Interested in learning some facts about Belarus?
Whether you’ve set your sights on visiting Belarus or you just want to understand more about this Eastern European country, this article is for you.
Here’s our roundup of the most interesting Belarus facts:
1. Belarus is a relatively flat country. The highest natural point in Belarus is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, which is just a tall hill, really. At 1,130 ft high (345 m), it is well short of the 1,454 ft (443 m) that is the height of the Empire State Building, not to mention all the other buildings taller than it.
2. Belarus has no citizenship by birth. In the regular sense of place, that is. Only people who are born to at least one parent who is a citizen of Belarus has the ability to have Belarusian citizenship from birth. There are standard methods of naturalizing and obtaining citizenship in Belarus, however.
3. There’s a Belarusian language, but not too many people use it often. The Belarusian language is taught at schools and spoken in many homes, but it is estimated that less than 30% can speak, read, and write Belarusian. Russian, the other national language of Belarus, is the everyday language.
4. Capital punishment is still legal in Belarus. Belarus can still issue the death penalty for crimes against people or against Belarus. It is the only country in Europe that still uses the death penalty.
5. Belarus has very low press freedoms. According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF, or Reporters Sans Frontières), Belarus ranks #153 out of 180 countries. According to the RSF website: “In Belarus, critical journalists and bloggers are threatened and arrested, leading news sites are blocked, access to information is restricted and media diversity is unknown. The state exercises total control over all TV channels. A few independent media outlets exist but many are forced to base themselves abroad and the authorities continue to harass them, especially the Poland-based Belsat TV, albeit less than in the past.”
6. In the West, Belarus is considered to be the last dictatorship in Europe. Lukashenko, the country’s leader for over 25 years (since 1994), has amended laws that did away with term limits, allowing him an indefinite stay. On top of that, there have been plenty of human rights violations, use of the KGB (the Belarusian secret service), and banned forms of expression, such as the Belarus Free Theatre.
Well, that’s all our Belarus facts for now, and we hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other facts about Belarus we should include on our list? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!