The Awakening of Belarus

FiS PAN European Studies Unit seminar

The Awakening of Belarus

27 April 2022, 2 p.m., Room 154

Welcome remarks: Prof. Józef Niżnik
Guest Speaker: Prof. Pavel Barkouski
Moderator: Dr Joanna Fomina


The whole world was surprised by the scale of social upheavals that swept Belarus in 2020. Having been in a state of conserved autocracy for many years, Belarus did not look like a region of spontaneous democratic impulse. However, while most of the world was battling the pandemic, Belarusians came out to fight for their freedom. What was behind their willingness to demand changes after years of dictatorship? Why was a mass social movement possible? Belarusians are in favor of a democratic choice, but at the same time they do not strive to join the European Union. How does the search for new foundations for a democratic agenda look like in the context of the crisis of the neoliberal democratic model prevalent in the West? Is a partial return to the ancient ideals of people’s democracy and direct participation of citizens in the life of the country possible? How should civil society change and what new (horizontal) connections and structures may be required for this change? Not instead of, but together with the traditional model of NGOs: the experience of Belarusian courtyard communities and socio-political crowdfunding. Peaceful revolution and an attempt to transform society in a non-violent way. What does the new embodiment of Christian values ​​and the moral and ethical background of social tension have to do with it? Fighting a dictatorship is a moral choice of a citizen and a rejection of the postmodern gray zone of political understanding. New (para)fascism with a Belarusian face and natural ways of confronting evil. Could changes happen peacefully? Belarus as a donor of regional instability now and the means to cure that.

Prof. Pavel Barkouski is visiting professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in 2005 became Docent in 2009. Until 2020 he was docent of the Belarusian State University and in 2020 he was Visiting Fellow at The Institute for Human Sciences, IWM (Vienna, Austria). From 2009 he has also been a coordinator of Belarusian philosophical Space (Prastora), a non-governmental and non-commercial association  (BFP, that organizes a wide range of public events, including lectures and seminars, round tables and discussions, the international scientific conference and the short meter film festivals, summer schools and presentations. He has also been the head coordinator of the Laboratory of scientific and artistic translation and the initiator of the project titled “The Great ‘500 translations’ for Belarusian Humanities Education”, aimed at translation and publication of the corps of some classical and modern texts in humanities for the change of the mental characteristics of the Belarusian society. From 2010 Barkouski is been an active member of the college staff and provider of the educational program “The Flying university” (

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