Numbering Belarus: How It Compares with Russia

By Raiklin, Ernest | The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Numbering Belarus: How It Compares with Russia


Raiklin, Ernest, The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies


Recent polls show that Belarus is the country the Russian people view most favorably. In this article, the author examines this perception by presenting a variety of data, comparing Belarus first with the other Soviet Union republics/post-Soviet independent states and then with Soviet/post-Soviet Russia itself. Armed with this data, the reader is prepared to judge whether the favorable perception is justified.

Key Words: Soviet/post-Soviet Belarus; Soviet/post-Soviet Russia; other Soviet/post-Soviet republics; The "Belorussian Path;" Demographic comparisons; Macroeconomic comparisons (ODP, its structure and growth, external debt); Socioeconomic comparisons (the standard of living, forms of ownership).

The reader might ask: Why Belarus? What is so special about this landlocked, small European country surrounded by Poland to the west, Lithuania and Latvia to the north, Russia to the east, and Ukraine to the south?1

In the opinion of this author, the particularity of Belarus lies not in the country per se but in the importance given to it by its neighbor, Russia, one of the world powers. According to a public opinion poll conducted in 2007 by the Russian Levada-center2, Belarus is the country of which the Russian people have the most favorable view. In the eyes of the Russian people, it occupies the first place among Russia's possible allies.

The same Russian source points out that the major factor for the Russian attraction to Belarus is the latter's presumed way of development. Many Russians, nostalgic about the Soviet system, see in Belarus a country that has preserved the basic elements of the Soviet structure. These Russians believe that because Belarus, unlike Russia, had no dramatic economic reforms, the country has been able to sustain the relatively comfortable life of the Brezhnev period. As a result, according to the same source, about 68 percent of the Russian people support the rapprochement between Russia and Belarus, including 74 percent of the retirees.3

Moreover, approximately four percent of the Russian population would welcome A. Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, as president of Russia. The desire is more pronounced among the Russian military personnel.4 This portion of the Russian population sees in Lukashenko a gatherer of Slavic lands (Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) into a unified country and a successful fighter against corruption, markets, privatization, foreign "American-European-Jewish-Masonic imperialism," domestic oligarchic comprador capitalism, and squandering of the country's natural resources.5

Is there any justification in Russia's thinking this way about Belarus? That is, is Belarus, in its post-Soviet developmental pattern and achievements, a special post-Soviet case and really what the Russians believe it is? If yes, what are the causes for that Belorussian path? And if not, then would it be advisable that Russians stop diverting their energy into creating illusions about their neighbors but concentrate instead on improvements of life in their own country?

This article endeavors to address these questions by analyzing the socioeconomic conditions in Soviet and post-Soviet Belarus and by comparing them with the similar periods in other former Soviet republics, including Russia.6

We deliberately begin our analysis not by comparing Belarus to Russia but by placing Belarus among the fifteen (when it is possible) or fewer (when the data for all the fifteen are not available) former Soviet republics, which are now independent states, successors to those union republics. In such a priority of narration, we attempt to avoid accusations of pro or contra bias by staying as neutral as possible. If we were to start directly with Belarus versus Russia and if the former turns out to be less (more) successful than the latter, the outcome would be unacceptable to those in Russia who believe that the Belorussian post-Soviet developmental way is better (worse) and more (less) humane than the Russian one. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Numbering Belarus: How It Compares with Russia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.