Nationalism, Identity and the Belarusian State

  • Ed Jocelyn
Part of the International Congress of Central and East Europian Studies book series (ICCEES)


Nationalism and the formation of nation-states in Europe are usually treated in the context of the evolution and political mobilisation of ‘national consciousness’.1 This collective, national identity may be considered to derive from recognition of a primordial, ‘natural’ phenomenon (that is, the ‘nation’); it may be treated as both a resuit of and an actor in the interplay of socio-economic and political forces; or it may be reduced to what Anthony Smith describes as ‘a communion of imagery’, whose basis is a ‘text’ made up of images and cultural constructs.2 However, while the existence of different ‘levels’ of national consciousness is accepted, with the exception of analyses proceeding from this final conception (which Smith labels as ‘post-modernist’) the phenomenon of national consciousness itself tends to be taken as undifferentiated and unproblematic, and this has certainly been the case with studies of the former Soviet Union.


National Identity Collective Identity National Consciousness Political Mobilisation Political Significance 
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  1. Anthony D. Smith, ‘Gastronomy or Geology? The Role of Nationalism in the Reconstruction of Nations’, Nations and Nationalism 1, no.l (1995), pp.3-23 (p.9).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Quoted in V. Lastouski, Shto treba vedats’ kazhnamu belarusu (Minsk: Tararystva belaruskai movy, 1991), p. l 1.Google Scholar
  3. Walter Stankievich, ‘Belorussian Popular Front Announces its Electoral Platform’, RFE/RL Report on the USSR, 12 January 1990, pp.20-23 (p.22).Google Scholar
  4. S.L. Guthier, ‘The Belorussians: National Identification and Assimilation, 1897-1970’, Soviet Studies XXIX, no.l (1977), p.55.Google Scholar
  5. Michael Urban and J. Zaprudnik, ‘Belarus: A Long Road to Nationhood’, in Ian Bremmer and Raymond Taras (eds), Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp.99-120 (p.108).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • Ed Jocelyn

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