Many politicians and commentators explain today’s Belarusians’ lack of interest in their national language and culture by Soviet policies. They claim it was the Communist regime which made this European nation forget its roots. A newly published report prepared in the inter-war period for the Polish authorities – which ruled the western part of today’s Belarus between the two World Wars – undermines such theories.
The report of Seweryn Wysłouch documents in great detail that the regions with a proven ethnic Belarusian population – which until the Second World War were spared from Communist rule – had few signs of Belarusian cultural, and even less political, activity, and in particular none linked to the Communist or Socialist movements. In other words, there was almost no Belarusian life for the Soviets to crush in 1939.