Gronsky Alexander
External and own «strangers»: Belorussian history textbooks about the German occupation regime and Belorussian collaborators during the great patriotic war
Publication Type:


ISSN 2308-6181

DOI: 10.37490/mh2022241

The article explores how the «strangers» are represented in the modern school textbooks on the history of Belorussia. The period of the Great Patriotic War has been chosen for analysis, because it is the event that is most seriously presented in historical memory. The Great Patriotic War is used by the Belorussian propaganda to form a modern sense of patriotism. The «strangers» during the war are divided into two types: «external strangers» - Germany, the Wehrmacht, the occupation authorities, and «own strangers» - persons who collaborated with the occupation regime, collaborators. In the Belorussian textbooks of the latest generation, which are currently being used in schools, there are images of «external strangers». The «external strangers» are presented as the organizers of the genocide of the civilian population, seeking to destroy the established situation. The textbooks reflect the struggle of Belorussians with the «external strangers». However, in the Belorussian textbook published in 2019 there is no mention of the «own strangers» - Belorussians who collaborated with the occupation regime. This information was presented in the textbooks of the previous generation. The Belorussian collaboration was assessed negatively. The current state of affairs can be partly explained by the foreign policy situation. Since 2014 the Belorussian authorities have been actively resisting Russian-Belorussian integration. The government has eased pressure on the Belorussian opposition, which has begun to actively support the official authorities in resisting integration. The Belorussian opposition uses the same symbols used by the Belorussian collaborators during the war. First of all, the white-red-white flag. For some time, the official authorities did not need the symbols of the opposition to be associated with collaboration. However, in August 2020, mass protests against the results of the presidential elections burst out in Belorussia. The main symbols of those protests were white-red-white flags. The authorities had a need to discredit the white-red-white flag by pointing out that it was actively used by the Belorussian collaborators. The textbook returned the mention of the «own strangers» of the war, as well as the mention of the kind of symbols that the «own strangers» used at that time.


Keywords: school history textbook | Belorussia | the Great Patriotic War | collaboration | Nazi Germany | white-red-white flag | «own strangers» | «external strangers» |

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