Russia is the largest country in the world and, with a population of 142 million, the ninth most populous. Russia’s economic power lies in its enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and, with 46 million inhabitants, among the most populous. The Ukrainian economy is dominated by heavy industry and is one of the largest refiners of metallurgical products in eastern Europe.
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, roughly the size of Western Europe, but has a small population of just 16.6 million. Since 1993, the majority of the $40 billion of foreign investment in the country has gone into oil, gas and mining.
Although Belarus is a medium-sized European country, 40% of it is covered in forest. The majority of the population of 9.5 million live in towns and cities. The economy is centred on agriculture and manufacturing, most of which is still state controlled.