Belarus is located in east-central Europe. The country shares borders with Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. The extensive forests located in Belarus mean it has great potential as an ecotourist location.
Population: 9.528 million
Ethnic Groups: Belarusian (83.7%), Russian (8.3%), Polish (3.1%), Ukrainian (1.7%), Other (2.4%), Unspecified (0.9%)
Languages: Russian (Official) (70.2%), Belarusian (Official) (23.4%), Other (3.1%), Unspecified (3.3%)
Religions: Orthodox (48.3%), Catholic (7.1%), Other (3.5%), Non-believers (41.1%)
CIA: The World Factbook — Last Updated December 29, 2019
Much of the political leadership continues holding on to the Communist Past, so market reform and privatization are moving very slowly. Although religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, there is very little of it in practice. A law passed in 2002 makes registration of religious congregations mandatory. Registration is a long and expensive process — and on occasion it is impossible. The Belarus Orthodox Church has a privileged status, and religious minorities (especially Protestants and Jews) suffer from discrimination.
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