Belarus - Education
Teaching is public and free. The compulsory schooling that begins when the
children are six years old includes a primary school of four years and a
superstructure of five years. This is followed by another voluntary two-year
superstructure, which ends with a graduation certificate.
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In accessing higher education, which takes place at a number of public and
vocational educational institutions, including 12 universities (1994), special
consideration is given to the orphans and to the disabled and victims of
the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in neighboring Ukraine.
Since independence from the Soviet Union, the education system has strived to
ensure that education, despite the lack of textbooks at all levels, is in
Belarusian and deals with the country's own conditions.
ETYMOLOGY: The name Belarus is translated from Belarusian Belarus, by bely 'white' and
DANISH NAME: Belarus
CAPITAL CITY: Minsk
POPULATION: 9,499,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 207,480 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Belarusian, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, others
RELIGION: Russian Orthodox 80%, Catholics 17%, others 3%
COIN: Belarusian ruble
CURRENCY CODE: BYR
ENGLISH NAME: Belarus
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Belarusians 78%, Russians 13%, Poles 4%, Ukrainians 3%, others 2%
GDP PER residents: 1900 $ (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 63 years, women 74 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.794
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 67
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .town
Belarus, Republic of Eastern Europe between Poland and Russia. Until 1991,
the country was a republic of the Soviet Union, and ties with Russia remain
close. The landscape is predominantly lowland with large wetlands.
Belarus was hit very hard by the fighting and the German occupation
during World War II, approximately 200 towns were laid in ruins and thousands of
villages were burned. Most of the cities, including the capital Minsk, are
therefore newly built. Belarus was the country most severely affected by the
accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church is part of the Russian Orthodox Church as an
exarchate (see exarch) under the Moscow Patriarchate; it is headed by the
"Metropolitan of Minsk and Grodno, Exarch for the whole of Belarus". Most
traditionally belong to this church. In the western areas, however, some belong
to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Roman Orthodox Church (cf.
United Churches). Judaism is also represented. Baptists and other Protestants
form minority groups.
Belarus - Constitution
Constitution of the Republic is from November 1996. It was adopted after a
referendum, in which the term of office of the incumbent President was also
extended from 1999 to 2001; in 2004, the constitution was amended to allow the
president to be elected for a third term in september 2006.
The President appoints half of the 12 members of the Constitutional Court as
well as eight of the 64 members of the Council of Republic, viz. The upper house
of the new parliament with two chambers. The president must approve the other
candidates elected by indirect election at regional council meetings for four
years. The House of Representatives, the House of Representatives, has 110
members to be elected for four years by universal suffrage. Its members can not
abstain, but are forced to vote yes or no to bills.
The government, headed by a prime minister, consists in addition to appointed
ministers of all the chairmen of the state committees, the head of the
presidential administration, and the chairman of the state control committee.
The Armed Forces is (2006) at 72,940. The army is at 29,600, the air force at
18,170 and common parts, ground-to-ground missile units, at 25,170. The
period of service for conscripts is 9-12 months. The reserve is
approximately 289,500. The forces are equipped with newer Soviet-produced
equipment. The army is dominated by armored units organized for mobile
operations in plains. Following on from the military cooperation agreement with
Russia, the goal is to carry out a complete reintegration of the Belarusian air
defense forces into the Russian air defense system. The security and border
forces total 110,000. As Belarus is an inland state, it has no navy.
Belarus - mass media
Before glasnost only official media existed, all under party
control, but after Belarus's independence, the number of print media increased
to approximately 580 (1992), of which 140 in Belarusian.
The censorship ceased, which meant that foreign radio could be
received. However, state control of the media was restored after the election
of Alexander Lukashenko as president in 1994, and since then several independent
radio stations and newspapers have been shut down.
Russian has once again become all-dominating in the media, and Russian radio
and television programs are being broadcast. State radio has two, TV one own
Belarus - music
Belarusian folk music is closely related to Russia and Ukraine. The oldest
songs, which have pronounced diatonic melodies of poor tonal range, were often
associated with the rhythms of working life; the folk song has included a wealth
of genres with texts about the course of the year and life in the peasant
From the 1880's, under the influence of Russian folk music, a polyphonic style
was formed. The most common folk musical instrument was, as in Hungary and
Romania, chopping boards, which were often used to accompany other instruments
such as accordion, violin, scale and flute.
Under the influence of Polish church music, a polyphonic church song was
introduced from the middle of the 1600's, and from the same time the oldest known
hymn melody of Belarusian origin originates. Not until the mid-1800's. a real
musical life arose in cities like Minsk, Grodno and Vitebsk.
After the formation of the Byelorussian Soviet Republic, music schools were
opened in the main major cities. In Minsk, the Belarusian Opera and Ballet
Theater was formed in 1933, and as early as 1924, a radio orchestra operated.
A Belarusian music conservatory was founded in 1932. Belarusian composers
have written music in all genres, but it is not known outside the country's