarus celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Belarusian diplomatic *service*; the day also marks the 27th Anniversary of the ...

Viet Nam News
113 applications from 16 countries submitted for Eurovision selection in Belarus  TVR

Belteleradiocompany has completed the reception of applications for participation in the national selection round for Eurovision. 113 applications were ...

TVR
Belarusian model who offered to trade US election info is released from jail  CNN

Moscow (CNN) A Belarusian model who claimed to have insider knowledge of Russian attempts to meddle in the US elections has been freed from police ...

CNN
Europa League: Iwobi fell in Belarus as Bonaventure assists  Fcnaija

Super Eagles winger Alex Iwobi was handed a starting shirt but failed to rescue Arsenal who fell 1-0 to Belarusian side, Bate Borisov in the first leg round of 32 ...

Fcnaija
IMF offers Belarus positive assessment of economy  Emerging Europe

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the cyclical recovery of the Belarusian economy is continuing, with growth in the first three quarters of 2018 ...

Emerging Europe
Angola interested in Belarusian air defence systems  defenceWeb

Angola is apparently in discussions with Belarus over the acquisition of air defence systems worth $200 million. This is according to Belarusian media, which ...

defenceWeb
Belarus’ Largest Bank Considers Setting up Crypto Exchange, Says Chairman of Board  Cointelegraph

News. Belarusbank, the largest bank in Belarus, is considering setting up a crypto exchange, local information agency BelTA reports on Jan. 28. According to the ...

Cointelegraph
Tourism in Belarus focus of new UNDP programme  Emerging Europe

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Belarus have embarked on a new initiative to increase the competitiveness of ...

Emerging Europe
EU: 2 billion for rail in Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova  RailFreight.com

Around 2 billion Euros will be spent by the EU to enhance the railway network in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It is part of the plans to ...

RailFreight.com
19:06 Armenian Ambassador and Belarusian PM discuss bilateral cooperation  Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am

A number of issues relating to the Armenian-Belarusian cooperation were discussed ...

Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am
Severe frost may damage some grain crops in Belarus: forecasters  Reuters

MINSK (Reuters) - An expected severe frost in Belarus later this week may damage some winter grain crops in the south-eastern part of the country, the ...

Reuters
Belarusian Railway orders a further 10 FLIRT trains from Stadler  Global Railway Review

The new vehicles will fit seamlessly into the existing fleet of the Belarusian Railway, which already includes 18 FLIRT trains.

Global Railway Review
Conflict with Russia, the first crypto exchange in the world – digest of Belarusian analytics  Belarus Digest

Belarus finds itself in another conflict-in-progress with Russia, with a growing wave of Russian information attacks on Belarus. Belarus lifts restrictions on the ...

Belarus Digest
'A Category Of Citizens': Officials Shrug Off Belarusian Minister's LGBT Slur  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Belarusian rights activists had sought a criminal probe over Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich's prison-slang pejorative for homosexuals.

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Plans for new media measurement system in Belarus  Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 31 January (BelTA) – A proposal to develop a new media measurement system will be submitted for consideration to Belarus President Alexander ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Belarus Launches Platform That Lets Users Trade Tokenized Securities  Invest In Blockchain

Belorus gets into the crypto game by launching a platform that allows users to trade tokenized securities, such as gold, stocks, and more.

Invest In Blockchain
Belarus suggests launching joint production of lifts in Armenia  Armenpress.am

YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. Belarus is ready to take part in the renewal of Armenia's passenger transport fleet and suggests launching joint ...

Armenpress.am
Belarusian model claims she has intel of election meddling  CNN

Video has emerged of Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich, who claims to have insider knowledge of Russian meddling in the US election, being carried ...

CNN
Europa League: Chelsea claim hard-fought 2-1 win over Malmo, Arsenal lose in Belarus  Scroll.in

Chelsea claimed a 2-1 victory at Malmo in the Europa League last-32 first leg on Thursday to ease some of the pressure on beleaguered coach Maurizio Sarri, ...

Scroll.in
Tokenized Securities Exchange Opens In Belarus  ETHNews

The exchange will be supervised by the Belarus High Technologies Park, and its transactions will be tax-free until 2023. Blockchain startup Currency.com ...

ETHNews
Belarus remembers victims of Holocaust  TVR

Belarus hosts events dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A concert-requiem was held yesterday in the Belarusian State Philharmonic ...

TVR
Belarus model in Thai sex case being deported: police  570 News

BANGKOK — Thai officials say they are deporting a Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian involvement in helping elect ...

570 News
President Mnangagwa Eats Cake in Belarus While Zimbabwe Burns  AllAfrica.com

As his government orders another nationwide Internet shutdown, ignoring local and global condemnation of its brutal crackdown against protestors, President ...

AllAfrica.com
Belarusian Opposition Spokesperson Wins Fight Against Expulsion  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The press secretary of a Belarusian opposition party who was facing expulsion back to Russia in part over an unpaid mass transit ride has been allowed to stay.

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarus’ Biggest Bank is ‘Working on’ Launching Its Own Cryptocurrency Exchange  CCN

According to a report by local news outlet BeITA, Belarusbank, the largest bank in Belarus, is considering the launch of its very own cryptocurrency exchange ...

CCN
Armenia PM spokesperson bewildered by Belarus officials' statement The matter of election of the new CSTO  Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am

YEREVAN. –Vladimir Karapetyan, Spokesperson of the Prime Minister of Armenia, has expressed his bewilderment over the comment by State Secretary ...

Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am
Belarusian 'sex coach' says she was warned to keep quiet about oligarch Oleg Deripaska  CNN

A model who claimed to have knowledge of Moscow's attempts to interfere in US elections told CNN she was ordered by Russian security agents to keep silent ...

CNN
Belarusian escort apologizes for saying she had evidence on Russian election meddling  Global News

A Belarusian model and self-styled sex instructor who last year claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election said that ...

Global News
MTS Belarus lowers price for Xiaomi Redmi 6 smartphone  Telecompaper

Mobile operator MTS Belarus has reduced the rate of the Xiaomi Redmi 6 smartphone at its shops. The device with 32 GB now costs BYN 288 instead of BYN ...

Telecompaper
Russia Detains Belarusian Model Who Claimed She Had Evidence of Election Meddling  The Daily Beast

A Belarusian model who claimed to have evidence of the Kremlin's efforts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election was detained by Russian ...

The Daily Beast
Belarusian Army has adopted Russian PDM-A Priz 90 mm rocket launcher | February 2019 Global Defense Security  Army Recognition

The Belarusian Armed Forces have adopted the Russian-made PDM-A Priz 90 mm rocket launcher, according to Armiya (Army) magazine of the country`s ...

Army Recognition
Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus  The Washington Post

On Sept 10, 2001, I published a column about Belarus, the former Soviet republic squeezed between Russia and Europe. It described how the Belarusian ...

The Washington Post
Here, in the bloodlands of Belarus, I found hope for the future of Europe  The Guardian

In a region that saw some of the worst 20th-century horrors, there is a yearning for democracy, says Guardian columnist Natalie Nougayrède.

The Guardian
The Belarusian President Won’t Go Down Without a Fight  Foreign Policy

The president of Belarus on Thursday cautioned that Moscow could lose its only ally on its western border if the two countries could not resolve an ongoing ...

Foreign Policy
Lukashenka Says Belarus Will Never Be Part Of Russia  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says his country will never be part of the Russian Federation. Speaking to Russian journalists in Minsk on ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarus’s leader upsets Vladimir Putin by cosying up to the West  The Economist

A GIANT STATUE of Lenin still stands before the forbidding House of Government in Minsk, built by Stalin in 1934 and occupied by the Gestapo a few years ...

The Economist
Belarus in Talks to Boost U.S. Presence  The Wall Street Journal

Belarus said it was in talks to boost the U.S. diplomatic presence in the former Soviet republic, a move that could exacerbate tensions between Moscow and ...

The Wall Street Journal
Will Russia be able to swallow Belarus  UNIAN

Amid the latest disagreements between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, Russia-Belarus tensions became quite visible. Russia's top officials are ...

UNIAN
Belarusian media is ‘on the edge of survival’ amid crackdown  The Washington Post

MINSK, Belarus — The Belarusian government is cracking down on journalists who report without its permission, issuing the most fines since the country's ...

The Washington Post
Belarus Detains 18 Journalists in Raids at Independent Outlets  The New York Times

MOSCOW — The authorities in Belarus have detained at least 18 journalists, accusing them of unlawfully obtaining information from a state news agency, local ...

The New York Times
Belarusian Opposition Party Spokeswoman Ordered To Leave Country  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The press secretary of an opposition party in Belarus, a Russian citizen, says she has been ordered to leave the country.

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Belarusian factory workers receive part of salary in goods  Belsat

Belsat.eu has received information that at the Homiel knitting factory “March 8” part of the salary was paid with goods: “At the “March 8” knitwear factory wages ...

Belsat
Belarus: The Capital Of Cold Hearts?  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

A new survey claims Belarusians are among the least emotional people on Earth. But judging from these moments captured over the years by photojournalists, ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Stadler to supply ten FLIRT trains to Belarusian Railway  Railway Technology

Rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has secured a contract to deliver ten five-car electric-powered FLIRT trains to Belarusian Railway.

Railway Technology
Lukashenka Says No Need For Russian Military Base In Belarus, Praises U.S. Role In Europe  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that the U.S. "military and political role" in Europe is crucial to regional security and emphasized that he ...

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Anne Applebaum: Watch Putin's plans for Belarus  Salt Lake Tribune

On Sept 10, 2001, I published a column about Belarus, the former Soviet republic squeezed between Russia and Europe. It described how the Belarusian ...

Salt Lake Tribune
Red defeat in Belarus Xmas 'star wars'  BBC News

A Belarus town replaces the Communist red star on top of its Christmas tree after protests.

BBC News
How Russia-Belarus ties evolved over the years  Aljazeera.com

A look at how the neighbours' relations changed in recent years with trade and Belarus' sovereignty under the spotlight.

Aljazeera.com
 

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Belarus (; Belarusian: Беларусь, IPA: [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ]), officially the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Рэспубліка Беларусь, Russian: Республика Беларусь), formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia (Russian: Белоруссия), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk (11th to 14th centuries), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, which was conquered by Soviet Russia. The Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Byelorussian SSR). Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921. Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland, and were finalized after World War II. During WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been widely criticized as unfair; and according to many countries and organizations, political opposition has been violently suppressed. Belarus is also the last country in Europe using the death penalty. Belarus's Democracy Index rating is the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "not free" by Freedom House, as "repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, and is rated as by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations.In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State. Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second-most widespread religion, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following; nevertheless, Belarus celebrates both Orthodox and Catholic versions of Christmas and Easter as national holidays. Belarus is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but nevertheless maintains a bilateral relationship with the organisation, and likewise participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative.