After independence, the gap between the authorities’ efforts to improve living conditions and what is possible to achieve is still great. Privatization has been slow; the resistance depends, among other things, that the authorities want to curb the negative social consequences that reforms can bring. Social concerns that manifest themselves in xenophobia, anti-Semitism and ethnic contradictions, unlike neighboring countries, have therefore been relatively limited by independence. The extremist groups are small with very limited influence. Belarus’ lack of democratic development and political isolation affects the social situation. Unemployment is growing as industries are closed down, and agriculture has also declined. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of BEL and acronym for Belarus.
An important reason why the transformation is slow is, in addition to structural problems and lack of democracy, the consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which caused extensive damage to the environment. The whole country is basically an ecological disaster area. A large number of settlements have been abandoned, and 40 percent of the country’s area is estimated to be contaminated by radioactive emissions. The worst affected are the southern and southeastern parts of Belarus. UNICEF reports on continuing negative effects on the health of the population (2002). One in four children born in areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster suffer from some form of illness. Problems with alcohol and drug abuse, trafficking in women, increased poverty and a deteriorating health situation are growing.
In 2011, there were 38 doctors and 113 beds per 10,000 residents. Belarus allows international adoptions to Europe and the United States. Sweden provides assistance for increased democratization and for the promotion of human rights in the country.
Belarus – Minsk
Minsk, Belarusian People, Capital of Belarus; 2 million residents (2018). Minsk, located on the river Svislatj, is the country’s administrative, cultural and industrial center. The manufacturing industry comprises the production of machines, motors, means of transport and electrical technology as well as consumer goods. In addition, there is the food and clothing industry as well as the chemical and graphic industries. Minsk is the central hub of Belarus’s rail network and has an international airport. The city has universities (founded in 1921) as well as several colleges and academies. The Second World War meant an almost complete destruction of the city, and the few building monuments mark Peter-Paul Cathedral (1622).
Minsk, first mentioned as a fortification in 1067, became part of Poland-Lithuania in the 1300s. At the second partition of Poland in 1793, the city of Russia fell. Minsk was occupied by German forces during the First World War. During the Soviet period, Minsk was the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Republic and since 1991 has been the capital of independent Belarus.
At Minsk, a major invasion was fought during the Second World War on July 5-10, 1941. After the German attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, advances went so fast that Soviet troops could not retreat. A pocket was formed around Białystok and Minsk, where about 350,000 men were enclosed by the German generals Heinz Guderians and Hermann Hoth’s armor groups; 328,000 people were captured, the rest fell. The war was included, among other things. 3,000 tanks and 1,800 guns. Despite its dimensions of success, it did not affect the campaign at large because of the enormous Soviet reserves of reserves, unknown to the Germans.
In Minsk, in June 1941, 80,000 Jews lived, which corresponds to one third of the total population of the city. On July 20, a ghetto was established to bring Jews of Minsk and the surrounding countryside. In total, 100,000 Jews lived in the ghetto. Most of them were murdered in Minsk in 1942-44 or deported to extermination camps.
In July 1944, the Soviet army carried out a maneuver. As a result, 100,000 German soldiers were called into the city. 40,000 of them are estimated to have fallen. The fierce fighting resulted in the city being further destroyed; 80 percent of the buildings were damaged when the Red Army marched into Minsk.