• Pray for a Biblical expression of Christianity authentic to their culture and context.
• Pray for reformation and revival within the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
• Pray for salvation for those in government who harass and persecute God's Church.
Belarus, sometimes called White Russia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe between Russia and Poland. Dominated by these two nations for much of its history, Belarus has derived its national identity from many sources. The land is generally flat with many lakes, forests, and marshes. Belarus experienced a communist revolution in 1917 and in that same year was incorporated into the Soviet Union, where it remained until the break up in 1991. The nation was greatly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, and though the disaster took place in Ukraine, much of the southern part of Belarus is contaminated with fallout. Roughly 2 million people were uprooted, and the radiation resulted in much suffering and death.
After the Soviet era, Belarus experienced some capitalistic reform, yet the process has been very slow. Almost 80% of the industry and 75% of the banking sector is state owned. The Belarussian economy is heavily reliant on that of Russia, its closest ally. Belarus imports subsidized oil from Russia, refines it, and exports it. Known as “Europe’s last dictatorship”, Belarus elected its president in 1994, and he has since maintained and consolidated power through authoritarian methods. There are tight controls on speech, press, and religion.
The majority of Belarusians belong to the Orthodox Church with large Catholic and non-religious segments, yet the Orthodox Church is very ritualistic, and there is high nominalism among those who attend. Religion was outlawed and oppressed during the Soviet era, and this persecution still continues. A 2002 law severely limited religious freedoms by outlawing worship meetings in homes, congregations of less than 20 individuals, new religious schools, and the circulation of religious literature not approved by the state. It also hindered churches’ ability to buy or rent land. Yet even in this hostile environment of persecution, more and more people claim to be followers of Jesus.
Capital City: Minsk
Government: Parliamentary republic, dictatorship
Major People Groups: 86% Belarusian; 8% Russian; 3% Polish (Pole); 2% Ukrainian
Religion: Christian 79%, Agnostic 19%, Atheist 2%
Language: Belarusian, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian
GDP Per Capita: $19,100
Literacy Rate: 99.9%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 0.4%
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