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Belarus is a country in Asia It is right below Russia In the 5th century Belarus also known as White Russia was colonized by east Slavic tribes Kiev dominated it from the 9th to 12th centuries After the destruction of Kiev by the Mongols in the 13th century the territory was conquered by the dukes of Lithuania although it retained an amount of autonomy Belarus became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which merged with Poland in 1569 Following the partitions of Poland in 1772 1793 and 1795 in which Poland was divided among Russia Prussia and Austria Belarus became part of the Russian empire Following World War I Belarus proclaimed itself a republic only to find itself occupied by the Red Army soon after its March 1918 announcement The Polish-Soviet War of 1918-21 was fought to decide the fate of Belarus West Belarus was ceded to Poland the larger eastern part formed the Belorussian SSR and was then joined to the USSR in 1922 In 1939 the Soviet Union took back West Belarus from Poland under the secret protocol of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact and incorporated it into the Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic Occupied by the Nazis in World War II Belarus was one of the most devastated battlefields Belarus declared its sovereignty in July 1990 and its independence in Aug 1991 The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded in 1986 and 70 of its radioactivity fell on Belarus Cancer and other illnesses have multiplied as a result The Belarus president Nikolai Dementei a communist hard-liner was forced to resign under pressure following the Aug 1991 attempted coup and Stanislav S Shushkevich first deputy chairman of the Parliament assumed leadership of the country Belarus became a cofounder of the Commonwealth of Independent States CIS in Dec 1991 In Jan 1994 the countrys Parliament ousted its reform-minded leader in protest against his support for market economics In March 1994 Parliament adopted a
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