Belarus

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on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Belarus, (pronounced /bɛləˈruːs/ ( listen) bel-ə-ROOS; Belarusian: Беларусь, Russian: Белоруссия or Беларусь, see Etymology), officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe,[7] bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow) and Vitebsk (Viciebsk). Forty percent of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested,[8] and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.

Until the 20th century, the lands of modern day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Russian Empire, and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. As a result of the Russian Revolution, Belarus became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union and was renamed as the Belorussian SSR. The final unification of the modern day Belarusian lands took place in 1939 when lands that were part of the Second Polish Republic were united with the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic as a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The territory and its nation were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources.[15] The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.

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