Substitution of Civil Society in Belarus: Government-Organised Non-Governmental Organisations

Belarus, as a young state that received its full independence only in 1991, had no historical record of sovereignty except for a few months in 1918. This short period of time did little to create the foundations for a historical discourse for most Belarusians. When compared to Ukraine, the Baltic States or Poland, due to historic ties, Belarus’ path is different in many respects. In terms of civil society, or civil movements, a pre-independent Belarus never had its own Sajudis, a reform movement in neighbouring Lithuania that organised the struggle for independence in the 1990s, or massive workers movement like Solidarity in Poland. Likewise, no province existed that could shape discourse like Ukraine’s Galicia, a flourishing island of independent intellectual thought throughout its history.