The book sheds light on processes of Belarusian nation-building and identity formation during the interwar period. It provides a complete analysis of the Soviet policy of Belarusization in interwar Belarus (1924-1929).
The analysis covers issues pertaining to the formation of national identity, the incorporation of the Belarusian national language into educational and administrative spheres within the policy of Belarusization and its acceptance by the dif-
ferent strata of the multi-ethnic society in the BSSR of that period. The monograph also sheds light on the reasons for the launching and ceasing of that policy as well as on the interrelation between the Communist Party and the
Belarusian national intelligentsia.
Belarusian institutional historical memory (as defined by Richard Ned Lebow) and the interpretation of Belarusian national history have experienced radical shifts in the past several decades. The first shift (1990–1994) was characterized by radical rejection of the interpretational and methodological patterns of the Soviet period, resulting in the creation of a new concept of Belarusian national history and historical narrative.
The second shift in the existing historical narrative and institutional memory followed rapidly. It came with the transformation from a parliamentary republic into a parliamentary-presidential (1994) and then presidential republic (1996). The second wave demonstrated a clear shift towards a methodological, theoretical approach and terminological framework typical of the historiography of the Soviet period. These changes were in response to the growing demands for ideological control of institutionalized historical research supported by the government in the same decade.
One of the characteristic features of recent Belarusian state-sponsored historiography (Lyč, Chigrinov, Marcuĺ, Novik and others) is the linking of post-Soviet national initiatives to Nazi occupation and collaboration in World War II. Another typical feature is simplifying historical explanations and often using undisguised pejorative terminology.
The last shift in institutional historical memory also resulted in further re-interpretations of many symbolic centres and milestones of Belarusian history (for example, the period of the first years of post-Soviet independence, the introduction of new national symbols (Pahonia coat of arms and white-red-white flag) and the interwar nationality policy of Belarusization of the 1920s.)