Studi Slavistici I • 2004

Tra comunismo e globalizzazione: crisi della coscienza critica della cultura (Ucraina e Bielorussia)

Published 2004-12-01

How to Cite

Pachlovska, O. (2004). Tra comunismo e globalizzazione: crisi della coscienza critica della cultura (Ucraina e Bielorussia). Studi Slavistici, 1(1), 35–68.


Between Communism and Globalization: The Crisis of Culture's Critical Conscience (Ukraine and Belarus')

The fall of the Berlin Wall did not bring about . as people hoped . a rapid shift to democracy in Eastern European countries. The changeover from a .closed society. to an .open society. has proved to be much tougher than expected, fraught as it is with uncertainty and social unrest. First and foremost, the necessary straightforward coming to terms with the totalitarian past has not taken place. As a result, the gap between development in the West and the East has grown wider. Moreover, The West has been confronted with a most fragmented East ranging from Central Eastern Europe to Russia and the Balcans. Obviously, specific cultural traits underlie so many different tacks on the road to democracy. In going deeper into the phenomenon, two basic factors stand out: the political factor proper and the cultural factor at large. In point of fact, the road to democracy is particularly tough when it comes to the countries of Eastern Christianity, heirs to Byzanthium.s cultural heritage. In this area the tradition of a top-down structure is still very much alive, hampering on one side the building up of a civil society worth the name, and, on the other side, harbouring a new harvest of mafia-oriented economic ventures. As a matter of fact, politologists are actually talking of neototalitarianism on the political level, and neocolonization on the cultural level. The .Unfinished Revolution. has not led to a fruitful encounter between East and West, but rather to basic lack of communication, if not downright clash. The .Byzantine Slavic Triangle. (Russia, Belarus. and Ukraine) is quite pecular, with centrifugal and centripetal forces at work all at once. To start with, Russia is busy working on the building of a neo-imperialistic identity of its own, Eurasia. In its attempt, Russia is basically alien to those very principles that lie at the foundation of a European-style democracy. In Belarus. and Ukraine, instead, you can witness to different responses to the basic problem of coping with the totalitarian heritage. Thus, these two border-countries are quite enlightening in their respective endeavour. In particular, the degree of russification and/or sovietization is proving crucial, and this very basic fact can be traced back to underlying cultural factors still extant in the fabric of each of the two countries. In fact, Belarus., still very much imbued with neo-totalitarian traits, seems much more inclined to go in for the .Russian Choice., in spite of the strenuous resistence of its intelligentsia. Ukraine, instead, historically the very bridge between a Byzantine East and a humanistic West is still struggling at a crossroads. Ukrainian civilization, with its polimorphic culture (a tangle of more churches and more languages), has been able in the course of centuries to develop its typical culture of dialogue. That.s why the Ukrainian .republican tradition. enables the country to better counter the process of homogenization (once imperial and later sovietic) now under way and consequently stands a better chance to take the road to democracy. A staunchly pro-European opposition is doing everything in its power to stem the totalitarian trend. And there are still independent media which manage to make themselves heard. In other words, in Ukraine an alternative to the power in office is still possible. To conclude, Ukraine is indeed the last laboratory available in the construction of democracy in the Slavic-orthodox post communist universe. Whether Ukraine can manage or not to go the democratic way is crucial to the very set-up of tomorrow.s enlarged Europe as a whole. Politically it could develop into Europe.s easternmost frontier, and, culturally, it could contribute with its diversified lore to the very wealth of a most authentic Europe.


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