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General Information about Belarus

Belarus is situated in the centre of Europe at the crossing of roads going from east to west and from north to south. The land has been very attractive geopolitically for many foreign countries.
Belarus has always stood as a buffer state between the East and the West between the Catholic and the Orthodox religions.
The population of Belarus is 10.3 million, the density being 50 people per sq. km which is roughly equal to the population of Greece. Sweden, Bulgaria, Belgium of Portugal. The average annual population growth is 0.5% which is considered quite normal for a European country. The urban population accounts for 68% and the rural - for 32%.
123 nationalities call Belarus their homeland. Out of these 78% are Belarussians, 13% -Rusians, 4% -Poles, 3% - Ukrainians,1% Jews. All these nationalities live here in good neighbourhood and peace because they have so much in common: they all love their country, its history, its traditions, which allow for a Polish-Roman and an Orthodox churches, a Jewish sinagogue and a Moslem mosque to stand facing each other in the same square or street.
We manufacture "Belarus" tractors which enjoy world's popularity. No other country in Europe manufactures as many tractors 100,000 a year. We produce around 800,000 high- class refrigerators and over a million of high quality TV sets, as well as about 300,000 first-rate cameras.
The Republic's factories annually turn out 45 million pairs of shoes, with Germany being the only country in Europe producing more. We rank second in Europe after Italy in the manufacture of chemical fibres and yarn, spinning about half a million tons of it per year.
In fact it is industry that plays a major part in our economy, accounting for about 60% of the country's gross national product. Around 1400 factories, power stations, quarries and petroleum wells are in operation to attain the magnitude.
Belarus stands fairly well if compared to other CIS countries. It is the biggest producer of potash fertilisers, fodder harvesters and industrial sewing machines. It ranks second in the manufacture of trucks, motorcycles, tractors, chemical fibres and yarn, commercial wood. It is the CIS third largest producer of metal-cutting machines, electric motors, tyres, timber, paper, cardboard, window glass, refrigerators and freezers, TV and radio sets, bicycles and textiles.
We have a well-developed transport system: 30% of all freight and 10% of passengers are carried by train. The total railroad length is 5,500 km. The total length of motor roads is 55,000 km, water ways 3,800 km. The Belarussian airlines connect the country with more than a hundred former USSR cities as well as with cities of Europe, Asia and North America.
Agriculturally, Belarus is well off in cattle breeding whose share in the collective and state farm turnover is about 80 70 We export about a thousand goods items to over 78 countries of the world. Our main trade partners are companies from Poland, Bulgaria, Austria and Germany.
To complete the picture, I'll say that Belarus is noted for its high-skilled manpower trained at the Republic's 8 universities, 29 institutes, 400 vocational and specialized colleges and schools. Our scientists' achievements in the fields of mathematics, physics, nuclear power engineering, chemistry and biology are known the world over.
It should also be noted that the country puts out 200 newspapers with a one-time print- run of over 5 million. There are five big TV centres.
If you look at our arts and literature you will find them very versatile. Sometimes you may wonder: is there more Slav heartiness and meditation than European rationale and tradition in them? You will find it hard to separate the inseparable. It is next to impossible to single out clear- cut trends and influences, schools and styles.
The European civilization was closely linked with the national traditions and artistic criteria of Belarus still in the Middle Ages when our prominent scholars and thinkers had a possibility to study at well-known European universities. Eventually the connection gave birth to a product called the Belarussian art.
The musical art of Belarus which began with the famous "Polotsk Motes" is comprehensive and rich. The Belarussian. The theater art boasts a great number of outstanding actors and directors, whereas the country's cinematography is marked for its traditional humanness and deep thought.
There are not many works of art to challenge the sweetness of Maxim Bogdanovich's and Yanka Kupala's poetry, the depth of Yakub Kolas' and Vasil Bykov's prose, the magic of Vladimir Korotkevich's and lan Barschevski's masterpieces.
However, our people are not only known for their strong will and talent. If we take, for instance, sports and games, we'll find out that a small country like Belarus emerged among the world's top ten countries at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
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