Russian-speaking Belarusian Nationalism: An Ethnolinguistic Identity Without a Language?
This essay examines the development of a form of Russian-speaking Belarusian national identity. While Belarus’s early post-Soviet nationalists relied upon Belarusian as the central pillar of national identity, this has been challenged by more ‘pragmatic’ nationalists using the ‘language of the people’, namely, Russian. Analysing history textbooks and popular history books that represent three key identity projects in Belarus, this study sheds light on the specific programmatic ideas of a new Russian-speaking Belarusian nationalism. Despite the emergence of the geopolitically-motivated Russian World (Russkii Mir) concept, some Russian-speaking nationalists have articulated a programme that paradoxically draws upon Russian neo-Eurasianist thought, but which is simultaneously anti-Russian.