A Life for Belarus
The Fall and Postmortal Rise of the USSR
This memoir of the first president of an independent Belarus (1991-1994) tells about the revival of independent Belarus, the difficulties in establishing a democracy and a market economy, a hardened Soviet mentality, and the political immaturity of the intelligentsia and obduracy of the old nomenklatura.
Stanislau Shushkevich, born in 1934, narrates his path from a son of an "enemy of the people" to a doctorate in physics, and then to be the first head of independent Belarus. A series of entertaining essays discuss some major events as well as some minor ones that are barely known. The book describes Shushkevich's role in hosting the Belavezha Accords, which brought about the end of the Soviet Union, and explores the motivation behind the decision for the de jure dissolution of the empire at a time when the major world leaders were categorically against the division of the USSR into independent states. The author draws particular attention to the role of the Baltic States in the late perestroika period. He also addresses the political passivity of the Soviet intelligentsia and the reasons for the revival of the Soviet Union in Russia and Belarus.
Shushkevich, who lives in Minsk, also provides valuable insights into contemporary Belarus, including an assessment of Lukashenka's controversial role in recent events.
About the Author
|Central European University Press|
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