Belarus is located in eastern Europe, surrounded by Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. It was formerly known as Belorussia or White Russia and was the smallest of the three Slavic republics included in the Soviet Union. About a fifth of the population of Belarus resides in its capital, Minsk, an expansive modern city that was almost completely restored after its near devastation during World War II. Belarus first declared independence under German occupation in 1918, and the Belarusian People's Republic was then formed. Belarus became independent from the USSR in 1991.
The following year, in 1992, the republic introduced its own currency, the Belarusian ruble, along with a securities market and stock exchange. Today, Belarus banknotes are printed in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500. The second Belarusian ruble was introduced in 2000 to supersede the first at a rate of 1,000 old Rubles per 1 new Ruble.
The country issued only commemorative coins and banknotes, but in 2000, only banknotes were issued. Then, the Central Bank of Belarus decreased the exchange rate by +/- 20% in 2009. Again, in 2011, the Central Bank of Belarus reduced the exchange rate by +/- 56%. There were no coins in circulation in the history of sovereign Belarus until its redenomination in 2016. The National Bank of Belarus has produced commemorative coins, however, which captured the interest of coin collectors and are a legal tender. These coins were made of gold, silver, and copper-nickel alloy and depict various themes, historical events, and famous people. Official Belarus coins today come in denominations of 1 and 2 rubles and kopecks like 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50.
Belarus' economy shows a stable economic growth of 9%. The country's main industries are televisions, radios, refrigerators, trucks, metal cutting, tractors, machine tools, textiles, radios, motorcycles, and earthmovers. Moreover, 11% of the total GDP was accounted for by agriculture. Although, the economy of Belarus is still mainly dependent on Russia.
Belarus has peat as its leading mineral source. The country uses it in the chemical industry and as fertilizer. And since the educational level in Belarus is high, and it has a substantial agricultural base. Additionally, the state controls 80% of Belarus' industry-based economy, while the inflation rate is estimated at 10%, while the unemployment rate is estimated at 8%. Now, Belarus is evolving from a state-run economy to a free-market system.