Concepts of the Nation and Legitimation in Belarus



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).


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.


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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
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  17. Viachorka, Vintsuk: One of the founders and a leader of the Belarusian People’s Front (Partiia BNF) from 1999 to 2007.Google Scholar
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© Fabian Burkhardt 2016

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