belarus

An athlete pulls a 15-tonne truck during a Truck-Pull event marking the upcoming Independence Day in the Belarus capital Minsk,  on July 3, 2014.  The former Soviet nation celebrates its Independence Day on July 3 in memory of the end of Belarus occupation by Nazi Germany troops during the Red Army main summer offensive in 1944.

Sergei Gapon/AFP

An athlete pulls a 15-tonne truck during a Truck-Pull event marking Independence Day in the Belarus capital Minsk

Medical University graduates throw up mortarboards during the celebration of their graduation in Minsk, June 27, 2014. More than one thousand doctors left the university this year.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Medical University graduates throw up mortarboards during the celebration of their graduation in Minsk on Friday. More than one thousand doctors left the university this year

TOPSHOTS Ludmila (L) and Tofig Akhundov ...TOPSHOTS Ludmila (L) and Tofig Akhundov perform with their hippopos in a circus in the Belarus capital Minsk, on January 30, 2014. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEVVIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images

Viktor Drachev/AFP

Ludmila and Tofig Akhundov perform with hippos in a circus in the Belarus capital of Minsk Read more

Smoke rises from the chimney stalk of a gas-fired power station after sunset on the outskirts of Minsk, November 18, 2013.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Smoke rises from the chimney of a gas-fired power station after sunset on Monday in the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.

A man runs with a dog at a mass grave in Kuropaty on the outskirts of Minsk...A man runs with a dog at a mass grave in Kuropaty on the outskirts of Minsk, October 26, 2013. More than 100 Belarussians including 22 writers and poets were executed by the NKVD secret service, predecessor of the present-day Belarussian KGB secret service, overnight on October 29, 1937. October 29 is marked as an unofficial day of commemoration for victims of political repression. Between 600,000 and 1.5 million people fell victim to Stalin's repressions in Belarus, according to various estimates. Picture taken October 26, 2013.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

A man runs with his dog through the cemetery in Kuropaty on the outskirts of Minsk where more than 100 Belarussians, including 22 writers and poets, were executed by the NKVD secret service, predecessor of the present-day Belarussian KGB secret service, on October 29 1937. The date is now marked as an unofficial day of commemoration for victims of political repression. Between 600,000 and 1.5m people fell victim to Stalin’s repressions in Belarus, according to various estimates. Read more

Unemployed people load cabbage at the state vegetable factory's field during a harvest, in the outskirts of Minsk. Unemployed people are invited to help out in the factory's harvest and are paid at the end of the day with 90 thousand Belarussian roubles ($9.80). All the factory's employees, including engineers and office workers, have to work at least several days in a field without extra pay, to help gather the harvest before the first frost.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Unemployed people pick cabbages at a state-owned vegetable factory on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, for $9.80 a day. All the factory’s employees, including engineers and office staff, also have to work at least several days in the fields without extra pay to bring in the vegetables before the first frost.

Belarus Interior Ministry troops take part in the qualifying examinations for the "Madder Beret" headdress outside Minsk. Soldiers who pass the examinations receive a burgundy-coloured beret signifying they have been qualified as members of the Belarus Interior Ministry elite Special Forces.

Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images

Belarus interior ministry troops take part in an exam outside Minsk to achieve the burgundy coloured “madder beret”, which signifies they have qualified as members of the ministry’s elite special forces

An Orthodox  priest blesses apples

Viktor Drachev/AFP

An Orthodox priest blesses apples during the Transfiguration of Jesus holiday, also known as Yablochny Spas, in the ancient Belarus town of Turov, 250 km south of Minsk

Belarussian Orthodox believers attend the solemn liturgy in Minsk on July 29, 2013, celebrating the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia which is celebrated in the three former USSR Slavic countries - Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Sergey Balay/AFP

Belarussian Orthodox believers attend the solemn liturgy in Minsk, on Monday, to mark the 1,025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, which is celebrated in the three former USSR Slavic countries – Belarus, Russia and Ukraine

Belarussian servicemen salute from tanks, as they take part in a military parade, during celebrations marking Independence Day in Minsk July 3, 2013.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Service personnel in Belarus salute from tanks, as they take part in a military parade during celebrations marking Independence Day in Minsk on Wednesday