Today (Saturday) is the National Day of Belarus.
Sometimes called White Russia, Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Minsk is the capital city.
In the 18th century, Belarus was annexed by the Russian Empire. Belarusian national and cultural development made major strides only from the mid 19th century. Belarus was established in 1919 as the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), which in 1922 became one of the four founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). On August 25, 1991, Belarus declared its independence, contributing to the collapse of the USSR on December 25, 1991.
Most of the Belarusian economy remains state-controlled. Thus, 51.2 percent of Belarusians are employed by state-controlled companies, 47.4 percent are employed by private Belarusian companies (of which 5.7 percent are partially foreign-owned), and 1.4 percent are employed by foreign companies. The country relies on imports such as oil from Russia. Important agricultural products including potatoes and cattle byproducts, and meat.
Belarus is a member of approximately 50 international organizations, most notably the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1995, Belarus joined the Partnership for Peace Program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a plan designed to promote military cooperation between NATO and non-NATO states.
We congratulate the people and government of Belarus led by Their Excellencies, President Alexander Lukashenko and Prime Minister Sergey Sidorsky, on the occasion of their National Day. We wish them success in all their endeavors.