Transition From Communism Belarus Essay Research Paper

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Transition From Communism: Belarus Essay, Research Paper The Eastern European country chosen for discussion is Belarus. This paper will first discuss the transition from communism based on the experience of living under communist rule. Second, the significant historical factors from 1920-1991 that led to the fall of communism will be given and traced as to how they affected the process of the transition. Finally, the choices made by Belarus during and after the transition period will be traced back to historical and transitional factors that influenced them. Inarguable evidence will be noted throughout the paper to prove the need for transition from communism and the problems with the transition. The country of Belarus is still in transition. How do they compare? Most if not

all of the other former Soviet Republics have reached a post-transition status. The transition from communism is negatively experienced by Belarus due to the recurring problems with Russia in the former Soviet Union. The historical factors that affected transition are the emergence of Belarus nationalism, which is generally credited to the Nasha Niva, a journal published in the 1906-1915 period, and the abandonment of “belorusizatiia”, which was the policy of national language for each individual republic, in the 1930’s (Altshuler 1998). The ethnic-national conflict, which was created roughly over the past 80 years, was not solved with the break-up of the Soviet Union. This was because of Soviet national policy and how it established “independent” states that were

solely dependent on the Communist Party Central Committee (Altshuler 1998). The possible unification of Belarus and Russia is also very important because of how it is affecting transition. The unification is slowing transition to a crawl, when looked at from the opposition to Lukashevko. Choices that are being made to day reflect an authoritarian renewal. The country of Belarus elected Aleksandr Lukashevko in 1994 as their first president, this was detrimental to the complete success of a transition to democracy. Belarus proclaimed independence in March 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire following the Polish-Soviet war. The eastern region became part of the Soviet Union and Poland occupied the western region. Belarusian nationalism, which is credited to the Nasha Niva,

the journal published in the 1906-1915 period, was of critical importance to the Rebirth Movement for self-determination of the Belarusian people at that time, and the name has strong symbolic value today (Altshuler 1998). Publication of the Nasha Niva wasn’t seen again until 1991. It uses traditional Belarusian orthography which was banned in 1933 as part of the Stalinist anti-nationalism and Russification. So when Belarus declared its independence in 1918 they also began this nationalistic movement only to see it come to an end when the Soviet Union took control prior to World War II. Belarus suffered enormous devastation and lost one-quarter of its population during the war. Belarusian nationalism was frowned upon by the Soviet Union and their national identity stripped.

Soviet policy towards language was good up through the 1930’s. The policy of “belorusizatiia” gave clear priority to the language of the Belarusian nationality. The framework of this policy had Soviet authorities encouraging schools who worked with the Belarusian language. This linguistic policy was intended to give this language a prestige status and to encourage the use in private and public life (Altshuler 1998). As said, this policy was abandoned in the 1930’s and encouragement of the use of the Russian language gathered strength in the fifty years following World War II. This really stripped Belarus of a national identity, they were forced to abandon their national language and accept the Russian language as their own. The experience with communism from the beginning