Belarus is known as “the last dictatorship of Europe”, yet its president enjoys public support. Its economy remains largely Soviet, yet exhibits high growth rates. Belarus styles itself as a European country yet clings to Russia as the only ally. The book explains these paradoxes by delving into history of Belarusian national institutions, including civil society, and the state.
The book starts with an analysis of Belarusian national development from the time of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the short-lived Belarusian People’s Republic of 1918. The discussion turns to the crucial interwar period, when all national institutions of modern Belarus had taken shape. Belarus’s surprising ability to cope with post-Soviet economic and geopolitical changes is discussed in the final chapter.
Andrew Savchenko received a Ph.D. from Brown University. His publications include a book on post-communist transformations in Belarus, Poland and the Baltic States. More recently he co-edited a volume on intellectual legacy of Talcott Parsons. Andrew Savchenko teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.
"Andrew Savchenko’s book may be seen as a valuable contribution to Belarusian studies produced in the West – the author used a challenging approach toward the Belarusian situation showing Belarusian national development from the XVI century up to the present, even if using existing stereotypes."
Kiryl Kascian and Hanna Vasilevich, in Belarusian Review, Vol. 24, No. 4.
"The absence of a well-defined national identity explains many aspects of Belarussian history. It explains, as the author implies, the reason why Belarus has continued to gravitate to Russia and has not fully developed a market economy or a democracy in the manner of other post-Soviet states.... an important contribution to the study of a country that, despite its small size, has played an important role in global politics."
Dmitry Shlapentokh, Indiana University, in
Europe-Asia Studies, 63:7, 1302-1304
Table of contents
Foreword and acknowledgments
Introduction. Images, concepts, and history of a borderland
Chapter One. The making of a borderland
1.1. European neighborhoods and Eurasian borderlands.
1.2. An unfinished prelude to a modern nation: Belarus and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1.3. On the threshold of modernity: Belarus, defined by Poles and Russians.
Ex Oriente Lux: the Belarusian national state and the Soviet Union
2.1. A discordant overture to nationhood (1914-1918).
2.2. Soviet Belarus between the wars: the birth of a nation.
2.3. Belarusians in interwar Poland: hostages to history.
2.4. The war of 1941-1945 and the consecration of the national myth.
2.5. The enduring charm of real socialism: Belarus in 1945-1990.
Chapter Three. Borderland forever: modern Belarus.
3.1. See no evil: Belarus in the twilight of the Soviet era.
3.2. Paradise lost: Belarus and the disintegration of the Soviet economy.
3.3. Back to the future: populist Belarus under Alyaksandar Lukashenka.
3.4. Political economy of institutional symbiosis: Belarus and Russia building future together.
Conclusion. Whither Belarus?
The book will be of interest to politicians and scholars, students and entrepreneurs, or anyone who wants to know more about the enigmatic country Belarus on the outskirts of Europe. The book would be of immediate interest to academic libraries, institutes, and researchers.