Belarus The Commonwealth of Independent States
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Geopolitically, Belarus is as strategically important to Russia today as it was in the times of Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. Therefore, repeated invitations were extended to Minsk from the CIS to join in a military alliance. Shushkyevich refused to sign the CIS Treaty on Collective Security that six other CIS states had signed in May 1992. He believed such a move would contravene the Declaration of State Sovereignty, which defines Belarus as a neutral state, and that an independent Belarusian army was essential to maintaining the republic's independence from Russia. The Supreme Soviet in April 1993 nonetheless voted to sign the treaty and eventually took revenge on Shushkyevich for his views on the CIS security treaty by dismissing him in January 1994, officially on charges of corruption. At the same time, accords were also signed on closer economic cooperation with other CIS member states.
Although Belarus joined NATO's Partnership for Peace, it strongly supported Moscow's opposition to NATO expansion in Central Europe. The opposition, which realized that Belarus's full membership in NATO would not come about, suggested a BalticBlack Sea zone of economic and political cooperation encompassing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova. Not only was this idea an anathema to pro-Russian elements in Belarusian society, but Poland and the Baltic states would reject it as well if it threatened their eventual full membership in NATO.
Data as of June 1995
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 The Commonwealth of Independent States information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus The Commonwealth of Independent States should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.