Crimea and Donbas do not seem to be enough for Russia. Is there any threat to Belarus? At any rate, the theoretical background for turning Belarus into Russia’s North-Western Territory is being created now.
For example, the idea of the Soviet period being the ‘highest stage in the national, social, cultural and economic development of the Belarusian people’ permeates the book BSSR and Western Belarus: 1919 – 1939. The presentation of this book and two other publications devoted to the ‘true history’ of Belarus took place in Moscow’s office of the state-controlled news agency Interfax.
“The works by ‘Western Russianists’ were published for the money allocated as part of president Putin’s grant to ‘national charitable foundations’. Their target is Belarusian readers; their content is served as an alternative to the history ‘imposed’ by Warsaw, Vilnius, Washington and even Berlin. For example, according to one author, the hero of Belarus was not Kastus Kalinouski, but Mikhail Muravyov also known as ‘Cannibal’ and ‘Hangman’.
“This man [Mikhail Muravyov] made an enormous contribution to the liberation of the Belarusian peasantry, to defending the Russian Orthodox church, to the education of the Russian people, who lived in the territory of Belarus,” political analyst Alexei Kochetkov, a participant in the event in Moscow, said.
Presenting anti-Belarusian or, more precisely, Russophile ideas by the authors cost to Russia’s taxpayers 2.5 mln rubles in 2016. The state budget gave the amount to the orderer of the books and organizer of the CIS-EMO presentation for the ‘development of the humanitarian foundation of Russian-Belarusian integration and countering the falsification of history’. It is obvious that ‘Wesstern Russianists’ treat the history of Belarus as ‘mythology’ of ‘Russophobic nature’.
“This mythology lies in the sphere of interest of Belarusian nationalism. It may be different. There is the official nationalism of Lukashenka’s regime. The nationalism of the opposition also exists. But they are related by their ideological basis,” says Alexander Bendin, the the author of one of the books mentioned.
The key myth it sells is the unity of the Soviet regime.
“Over the 70 years of the Soviets, the rule changed at least 5-6 times. And the Soviet government, which was in Belarus in the 20s, is not the same that existed in the 30s. In the 20s the policy of Belarusization was pursued, but in the 30s Stalinists aimed at the total destruction of all that could be named ‘Belarusian’. Therefore one should not think the Soviet regime was not varying. It is a big mistake of Soviet historians,” says Aleh Trusau, Head of the Belarusian Language Society.
By the way, it was the first and still the only president of Belarus Alyaksandr Lukashenka who came to power on a wave of nostalgia for the Soviet Union in 1994.
The authors of the theory of Belarus being part of Russia would like to boast of the ‘success’ of the project ‘The Union State’ which began to be created 20 years ago. However, integration processes turn to be limited to windу talks and firm handshakes.