1. Introduction. (general information about the two countries, GDP, PPP..etc)
Belarus (Byelorussia, or White Russia) and the Republic of Ukraine are two neighbouring former members of the USSR. As such, both share many points of similarity, but also differ in many aspects, many of which are due to the two countries’ different approaches towards the primary member of the former USSR, namely the Russian Federation, who continues to play a dominant role in the region.
Belarus declared its independence from the USSR in August 1990, but has kept strong economic relations with Russia, whose support in terms of e.g. favourable oil prices to its small ally is the main reason for Belarus’ relatively strong economic performance. However, as described in greater detail in later sections of this paper, the overdependence on Russia poses threats on Belarus.
In addition to being the member of the former USSR (best known today as the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS) with the closest relations with Russia, Belarus has also retained a rather communist regime. That is, most of the market is tightly controlled by the government and there are rigid restrictions on the press and freedom of speech. Continue reading