Geographical Position: Blessing or Curse?
It can be said that Belarus is equally blessed and cursed by its geographical location. On one hand, it is positioned between Russian Federation and the Western Europe and can potentially serve as a window of opportunity because Belarus is the direct and closest bridge for Russian energy exports into Western European markets (World Bank, 2006). On the other hand, throughout the centuries many Belarusian neighbors had not been overly friendly or considerate when crossing this symbolic bridge.
Modern day Belarus traces its history from various local princedoms starting with IX century, Grand Duchy of Lithuania in XIII century, Polish-Lithuanian state in XVI and North-Western district of Russian Empire in XVIII century (Arlou, Saganovich, 1997). With an exception of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania historical period, Belarus’ powerful neighbors, Russian and Polish empires, carved up its territory numerous times.
Janka Kupala, famous Belarusian writer, portrayed such historical gyrations in his play called “Tuteyshia” or “Locals”. In the play he shows 15 local characters out of which only three identify themselves as Belarusian, the rest thinks of themselves as Polish or Russian and consequently sees borders extending towards West or East. The play not only shows how political and historical precedents are reflected on Belarusian population’s perspectives but it also indicates vulnerability of Belarusian society and identity to Polish and Russian claims on Belarus (Ioffe, 2003). In other words, these transformations and constant political changes left long lasting consequences on not only Belarusian territory but also on its future social and economic institutions.
- How do energy politics impact national sovereignty of Belarus? Situation overview
- How do energy politics impact national sovereignty of Belarus? Introduction.
- Claims on White Russia…
- Polish, Russian, Lithuanian? Or maybe White Ruthenian?
- “White Russia Secedes”. A bit of history laced with newspaper news