Formerly a federated republic of the USSR, it declared its political and economic independence on 25 August 1991, taking on the new name of Belarus ‘(Respublika Belarus’). On 21 December of the same year he participated with Russia and Ukraine in the foundation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 1989, 10,200,000 residents were registered, of which 77.9% Belarusians, 13.2% Russians, 4.1% Poles, 2.9% Ukrainians and 1.1% Jews. Beginning in 1990, Belarusian was adopted as the official language despite the fact that, at the 1989 census, only 80.2% of Belarusians had declared that they considered this language as their native language; the rest of the population spoke mostly Russian as their first language. The capital Minsk (1,633,000 residents In 1991) was designated as the seat of the governing bodies of the CIS.
According to Indexdotcom, the Belarus is poorly endowed with natural resources, with the exception of important peat deposits, on which the region’s energy self-sufficiency plans rely (2 million t of peat in molds produced in 1990). There are three main agricultural regions: a northern one, where forage and flax crops and the breeding of dairy and meat cattle predominate; a power plant, dedicated to the cultivation of potatoes and pig breeding; and a southern one, characterized by the coexistence of cattle breeding and hemp cultivation. Total area cultivated in 1990: 12.4 million ha; main agricultural products (in millions of tons, in 1989): wheat 7.4; meat 1,2; milk 7.4, potatoes 11.1. Vast tracts of agricultural land are still uncultivated,
Overall, the republic’s agricultural production contributed in 1988 to form 4.9% of the net material product of the agricultural sector of the former USSR, while the contribution of industrial production to the corresponding sector of the Soviet economy was 4%. The industrial apparatus includes factories of food products (butter, sugar, preserves), chemicals, textiles, motor vehicles, agricultural machinery and machine tools. In the period 1985-88 the average annual growth of industrial production was 6.6%, but in 1991 there was a decrease of 1.5% compared to the previous year. At the end of 1991 a program of economic reforms was activated which envisages, among other things, the gradual dismantling of agricultural collectivization (in 1987 there was there were 1675 collective farms and 913 state farms), as well as measures inspired by policies of price liberalization and privatization. The network of communication routes in 1990 consisted of 92,200 km of roads (of which 60,900 were paved) and 5,590 km of railways.
History. – The Belarus was born as a sovereign state and took back the old name of Belarus’ when its representatives, together with those of Russia and Ukraine, meeting on 8 December 1991 in Minsk, decreed the end of the USSR (see in this Appendix).
The political institutions of the new state were at the beginning of 1994 still those born before the conquest of independence. In the Parliament, elected in 1990 and made up of a large majority of former members of the dissolved CPSU, five political groups are nonetheless represented: the Belarus’ Union, the Popular Renewal Front, the Union (Soyuz), the Communist Party and Gromady, a formation of a social democratic tendency. A dozen other political groups have sprung up outside Parliament.
The worsening of the economic situation as well as the contrast that arose between the old institutions and the reformist forces (which had found their interpreter in S. Šuškevič, former leader of the CPSU elected head of the Republic in September 1991) and nationalistic to the Belarusian Popular Front) led to a complex political-institutional crisis which led on January 26, 1994 to the replacement of Šuškevič by M. Grib, a retired pro-Russian general. V. Kebič, at the head of the government since 1990, has remained in his post. Relations with Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), born on 21 December in Alma Ata on the initiative of the majority of the republics of the former USSR, were also at the center of the crisis. In January 1994 the Belarus, which had already reached important agreements with Russia on the issues of economic integration, entered the ruble area. The conditions for a further rapprochement with Russia were created with the results of the presidential elections in June 1994, which saw the success of A. Lukashencko, Kebič and especially the pro-Western Z. Pozniak. In foreign policy the Belarus – which is a member of the UN, of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of the NACC (North Atlantic Cooperation Council), the WHO, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and has its representative as a ” special guest ” at the Council of Europe – it favors relations with Russia but, aware of a geographical location that places it hinged between West and East in a nerve center for world equilibrium, it moves hoping for the constitution of a “single European family” against any initiative that could lead to its isolation and that of Russia. Furthermore, the Belarus, which at the time of the collapse of the Soviet state had a nuclear arsenal comprising 54 ICBMs, declared itself neutral and ratified the USSR (Russia) -USA agreements on the reduction of strategic weapons in February 1993.