Kastuś Kalinoŭski and the Belarusian National Idea: Research Problems

Often, the interpretation of the issue of ‘Kalinoŭski and the Belarusian idea’ lacks precisely a historical approach that would take into account the realities of the mid-nineteenth century. This resulted in a clear modernization of the past. Researchers treated Kalinoŭski as if he were their contemporary, or at least as a person who lived and worked in the ‘age of nationalism’. Meanwhile, in the 1860s there was little evidence that this age had come to the Belarusian lands. The problem of ‘Kalinoŭski and the Belarusian National Idea’ is not merely a question of his world view and his own sense of national identity. Its integral component is the study of the genesis and evolution of the idea itself. Kalinoŭski should not be regarded as the creator or bearer of the Belarusian national idea, but as an important historical link in developing it.

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