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Flag of Belarus from 1991 to 1995.
Flag of Belarus from 1991 to 1995.

Belarusian nationalism is the nationalism that asserts the nationality of Belarusians.[1] It originated in the first decade of the 20th century.[2] The Belarusian People's Republic, declared on 25 March 1918, was the first manifestation of Belarusian statehood.[2]

Belarusian nationalism was faced with the problem of a lack of a Belarusian state prior to the 20th century.[2] This led to the Belarusian nationalists trying to find a Belarusian state in the past.[2] Belarusian nationalists claimed that the states of Polotsk and also the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were actually Belarusian, which was untrue.[2][3] Some Belarusian nationalists claimed the founders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were actually Belarusians and not Lithuanians.[2] This pseudohistorical theory that Belarusians created the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is called Litvinism.[4][5]

Many Belarusian nationalists, especially the BPF Party and Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic claim a large part of Lithuania (Vilnius County) as well as large parts of Russia (Smolensk Oblast and Bryansk Oblast), Latvia (Daugavpils District, Daugavpils and Krāslava District) and Poland (Podlaskie Voivodeship).[6][7][8]

Interwar

The Belarusian People's Republic, established in 1918, was occupied by communist Russia that same year, with its claimed territories later split between Polish and Russian occupiers into Western and Eastern Belorussia following the Polish–Soviet War.[6][9]

National Socialism

1930s

The Belarusian National Socialist Party [be] was formed in Vilnius in 1933. Well-known Belarusian figures became its ideologists: Fabian Akinchyts [be], Uładzisłau Kazłouski, Albin Stopovich [be], Lyavon Dubeikawski [be]. The Novy šliach [be] magazine was also founded. The National Socialist idea, popular in Europe, especially in Nazi Germany, based on nationalism and antisemitism, had a great influence on the development of Belarusian National Socialist thought .

The combination of the national idea with the socialist one was seen as the main condition for the unification and independence of Belarusians. Being both nationalists and socialists, the Belarusian National Socialists worked out a corresponding concept of the Belarusian statehood and its system.

Belarusian nationalism was needed as a resistance to both the policies of Polonization and Russification. Socialist views stemmed from criticisms of Marxism, Soviet economics and politics. The Belarusian National Socialists criticized Marxism and viewed the idea of ​​the Dictatorship of the proletariat as completely unsuitable in the Belarusian, partly agrarian, society. It was believed that the basis of the economy should be cooperatives. Marxism was rejected, as the National Socialists argued that each nation has its own peculiarities, and the socialist idea must take them into account. Criticizing the "construction of Socialism" in Soviet villages, with its Collectivization and widespread illiteracy of Kolkhoz chairmen, the socialist system in the countryside was supposed to be a state in which the peasants would get rid of all exploitation, whether bourgeois or proletarian.

The main milestones of the Belarusian National Socialism were reduced to the struggle for independence and improvement of life, for the welfare of the entire Belarusian people. Internationalism (international socialism) was considered the most harmful for Belarusians, because it was seen as a threat to the independent existence of peoples, especially those with low national consciousness.

The main slogan of the Belarusian National Socialist ideology was: "Against another's and one's own capitalism - one's own socialism, against another's nationalism - one's own nationalism ".[10]

The National Socialists gave a special place to Jews in their ideology  - they considered them the main culprits of the Belarusian economic decline. Poles were accused of polonizing, and Russians - of russifying the Belarusian people.

Attitudes toward religion whether it benefited or harmed the Belarusian nation. It was claimed that the Catholic and Russian Orthodox clergy mainly contributed to the polonization and russification, as well as to the interests of landowners and capitalists. They called for a resolute struggle against the "Polish-Catholic and Muscovite-Orthodox clergy ".[10]

1990s

In 1994, the Belarusian regional organization of the RNA [be] was founded in Belarus. The organization was pro-Russian, adhered to Russian nationalism. Observers note that after the death in 2000 of the then leader of the Belarusian branch of the RNA, Samojlaŭ [be], the organization declined. According to independent sources, in 2007 the RNA had only a few dozen members.[11]

In 1995, the band " Apraxia [be]" was founded. According to the band's leader, in an interview with a right-wing magazine, Apraxia (since 2003 called Molat [be]) was the only Belarusian band to openly and concretely before the Oskal band from Vitebsk (around 2005) declared its affiliation with the National Socialist movement.

2000s

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In 2002, the National Socialist black metal group PD SS. Totenkopf [be]. The band's songs revolved around anti-Semitism and nationalism. In the same year, 2002, the Rock Against Communism band Kamaedzitca [be] was founded. Participants of the Kamaedzitca consider themselves National Socialists, adhere to anti-Christian positions, support the idea of unifying of the peoples of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, considering them one people.

In November 2005, the far-right organization of skinheads " Belaya Volya " was established. Its ideology is characterized by populism, as well as speculation on social issues - from illegal migration to falling birth rates. The instigators of Belaya Volya identified several potential threats to Belarusian society: multinational corporations, Russian oligarchs, and liberalism. The organization completely fell into disrepair in 2010.

2010s

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In 2010, several NSBM groups were formed : "Wehrwolf [be]" (2011), "Dies Nefastus [be]" (2012), "Ulvkros [be]" (2015).

World War II

Belarusian nationalism was endorsed by the German occupiers of Byelorussia during World War II.[12]

Post-Soviet era

On 25 August 1991, the independent Republic of Belarus was proclaimed.[6]

Current Nationalist organizations

Today there are several organizations with the ideological basis of Belarusian nationalism, including the BPF Party, the CCP BPF, Young Front and the Right Alliance. The once prominent nationalist politician, Zianon Pazniak, has been described as authoritarian and politically radical and was blamed as one of the reasons for the opposition's defeat in the 1990s.[13]

Funeral procession for the Belarusian activist Mykhailo Zhyznevskyi surrounded by Belarusian White-Red-White, Ukrainian and flags of the UNA - UNSO organization on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv. Zhyznevskyi was killed during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv.
Funeral procession for the Belarusian activist Mykhailo Zhyznevskyi surrounded by Belarusian White-Red-White, Ukrainian and flags of the UNA - UNSO organization on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv. Zhyznevskyi was killed during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv.

Following the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014, a number of Belarusian nationalists fought along Ukrainian government troops.[14][15][16] The Monument to the Belarusians who died for Ukraine was opened on 28 March 2016 in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.[17]

Language

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Many Belarusian nationalists use the Belarusian language norm developed by Branislaw Tarashkyevich in 1918, the so-called Taraškievica. The Łacinka, a variant of writing the Belarusian language in the Latin alphabet, is used to a lesser extent, mostly by Belarusian diaspora.

References

  1. ^ Zaprudnik & Silitski, Jr. 2010, p. 45.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Motyl 2000, p. 44-45.
  3. ^ Rudling 2014, p. 13.
  4. ^ Bakaitė, Jurga (27 December 2011). "LRT FAKTAI. Ar lietuviams reikia bijoti baltarusių nacionalinio atgimimo?" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian National Radio and Television.
  5. ^ "Opinion: Why are our neighbours poaching our history?". Lithuania Tribune. 17 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Pazniak, Zianon (16 August 2004). "BELARUS IS AN EASTERN OUTPOST". New York. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Dawisha, Karen; Starr, S. Frederick (1994). National Identity and Ethnicity in Russia and the New States of Eurasia. p. 165. ISBN 9781563243547.
  8. ^ Pancerovas, Dovydas. "Ar perrašinėjamos istorijos pasakų įkvėpta Baltarusija gali kėsintis į Rytų Lietuvą?" [Can Belarus, inspired by the fairy tales of rewritten history, invade Eastern Lithuania?]. 15min.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  9. ^ Smok, Vadzim (9 December 2013). Belarusian Identity: the Impact of Lukashenka's Rule (PDF). Minsk-London: Ostrogorski Centre.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  10. ^ a b Hlahoŭskaja, Liena (9 July 2006). "БЕЛАРУСКІ НАЦЫЯНАЛ-САЦЫЯЛІЗМ і АСЯРОДЗЬДЗЕ "НОВАГА ШЛЯХУ" (кБНІ)" [Belarusian National Sociliasm and the environment "New Way" (kBNI)]. Беларусь - наша зямля (in Belarusian).((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Hruzdzilovič, Alieh (14 August 2007). "Расейскі фашызм у Беларусі" [Russian fascism in Belarus]. Радыё Свабода (in Belarusian).
  12. ^ Ioffe, Grigory (29 August 2019). "For the Sake of a Brighter Future, Belarusians Argue about the Past". Archived from the original on 13 April 2021.
  13. ^ Is There Nationalism in Belarus? // BelarusDigest, 5 March 2013
  14. ^ Belarusian ‘Vayar’ vs. ‘Black Hundred’ // InformNapalm
  15. ^ Belarusians are fighting in Avdeevka? // WeapoNews.com
  16. ^ Belarus Slowly and Carefully Walks Along the Ukrainian Path // stalkerzone.org
  17. ^ Monument to Belarusians who died for Ukraine was opened in Kyiv // Belsat TV

Literature

Notes

a. ^ The American historian Alexander J. Motyl labels this as a pro-Russian interpretation.[1]

b. ^ The American historian Alexander J. Motyl describes this book by Zaprudnik as nationalist.[1]

See also

  1. ^ a b Motyl 2000, p. 45.