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Expert: Nationalism in Belarus is explicitly turning into state ideology

Bogdan Bezpalko

The anti-Russian nationalism in Belarus will be growing and expanding within the near future, undoubtedly, Bogdan Bezpalko, a Russian political analyst told EADaily on December 3.

“It will be expanding with the support of the regime, which has adopted some more moderate elements of that nationalism,” the expert said.

He said Minsk uses that factor to bargain with Russia and to appeal to “the public will” in case of disagreement.  “Generally speaking, the Belorussian nationalism is gradually turning into a state ideology of Belarus. Although the external radical nationalists continue to criticize Alexander Lukashenko and still insist that Belarus is not a nationalist country, their rhetoric has changed too. For instance, during the last presidential campaign, the following saying was often voiced: ‘Sanya [Alexander Lukashenko] on the throne is better than Russian Vanya on a tank.’ This perfectly reflects the nationalist vector in Belarus,”   the expert said.

He thinks Lukashenko does not afraid of competition with the government-fed nationalism. “He does not think to let radicals to power. As for moderate nationalists, he has already let them to power and tries to become their leader – I think he does it quite successfully,” Bezpalko said.

As of the humanitarian policy Russia should wage in such situation, the expert said Moscow should rest upon the intellectual groups, organizations and communities that are pro-Russian, not the ones that are formally “on the list of friends” of the Russian bureaucracy.  “Unfortunately, Russia lacks sufficient instruments to influence the situation inside Belarus. Actually, Russia has no media that could inform the Belarus citizens of the Russian leadership’s views about particular issues.  The TV channels that are broadcast on the territory of Belarus mostly have entertaining content. The remaining media are thoroughly censored. That is, the information field in Belarus is very ‘sterile’ now – nearly as much as in Ukraine,” he said.

“We must develop methods and create the necessary information tools to inform the citizens of Belarus of our viewpoint of particular issues connected with our common history, our relations in economy and politics. After all, a huge part of the Belarus citizens is friendly to Russia and most Belarussians supported Crimea’s reunification with Russia,” Bezpalko recalled.

He is sure that Russia needs to deal with the persons, organizations and media that support its policy. “So far, nothing of the kind has been done.  Russia had not done it in Ukraine either,” Bogdan Bezpalko said.

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