Belarus is the former Soviet republic is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia in northeast, Ukraine in south, Poland in west, by Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. With an area of 208,000 km² Belarus is the largest landlocked country in Europe, compared it is somewhat smaller than the island of Great Britain (229,848 km²). Belarus has a population of 9.5 million people (in 2016). Capital and largest city is Minsk. Belarus has been ruled with an iron fist since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko. Opposition figures are subjected to harsh penalties for organizing protests.