Edition: Lublin 2014
The article is focused on the attitudes of the Belarusian society towards the events on the Ukrainian Maidan in 2014 and, to some extent, on the official policy of the Belarusian administration of President Alexander Lukashenka. Based mainly on sociological surveys conducted by independent research centres, an interpretation of these attitudes considers the historical and cultural background of the country, as well as its social structure and mentality. A Pro-Russian perspective in Belarus which is critical of the Maidan events and the new Kiev authorities, and accepts the Russian annexation of the Crimea and the military intervention in eastern Ukraine, is clearly more visible in 2014 than it was in the case of the much more peaceful Orange Revolution of 2004. One of the main factors at play is that Belarusians distance themselves from the idea of resorting to violence and the use of military force in the current crisis, and put the blame on the Ukrainian side. It turns out that Belarusians are greatly influenced by Russian TV stations and their utterly onesided approach and pro-Donbas separatist bias. As Lukashenka has not made any effort to build a consolidated national community, at the time of crisis Belarusians, in their hope for being spared the Ukrainian fate, are much more inclined to integrate with Russia than with the European Union. Lukaskenka, however, is aware of the fact that once the Ukrainian crisis is over, Russia can exert more pressure to integrate with Belarus, which would be a major threat to his power (and which might not be strongly opposed in the country). Under such circumstances, he is trying to be more independent in his relations with Russia and, to a certain extent, giving verbal support to the new Ukrainian leadership and their vision of the country within its established borders. Considering that Belarus is greatly dependent on Russia, both economically and politically, Lukashenka’s options are rather limited and he cannot really assume a major role in the game.