State structure and policy
Belarus is a presidential republic The President ot the Republic ot Belarus is the head ot the state. The executive power is exercised by the Government — the Cabinet ot Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, headed by the Prime Minister.
The National Assembly, a legislative body, incorporates two houses-the House ot Representatives and the Council of the Republic.
Judicial power belongs to courts. The Constitutional Court exercises control over the legality of the normative acts.
34 political parties, 41 trade unions, a great number of public organisations have been registered in Belarus.
Belarus is situated in Central Europe. The country covers an area of approximately 207,600 sguare kilometres which is just about the territory of Great Britain or Rumania.
The length of the borders is 2,969 km, including 990 km with Russia, 975 km with the Ukraine, 462 km with Lithuania. 399 km with Poland, and 143 km with Latvia. The territory stretches out for up to 560 km from north to south, and 650 km from west to east.
The surface is mainly flat; the average altitude is about 160 m; the highest point is 345 m above sea level. Belarus is known as a river- and lakeland. The biggest rivers are the Dnieper, the Neman, the Western Dvina. and the Pripyat. Coniferous, leaf-bearing and mixed forests cover about one third of the territory.
The population is 10.3 mln people, the density of population is 50 men/knf. The ethnic composition of the population: 78% are Belarusians, 13% are Russians, 4% — Polish, 3% — Ukrainians, 1% — Jews, 1% — other nationalities. About 69% of population are urban dwellers. The average family consists of 3.2 members, the average life span is 74 years for women and 64 years lor men.
There are rich deposits of potassium salt, peat, timber, sapropel resources, mineral waters in Belarus. 46% of the land is used in agriculture. 35.5% is covered with forests. The total reserve ol wood exceeds 1 billion m3, iron ore stocks are assessed at 700 mln tons, granite — 480 mln ml 2 mln tons of oil are extracted annually. There are also other useful minerals.
Administrative division. The biggest cities
The territory of Belarus is divided into 6 oblasts (provinces), each of them in its turn is split up into 16 to 22 raions (districts). The capital of Belarus, Minsk, has a status of an independent administrative-territorial unit. The names of the oblasts and raions are derived trom the names of their main cities.
|(in the thousands of sq. km)|| |
(in the thousands of men)
|Mdq «.|| |
|Minsk city|| |
|Republic o! Belarus|| |
The biggest cities are
Minsk 1,693,000 people,
Gomel 518,000 people,
Vitebsk 373,000 people,
Mogilev 367,000 people,
Grodno 299.000 people,
Brest 293,000 people,
Bobruisk 228,000 people,
Baranovichi 173,000 people,
Borisov 153,000 people,
Orsha 141,000 people,
Pinsk 130,000 people.
At present there are more than 20 confessions in Belarus. The most influential of them are Orthodox (938 communities) and Catholic (373 communities).
In accordance with the Law «On Liberty of Conscience and Religious Organisations», the church is separated Irom the state.
The climate in Belarus is moderately continental. The average monthly temperatures in Minsk are -6°C in January, -3’C in February, +1°C in March. +8°C in April, +13’C in May, +17’C in June, +18’C in July. +1ГС in August. +14’C in September, +ГС in October, +1’C in November, -ГС in December. The average annual precipitation is 550 mm to 700 mm.
Time in Belarus is defined as Greenwich mean-time + 2 hours. When it is noon in Minsk, it is
02:00 in Los-Angeles,
05:00 in New-York,
10:00 in London,
11:00 in Munich, Paris and in Rome,
12:00 in Kiev,
13:00 in Moscow.