Abstracts for Arche 9/2008

4 November 2008
Only in en

This issue was published shortly after the parliamentarian elections in Belarus on 28 September and contains several analysis on the background and political consequences.

The game with risen stakes: official Minsk’s quest for legitimization
The director of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Studies (BISS), Vital Silicki, writes on the political maneuvering of official Minsk before the election. After the bloody Russian invasion of Georgia, the frustrated Lukashenka regime sent some significant signals to the European political community (for instance discharging Lukashenka’s co-runner in the 2006 presidential election Alaksandar Kazilin), trying to achieve additional guarantees of its own stability and convince the western economic actors to invest in the Belarusian economy.

The balance of power within the Belarusian opposition before the parliamentary elections
The political observer, Jury Cavusau, sketches the opposition activity between major political campaigns in Belarus as well as the redistribution of the opposition capital, détente towards the West, blackmail policies etc.

Parliamentary elections: glass half-full or glass half empty?
The above mentioned Vital Silicki and his colleague from BISS, political expert Dzianis Mieljancou, express doubts that the rapprochement between the Belarusian regime and the western political community, including EU and USA, could be a stable and durable process. They argue that the dialogue was initiated without establishing common values, conditions, and clear and non-negotiable benchmarks for the new moves towards the Belarusian authorities. Hence, the dialogue looks like political bargaining because it depends on the current geopolitical juncture and variable political interests. The Belarusian regime, rooted in Eurasian despotism, remains incompatible with modern European political culture.

Belarus’s post-Georgia elections: a new paradigm or the same old balancing act?
Finally, a political expert of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Andrew Wilson, tries to forecast the short term policy implications of new Lukashenka “Titoist” game, i.e. making periodic and secondary overtures to the West to secure the maximum gains in the primary game with Russia.

Russian-Georgian war in the media space of Belarus: from the “forced friendship” to the surrender after an unsuccessful revolt
Political science professor from the European Humanities University Taciana Culickaja retraces the reaction of the official media to the Russian-Georgian war, which was relatively moderate and even critical towards Russia in spite of the initial expectations. The official media adopted the pro-Russian rhetoric only after the strongly-worded statements made by the Russian ambassador in Belarus Mr. Alexander Surikov and other Russian politicians, and on the threshold of the official meeting between the Belarusian and Russian presidents at the end of August.

Why I became a civic activist, but my classmates didn’t
A set of essays reveal the motivations that lead some prominent young leaders and personalities to political or public activism. Among the authors are Viciebsk-based activists Volha Karac and Vital Brouka, Minsk-based Darka Sitnikava, Juras Mielaskievic, and Michas Paskievic; Ales Chyhir from Babrujsk, and Ales Zarembiuk from Masty.

New media as a form of youth resistance
Editor in chief of CD-mag multi media magazine Iryna Vidanava considers the Internet as a last stronghold of independent Belarusian journalism under Lukashenka rule.

The cultural types and the political process
The political commentator of Radio Liberty Belarusian service Jury Drakachrust sorts out the cultural preconditions for the existing political orientations within the Belarusian society.

Generations in Belarusian Popular Front
The former deputy chief of the oldest oppositional party in Belarus, the Belarusian Popular Front (Bielaruski Narodny Front), Ales Michalevic reconstructs its history, including intergeneration divisions within the party, the clash of personal ambitions etc.

The new wave of emigration: different goals and values
The head of the Belarusian-American Association, the oldest and biggest Belarusian national organization in the United States, Viacka Stankievic suggests that the Belarusians who in recent years emigrated to the United States are generally more consumption-oriented than their compatriots who arrived in the US after WWII. He argues that a majority of the emigrants in the new wave are not interested in Belarusian issues, and that they do not participate in public activities. Many of them are only interested in their careers.

The powers and the weakness of modern authoritarian regimes
Professor Lucan Way from the University of Toronto (Canada) states that the political regime of Belarus is not an impenetrable stronghold, but rather has both strengths and weaknesses. However, the society’s ability to exert any pressure upon this regime is limited.

This ARCHE issue presents for the Belarusian readers:
Kathleen J Hancock, The Semi-Sovereign State: Belarus and the Russian Neo-Empire, originally published in Foreign Policy Analysis Vol 6, p.117-136. (2006). Hancock is a political scientist from the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Fragments from Noam Chomsky‘s popular book Understanding Power.

Poems by the Belarusian poets Andrej Dynko and Andrej Chadanovic.

Paviel Barkouski‘s review of the special issue of the Bialystok based journal Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, Volume 13 (26) 2008, entitled “Rationality in Belarusian Thinking”.

A short essay by Mahilou based essayist Vasil Auramienka in memory of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Published 4 November 2008

Original in Belarusian
First published in

Contributed by Arche
© Arche Eurozine


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