Nation-Building in the Republic of Belarus and European Component in Belarusian Identity

814
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-1-94-103

E. Biketova (gorbeleva@yandex.ru),
Altai State University, 61, Lenina Prosp., Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation;
Y. Chernyshov (ashpi@hist.asu.ru),
Altai State University, 61, Lenina Prosp., Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The Republic of Belarus has a complex national identity due to its historic roots and borderline position as a country between the West and the East. The policy of nation-building presupposes the use of a wide range of means for the national identity formation “from above”: official ideology, foreign policy, language policy, mythmaking, “memory policy”. The current situation is characterized by two conflicting trends in national identity politics: the official level concept of “Belarussianness” (promoted by such campaigns as “The Taste of Belarusian Language” or “We are Belarusians”), and the European direction managed by opposition forces. The main goal of this article is to evaluate the European component of Belarusian national identity. Moreover, it is attempted to define the role of this component in the process of Belarusian identity construction at the official level, with special attention to nation-building policy in the long run. The authors come to a conclusion that nation-building policies in the Republic of Belarus have radically changed over the years of independence. Three periods can be singled out: 1991–1994 (“Lithuanian” period), 1994–2010 (“Soviet” period), 2010–2017 – Belarusian national period with a mix of Lithuanian, Soviet, European and neo-Belarusian symbols and identities. Since the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, the nation-building process in Belarus has been based on the idea of the Belarusian state as a borderland – a country with an ambivalent history and cultural heritage, long existence in the context of confrontation between the Polish-Lithuanian and Russian components. The Belarusian political system is demonstrating trends of evolution in the European direction regarding foreign policy, ideology, law, culture, living standards. This is manifested in the dynamics of Belarusian national identity and identity policy appealing to borderline history and cultural heritage. 

Keywords: Belarus, A.G. Lukashenko, national identity, ethnic identity, European identity, nation-building, post-Soviet space


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For citation:
Biketova E., Chernyshov Y. Nation-Building in the Republic of Belarus and European Component in Belarusian Identity. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 94-103. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-1-94-103



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