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Article

Национализм как средство воздействия на общественное мнение: случай Беларуси

The article examines the widespread assumption about nationalism possessing an irrational emotional appeal that invariably gains mass support. This notion is challenged by means of analyzing a “negative case” of the post-Soviet Belarus, where, unlike in the other countries of the region, nationalism was rejected by the majority of the population. The first section of the article is dedicated to the late Soviet and early post-Soviet movement for the “Belarusian national revival”, tracing key points of its program and ways of their presentation to the target audience, and revealing the inner controversies and their consequences. The second part of the article discusses the results of the early nationalist movement, explains their causes and contrasts it to the contemporary Belarusian nationalism. The research results suggest that nationalism is far from being a universal tool of securing mass support, or even of attracting mass attention. Nationalism is a valid mean of influencing public opinion only if its specific type and mode of presentation correspond to a request that had already existed in society. Moreover, despite its supposed variability, nationalist reasoning is ruled by its own inner logic, which can force an undesirable cause of action. Thus, besides representing a danger for society, especially in its xenophobic variety, nationalism may lead to harmful outcomes for nationalists themselves.