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Tag: Belarus protests

Attacks on academic freedom in Belarus: impossible to remain silent

The ongoing widespread government repression in Belarus is targeting both academics and students.

June 11, 2021 - Peter Van Elsuwege

The history of revolutions: Democracy in action or democracy in turmoil?

A conversation with Yevhenii Monastyrskyi, a Luhansk native, historian, and sociologist. Interviewer: Simona Merkinaite, Vilnius University, Open Lithuania Foundation.

May 26, 2021 - Simona Merkinaite Yevhenii Monastyrskyi

The failure in binary thinking about Belarus

For the last 25 years Belarus has been the greatest victim to stereotypes. This “last dictatorship in Europe” has been often presented vis-à-vis other “democraticising” post-Soviet states. This optic of presenting Belarus based on black and white; or good and bad terms failed to explain what was really taking place within this country’s borders. Yet, it explains why so many western analysts did not predict the social changes that we are now witnessing in Belarus.

In recent months we have seen numerous conferences, articles and discussions with a variation of the title “Belarus. An unexpected revolution”. Through them western analysts and policy-makers who were once calling Belarus the last dictatorship in Europe, are now looking for answers on whether and when the people’s revolution will succeed. They typically start their analysis with questions such as “Why now?” or “Where did this sudden awaking of the Belarusian society come from?”

February 3, 2021 - Iwona Reichardt Maxim Rust

Belarus. Fighting for the future or the past?

Despite the historical parallels, the differences in memory politics and more recent national developments explain why Belarus never turned to Ukraine for guidance, symbols or role models. The marches in the streets of Minsk and other major cities typically brandish the white-red-white flag which is about the only historical reference. The flag clearly has become the symbol of protest, similar to the colour orange in Ukraine almost two decades ago.

In the 2004 Orange Revolution as well as during the EuroMaidan uprising a decade later, Ukraine’s future orientation was at stake. In both cases, pro-European citizens confronted pro-Russian state authorities on Kyiv's main square, the Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square. Not only did the views of Ukraine's future and the principles of democracy clash, but events and heroes from the nation's past were fielded as arguments.

February 3, 2021 - Olga Morozova Wim van Meurs

Why do they stay?

What motivates state security officers to remain in the service of a tyrant, and end up in a situation where the people they beat, torture and kill, are their fellow countrymen? The story of Andrei Ostapovich provides some insight to this key question in understanding the overlapping borders of morality and immorality, democracy and authoritarianism.

February 3, 2021 - Kevin Le Merle

A prayer for peace in Belarus

On December 13th 2020 an ecumenical service was held in Berlin Cathedral to pay tribute to the protesters in Belarus. It was followed by a political debate, which focused on a new European Eastern policy, a new Ostpolitik. Through the organisation of these two events, the churches showed, once again, their eagerness to engage in building bridges for the way to peace and democracy.

February 3, 2021 - Iris Kempe

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