Belarus Table of Contents

Belarus is a graphic example of the problems created when an industrial "colony" becomes independent. The Belorussian SSR had imported the bulk of its raw materials, components, and energy from the Soviet Union and exported most of what it produced (much of it for the military-industrial complex) back to the Soviet Union. The country's economy, which had been integrated into that of the Soviet Union, found itself deprived of most of the essential components it needed to function independently when the Soviet system collapsed.

Independent Belarus's economy, like that of the Belorussian SSR, still relies on inefficient, state-supported, industrial facilities, which are increasingly hampered by their need for fuels whose prices are gradually reaching world levels. The economic recession in Belarus intensified in 1994, leading to Belarus's worst economic year to that point. In 1994 the net material product had dropped by 21 percent from 1993 (down by more than one-third from its 1989 level), which was worse than in the two previous years; this decline was felt across the board. Agriculture now accounted for 36 percent of NMP, industry for 44 percent, transportation and communications for 3 percent, construction for 12 percent, and the remaining sectors for 5 percent.

For more recent information about the economy, see Facts about Belarus.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress