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Regular version of the site

Article

Small state imperialism: the place of empire in contemporary nationalist discourse

Nations and Nationalism. 2016. Vol. 22. No. 1. P. 103-122.
Fabrykant M., Buhr R.

Many modern European nations can trace their heritage back to one of the large multinational empires that once encompassed much of the European landscape, and nationalising elites often refer back to their place in these empires for the materials upon which their nation was purportedly built. In this article we examine some Belarusian nationalising elites and their references to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in order to demonstrate a recent trend in East European small-state national identity construction, which we refer to as ‘small state imperialism.’ Small state imperialism exhibits realist characteristics and paints the small nation's place in empires of the past as privileged and aggressive, and in this way deviates from the oppressed but morally superior image one typically expects of a small nation. This interpretation is not limited to Belarus; in a number of East European states a similar imperialist turn has taken root in nationalist discourses.