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Harriman Institute




What Does Belarus Teach Us? East European Revolutions from Warsaw and Prague to Kyiv and Minsk

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program and the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute Columbia University for a presentation by Mykola Riabchuk (Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). Moderated by Mark Andryczyk Associate Research Scholar Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute.

The ongoing political protests in Belarus not only question the popular view of the country as allegedly bereft of a strong national identity and civil society but also challenge the institutionalized divide of postcommunist Eastern Europe into a ‘good’ non-Soviet part eligible for gradual integration into the EU and NATO and a ‘bad’ post-Soviet part removed from Europe shifted into the obscure ‘Eurasia’ and tacitly left in the Russian ‘sphere of influence’. A series of revolutionary upheavals in post-Soviet states in the past two decades demonstrates a profound disagreement of those nations with the subaltern quasi-sovereign role assigned to them by both Brussels and Moscow and implies that the notorious ‘Berlin Wall’ should be ultimately dismantled rather than merely shifted to the eastern borders of the EU. Revolutions in Belarus Ukraine Georgia and elsewhere in post-Soviet states have the same causes agendas and driving forces as revolutions in Poland Czechoslovakia and further west; all of them are attempts to complete the unfinished business of 1989-1991 overcome post-Soviet authoritarianism and put the nations on the road of catch-up modernization.

Mykola Riabchuk is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a lecturer at the University of Warsaw and Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Since 2014 he has headed the Ukrainian PEN-center and the jury of the “Angelus” international literary award. Dr. Riabchuk has penned several books and many articles on civil society state/nation building nationalism national identity and postcommunist transition in Eastern Europe particularly in Ukraine. Five of his books were translated into Polish and one into French (De la petit Russie a l’Ukraine 2003) German (Die reale und die imaginierte Ukraine 2005) and Hungarian (A két Ukraina 2015). His work was distinguished with a number of national and international awards and fellowships including Fulbright (1994-96 2016) Reagan-Fascell (2011) and EURIAS (2013-14).

Event Video