Belarus Profile

Population
9,625,888 (July 2013 est.)

Religion (%)
Christian (70.5), Non-Religious (28.1)

Ethnicity (%)
Belarusian (81.2), Russian (11.4), Polish (3.9), Ukrainian (2.4), Other (1.1)

Leader
President Aleksandr Lukashenko

Government type
Republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship

Legal system
Based on civil law system.

Sources: CIA World Factbook and Operation World.

Update: Believers ordered to vacate church building


New Life Full Gospel Church building
Photo from New Life Church

The New Life Full Gospel Church in Minsk, Belarus continues to face pressure from authorities in an ongoing dispute over their church building, according to an August 24 report from Forum18. In recent years, the church's pastor has faced immense fines and the believers have been ordered to sell the church building, which was purchased in 2002 and is legally considered a cowshed (for more click here). On August 14, an order was issued to believers informing them that 37,581,476 Belarusian roubles (approximately $14,300 CAD) was being sent to them in compensation for the building that they must vacate by August 20. However, the Christians claimed the sum was much lower than the true value of the property and returned the funds -- the third time they have done so. On August 22, another document was presented to believers which instructed them to hand over the building.

The church's attempts to re-register in accordance with the 2002 Religion Law have been rejected three times. Officials have refused to explain why they will not allow the believers to remain in their building or why they have refused the church's applications to have their building designated as a place of worship.

To learn more about the ongoing opposition facing believers in Belarus, visit the Belarus Country Report.

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