Advertisement

Concepts of the Nation and Legitimation in Belarus

Chapter

Abstract

The durability of authoritarianism in Belarus is an anomaly by world standards. Various studies have noted that Belarus’s regime has significantly exceeded the average lifespan of comparable authoritarian regime types elsewhere around the globe. In July 2014, the Belarusian political regime had outlived the average comparable political regime by between 1 and 17 years, depending on the definition of such regimes.1 This stability is particularly puzzling in the regional post-communist context, where electoral protests toppled authoritarian incumbents in Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan (see Bunce and Wolchik, 2011; Hale, 2015).2 Belarus too has experienced conditions apparently advantageous for democratization, including an opposition that has tried to imitate successful mobilization strategies from other countries, popular support for democracy, a relatively high level of economic development, a skilled workforce and geographical proximity to Europe. Despite circumstances similar to those in countries that have overthrown authoritarian regimes, Belarus’ trajectory has diverged from that taken in Ukraine (Burant, 1995; Kuzio and Nordberg, 1999; Korosteleva, 2004; Way, 2010).

Keywords

National Identity Presidential Election Nation Concept National Unity World Value Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Almond, G. A. and S. Verba (1989) The Civic Culture Revisited (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
  2. Art, D. (2012) ‘What Do We Know About Authoritarianism After Ten Years?’, Comparative Politics, 44(3), 351–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bader, M. (2009) ‘Understanding Party Politics in the Former Soviet Union’, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 17(2), 100–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bank, A. (2009) ‘Die Renaissance des Autoritarismus. Erkenntnisse und Grenzen neuerer Beiträge der Comparative Politics und Nahostforschung’, Hamburg Review of Social Sciences, 4(1), 10–41.Google Scholar
  5. Bekus, N. (2010) Struggle over Identity: The Official and the Alternative ‘Belarusianness’ (Budapest: CEU Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brubaker, R. (1998) ‘Myths and Misconceptions in the Study of Nationalism’, in J. A. Hall (ed.) The State of the Nation. Ernest Gellner and the Theory of Nationalism (New York: Cambridge University Press), 272–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brubaker, R. (1999) ‘The Manichean Myth: Rethinking the Distinction Between ≪Civic≫ and ≪Ethnic≫ Nationalism’, in Kriesi, H., K. Armingeon, H. Siegrist and A. Wimmer (eds) Nation and National Identity The European Experience In Perspective (Chur/Zürich: Verlag Rüegger).Google Scholar
  8. Bugrova, I. (1998) Politische Kultur in Belarus. Eine Rekonstruktion der Entwicklung vom Grossfürstentum Litauen zum Lukaschenko — Regime (Mannheim: Universität Mannheim), http://www.uni-mannheim.de/fkks/english/fkks18.pdf, accessed 7 March 2015.Google Scholar
  9. Buhr, R. L., V. Shadurski and S. Hoffman (2011) ‘Belarus: An Emerging Civic Nation?’, Nationalities Papers, 39(3), 425–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bulhakau, V. and A. Komorowska (2006) Belarus: Neither Europe, Nor Russia Opinions of Belarusian Elites (Warsaw: Stefan Batory Foundation).Google Scholar
  11. Bunce, V. and S. L. Wolchik (2011) Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burant, S. R. (1995) ‘Foreign Policy and National Identity: A Comparison of Ukraine and Belarus’, Europe-Asia Studies, 47(7), 1125–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burnell, P. (2006) ‘Autocratic Opening to Democracy: Why Legitimacy Matters’, Third World Quarterly, 27(4), 545–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chavusau, J. (2007) ‘Belarus’ Civic Sector’, in M. Pejda (ed.) Hopes, Illusions, Perspectives: Belarusian Society (Warsaw: East European Democratic Centre), 6–15.Google Scholar
  15. Chudakov, M. F., A. E. Vashkevich, S. A. Al’fer, M. K. Plisko and A. O. Dobrovol’skii (2002) Politicheskie partii: Belarus’ i sovremennyi mir (Minsk: Tesei).Google Scholar
  16. Dahl, R. A. (1971) Polyarchy; Participation and Opposition (New Haven: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  17. EVS (2014) European Values Study 2008: Integrated Dataset (EVS 2008) (Cologne: GESIS Data Archive).Google Scholar
  18. Feduta, A., O. Boguzkij and W. Martinowitsch (2003) Politische Parteien in Belarus als notwendiger Bestandteil der Zivilgesellschaft (Minsk: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung).Google Scholar
  19. Feduta, A. (2005) Lukashenko. Politicheskaia biografiia (Moscow: Referendum).Google Scholar
  20. Frear, M. (2011) An Anatomy of Adaptive Authoritarianism. Belarus under Aliaksandr Lukashenka (unpublished PhD dissertation).Google Scholar
  21. Geddes, B. (1999) ‘What Do We Know About Democratization After 20 years?’, Annual Review of Political Science, 2(1), 115–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gerschewski, J. (2013) ‘The Three Pillars of Stability: Legitimation, Repression, and Co-Optation in Autocratic Regimes’, Democratization, 20(1), 13–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goode, J. P. (2010) ‘Redefining Russia: Hybrid Regimes, Fieldwork, and Russian Politics’, Perspectives on Politics, 8(4), 1055–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goujon, A. (1999) ‘Language, Nationalism, and Populism in Belarus’, Nationalities Papers, 27(4), 661–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hadenius, A. and J. Teorell (2007) ‘Pathways from Authoritarianism’, Journal of Democracy, 18(1), 143–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hale, H. E. (2015) Patronal Politics: Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  27. Holbig, H. (2013) ‘Ideology After the End of Ideology. China and the Quest for Autocratic Legitimation’, Democratization, 20(1), 61–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. IISEPS (2013a) Between Chaos and Dictatorship. http://iiseps.org/analitica/547/lang/en, accessed 7 March 2015.
  29. IISEPS (2013b) Geopolitical Lull. http://iiseps.org/analitica/543/lang/en, accessed 7 March 2015.
  30. IISEPS (2014) Ukrainskaia revolutsiia v zerkale obshchestvennogo mneniia Belarusi. http://iiseps.org/analitica/571, accessed 7 March 2015.
  31. Ioffe, G. (2003) ‘Understanding Belarus: Belarussian Identity’, Europe-Asia Studies, 55(8), 1241–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ioffe, G. (2007) ‘Culture Wars, Soul-Searching, and Belarusian Identity’, East European Politics & Societies, 21(2), 348–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kailitz, S. (2013) ‘Classifying Political Regimes Revisited: Legitimation and Durability’, Democratization, 20(1), 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kazakevich, A. (2005) ‘Kul’turny fon belaruskai palityki’, in V. Bulgakau (ed.) Nainoushaia gistoryia belaruskaga parliamentaryzmu (Minsk: Analitychny Grudok). http://kamunikat.org/halounaja.html?pubid=3390, accessed 7 March 2015.Google Scholar
  35. Kazakevich, A. (2011) ‘Concepts (Ideas) of the Belarusian Nation since Gaining Independence (1990–2009)’, Belarusian Political Science Review, (01), 47–68.Google Scholar
  36. Koeker, P. (2014) Semi-Structured Elite Interviews in a Nested Analysis Framework: Studying Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe, SAGE Research Methods Cases (London: SAGE Publications).Google Scholar
  37. Korosteleva, E. A. (2004) ‘The Quality of Democracy in Belarus and Ukraine’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 20(1), 122–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Korosteleva, E. (2012) ‘Questioning Democracy Promotion: Belarus’ Response to the “Colour Revolutions”’, Democratization, 19(1), 37–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kuzio, T. and M. Nordberg (1999) ‘Nation and State Building, Historical Legacies and National Identities in Belarus and Ukraine: A Comparative Analysis’, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, 26(1–2), 69–90.Google Scholar
  40. Lastouski, A. (2011a) ‘Crisis of Belarusian Studies’, Belarusian Political Science Review, (01), 227–235.Google Scholar
  41. Lastouski, A. (2011b) ‘Russo-Centrism as an Ideological Project of Belarusian Identity’, Belarusian Political Science Review, (01), 23–46.Google Scholar
  42. Leshchenko, N. (2004) ‘A Fine Instrument: Two Nation-Building Strategies in Post-Soviet Belarus’, Nations and Nationalism, 10(3), 333–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Leshchenko, N. (2008) ‘The National Ideology and the Basis of the Lukashenka Regime in Belarus’, Europe-Asia Studies, 60(8), 1419–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. March, A. F. (2003) ‘From Leninism to Karimovism: Hegemony, Ideology, and Authoritarian Legitimation’, Post-Soviet Affairs, 19(4), 307–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marples, D. R. (2007) ‘Elections and Nation-Building in Belarus: A Comment on Ioffe’, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 48(1), 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marples, D. R. (2012) ‘History, Memory, and the Second World War in Belarus’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, 58(3), 437–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Matveeva, A. (2009) ‘Legitimising Central Asian Authoritarianism: Political Manipulation and Symbolic Power’, Europe-Asia Studies, 61(7), 1095–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Medvedev, R. (2010) Aleksandr Lukashenko. Kontury belorusskoi modeli (Moscow: BBPG).Google Scholar
  49. Nikolayenko, O. (2012) ‘Tactical Interactions Between Youth Movements and Incumbent Governments in Postcommunist States’, Nonviolent Conflict and Civil Resistance, 34, 27–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rovdo, V. (2009) Politicheskaia sistema Respubliki Belarus (Vilnius: European Humanities University).Google Scholar
  51. Rustow, D. A. (1970) ‘Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model’, Comparative Politics, 2(3), 337–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sahm, A. (1999) ‘Political Culture and National Symbols: Their Impact on the Belarusian Nation-Building Process’, Nationalities Papers, 27(4), 649–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schmidt, S. (2003) ‘Theoretische Überlegungen zum Konzept “politische Stabilität”’, in S. Faad (ed.) Stabilitätsprobleme zentraler Staaten: Ägypten, Algerien, Saudi-Arabien, Iran, Pakistan und die regionalen Auswirkungen (Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut 2003), 9–39.Google Scholar
  54. Shutskii, V. (2014) ‘Kul’turnaia Politika Belarusi’, Revue Regard sur l’Est, 19 June. Available at: http://www.regard-est.com/home/, accessed 7 March 2015.
  55. Silitski, V. (2005) ‘Preempting Democracy: The Case of Belarus’, Journal of Democracy, 16(4), 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Smith, A. D. (1990) ‘The Supersession of Nationalism?’ International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 31(1), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stuzhinskaya, O. (2013) ‘Belarusian Youth: Europeanisation on the Agenda’, European View, 12(2), 279–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stykow, P. (2010) ‘“Bunte Revolutionen” — Durchbruch zur Demokratie oder Modus der autoritären Systemreproduktion?’, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 51(1), 137–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tanneberg, D., C. Stefes and W. Merkel (2013) ‘Hard Times and Regime Failure: Autocratic Responses to Economic Downturns’, Contemporary Politics, 19(1), 115–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Voldnes, G., K. Grønhaug and G. Sogn-Grundvåg (2014) ‘Conducting Qualitative Research in Russia: Challenges and Advice’, Journal of East-West Business, 20(3), 141–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Way, L. A. (2010) ‘National Identity and Authoritarianism: Belarus and Ukraine Compared’, in: P. D’Anieri (ed.) Orange Revolution and Aftermath. Mobilization, Apathy, and the State in Ukraine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), 129–59.Google Scholar
  62. Wilson, A. (2011) Belarus: The Last Dictatorship in Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  63. WVS (2014) World Values Survey wave 6 2010–14 (Madrid: Asep/JDS).Google Scholar
  64. Zaprudnik, J. (2003) ‘Belarus. In Search of National Identity Between 1986 and 2000’, in Korosteleva, E., C. Lawson and R. Marsh (eds) Contemporary Belarus: Between Democracy and Dictatorship (London/New York: RoutledgeCurzon), 118–9.Google Scholar

Annex: List of interview partners

  1. Full interview transcripts (in Russian, Polish and German) are available upon request from the author.Google Scholar
  2. Abramova, Olga: Co-president of the Movement of Supporters for Democratic Reform in the early 1990s;member of parliament (1996–2008); since 1997, chairwoman of Iabloko, a Belarusian sister organization to the Russian Iabloko, a liberal party.Google Scholar
  3. Akudovich, Valentin: Philosopher and writer, has taught at the Belarusian Collegium and elsewhere. He has written extensively about Belarusian national identity.Google Scholar
  4. Buival, Valerii: Politician representing the Conservative Christian Party of the Belarusian People’s Front.Google Scholar
  5. Chausov (Chavusau), Iurii: Political scientist, legal expert for the Assembly of NGOs of Belarus, the country’s largest association of pro-democratic civil-society organizations.Google Scholar
  6. Feduta, Aleksandr: Contributed to Aleksandr Lukashenko’s 1994 election campaign and briefly worked in the presidential administration until 1995. Afterward, he mainly worked as a journalist. In 2005, he published the first biography of the Belarusian president, called Lukashenko: A Political Biography. Since the presidential elections in 2010, he has served as a political advisor to Vladimir Neklaev, leader of the Speak the Truth Movement.Google Scholar
  7. Kaliakin, Sergei: Leader of the oppositional Belarusian left-wing party ‘A Just World’.Google Scholar
  8. Krishtapovich, Lev. Vice-director of the Informational-Analytical Center of the Presidential Administration. Prof Essor, historian and philosopher. Helped develop the official Belarusian state ideology in 2002–03.Google Scholar
  9. Manaev, Oleg: Prof Essor of sociology, co-founder of IISEPS, Belarus’s main independent opinion pollster.Google Scholar
  10. Milinkevich, Aleksandr: Nominated by the Congress of Democratic Forces as the opposition unity candidate for the 2006 presidential elections. Withdrew his candidacy in the 2010 elections. Leader of the For Freedom Movement.Google Scholar
  11. Pazniak, Zianon: One of the founders of the Belarusian People’s Front in 1988. Until his exile in 1996, he was leader of the BPF parliamentary group. Serves as leader in exile of the Conservative Christian Party of the Belarusian People’s Front.Google Scholar
  12. Pigarev, Sergei: Deputy chairman of the Belaia Rus’ republican public association, which functions as a quasi-party of power, although it is not registered as such. A total of 63 of the 110 deputies elected to parliament in 2012 are members of Belaia Rus’.Google Scholar
  13. Rymashevskii, Vitalii. Co-President of Belarusian Christian-Democracy (BChD). Presidential candidate in the 2010 presidential elections.Google Scholar
  14. Shevtsov, Iurii: Historian, analyst, political technologist. Head of the Center for Issues of European Integration in Minsk. Author of the book United Nation: The Phenomenon of Belarus.Google Scholar
  15. Trusov, Oleg: Head of the Frantsishak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society since 1999. An archeologist by education, he was a member of parliament from 1990–1996. Co-founder of the Belarusian People’s Front and the Belarusian Social Democratic Assembly.Google Scholar
  16. Viachorka, Franak: Youth leader and media manager. Was a member of Young Front and chairman of the youth organization of the BPF (Partiia BNF). In 2006 he was a staff member in Alexander Milinkevich’s campaign.Google Scholar
  17. Viachorka, Vintsuk: One of the founders and a leader of the Belarusian People’s Front (Partiia BNF) from 1999 to 2007.Google Scholar
  18. Iaroshchuk, Aleksandr: Since 2002, has served as leader of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, the primary umbrella group for state-independent trade unions in Belarus.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fabian Burkhardt 2016

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations