- The official name of the country is Рэспу́бліка Белару́сь (Respublika Belarus), which is translated as the Republic of Belarus.
- Etymology. The “bela” in the name Belarus stems from the common Slavic root for “white”. The origin of the “Rus” part of Belarus is somewhat uncertain. It may be from the Byzantinian name for the territory of Eastern Europe, the name used to describe the Chirstian part of old Ruthenian lands, the name for the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population, the name for the old Rus' lands that were not conquered by the Tatars or the Mongols, or from the Latin forms of Russia or Ruthenia.
- Government. Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly.
- Size. Belarus is slightly smaller than Kansas.
- Geography. It is landlocked, low-lying with thick forests, flat marshes and fields. Almost 1/3 of its border touches Russia to the north and east. It also borders Ukraine to the south, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to the west.
- Capital. Its capital, and largest city, is Minsk. Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century.
- Climate. Belarus has a moderate continental climate, transitional between continental and maritime. The weather in Belarus consists of cold and humid winters, warm and moist summers.
- Population. Most of Belarus' population reside in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other oblast (regional) capitals.
- Ethnicity. More than 80% of the population are native Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians.
- Language. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. They are both East Slavic languages, share many grammatical features, and to some extent are mutually intelligible.
- Economy. Most of the Belarusian economy remains state-controlled, and has been described as "Soviet-style".
- Imports. The country relies on imports such as oil from Russia.
- Cuisine. Food consists mainly of vegetables, meat, and breads. Stapels include pork, cabbage, potatoes, and bread. Foods are usually either slowly cooked or stewed. One of the most popular Belarusian dishes is draniki (a potato pancake) with machanka (meat-based stew made with pork, sausage, onion, sour cream and flour).
- Natural Resources of Belarus include timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay.
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