5 reasons why global governance reform matters for "Europe’s Last Dictatorship"
By Alexander Fokeev
Belarus is a small country in the geographical center of Europe. Unfortunately, at the moment only geographical. It remains aloof from the social, cultural and economic ties that unite the European continent. Fewer and fewer Belarusian specialists participate in international conferences, fewer and fewer tourists come to the country, and fewer and fewer athletes from Belarus can participate in international competitions. The wall separating Belarus from the whole world is getting higher.
The decisions of the national government lead to the aggravation of many existing problems: isolation from neighboring countries, lack of opportunities for cultural and economic development, the growth of nationalist sentiments, the use of refugees for political purposes and violations of their rights, militarization and the growth of xenophobia among young people threaten the future of a country that has extraordinary potential.
The mood among young people is changing rapidly. Young people are less inclined to learn foreign languages and more often choose military service, they do not visit other countries and do not communicate with peers on the other side of the border. They are not interested in politics or listen to politicians who promote nationalism and xenophobia. Despite the presence of a large number of students from Africa and Central Asia at Belarusian universities, local students prefer to communicate only in narrow groups and often treat international students with disdain.
Promoting world federalism is essential as it has the potential to bring a number of clear benefits to Belarus: 1. Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement and the strengthening of cultural ties in the region, which is relevant now more than ever, can be achieved in a world federation. The development of a supranational level of global governance will remove the barrier of distrust between people and regulate migration and tourism in a just and effective manner. Currently, citizens of Belarus can only visit one of the nation’s land-neighboring countries without bureaucratic difficulties. Visiting other countries is difficult due to additional security checks and visa restrictions. National governments derogate Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which grants the right to leave any country.
2. Cosmopolitan Education
The education system can be improved. Currently, international relations are not sufficiently taught, particularly in the field of education. To a small extent, Belarus is involved in international experience and student exchange programs. The latest pedagogical practices and techniques are put into practice with a significant delay, which leads to the obsolescence of existing teaching methods. The formation of a shared governance structure could contribute to the rapid growth and successful regulation of this sphere, removing obstacles to joint action and providing pathways to widespread global citizenship education.
3. World Citizenship
A new identity can be formed. The residents of Belarus are currently experiencing an identity crisis. This is evidenced by such phenomena as low interest in national culture and literature, a decrease in the level of proficiency in the national language (Belarusian) in favor of the second state language (Russian), and the lack of civic initiatives at the local level. Young Belarusians find it difficult to answer the question "Who am I?". The formation of a world federation could facilitate the transition from outdated self-identification based on nationality to more novel ways of forming identity: world citizen, EU resident, etc.
4. Positive Peace
Reducing tension at the borders. Belarus borders five states. Relations with four of them can be described as extremely tense. Experts estimate the risk of an armed conflict with one of the neighboring states is high. The government's actions, such as the use of refugees for political purposes, support for armed aggression by the Russian Federation, and the cover-up of smuggling flows do not contribute to a stable situation in the region. An empowered world federation could take over the function of resolving these conflicts peacefully. Of particular concern is the fact that Russian nuclear weapons are deployed in the country. This fact clearly shows the insufficiency of the measures taken for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the need for a more competent system of global governance.
5. Freedom of Opinion
The cessation of political repression. There is currently no government elected via free elections in Belarus, while political leaders use harsh and illegal methods of pressure on the opposition and political activists. A significant number of people are recognized as political prisoners. Human rights organizations speak about a significant number of cases of human rights violations in Belarus. Despite all the international resolutions and treaties adopted, there are still quite a few countries in the world in which the dictatorship puts itself above international law. The formation of a democratic world federation must put an end to this.
Belarus is facing a lot of problems in the 21st century and experience shows that the national government is unable to find a way out of this situation. At the same time, supranational associations of countries such as the European Union demonstrate outstanding success in addressing the challenges of our time. International isolation and, as the President of the Republic of Belarus put it in a recent interview, "self-reliance in the economy", lead the country to degradation. Belarusian youth largely adhere to democratic ideals, but there are practically no opportunities to express them freely. The only way to rid the world map of such "white spots" and "closed zones" is to expand the ways of international cooperation and create an international federation with sufficient powers to achieve world unity. 🔵
___ Alexander Fokeev (23), is a Russian citizen who has been living in Belarus since 2018. He originally moved to Belarus to avoid mandatory military service in Russia. While there, he studied English at university and now teaches English at an agricultural college near Vitebsk.