"Studying Belarus is like finding one’s way through a web of complex legacies": Hertie School students Lucy Kinski and Robert Schachtschneider form half of a group of Studienkolleg participants delving deeper into the complexities of this key former Soviet republic. Read their comments on their research...
In search of European Perspectives.
Studying Belarus is like finding one’s way through a web of complex legacies.
Having the chance of setting up our own research design, our group of the Studienkolleg zu Berlin 2010 went on the journey to scrutinise the development of the civil society in Belarus since its independence in 1991. Having signed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus after decennia of shared political destiny with Russia retained political independence. Forging its own destiny, Belarus pursued a political course which heavily relied on soviet legacy both in political and economic terms. Being denoted as the last dictatorship of Europe, Lukashenko as the master of puppets risked political isolation with the west and praised brotherhood with Moscow. Signs of appeasement through the Eastern Partnership, an EU sponsored initiative, can be traced but how does this affect the citizens of Belarus?
Since September 2009, us four intensively scanned text books, conducted interviews and elaborated on a research design which will guide us through our trip to Belarus. Despite the biased picture drawn by western media and our tendency to praise EU integration and the spread of liberal values, we want to go to Belarus without any bias to either side of integration (neither EU nor Russia) and encounter what people think. Do they feel more affiliated towards a common future with Russia or do they want the European way of life? Is the EU a goal to strive for or is Belarus(s)ian society better served via an alternative system of integration?
These questions accommodate our work right now. Two more months to go before we will start our project trip to Belarus. We are utmostly excited to conduct our field study and compile our data. If you want to get tuned on what we are doing, we invite you to follow our blog.
The Studienkolleg is an initiative of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Hertie Foundation giving scholarships to 30 talented young Europeans in order to promote their professional development.