|population:||9.5 mil (2015)|
|area:||207 595 km2|
|official languages:||Belarusian, Russian|
White Russia was commonly refering to Ruthenian dukedoms created in the 10th century between Bug and Dnieper rivers. Among these the Principality of Polotsk was mostly independent until the end of the 14th century. Dukedoms constituted the majority of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, since the 16th century were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and since 18th century of the Russian Empire. The Empire banned the use of the Ruthenian language, which, however, flourished 100 years later with the spread of the idea of the Belarusian state. At the end of World War I, Belarus announced independence for the first time on territories occupied by the German army. No country however, has recognized it. A few months later, these lands were taken over by the Soviet Union, which established here a union republic. The final borders of the Belarusian SSR were established in 1945 and this creation declared its independence on July 27, 1990. Belarus however, after a few years returned to the close ties with Russia, initially within the CIS and today in the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, a confederation which seeks an economic and monetary union.
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