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BELARUS


  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 17,493 14,304 12,200 76
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,590 1,360 1,290 122
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Belarus



Update No: 320 - (31/08/07)

Neanderthal Sovieticus
Belarus is in a time warp. This is thanks to its president, Alexander Lukashenko who is a Soviet fossil. That might be thought to endear him to Putin, another of the same. But there is an issue of fossil fuels that keeps these two Neanderthaloid fossils apart. 

Belarus is dependent on Russia for its energy. So are countries to the west of it reliant on Russian supplies of gas via pipelines through Belarus. There are Belarussian busybodies who are not above pilfering transit gas - an easy enough matter, with a little bit of ingenuity.

Moscow has responded by upping its charges for gas sold to Belarus. It will soon have to pay full market prices. But who in the end doesn't? 

Belarus confronts the US
Belarus in its present guise has another enemy, the United States. Condelezza Rice, US Secretary of State, has decried it as the redoubt of the 'last dictatorship in Europe.'
Last year, the United States and the European Union slapped travel sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for more than a decade, and other top government officials. The Belarusian leader has quashed dissent and opposition groups and built a Soviet-style, centrally controlled economy that has historically been heavily reliant on cheap Russian energy supplies.
The travel sanctions followed the arrests and harassment of opponents and others during a 2006 election that gave Lukashenko a third term, but was roundly criticized as deeply flawed by Belarusian opposition groups and many Western governments.

TransAtlantic and TransBaltic tit-for tat
The Belarus government has warned that some American officials will be barred from entering Belarus in response to the recent expansion of U.S. visa restrictions on Belarusian authorities. "In response to the unfriendly actions of the United States, Belarus will implement corresponding visa restrictions applying to certain categories of American officials," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marina Vanshina said, without naming the officials or say how many there were.

But Belarus will make it easier for ordinary American citizens to enter the tightly controlled former Soviet republic, Vanshina said in her comments. U.S. applications for stays of one month or less will not require an invitation from inside the nation.
The U.S. earlier in August expanded a list of Belarusians whose visa applications are subject to enhanced scrutiny, a move aimed at barring entry to anyone responsible for actions that "threaten the transition to democracy in Belarus."

 

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