E-Mail: valer [at] arche.by
Russification and Democracy Failure/Promotion in the Post-Soviet space:
Could Russian-Speaking Societies in Belarus or Kyrgyzstan be Manipulated by Russia to bolster its geopolitical influence?
Election 2020 shocked Belarus and the whole world. First time in Belarusian history, hundreds of thousands people were mobilized to challenge Lukashenka regime which seemed eternal. Some people were killed during mass political protests, more than 45,000 protesters were arrested, and about 1,000 ones faced criminal persecution.
For researchers, the events may be interested in various regards. First of all, “new opposition” phenomenon attracts attention. To date, little is known about values, motivations and geopolitical expectations of the people who embodied and drove new protest movement. Scholars have a lack of reliable data to analyze the events. In Belarus, there is no sociology except some state-run agencies, because social polling/opinion polls are licensed by the state. Some sociologists try working illegally, but such researches have an applied character and a direct link to every-day politics.
Referring to a broader geopolitical background, 2020 political turmoil in Belarus was a part of political developments in ‘Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS). Currently, the political block includes 9 post-soviet states. In 2020, CIS was blurred by bloodshed as nowhere in the world. It was the scene of terrible state violence against citizens too. According to some estimations, in course of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan (both are CIS members) dozen of thousands people perished (combatants and noncombatants).
In 2020, both in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan there were attempts of „people revolutions”. In Kyrgyzstan, ‘anciene’ regime was finally toppled. However, mass political protests in Belarus have not led to desirable political results until now. In 2020 just half of (3 from 6) the ‘Collective Security Treaty Organization’ (CSTO) members (Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia) became the scene of bloody war / „people revolutions” which accompanied by explosions of uncontrollable violence. It is worth mentioning, that Belarus is only CIS member (except Russia itself), which granted for Russian ‘state language’ status. In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, it has an ‘official language’ status.
Traditionally, 2020 events in Belarus are described in paradigms of civil society / national movement bolstering or Imminent collapse of regime.
The research proposal offers a different optics. It has to answer, could 2020 events in Belarus be interpreted as particular attempt of Russian geopolitical balancing in broader post-soviet space. If so, what is shape of political future, desirable for Russia? Could consolidation of Russian influence in post-soviet area be considered as a sign of aggressive Russian confrontation with West? In event of success, it may have contributed to the better understanding of ‘revolutionary’ events.
During his stay at the ZZF, Valery Bulhakau researches in Department I "Communism and Society" / Während seines Gastaufenthalts am ZZF forscht Valery Bulhakau in Abteilung I "Kommunismus und Gesellschaft"