Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship by Andrew Wilson

By Andrew Wilson

This ebook is the 1st in English to discover either Belarus’s advanced street to nationhood and to ascertain intimately its politics and economics considering that 1991, the nation’s first 12 months of real independence. Andrew Wilson focuses specific cognizance on Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s amazing sturdiness as president, regardless of human rights abuses and involvement in another rigged election in December 2010.

Wilson seems at Belarusian historical past as a sequence of fake starts off within the medieval and pre-modern sessions, and on the many rival models of Belarusian identification, culminating with the Soviet Belarusian undertaking and the institution of Belarus’s present borders in the course of international warfare II. He additionally addresses Belarus’s on-off dating with Russia, its simultaneous makes an attempt to play a video game of stability within the no-man’s-land among Russia and the West, and the way, sarcastically, Belarus is finally changing into a real state less than the rule of thumb of Europe’s “last dictator.”

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In this period, the pagan Lithuanians were more likely to assimilate to east Slavic culture than the other way around. The last grand duke to speak Lithuanian was Kazimierz IV (Kazimieras in Lithuanian), who died in 1492. After the Union of Kreva in 1385, however, the Grand Duchy needed a new narrative to distinguish itself from both Poland and Muscovy, leading to the development of a common identity for the local east Slavs that in English is called ‘Ruthenian’ (or Rusyn), from the medieval Latin ethnonym ‘Rut(h)eni’, despite the tensions of the early fifteenth century and the civil war of the 1430s (see next chapter).

Indd 19 24/08/11 3:11 PM 20 B E L A R U S : A H I S TO RY O F C R O S S R OA D S Ukrainians typically argue that Muscovite political culture became ‘Mongolised’, seeking to show that the only significant civilisation to survive was in the south). The future Belarusian lands of the north-west, on the other hand, were protected by thick forests and the Polessian marshes in the south, and had fewer problems with the Mongol Tatars, although some historians claim that the threat of Tatar attack led Polatsk and others to seek Lithuanian protection.

It was also damaged by Peter the Great, who stored gunpowder in it during the Great Northern War in 1710. indd 10 24/08/11 3:10 PM P O L AT S K 11 of the St Safiia derives from the period of Uniate Catholic control in the eighteenth century. Also testament to the Christianisation of the region are the nine ‘Boris stones’ placed by the local princes by the river Dzvina in the twelfth century (two were blown up by the Communists), the largest of which is in Polatsk and is inscribed with a plea to the Lord ‘to help God’s servant, Boris’, thought to celebrate the faith of Boris (or Barys), son of Usiaslaw.

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