Country Information


After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, the Belarus Ruble (BYL) replaced the Soviet Union Ruble. The new ruble was introduced because of a shortage of Russian rubles to pay for fuel and debts. The Belarus Ruble was tied to the Russian Ruble for some time, although Russians would not accept it as payment. In 1993, Belarus and 5 other countries that were formerly in the Soviet Union created a joint monetary system based on the Russian ruble. The National Bank of Belarus used many different exchange rates that were dependent on the circumstances and nature of the transactions, thus limiting the convertibility of the ruble. A new ruble (BYB) was introduced in 1994. One new Ruble was equal to 10 old Rubles, and another Ruble (BYR) was introduced in 2000. The newest ruble is worth 1000 of the previous rubles. As of 2002, 1854 BYR was equal to 1 USD.

Sovereign Ratings for Belarus

Belarus is not rated.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

The government of Belarus is a republic. The government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and executive. The president, also the chief of state, heads the executive branch. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The prime minister works with the first deputy prime minister and the deputy prime ministers to run the government. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral parliament, which is made up of the Council of the Republic and the Chamber of Representatives. The Council has 64 seats; regional councils elect 56 members and the president appoints 8 members for 4-year terms. The Chamber has 110 seats and members are elected by universal adult suffrage to serve 4-year terms. The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Court. The President or the Chamber of Representatives appoints judges.

Prominent Figures

The Chief of State is Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, and his cohort, the Prime Minister, is Sergei Sidorsky. Deputy prime ministers include Vladimir Semashko, Andrei Kobyakov, Vladimir Drazhin, Roman Vnuchko, and Anatoly Tyutyunov. The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Petr P. Prokopovich, runs the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

Unique Characteristics

  • The Belarus ruble has been an extremely volatile currency since its introduction in 1992. In 1999, 5 million rubles were worth 10 USD. The exchange rate continued to fall, regardless of the currency reform in 2000. Belarus is interested in merging with Russia, and uniting the currencies where the Belarusian ruble would be dissolved and the Russian ruble would be the new currency for all of Belarus and Russia.
  • Belarus has a very poor record of foreign direct investment. FORD Motor Corporations turned down a multimillion-dollar investment in Belarus because of corrupt government officials and bureaucratic red tape. Despite a small population and cheap labor, McDonald's is also having problems setting up business in the country.
  • Many of the Companies in Belarus have gone bankrupt because of a lack of reforms from pre soviet times.
  • The government has started to increase its currency printing to falsely support the economy.

Key Economic Factors Economic Overview

The Belarusian economy is still similar today to its former economy under communist rule. Belarus relies heavily on Russia for its energy. High levels of unemployment and underemployment have caused poverty to affect 1 in 5 people. GDP growth has increased since 1997, every year recording at least a 3% growth. However, extremely high inflation rates have devalued the purchasing power of the Belarusian ruble. 2001 saw inflation reach 54%. The current account deficit is 5% of the GDP.

  • Exports: Machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, and food products.
  • Imports: Fuel, natural gas, raw materials, textiles, and sugar.

Exchange Rates



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