In Belarus the state systematically hinders the development of civil society. NGOs have difficulties registering, functioning and sustaining their organisations. Some individuals related to the civil sector are persecuted, fined, imprisoned. Therefore a number of NGOs are registered abroad and civil society activists move with them to continue their work on Belarusian issues. In this article we aim to define people who left Belarus in order to work for Belarus as Belarusian Political Nomads, using the notion of transnational subjectivity to explore their migration strategies.
The article is based on 15 semi-structured interviews held in London (UK) and Vilnius (LT). Interviews were analysed using the concepts of transnational subjectivities and political nomadism, and combining elements from a critical events narrative analysis approach.
People who left Belarus to work for Belarus are Belarusian Political Nomads, because they create new democratic development visions for Belarus. Their individual political motivation can stem from the critical events that were registered in this research as turning points. Informants, individual conditions, histories and life experiences influence the outcomes of these events in terms of interpretation and induced motivation to engage in civil society activities.
Belarusian Political Nomads form their migration strategies on the basis of their transnational subjectivities, which can be characterised by temporal and symbolic relations to the receiving country, and long-term intensive dissociative relations to the sending countries’ political regime, as well as a strong relationship to the new visions of Belarus.