Manual State-Building: A Comparative Study of Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia

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It sees it as the first whole Belarusian state, created in a difficult historical period. An attempt at this became the proclamation of the BPR on March 25, The whole ethnic Belarusian community for the first time was proclaimed a sole democratic state. The aspirations of Belarusians to a national statehood had taken shape. The union in this context is not perceived by the majority of Belarusian society as a threat to independence or a loss of sovereignty.

In the official interpretation of the Belarusian past the initial and indivisible bound with Russia is not only a part of the Belarusian tradition, but also a basic element of Belarusianness. Having lost the official status and an access to institutional resources of the state, the alternative history has preserved a definite place in the symbolic cultural space. They can be bought in bookstores, borrowed from libraries, found on the Internet. Although for the official Belarusianness this context is related to Russia in particular or to the Slavic cultural universe in general, for the alternative Belarusianness it is Europe-orientated.

The way the Belarusian post-soviet development proceeded led to a peculiar situation. The ideas of the Belarusian national development articulated by the Belarusian nationalists were removed from the official scene, but continued to operate as the alternative project of the Belarusianness, the alternative set of symbols and values, the alternative basis for the Belarusian commonness. Historical discourses serve as a basis for a certain concept of Belarusianness; formulations and definition of this concept can be found in political discourses, where the national idea is articulated on the material of historical presentations of the Belarusian past.

Balakrishnan London: Verso, , Kovkel and E. Iarmusik, Istoria Belarusi s drevneishikh vremion do nashego vremeni Minsk: Aversez, , Martsul, Ya. He mentions for example, that the Symposium on the Belarusian ethnogenesis was banned by Soviet authorities V. Hrytskevich, Gistoria i mify Minsk: Belfrans, , 19— Chigrinov, Ocherki istorii Belarusi Minsk: Vysheishaia shkola, , Bandarchyk et al.

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Desktop version Mobile version. Results per book Results per chapter. Central European University Press. Chapter Political Discourses of the Alternative Belarusianness. Part V. Struggle over Identity. Search inside the book. Table of contents.

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  • Two “Non-Russias”.

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Harvard Ukrainian Studies

Budapest: Central European University Press, generated 25 septembre ISBN: Bekus, N. Bekus, Nelly. By Bekus. White cowsheds and herds of well-groomed cows. At a certain moment I realized that the forests look different too. They are transparent. All this taken together can be called a man-made miracle, including the forests cleaned of windfall and dead wood.

Ukraine and Belarus have two fundamental similarities and two no less fundamental distinctions.

Comparing Belarus and Ukraine

The second similarity is a logical continuation of the first one. To acquire self-identity, both Ukraine and Belarus had to dissociate themselves from Russia. Moreover, the deeper the feeling of kinship was, the more resolute the breakup was expected to be.

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Ending relations with a relative is always a more difficult decision than putting an end to a casual acquaintance. In Ukraine, ethnic nationalism was perceived and assimilated by about half of the population. In Galicia, which before had never been under any Russia-centric jurisdiction, ethnic nationalism was professed by an overwhelming majority of the population. The political regime makes another fundamental distinction. Belarusian sociologist Oleg Manayev in November told a U. Only in Belarus, the link between a senior official position and material wealth is not determined as strictly as in the two neighboring Eastern Slavic countries.

If one proceeds from the communal and collectivist traditions of the Eastern Slavs as a manifestation of solidarity in a traditional society and a strong association of individual enterprise with foreign greed, then it is easy to surmise that of the three political regimes, the Belarusian one is congruous with the traditional cultural matrix.

The stark contrast between the current state of affairs in Ukraine and Belarus is a consequence of the above-mentioned distinctions. In , Vyacheslau Yarashevich and this author arrived at the conclusion that in the post-Soviet years Belarus outperformed Ukraine and even Russia by such parameters as GDP growth rates, production and consumption of farm produce per capita, spending on education and healthcare per capita, and average life expectancy and infant mortality.

Belarus surpassed Ukraine, although it fell behind Russia in terms of gross income per capita, wages, pensions, and labor productivity Ioffe and Yarashevich, Without delving into the particularities of the intra-Ukrainian conflict, one should note that in Ukraine the desire to drift away from Russia and to do so in the most radical style has become dominant. Suffice it to say that in trade with Russia accounted for a mere Yet people-to-people relationships still exist and many Ukrainians today work in Russia.

For example, in January-September , 5. Naturally, a storm of criticism from the liberal-progressive camp followed. In that sense, the anti-Russian sentiment that continued to grow throughout the post-Soviet years was a natural extension and development of those trends, which were unable to manifest themselves earlier due to historical reasons. Which viewpoint in your opinion is closer to the truth?

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Alienation from Russia was an innate feature of the Ukrainian project, which is not surprising, though. The languages are close and a majority of the population have the same religion. The options to choose from are few. Pogrebinsky hit the nail on the head. A breakaway from Russia was inevitable, although the way it happened was not predetermined. It remains to be seen, though, whether it lost just one battle or the entire war. It would be logical to expect the same estrangement from Russia to happen in Belarus.

It is true that Belarus has retained Russia as a donor and trading partner, while at the same time the country has been trying to maintain relations with the West. Belarus even prosecuted Belarusian writers who write for ultra-patriotic Russian periodicals for calling into question the naturalness of the Belarusian language and statehood.

Moreover, Belarus has derived certain benefits from the crisis in Ukraine, won better acclaim on the international stage by providing a venue for international negotiations, and now presents itself to the world community as a donor of stability and a potential host of Helsinki Western strategists now believe that helping Belarus consolidate its independence is more important than campaigning for democracy in that country. This explains why Belarus is now a recipient of a moderate, but stable flow of funds from the European Union targeted at upgrading infrastructure and training public administration specialists.

In addition, the West has realized that controllability of an Eastern European country is no less important than the political orientation of its ruling regime. This conclusion is an immediate effect of comparisons between Belarus and Ukraine. The above-quoted Balasz Jarabik, for instance, says that it is hard to come to terms with Belarus, but once a deal has been clinched, its commitment to the letter and spirit of the agreement is more than guaranteed.

With Ukraine it is the opposite. Reaching agreements is easy, but adherence to the agreements can hardly be expected. The reason is simple, Belarus is a state, and Ukraine is not Kharitonov, There is another important consideration. But such distancing may take the form of civic nationalism in a situation where peaceful coexistence of different images of the future and elements of national memory and even different languages of communication becomes normal. This is precisely the civil track that the efforts to build the edifice of a nation is proceeding along in Belarus, albeit slowly and cautiously.

Indeed, the place of the Belarusian language in public discourse may grow, but Russian will remain dominant. The role of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the emergence of Belarusians as a nation will be recognized, but the role of the Russian Empire and its Soviet reincarnation, as well as the role of the Great Patriotic War, will remain the basic one.

Yet no less attention will be paid to the Sixth Conference of the Russian Communist Party Bolsheviks cells of the Western Region, which proclaimed the Belarussian Soviet Republic that eventually evolved into an independent Belarus. In Belarus, the possible triumph of inclusive civic nationalism may follow the defeat of ethnic nationalism, which failed to earn support from society. In fact, the experience of Belarus may well be implemented in Ukraine for several reasons.

Secondly, because the elements of civic nationalism are important to restoring peace and accord in Ukraine. It is very unlikely that the national memory rules Vladimir Vyatrovich wants to implant will ever bring this about. Moreover, Lukashenko is the sole post-Soviet national leader alongside Putin who congratulates veteran Soviet performers in Russia and offers condolences when they die. This custom of his is in accordance with the way ordinary Belarusians think and feel. Professor Mikhail Minakov of the Kiev Mohyla Academy expressed a revealing and suggestive opinion about whether the Belarusian experience may be used in Ukraine.

But one should remember that when in the second half of the s the Lukashenko regime was just finding its feet, it was not attractive at all. Twenty-five years on, we can see that we have not yet achieved the level of the GDP in fixed prices we had in the last Soviet years, while the Belarusians have nearly doubled it. This socio-economic price of freedom and non-freedom is impressive.

The revolutionary cycles between and and and went like this: promises of democracy, freedom and wealth; the rise of the oligarchs, an attempt to establish an authoritarian regime; an uprising, and more promises of democracy. Today it is hard to estimate how many people actually reside in Ukraine, because millions have migrated to Russia, Poland, and other countries, including Belarus. All this indicates that the geopolitical pendulum will start moving eastwards sooner or later—not because salvation is there, but by virtue of the inversion logic all revolution cycles follow.

Time morphs into space, and vice versa. The centuries-long history of East-West fluctuations has hardly dropped out of the genetic code. When the pendulum sways, then the experience of building Belarusian statehood and Belarusian civic nationalism will be in demand and put to use in Ukraine. For this to happen, though, Belarusian identity must be given a chance to develop on its native soil. Ignoring this warning is fraught with not just the risk of not ever seeing the Belarusian experience materialize in Ukraine, but with the loss of Belarus, too.

Artemyev, M. Itogi blokady Donbassa. Forbes, 4 January. Danilov, I. Drakokhrust, Yu. Belorusskie gastarbaitery—zerkalo narodnoi dushi. Dynko, A. Aimed at nonspecialists and specialists alike, it presents an overview of the main government policies, and the social and cultural issues facing the new state. These are placed within their historical, regional and global framework. In contrast with the generally bleak picture that international media reports present, the book suggests that Ukraine has actually accomplished a great deal in a short time.

In seven years, from to , Ukraine went from being a little-known nation within a non-democratic state to an internationally recognized independent country.