Prerequisites for Democracy, or Did Belarus Ever Have a Chance?

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To all appearances, the frequent attempts of the Belarusian authorities to make their point that “Belarus is not ready for democracy” are not just a way to secure ideological legitimization, but also a sincere belief of a significant part of the country’s political class. This idea is close to a revised version of the modernization theory: it is only when the “right” system of values and interests emerges in society that a successful transition to capitalism and democracy will be possible. An alternative idea – “Lukashenka is the one to blame for Belarusian autocracy” – tends to neglect the role of structural preconditions, sticking to the ‘deus-ex-Machina’ role of the Belarusian president. He descended to the political field in 1994 and distorted the course of the country’s political life. So, was Belarus really unprepared for democracy in the early 1990s, and is the Belarusian political trajectory really an anomaly?
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Last updated 06.10.2015
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