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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 that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.
Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Belarus was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.
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Section 72 of 81
(p.) Belarus Ruble (BYR)
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