Uladzimir Matskevich: “Litvinism” carries the germ of separatism

Aliaksei Yurych, EuroBelarus Information Service

The Russian forces that specialize in informational war believe that it is already possible to start fire of “Litvinism” in Belarus.

Actual fights and battles about “Litvinism” have been unfolding in social networks for several weeks.

“There are people who suggest changing the name of the country and the people, they blame all our misfortunes on the fact that we are called incorrectly. I want to emphasize that I’m against this idea. This kind of “Litvinism” was ctreated by our enemies and supported by our fools,” expressed his attitude to Litvinsm historian Ales Krautsevich.

What is “Litvinism”? Do we need to talk about this movement?

Uladzimir Matskevich, philosopher and methodologist replied to the question of EuroBelarus Information Service:

— Belarus has declared itself as an independent nation before the First World War.

The discussion about “Litvinism”, which broke out in Belarus may seem completely unimportant to many. But this trend has some very important points that need to be analyzed.

— So why is it important today to talk about Litvins and “Litvinism”?

— Firstly, “Litvinism” carries the germ of separatism. Separation of a civil nation according to quasi ethnic principle attracts those who seek to divide the country.

On the other hand, it is a kind of nostalgia for a certain historical era, which seems almost a “golden age”. It is dangerous as it distracts from addressing urgent matters. However, people are free, therefore no one can be made to participate in the construction of a modern thriving independent Belarus. Same as those nostalgic for USSR, this passion fills those with a very superficial knowledge of history: all arguments are reduced to the fact that people ignore one side of the history and emphasize the other.

— What unites people nostalgic for the Soviet Union and the Litvins?

— Litvins put the heroic centuries of the Great Duchy of Lithuania to the forefront, big victories, achievements and culture. But during the last two centuries of its existence, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a very different country; the 17th century saw degradation, a fall. The state was weak, there was no room for heroism, nobility, magnates. It is only the will and the mind the best part of the aristocracy and progressive magnates led to the whole Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth attempting to upgrade and return to the state of a modern European nation at the end of the 18th century. But this attempt failed due to the vestiges of feudalism.

Nevertheless, the modern European nation which Belarus aspires to become cannot be mono-ethnic and monogenic; it must boast all the wealth and power of the nation in all its diversity. Let the Litvins thrive, but we cannot allow Russian political techniques of the third generation use the idea of “Litvinism” to offend modern Belarusans.

Half-knowledge, half-education represents a great danger for the development of a modern country. When discussing politics, economics, sports, education, culture, there’s almost no distinction between the opinion and attitude of an expert and those who does not understand what they are talking about at all. This is a consequence of democracy and human rights. Indeed, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that does not mean that the opinion of competent people equals to the views held by barely educated citizens.

Therefore the problem of “Litvinism” is a matter worthy of the attention to not only the intellectuals, responsible politicians, but also requires the mass discussion. We need to talk about it, these ideas should be criticized, we have to develop an informed responsible attitude towards them.