Friday, March 13, 2009

Belarus and Russia

Marek has left a new comment on your post "RE: Ukraine and Belarus in WWII.":

Well, I am no expert on Belarusian and Russian relations, but I can tell you that so much of that relationship balances on Lukashenko. His agenda seems to be a continued Russification of Belarus. It looks like the only people who speak Belarusian are in the villages... and getting older every day.

I think if the opposition party ever had a chance of winning an election then we might be able to see Belarus becoming more of a bridge between East and West.

I visited the western region this past summer, which is the traditional Kresy region of Poland. Most of the ones that I spoke did not approve of Lukashenko and agreed with my understanding of the situation.

Ukraine and Russia have always had a little more of a rocky relationship. I think it is because Ukrainians have a much stronger national identity (which is something Belarus misses). Russia has always done its best to try and be the leader among the Slavic nations.


Yes, very interesting. I ran across the following (at ) which is consistent with what you're saying about "Russification of Belarus." Very interesting, but it sounds as though you would rather see Belarus retain its individuality.

Liberal Democracies don't seem to care if a nation retains its individuality. In fact in many places if a region wanted to split away, most people wouldn't care. I think of Scotland and Quebec. Britain and non-French-speaking Canada would not go to war if Scotland and Quebec voted to be independent. As it is, Scotland and Quebec have no difficulty retaining their individual cultures (although some in Scotland might argue that).

But if we look at events in Scotland and Quebec, we find good arguments for retaining the current status. I imagine that is some of what Lukashenko has in mind. Belarus is tiny by modern standards, with a population in 2008 of 9,685,768. Furthermore, they have a history, as you know, of being overrun by more powerful nations; so if you can't do it yourself (defense) then the next best thing is to find someone who will do it for you. That is the way of the world. Even if there is some animosity between Belarus and Russia, Russia will protect Belarus in an emergency. We see the same sort of thing around the world in regard to America. Saudi Arabians, for example, may bad mouth us, and their children may rush off to bomb our World Trade Center, but if some other nation in the region were to militarily threaten Saudi Arabia, you can be sure that it would be on the phone at once to the White House. America will protect Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, present day Iraq, and many other nations around the world.

If the article I reference implies some sort of saber-rattling, I don't see it. Wouldn't be easier to see it as part of an ongoing Russian counter to the EU offer: Notice that the EU offer is contingent upon Belarus' cleaning up its act. Whereas Russia loves Belarus just the way it is.

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