What future for Belarus? An analysis of identity issues  Cover Image

What future for Belarus? An analysis of identity issues
What future for Belarus? An analysis of identity issues

Author(s): Ryszard Radzik
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Belarusians; national identity; political orientations; prospects for change

Summary/Abstract: The present article discusses various types of Belarusian collective identity and analyses their potential to make Belarus an empowered, fully independent, democratic and economically efficient society, nation and state with a stable position on the political map of Europe. The study is based mainly on sociological surveys collected by IISEPS, an independent Belarusian research institute. These data reveal weak points of Belarusian national identity (including a low level of historical awareness), a residue of the Soviet system of values and attitudes, as well as a considerable degree of Russification of the society. Although Belarusians have become used to having their own state (which, however, they treat mainly in terms of a nationwide welfare institution), they have retained a strong sense of local and regional identity. Social attitudes, both on an individual and community level, are clearly dominated by economic rather than ideological motivation. Eastern, pro-Russian orientation is far more widespread than pro-European attitudes, especially when more than only verbal support is involved. The text also points out symptoms of consolidating Belarusian collective identity, even if its post-Soviet/West Russian pattern still prevails over pro-European and pro-national orientation of the occidental type. Belarusian society is specific, which makes it difficult to analyze in terms of standard categories. The article demonstrates why identity issues limit the potential for any rapid significant political change in Belarusian society.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 42
  • Page Range: 7-34
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: English