Nelly Bekus

is the author of Struggle Over Identity: The Official and the Alternative ‘Belarusianness’ (2010). She defended her doctoral dissertation at the Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences. Previously, she was an assistant professor at the University of Warsaw and now teaches in the history department at the University of Exeter (UK).


Cover for: Politics and identity in Belarus

Politics and identity in Belarus

An interview with Nelly Bekus

Belarus and its people are currently navigating complex processes of democratization. From clashes on the streets to intellectual discourse on political rhetoric and media representation, the official line on Belarusian identity comes under scrutiny.

The extent of a person’s freedom is determined by the status of their passport. For people who live outside the EU’s charmed circle, travelling not only earns them the distrust of the country they wish to leave, but also of the country they wish to enter, writes Nelly Bekus-Goncharova.

Nelly Bekus Goncharova uncovers the social and political function of clothing in today’s Belarus: Clothing is used amongst other things to project an image of wealth and glamour that betrays the underlying poverty of the county. Primarily, however, it serves as a way to rework the recent communist past of Belarus.

An invisible wall

The hidden factor of Belarusian reality

Contrary to other former socialist Central and Eastern European countries, Belarus has hardly undergone any cultural and economic changes and remains cut off from the international arena. At the core of this problem, argues Nelly Bekus-Goncharova, is the Belarusian media landscape which proves incapable of creating an integrated informational space. State media and independent mass media remain locked in self-absorbed and separate discourses, neither of which provide a projection of what is really happening in Belarus. Can this deadlock be overcome?

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