Thursday, December 22, 2022

Three Disturbing Studies from Belarus

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 20 – Moscow’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta features the result of three new studies among Belarusians about their identities, the traumas they have suffered, and the sense that their country is rapidly making the tradition from authoritarianism to full-blown totalitarianism (

            First, a survey conducted by Malanka.Media concludes that there are two different societies in Belarus, sociologist Filippp Bikanov reports, with the smaller one, which can be described as “Soviet” seeking in every way to subordinate the larger one  which is best categorized as “Belarusian national-romantic.”

            This survey found that 14 percent of Belarusians are nationally conscious, 29 percent Soviet in their understanding, 13 percent in the process of defining who they are, 13 percent indifferent, and four percent Russified. The 2020 protests, Bikanov says, made the idea of Belarus as a separate nation more popular but it also polarized society.

            Second, the Center for New Ideas conducted a survey on those who had taken part in the protests. Thirty percent of them said they had suffered physical attacks from the authorities, and 50 percent said they had seen other people attacked. Seventy percent said they still felt traumatized and were concerned about the lack of a vision of a future for their country.

            And third, Artyom Shraybman, a Belarusian political scientist, has published new research on the rise of totalitarianism in Belarus. He says that the Lukashenka regime is ceasing to be merely authoritarian and becoming instead fully totalitarian, something that should have surprised no one because Lukashenka has his roots in Soviet times.

            According to the analyst, there are as yet no reasons to think that Lukashenka will change course.

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