Ryszard Radzik. Belarusians on the background of nation formation processes in Central and Eastern Europe

This article presents a comparison of the formation of nations with Belarusians, Ukrainians, Slovaks and Czechs. The author distinguishes three types of factors contributing to the processes of formation of nations in Central and Eastern Europe in ХIХ and early ХХ centuries. The first one enables such a process to begin but does not determine its direction. This is a level of civilizational development (communications, writing, urbanization, etc.). The second type is a set of cultural characteristics (single language, ethnicity, culture, tradition).They determine the possibilities of self-separation of a specific community, influencing, therefore, the direction of the formation of the nation. The third type is the state-political factors that may contribute to the national movements or vice versa, slow them down.

In the case of Belarusians, a weakness a linguistic factor and lack of memory of the nation-state individuality was supplemented by lack of the elites who saw themselves nationally Belarusians. To this we must add a strong backlog of infrastructure development and the absence of any political support for their movement until World War I. At least one of the above factors could change the situation in Belarus for the better.

Translated by Anatol Minkovsky