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Belarus - Glossary Index
https://photius.com/countries/belarus/glossary/index.html
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook

      GLOSSARY -- Belarus (Belarus and Moldova)

      apparatchik
      Russian colloquial word for someone who has been engaged full time in the work of the CPSU (q.v.) and/or the republic communist parties. Sometimes used in a derogatory sense.
      August coup d'�tat
      On August 19, 1991, high-ranking officials of the CPSU (q.v.) and the government of the Soviet Union (q.v.) announced that they had formed the State Committee for the State of Emergency and had removed Mikhail S. Gorbachev as the head of state. Leaders of most of the Soviet republics and many foreign leaders denounced the coup. Some key military commanders refused to deploy their forces in support of the coup leaders, and by August 22 the coup had collapsed. As a consequence of the failed coup, the CPSU and the Soviet central government were severely discredited, Gorbachev resigned, ten of the fifteen Soviet republics declared or reaffirmed their independence (including Belarus and Moldova), and the Congress of People's Deputies (q.v.) dissolved the Soviet Union and itself after transferring state power to a transitional government.
      Belarusian ruble
      The monetary unit of Belarus, introduced in May 1992. In March 1995, the exchange rate was 11,669 Belarusian rubles per US$1. The Belarusian ruble is convertible, within limits.
      Bessarabia (Basarabia in Romanian)
      Former principality, originally composed of lands owned by the Basarab Dynasty of Walachia (q.v.), extending inland from the Black Sea coast and bounded on the west by the Prut River and on the east by the Nistru River. In 1812 the name was extended to all the land between the Prut and Nistru rivers by the Russian Empire (q.v.), to which Bessarabia was awarded by the Treaty of Bucharest. The bulk of Bessarabia makes up most of the present-day Republic of Moldova.
      Bolshevik
      A member of the radical group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which, under Vladimir I. Lenin's leadership, staged the Bolshevik Revolution. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks formed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists (q.v.). That party was the precursor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU-- q.v.).
      Bukovina (Bucovina in Romanian; Bukovyna in Ukrainian)
      An area in the eastern foothills of the Carpathian Mountains populated principally by ethnic Ukrainians and Romanians. Over the centuries, Bukovina has belonged to various states, including Kievan Rus', Moldova, and Austria-Hungary. In 1940 the northern half of Bukovina became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, while the southern half remained part of Romania.
      Bund(General Union of Jewish Workers in Russia and Poland)
      A Jewish socialist movement founded in Vilnius in 1897 by Jewish workers and intellectuals in the Russian Empire (q.v.). The Bund divided into two groups in 1920. The larger group merged with the Bolshevik (q.v.) branch of the communist party, while the minority remained independent until it was suppressed by the Bolshevik government. The Bund was active in Poland between the two world wars.
      chernozem
      Russian word meaning black earth. Rich, highly fertile soil.
      collective farm (kolkhoz in Russian)
      Under the communist (q.v.) regime, an agricultural "cooperative" where peasants worked collectively on state-owned land under the direction of party-approved plans and leaders and were paid wages based partly on the success of their harvest.
      collectivization
      Joseph V. Stalin's policy of confiscating privately owned agricultural lands and facilities and consolidating them, along with farmers and their families, into large collective farms (q.v.) and state farms (q.v.).
      Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance; sometimes cited as CMEA or CEMA)
      A multilateral economic alliance created in 1949, ostensibly to promote economic development of member states through cooperation and specialization, but actually to enforce Soviet economic domination of Eastern Europe. Members shortly before its official demise in January 1991 were Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam.
      Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
      Created on December 8, 1991, with the signing of the Minsk Agreement by Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The Alma-Ata Declaration, signed by eleven heads of state on December 21, 1991, expanded membership in the CIS to all other former Soviet republics except Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The CIS is a confederation of former Soviet republics in which "coordinating bodies" oversee common interests in the economies, foreign policy, and defense of its members.
      communism/communist
      The official ideology of the Soviet Union (q.v.), based on Marxism-Leninism, which provided for a system of authoritarian government in which the CPSU (q.v.) alone controlled state-owned means of production. It sought to establish a society in which the state withered away and goods and services were distributed equitably. A communist is an adherent or advocate of communism.
      Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)
      Established as an international process in 1972, the group in 1994 consisted of fifty-three nations, including all European countries, and sponsored joint sessions and consultations on political issues vital to European security. The Charter of Paris (1990) changed the CSCE from an ad hoc forum to an organization having permanent institutions. In 1992 new CSCE roles in conflict prevention and management were defined, potentially making CSCE the center of a Europe-based collective security system. In the early 1990s, however, applications of these instruments to conflicts in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus did not have a decisive impact. In January 1995, the organizations was renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
      Congress of People's Deputies (S"yezd narodnykh deputatov in Russian)
      Established in 1988 by constitutional amendment. The highest organ (upper tier) of legislative and executive authority in the Soviet Union (q.v.). It elected the Supreme Soviet (q.v.), but ceased to exist at the demise of the Soviet Union.
      Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty)
      An agreement signed in 1990 by the member nations of the Warsaw Pact (q.v.) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to establish parity in conventional weapons between the two organizations from the Atlantic to the Urals. The treaty included a strict system of inspection and information exchange and remained in force, although not strictly observed by all parties, in the mid-1990s.
      Cossacks
      Originally peasants (primarily Ukrainian and Russian) who fled from bondage to the lower Dnepr and Don river regions to settle in the frontier areas separating fifteenth-century Muscovy, Poland, and the lands occupied by the Tatars. They later organized themselves into military formations to resist Tatar raids. Renowned as horsemen, they were absorbed into the army of the Russian Empire (q.v.) by the late eighteenth century. In the early 1990s, there were attempts to reestablish a Cossack military tradition in Ukraine.
      Council of Europe
      Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is an organization overseeing intergovernmental cooperation in designated areas such as environmental planning, finance, sport, crime, migration, and legal matters. In 1994 the council had thirty-three members.
      CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
      Since 1952 the official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union (q.v.). After the August coup d'�tat (q.v.), in which the party played a prominent role, Russian president Boris N. Yeltsin banned the party in Russia and ordered its property turned over to the government. The Communist Party of Belarus was banned in Belarus in August 1991, as was the Communist Party of Moldova in Moldova.
      Cyrillic alphabet
      An alphabet, based on Greek characters, that was created in the ninth century to serve as a medium for writing Orthodox texts translated from Greek into Old Church Slavonic (q.v.). Named for Cyril, the leader of the first religious mission from Constantinople to the Slavic peoples, Cyrillic is used by modern Russian, Belarusian, "Moldavian" (q.v.), and several other languages, both Slavic and non-Slavic.
      "Dnestr Moldavian Republic"
      An extralegal political entity, located on the left bank of the Nistru River, that declared its independence in September 1990. Established by Russian-speaking conservatives who wished to remain part of the Soviet Union. In 1995 the territory of the "Dnestr Republic" (as it was commonly known) consisted of all Moldovan land east of the Nistru River, with the exception of two enclaves bordering the river, one around Cosnita (northeast of Chisinau), and the other between Dubasari and Malovata to its northwest. In addition, the "Dnestr Republic" included territory on the west bank of the Nistru: the city of Tighina and an area to the southeast of the city that bordered on the river.
      enterprise
      A production establishment, such as a plant or a factory, in the communist (q.v.) era; not to be confused with a privately owned, Western-style business.
      eparchy
      An administrative district of the Orthodox and Uniate (q.v.) churches, usually headed by a bishop. Equivalent to a diocese in the Roman Catholic Church. A group of eparchies constitute a metropolitan see.
      ethnic Belorussian/Belarusian
      Person whose ethnic heritage is East Slavic and whose native language is Belorussian/Belarusian.
      ethnic Bulgarian
      Person whose ethnic heritage is South Slavic and whose native language is Bulgarian.
      ethnic Pole
      Person whose ethnic heritage is West Slavic and whose native language is Polish.
      ethnic Romanian
      Person whose ethnic heritage is Latin and whose native language is Romanian.
      ethnic Russian
      Person whose ethnic heritage is East Slavic and whose native language is Russian.
      ethnic Ukrainian
      Person whose ethnic heritage is East Slavic and whose native language is Ukrainian.
      European Union (EU)
      Successor organization to the European Community, officially established by ratification of the Maastricht Treaty of November 1993. The goal of the EU is closer economic unification of Western Europe, leading to a single monetary system and closer cooperation in matters of justice and foreign and security. In 1995 members consisted of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
      exarchate
      An independent church within the Orthodox Church. The exarch, head of the exarchate, is an Eastern rite bishop who ranks below a patriarch and above a metropolitan.
      fiscal year (FY)
      A one-year period for financial accounting purposes, which can coincide with the calendar year. In both Belarus and Moldova, it coincides with the calendar year.
      glasnost
      Russian word meaning openness. Public discussion of issues; accessibility of information so that the public can become familiar with it and discuss it. Mikhail S. Gorbachev's policy of using the media to make information available on some controversial issues in order to provoke public discussion, challenge government and party bureaucrats, and mobilize greater support for his policy of perestroika (q.v.).
      gross domestic product (GDP)
      A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy of a country during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word "domestic" to distinguish GDP from gross "national" product (GNP--q.v.).
      gross national product (GNP)
      The total market value of final goods and services produced by a country's economy during a year. Obtained by adding the gross domestic product (GDP--q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and by subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
      Group of Seven
      The seven major noncommunist economic powers: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
      International Monetary Fund (IMF)
      Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations and responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. Its main function is to provide loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently have conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries. Belarus and Moldova both became members of the IMF in 1992.
      KGB (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti in Russian)
      Committee for State Security. The predominant Soviet security police organization since its establishment in 1954 as the successor to the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministerstvo vnutrennykh del, in Russian). In October 1991, when Mikhail S. Gorbachev decreed that the KGB be disbanded because of its involvement in the August coup d'�tat (q.v.), the assets and willing personnel of the KGB in Moldova were transferred to the new republic's government, to the Ministry of National Security. In Belarus the new government took control of the KGB but did not change its name.
      leu (pl., lei)
      The monetary unit of Moldova, introduced in November 1993. The exchange rate was 4.27 lei per US$1 at the beginning of 1995. The leu is convertible.
      Menshevik
      A member of a wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party before and during the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Unlike the Bolsheviks (q.v.), the Mensheviks believed in the gradual achievement of socialism by parliamentary methods.
      "Moldavian" (moldavskiy in Russian)
      Term used by the Soviet government to describe the language and nationality of the ethnic Romanians (q.v.) in Bessarabia (q.v.). Joseph V. Stalin claimed that their language and nationality were different and distinct from the language and nationality of the ethnic Romanians in Romania as a justification for creating the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1940. In actuality, the "Moldavian" language is a dialect of Romanian. Under the Soviet regime, "Moldavia" was used as the short form for the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
      Moldova
      Former principality, one of two major historical regions inhabited by a Romanian-speaking population (along with Walachia, q.v.). Moldovan territory east of the Prut River was added to the original Bessarabia (q.v.), and the entire region was called Bessarabia when it was annexed by the Russian Empire (q.v.) in 1812. Also the name of a region in modern Romania.
      most-favored-nation status
      Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), when one country accords another most-favored-nation status, it agrees to extend to that country the same trade concessions, such as lower tariffs or reduced nontariff barriers, that it grants to any other recipient having most-favored-nation status. The United States granted Moldova most-favored-nation status in 1992. Belarus was granted that status in 1993.
      Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact
      Agreement signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (q.v.) on August 23, 1939, immediately preceding the German invasion of Poland, which began World War II. A secret protocol divided Poland between the two powers and gave Bessarabia (q.v.), Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the eastern part of Poland to the Soviet Union. Also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
      net material product (NMP)
      The official measure of the value of goods and services produced in countries having a planned economy during a given period, usually a year. It approximates the term "gross national product" (GNP--q.v.) used by economists in the United States and in other countries having a market economy.
      New Economic Policy (NEP; Novaya ekonomicheskaya politika in Russian)
      Instituted in 1921, it let peasants sell produce on an open market and permitted small enterprises (q.v.) to be privately owned and operated. The NEP declined with forced collectivization (q.v.) of farms and was officially ended by Stalin in December 1929.
      Old Believers
      A sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that rejected the changes made by Patriarch Nikon in the mid-seventeenth century.
      Old Church Slavonic
      Also called Church Slavonic. The liturgical language of the Eastern Orthodox and Uniate (q.v.) churches in Slavic lands.
      perestroika
      Russian word meaning restructuring. Mikhail S. Gorbachev's campaign to revitalize the economy, communist party, and society by adjusting economic, political, and social mechanisms. Announced at the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress of the CPSU (q.v.) in August 1986.
      Polonize, Polonization
      The process of changing the national identity of non-Poles to one culturally similar to that of the Poles.
      Procuracy
      The agency responsible for the investigation and prosecution of lawbreakers. The Procuracy was subject to the authority of the CPSU (q.v.) and had limited purview over political matters. In Moldova the Procuracy (and its successor organization, the General Prosecution Office) was the subject of substantial controversy in discussions on constitutional reform in the early 1990s.
      raion (pl., raioane in Romanian; rayon/rayony in Belarusian and Russian)
      A low-level territorial and administrative subdivision, roughly equivalent to a county in the United States. Originally used by the Soviet Union.
      rayon
      See raion.
      Russian Empire
      Formally proclaimed by Tsar Peter the Great in 1721 and significantly expanded during the reign of Catherine II, becoming a major multinational state. It collapsed during the revolutions of 1917.
      Russianization
      The policy of several Soviet regimes promoting Russian as the national language of the Soviet Union. Russian was given equal and official status with local languages in most non-Russian republics; it was made the official language of the Soviet Union in state and diplomatic affairs, in the armed forces, and on postage stamps, currency, and military and civilian decorations.
      Russify, Russification
      A process of changing the national identity of non-Russians to one culturally similar to that of the Russians. An official policy of the Russian Empire (q.v.) although not of any Soviet regime. However, such assimilation often resulted from the policy of Russianization (q.v.), particularly in the case of ethnic Ukrainians, Belarusians, and non-Russian educated elites.
      Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics--USSR)
      Founded December 1922; dissolved in December 1991. The Soviet Union included the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (originally called the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast) from 1924 until 1940, at which time the Soviet government created the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic on somewhat different territory until 1941. In 1947 the Soviet Union regained control until Moldova declared its independence in August 1991. The Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was established in 1919 and remained a part of the Soviet Union until it declared its independence in August 1991.
      state farm (sovkhoz in Russian)
      Under the communist regime, a government-owned and government- managed agricultural enterprise (q.v.) in which workers were paid salaries.
      steppe
      The vast, semiarid, grass-covered plain in the southeastern portion of Europe, extending into Asia.
      Supreme Soviet (Verkhovnyy sovet in Russian)
      Under the communist regime, the lower tier of the legislature. Elected by the Congress of People's Deputies (q.v.). The Moldovan Supreme Soviet changed its name to the Moldovan Parliament in May 1991 and declared the country sovereign one month later. The name of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet remained unchanged after Belarus declared its independence.
      Transnistria (Transdnestria in English)
      From 1941 to 1944, a Romanian judet (province) encompassing the land between the Nistru and Pivdennyy Buh rivers in the German-occupied Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Currently, the region between the Nistru River and Moldova's eastern border. In September 1990, Slavs in Transnistria proclaimed it the "Dnestr Moldavian Republic" (q.v.).
      Uniate Church
      An Eastern Christian Church that preserves the Eastern rite and discipline but submits to papal authority. The Uniate Church was established in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (which included Ukraine and Belarus) in 1596 at the Union of Brest.
      Walachia
      Former principality; a region in modern southern Romania.
      Warsaw Pact
      Informal name for Warsaw Treaty Organization, a mutual defense organization founded in 1955, including the Soviet Union, Albania (which withdrew in 1961), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The Warsaw Pact enabled the Soviet Union to station troops in the countries to its west to oppose the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The pact was the basis of the invasions of Hungary (1956) and of Czechoslovakia (1968); it was disbanded in July 1991.
      World Bank
      Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions--the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD provides loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA furnishes credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The MIGA insures private foreign investment in developing countries against such noncommercial risks as expropriation, civil strife, and inconvertibility of currency. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.).

    NOTE: The information regarding Belarus on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belarus Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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