Natural resources, energy and environment
Belarus (Belarus) is relatively poor in
natural resources with the exception of mainly peat and
potash (potassium carbonate). For its energy supply, the
country is dependent on imports of natural gas from
The pot ash is mainly used in the production of
fertilizers and is one of the country's few commercially
viable minerals. Otherwise, there are small deposits of
brown coal, limestone, rock salt, sand and clay. Belarus
also has valuable forests of oak, elm, maple and beech.
Major exports by Belarus with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The peat is used for heating, in electric power
plants and in the manufacture of chemical products.
Belarussian peat assets accounted for more than 40
percent of the former Soviet Union's reserves. However,
the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986 made
large parts of the peat unusable.
Natural gas accounts for almost the entire energy
supply. There is some own extraction of gas and oil, but
it is not long enough to meet their own needs. Over 90
percent of the energy is imported from Russia, which has
given Belarus favorable prices, among other things, in
exchange that part of the profit Belarus makes on oil
recovery would accrue to Russia.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, BY stands for Belarus. Visit itypeusa for more information about Belarus.
In 2007, the subsidies were phased out. The gas price
was raised substantially, which led to a payment crisis
and the Belarussian government had to sell shares in
important energy companies to Russian companies (see
Economic overview). Belarus has continued to receive
relatively cheap gas and oil from Russia, but due to
falling oil prices on the world market, the difference
between Russia's price and the world market price has
decreased. Since Russia uses oil supplies as a political
pressure vehicle, Belarus has highlighted its
dissatisfaction by starting to buy oil from Norway and
Saudi Arabia. Lukashenko's goal is for at least 60
percent of the need to be met through imports from
countries other than Russia.
In the spring of 2019, the relations were also
disturbed by the contamination of the Druzhba oil
pipeline with substances that make the oil difficult to
refine, a problem even for recipient countries other
than Belarus. According to Russian data, the pollution
arose. Russia and Belarus agreed on an expensive and
time-consuming purification of the leadership.
The oil is mainly refined and exported, while most of
the gas is used for electricity production. Electricity
imports also occur. Belarus has two oil refineries.
In order to reduce dependence on energy imports,
Belarus is building a nuclear reactor with two reactors,
close to the border with Lithuania and Poland. It is
financed through loans from Russia.
The all-encompassing environmental problem is the
consequences of the Chernobyl accident. As much as 70
percent of the radioactive fallout ended up in Belarus.
The southern and south-eastern parts were particularly
hard hit. The effects on the environment are still
unclear. About a fifth of the country is estimated to be
polluted; In many places, groundwater, farmland and
livestock still contain far too high levels of
radioactivity. Over two million people were directly
affected by the accident and most of them still live on
The UNESCO World Heritage List contains the
Belovezhskaya Pushtja National Park. The forest area
that is shared with Poland is best known in Sweden as
the Białowieża forest. The Polish part was classified as
World Heritage in 1979 and the World Heritage was
expanded in 1992 with the Belarussian part.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,929 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
3680 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
63 498 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
6.7 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
6.8 percent (2015)
Attorneys are sentenced to death
The two who were charged with the blast attack in Minsk metro are sentenced
to death. According to prosecutors, they have committed themselves to trying to
More sanctions from the EU
The EU decides to further tighten its sanctions on Belarus, and calls for the
Belarusian regime to release political prisoners. The day after, the former
presidential candidate Dmitry Uss is released, who is reported to be morbid (see
May). Opposition activist Kastus Zjukowski is released with a
broken leg and testifies to torture in the detention.
Imprisoned are pardoned
Lukashenko pardons 13 of the 41 people sentenced to prison for participation
in the protests following the presidential election.
MR activist arrested for tax evasion
Human rights activist Ales Bjaljatski is arrested, suspected of tax evasion,
after authorities discovered he has accounts in Lithuania and Poland. The money
belongs to the organization Vjasna, which oversees the regime's handling of
opposition supporters. A few months later, Bjaljatski is sentenced in November
2011 to four and a half years in prison.
Charter 97 editor seeks asylum in Lithuania
Natalja Radina, editor of the opposition movement Charta 97's website, seeks
asylum in Lithuania. She has been in Belarusian prison but managed to escape via
Police violence against protesters
Between 300 and 400 protesters are arrested in various parts of the country,
following so-called silent demonstrations as people follow social media calls to
protest Lukashenko's handling of the economic crisis. The police are progressing
hard, with abuse and tear gas.
Many arrested after demonstrations
More than 70 people are arrested in several cities following calls on the
internet. In Minsk, around 1,000 people are gathered to protest, despite the
police being blocked off by the October Square.
Later, more than 200 people are arrested in connection with another
demonstration. Among them are many journalists and a Swedish diplomat, who is
Russian electricity trading company stops export
A Russian electricity trading company shuts down electricity exports to
Belarus, due to unpaid bills.
Gasoline prices are rising
The gasoline price is increased by 12.5 percent. Initially, a 30 percent
increase was announced, but it triggered protests - among other things,
motorists in Minsk showed their dissatisfaction by honking.
The deep crisis of the economy is forcing the regime into a new, powerful
devaluation of the ruble.
Presidential candidates receive prison
Former presidential candidate Andrej Sannikau is sentenced to five years in
prison for his protests against cheating in the presidential election. His wife,
the journalist Irina Chalip, receives two years' conditional imprisonment for
participating in the post-election demonstrations. The two former presidential
candidates Mikola Statkevich and Dmitry Uss are sentenced to six and five and a
half years in prison respectively for organizing protests. Sannikau is pardoned
and released just under a year later, in April 2012.
Explosion in Minsk's subway
An explosive charge explodes in the Minsk subway. Fifteen people die and at
least 200 are injured. Two people arrested are charged with terrorism.
The ruble is devalued
The central bank decides on a new devaluation of the ruble, by 10 percent
(see also January 2009).
MR activist flies
Journalist and civil rights activist Natalja Radina, who is accused of
involvement in the mass protests and has been detained, manages to escape from
the country. At the same time, activist Mikita Lichavid is said to have launched
a hunger strike in protest of her prison sentence of three and a half years for
participation in the demonstrations following the presidential election.
Young front leader sentenced to prison
The leader of the Young Front, Zmitser Dasjkevich, and the Front's local
chairman in Minsk, Eduard Lobaw, are sentenced to two and four years in security
prison accused of hooliganism. They have been detained since the day before the
presidential election, when they allegedly attacked two people with violence.
Politicians are seeking asylum in the Czech Republic
Former presidential candidate Ales Mikhailevich is fleeing Belarus and
seeking asylum in the Czech Republic. He states that he has been tortured in
custody, and was forced in writing to cooperate with the security police to be
Regime critics are sentenced to prison
28-year-old regime critic Vasilij Parfenkov is sentenced to four years in
prison for participating in demonstrations in connection with the presidential
election. It is the first longer sentence after the unrest; several hundred
people were sentenced to up to 15 days immediately following the protests.
The EU and the US announce sanctions
The EU and the US announce that new sanctions will be introduced against
Belarus following the harsh action against opposition supporters following the
presidential election (see Foreign Policy and Defense).