Rare materials on Belarus are a potential treasure trove for the English language reader. A blank spot on the map for many, Belarus is an undiscovered mystery in the heart of Europe – undiscovered, because little has been published on the country’s history and current affairs, and the origin of the ethnic group that calls itself ‘Belarusians’. Author Lubov Bazan attempts to uplift the veil of secrecy surrounding Belarus and answer an important question of the ethnogenesis of the Belarusians.
Unique in its ongoing struggle for independence, throughout its history Belarus has been deprived of this luxury by being continuously included in various state formations such as Kievan Rus’, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union. A History of Belarus is a thorough chronological narrative that covers major milestones of Belarus’s journey into the 21st century.
Lubov Bazan gives her readers plenty of leeway to form their own conclusions about the historical material presented. By incorporating different theoretical viewpoints on fundamental issues such as the ethnic background of the Belarusian people and formation of their national identity, the origins of the language, and the historically complex religious composition of the country, Bazan offers a platform for discussion.
"A concise primer on Belarus. The author not only explains the cultural and political nature of the country, but also provides insights into post-Kyivan Rus, i.e. the 13th through 16th centuries. Few Ukrainians or Russians are aware of that pivotal and substantial chunk of time. Bazan shows how Belarus stood at the intersection of geography, trade, ideas, politics, war, and culture among Poland, Lithuania, Russia, the East and West, North and South, as well as Catholicism and Orthodoxy. These determined today's landscape among the Eastern Slavs. My fellow Ukrainians should take an interest in that history. Russians too would learn who they and their neighbors are and are not." Peter Fedynsky
Lubov Bazan, a historian, art analyst and translator, was born in Belarus where she graduated from the Faculty of History at the Pedagogical University and the post-graduate School of Art at the Academy of Science. Following her graduation, she worked as a research associate at the Vitebsk Historical Museum and professor of the History of Art at the Institute of Technology.
In 1988 Bazan became the director of the Vitebsk Municipal Art Gallery, at the same time working as the television writer and hostess of TV shows about art.
In 1991, under Bazan’s supervision, Belarus saw an exposition of Marc Chagall’s work, the first of its kind in the country at the time, featuring over a hundred paintings by the previously banned in the communist state artist. After the exposition, Lubov Bazan became actively involved in the creation of the Marc Chagall Museum in his native Vitebsk, eventually assuming the position of the museum’s director.
Since 1997 Lubov Bazan has lived in the Netherlands where she lectures on the history of Russian art and iconography. She has authored multiple articles about history, culture and art, and in 2011 translated the book Pyotr’s Borscht by Dutch novelist José Hennekam into Russian.