Volume 2 Fascicle 2 (December 1995)


Ryszard Radzik

The causes of weakness of development of the process of national formation during the last two hundred years are analyzed in the article.

Firstly, they are in the contents of the culture of belarusian people itself. Belarusian society of the 20-th century being industrialized and urbanized has found itself to be formed to an unproportionally (in compare with other societies) great extent of the contents deriving from the peasant culture. Belarusian village has preserved the rem- nants of feudalism for a long time. Belarusian peasants being often illiterary in pre-revolutionary years thought in the categories of a village, a religious community, a district and they were unable to over-local ideological concepts. They took their language (dialect) rather practically than ideologically. Such a kind of mentality follo- wed them while the mass urban migration in the period of socialist in- dustrialization. Rusificationalist policy of the authorities had an effect that the Belarusians prefered Russian which was attractive to them in the view of its cultural level and general state status. But, however, they never treated it in the national categories.

The second reason is the absence of a social stratum which was inte- rested in formation of belarusian society and which was able to stimu- late the process of its development. Before the revolution the circle of belarusian intellectuals was not wide enough. After the revolution new bureaucratic-intellectual stratum was completely dependable from the state and was subjected to quick sovietization. Its representati- ves brought peasant mentality to the urban soil and thought in the ca- tegories of soviet ideals, thanks to which it took its stand by promo- ting of people of humble origin but not to belarusian national values.

The third cause is a great influence of actual authorities on formati- on of the belarusian nation. The tsarist authorities considered the Belarusians to be a branch of the Russians, didn't permit to open be- larusian schools, and during ten years prohibited press in Belarusian. The soviet authorities kept to a policy <197> excluding the 1920-s <197> which was in the view of the Belarusians rusificationalist (some of leaders of the Republic even didn't know language of local people). The authorities of Poland between the wars didn't assist the formation of the belarusian nation.

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