Saturday, July 22, 2023

Opposition to Russianization and Russification in Belarus Remains Widespread in Minsk, Moscow Commentator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 19 – Despite Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s recognition in 2020 that “soft Belarusianization” threats his country’s ties with Russia and the steps he has taken to promote Russian language and values and oppose Belarusian ones, opposition to Russianization and Russification in Belarus remains strong among officials, intellectuals and the Catholic Church.

            After 2020, Moscow commentator Artyom Karpovich says, Lukashenka increased the study of Russian and created a council on historical policy to reduce attention to Belarusian historical themes. He also sponsored a purge of Belarusian nationalists in his regime, but many remain (

            According to the commentator, “nationalists predominate in the humanities in Belarus at the State University of Culture and Arts, the State Academy of Arts, the unions of writers, artists, academic institutions, the humanities faculty at Belarusian State University, the Institute of History of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Linguistics and elsewhere.

            Moreover, school history textbooks haven’t been rewritten, and work has been delayed on the creation of a common Russian-Belarusian history textbook, Karpovich says. He says that the nationalists even feel confident enough that some Belarusian parliamentarians have called for “’positive discrimination’” to boost the use of the titular language.

            Lukashenka has closed more than 900 NGOs which were promoting Belarusian language and culture, but Western media continues to operate and to carry many of the same messages. All this needs to be stopped, Karpovich says in what appears to be a laundry list for a purge if Lukashenka wants to more closely integrate with Russia.

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