еларусь – Belarus
Capital city Minsk
Surface 207,600 km²
Population 9,468,000
Road network length 93,055 km
Length of highway network 1,191 km
First highway 1963
Motorway name Avtomagistral
Traffic drives Right
License plate code BY

Belarus or Belarus (Беларусь) is a country in Eastern Europe. The country has 9.4 million inhabitants on an area of ​​207,600 km², 5 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Minsk. The license plate abbreviation is BY.


According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Belarus is a landlocked country, it is not located by the sea. The country borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The country measures a maximum of 650 kilometers from west to east and 560 kilometers from north to south. Belarus is located in the European lowlands, with few elevation changes. Large parts of the country are forested. Several important rivers flow through the country, such as the Dnepr, Pripyat, Western Dvina and Bug. The country also has a number of lakes.

Belarus has a humid continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The average maximum temperature is 24°C in summer and the average minimum temperature is -7°C in winter. However, due to the continental climate, there are greater extremes, with Minsk reaching a maximum of 35°C in summer and -39°C in winter. At 690 mm, the precipitation is somewhat higher than in the western neighboring countries.


Belarus is the only country in Europe that still has a Soviet-style economy, which has changed little since its independence in 1991. There is heavy industry and manufacturing industry, including machine construction. About a quarter of the population works in factories. Unemployment, according to official statistics, is very low. Belarus is relatively developed compared to neighboring Ukraine. The country pays with the Belarusian ruble (BYR). Besides forestry, the country has few raw materials and largely imports it from Russia. Belarus is a member of a customs union with Russia and Kazakhstan.


The population of Belarus peaked at 10.5 million inhabitants in 1989, and has been declining ever since, although the decline is not as strong as in the Baltic States and Ukraine. After independence, the number of Russian residents fell by about a third. The population decreases mainly in rural areas. See Belarus population density. The vast majority of the population is made up of Belarusians, who make up 84%. Russians are the second group with 8%, followed by Poles with 3%. Despite the ethnic majority of Belarusians, the most widely spoken language is Russian. About 70% of the inhabitants speak Russian as their mother tongue.

The name ‘Belarus’ originated from the region of Ruthenia (Ruthenia) or Rus’ (Белая Русь – Belaya Rus’). In most languages ​​the country is called ‘Belarus’, only German and Dutch keep the literal translation ‘White’ Russia. So the name Belarus has less to do with Russia it suggests. The Dutch government speaks of ‘Belarus’.


Today’s Belarus belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for a long time. In 1795 the commonwealth was divided into Russian, Prussian and Austrian parts. The country was divided approximately half into Prussia and half into the Russian Empire. After the First World War, the west of Belarus consisted of the Second Polish Republic, and the east of the Soviet Union. After the Second World War, Poland moved completely westward. Former eastern Poland became part of the Soviet Union, within which the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus was created. In 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated, with Belarus becoming an independent country for the first time in its current form.

After independence, Belarus was the only post-Communist country to adopt a Soviet model. Belarus has been ruled by President Lukashenko since 1994. Belarus has since been regarded as the ‘last dictatorship of Europe’.

Road numbering

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus introduced its own road numbering system in 1991. The main transit route, the M1, has kept the old number. The other roads have been renumbered. The M roads run from M1 to M12 plus M14, with the M9 being the Minsk ring road, better known as MKAD. Technically, no distinction is made between motorways and non-motorways in numbering, although the number of motorways with an R-number (P) is limited. Not all M-roads are automatically motorways.

Most M roads radiate from Minsk, such as the M2, M3, M4, M5, M6 and M7. The M1 forms the transit route and bypass just outside Minsk. The M8 forms a north-south route through the eastern half of the country and the M9 is the Minsk ring road. The M10 is an east-west route through the south of the country, the M11 and M12 are minor roads in western Belarus.

The R roads (shown as P) have 1 to 3 digits and are numbered nationally. So one R number only occurs once in the country. Some old Soviet M roads have been given an R prefix, such as the old M7 which became the R23. A full list of M and R numbers is included on the Russian wikipedia.

Belarus Location Map