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Tag: belarus

The father that doesn’t want to leave: Between authoritarian violence and social anger in Belarus

Lukashenka is no longer a "batka", the father of all Belarusians. His supporters used this nickname because of their affirmation and his opponents – because of patriarchal nature for his rule. He himself accepted the name without a shred of modesty and at times spoke about his role in the third person. However, after 26 years, the children have rebelled and disowned their authoritarian father. By lying and using brutal violence, the long-term leader of the Belarusian state has irrevocably lost his legitimacy among the people. However, this only encourages him to stay in power – by any means necessary.

May 10, 2021 - Tadeusz Iwański

Farewell, nation!

The symbols and language of the 2020 Belarus protests circumvented the terminological deadlock of Belarusian identity, which for years had been attempted to be explained by national templates. Unconventional actions by the public have revealed a hidden picture of the mentality in Belarus, which has become a huge step towards a post-national future.

The ongoing Belarusian protests in addition to its obvious political aims, also solves a much more important issue. The public is abandoning the national template of self-determination as a civil order. For Belarusians in 2020, so many things have changed. For the first time in more than a quarter century, the authorities in Minsk felt a real danger to their existence and lost control over public opinion.

April 11, 2021 - Anton Saifullayeu

Who is afraid of the letter Ł? Łacinka and the Belarusian dictator

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the regime in Belarus has progressively made Belarusian into a monoscriptal language, with Cyrillic as its single official script. This Russification and the Union State with Russia appears to be Aljaksandar Łukašenka’s only constant programme for Belarus and its citizenry.

Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister and opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, did not hold Belarusian dictator Aljaksandar Łukašenka in high esteem (in this text we allow the author to use the national Latin script for Belarusian as explained later on in this essay – editor’s note). Nemtsov deemed him to be “a Slavic Qaddafi. He is an outrageous murderer and dictator, a completely insane person. He has nowhere to retreat. It is not worth waiting for a velvet revolution to happen.” No one cared to listen.

April 11, 2021 - Tomasz Kamusella

A book judged by its cover

A review of Revolution. By: Victor Martinovich. Published in Belarus by Knihazbor, Minsk 2020.

April 11, 2021 - Maxim Rust

The case of Tallinn’s Telliskivi Loomelinnak and the ‘Belarus. Protest. Art.’ exhibition

How the former Kalinin factory became a creative space to raise awareness for Belarus’s internal crisis and its artists who were forced to flee.

March 29, 2021 - Antonio Scancariello

Constitutional reform in Belarus: Consolidation or conflict?

The much-debated topic of constitutional reform in Belarus was discussed once again at the All-Belarusian People’s Congress in February. Lukashenka has requested a draft of the new constitution by the end of 2021. Will this settle the political conflict in Belarus or lead to more protests and violence?

March 3, 2021 - Hanna Vasilevich

Expelled and persecuted Belarusian students find refuge at Lithuanian universities

Belarusian university students have been forced to flee after attending protests and subsequently being expelled, persecuted and imprisoned. Some have found their way to Lithuania.

February 15, 2021 - Ieva Žvinakytė

Belarus 2020: achievements, disappointments and new hopes

With the regime still clinging to power and society increasingly strained, it is time to reflect on the extraordinary year in Belarus.

February 5, 2021 - Maxim Rust

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

History of facts. Dispassionate and detached

A review of Understanding Ukraine and Belarus: A Memoir. By: David R. Marples. Publisher: E-International Relations, 2020.

February 3, 2021 - Anastasiia Starchenko

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