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University of Oslo

Bucerius Dissertation Completion Scholarship

Political Rituals Under Autocratic Rule in Belarus, 1995-2015: Symbols, Performances and Popular Beliefs


The study focuses on political rituals, such as national celebrations, commemorations and official ceremonies, in independent Belarus from 1995 until 2015 and their role in the autocratic political system. Maryia argues that symbolic strategies employed during political rituals have become an integrative pillar of authoritarian stability in Belarus. Political rituals mitigate potential social demands and visualize popular approval of the current political order, thus increasing the level of resilience of authoritarian leadership. The main objective of this research project is to enhance our understanding of the role of symbols and rituals in sustaining political power and to clarify how symbolic strategies impact public behavior and attitudes of the population. By placing political rituals in the context of authoritarian power consolidation, I am interested in understanding how ideological shifts in the rhetoric of the Belarusian autocratic leadership display social and political shifts in the Belarusian society.

Maryia Rohava is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oslo and a Marie-Curie fellow in the ITN “Post-Soviet Tensions” project. She completed a Master’s degree in European Studies at Maastricht University, and graduated with BA in Political Science from the European Humanities University in Lithuania. Before joining the University of Oslo, she worked as a research assistant on EU multilevel governance at the European Institute of Public Administration in Barcelona.

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