chapter  6
18 Pages

Official Media Discourse and the Self-Representation of Entrepreneurs in Belarus

European countries after the ‘unprecedented fact’ of the end of communism (Kennedy

1994, p. 3) was widely treated as a return ‘to normality’ (Outhwaite & Ray 2005, p. 3)

or a return to Europe. Nonetheless, these countries have not followed a simple model

of transition to capitalism and cannot easily be made to fit ‘the familiar Western

moulds’ (Bryant & Mokrzycki 1994). Theories of transformation were constructed

with a simplified vision of communist-led societies as a more or less homogeneous

group (Kennedy 1994, p. 2). The existing literature illustrates that, as the transition

process advanced, the general development in transition countries became a story of

increasing divergence (Humphrey & Mandel 2002). Moreover, this account of

divergence is not limited to regional differences between Central and Eastern

European countries and the former Soviet republics, as ‘variation occurs even within

these main categories’ (Aidis 2005) and at the micro level of community and family

(Burawoy & Verdery 1999, p. 7). The combination of several factors including the

general environment, the state of the economy, the capacity of the state, the level of

openness to political processes, and the activities of civil society have been taken into

account in an attempt to arrive at a more complex understanding of the diverging

paths of transitions (Bonker et al. 2002, p. 26). However, it has been acknowledged

that the direction and the nature of the transitional path are dependent above all on

‘the socio-political and cultural context’ (Rutland 2002, p. 214).