Why it’s Important to Support the Belarusian Language to Overcome the post-colonialism in Belarus

Have you ever thought of the Soviet Union as a colonial state?

There are many reasons why historians and political scientists have described the Soviet Union as a colonial state. One of the central ideas was that the Soviet system was oppressing nationalities inside of it. The goal was to elevate a Russian-speaking “Soviet citizen.” The primary and only language was supposed to be – Russian. The State treated all other nations but the Russian majority as second-class citizens.

Another reason why the Soviet Union was a colonial state is that it often used military force to maintain control over its territories. For example, the Soviet Union invaded and annexed several neighboring countries, including Poland, the Baltic states, and parts of Finland. The Soviet Union often justified these actions to protect the interests and its people. Still, they were also a means of expanding Soviet influence and power.

The Soviet Union also imposed economic and political systems on its controlled territories. The metropole set Soviet-style communism on the nationalities within the Soviet Union and countries under Soviet influence. The Soviet System suppressed local cultures and traditions and imposed a Soviet-style bureaucracy on local populations.

Overall, the Soviet Union was a colonial state because it sought to control and dominate the incorporated territories, often at the expense of local populations and cultures. Moreover, while the Soviet Union did provide some benefits to the domains it contained, such as education and healthcare, these benefits were often outweighed by the negative aspects of Soviet rule.

From this prospect, we will discuss Belarus, its past, and its possible future.

Post-colonialism in Belarus has been a topic of much discussion in recent years. Belarus was once part of the Soviet Union, and its history as a colony of the Soviet Union has had a lasting impact on the country. Many scholars argue that Belarus still struggles with the legacy of Soviet colonialism and that this legacy is evident in its politics, economics, and social structures.

Belarus was a state in the colonial Russian and later – Soviet Empire. The administrative center of the Empire – Moscow, was responsible for the decisions made and directed to its colonies with no other goal but to obligatory execute the orders.

After gaining Independence, Belarus had a chance to overcome post-colonial syndrome and head toward a bright and prosperous future. But the country failed it and has to stumble with the Reaction now.

Let’s take a look at what post-colonialism is.

Post-colonialism is a complex and multifaceted topic that examines colonialism’s cultural, economic, and political legacies. It is concerned with how the histories of colonialism continue to shape our world today and with the struggles for liberation and decolonization that have taken place in the wake of colonialism.

Post-colonialism in ex-Soviet countries refers to the aftermath of Soviet rule and its impact on these nations’ cultural, social, and economic landscape. While the Soviet Union officially dissolved in 1991, its legacy lives on in many ways. As a result, the process of decolonization in these countries has been complex and ongoing, marked by political turmoil, economic hardship, and cultural transformations.

One of the most significant legacies of Soviet rule in these countries is the persistence of authoritarian political systems. Nevertheless, many ex-Soviet states have struggled to establish stable democratic governments, with corruption and political repression remaining significant challenges. Moreover, the crash of the Empire contributed to ongoing social and economic problems, including poverty, inequality, and unemployment. And it played a negative role in Belarus. As a result, most people chose revisionist Alexander Lukashenka during the presidential elections in 1994. In his program, he offered the return to Soviet times with working factories, some stability, and close relations with Russia.

At the same time, post-colonialism in ex-Soviet countries and Belarus has also led to a resurgence of national identity and cultural expression. People in these countries have sought to establish their distinct identities separate from the Soviet Union. As a result, we saw a renewed interest in traditional culture and heritage.

Thus, in 1990, the “Law on Languages” was adopted in the Belarusian parliament. As a result, the Belarusian language became the state language. Furthermore, the government introduced a ten-year plan to implement the Belarusian language into all spheres of life in Belarus.

But Lukashenka saw it as a menace to his power and his main goal – restoring the Soviet-like State. As a result, the usage of the Belarusian language was shrinking yearly. The number of schools with the Belarusian language diminished drastically. No university or higher education institution has Belarusian language as the language of learning.

A new-old metropole – the Moscow state – directs most of the political rulings again in Belarus. Russia even decided alone to deploy troops in Belarus before the invasion of Ukraine. Therefore, it’s easy to prove that Belarus has never had any reason to participate in any aggression against its Southern neighbor.

Thus Belarus is stuck now between its Soviet colonial past and possible European post-colonial future. But the country has to break ties with the metropole to take a step ahead.

Some countries like Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia fought against the weakening monster. They also sacrificed the lives of their patriots and heroes, but the Empire was already looking like a railed-off train. In 2014 Ukraine faced an enemy which had already restored its muscles and was craving fresh blood.

And here we come to the point that without a victorious and free Ukraine, there is no future for free and independent Belarus.

The ongoing war may weaken the Russian imperial monster again. Belarus will be able to profit from it by quitting the orbit of Moscow’s influence.

And undoubtedly, Belarusians have to be prepared to utilize this opening. One of the instruments is the Belarusian language.

At the end of the 18th century, the American founding fathers deeply understood the importance of mentally separating the new State from the Empire of King George III. And the language question was one of the highly discussable topics in most discourses.

Some of the speakers proposed to use the German language – the second unofficial country’s language at that time. There were also the ideas to invent a new language or to speak Hebrew. And here came Noah Webster, who decided to end these debates and adopt the American speech practices in a new version of the English language.

In Belarus, people can refrain from inventing any new language or rewriting a new version of a widely-used Russian language. Everything they need is to spread the usage of the Belarusian language. People must use their national language to secure their future and cut ties with the dying Russian Empire.

The Belarusian language is only the beginning of the long and heavy path. Still, it’s also a high start to this marathon. All that is needed now from the Western countries is the support of the runners and fair judgment during the race.

Marlon Parker

US – Belarus