Belarus appears to have one of the most resilient economies among former Soviet states, despite eschewing reforms, but that strength is derived from politically driven Russian subsidies, the World Bank report said on Wednesday. It said extensive government control in Belarus, a country on Russia's western border which is still run largely on command economy lines, had spared it the declines suffered by more reform-minded former Soviet states. "Yet such an outcome was hardly guaranteed by the lack of economic reform but rather by dependence on Russia, whose willingness to subsidize Belarus's inaction was a function of the geo-strategic importance of the country," the report read. Belarus, which has 10 million people, is a key conduit for Russian oil and gas pipelines feeding western Europe and is seen by many political analysts as an significant buffer between the West and Russia, the Russia Journal reported.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land