By the twentieth century, the land of Belarus now belonged to several countries, including the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Federation and the Russian Empire. To my husband I wish I could turn back the clock mug. After the Russian revolution (1917), Belarus became one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union and was renamed the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Беларуская Савецкая Сацыялістычная Рэспубліка). By 1991, Belarus was separated from the Soviet Union and declared independent. However, the country still maintains close political relations with Russia. On December 8, 1999, Belarus and Russia signed a bilateral agreement to further develop political and economic relations.