The Republic of Belarus

The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Like many land-locked nations, Belarus has witnessed a long history of invasion and oppression. In turn, the Poles, Lithuanians and, for a long period, the Russians have each dominated the people of Belarus.

During the period of Stalinist totalitarianism, almost four million Belarusians were executed, imprisoned, deported, or otherwise forcibly relocated. During Nazi occupation, Belarus was one of the most devastating battlefields of WW II.

Belarus declared sovereignty in July 1990 and independence in August 1991. It became a co-founder of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in December 1991. With the communists regaining popularity during economically difficult times, the reform-minded leader, Stanislav Shushkevich came into increasing conflict with them. He was dismissed in January 1994 over phoney corruption charges. He was replaced by Soviet hard-liner, Alexander Lukashenka, a former director of a poultry farming collective.

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