Belarusian People’s Republic

Belarusian People’s Republic

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Белару́ская Наро́дная Рэспу́бліка
Byelaruskaya Narodnaya Respublika
conventional_long_name = Belarusian People’s Republic
common_name = Belarus
continent = Europe
region = Eastern Europe
country = Belarus
status = Exile
era = World War I
government_type = Republic
year_start = 1918
year_end = 1919
year_exile_start = 1919
date_start = March 25
date_end = January 5
event_start = Independence
event_end = Soviet invasion
p1 = Russian Empire
flag_p1 = Flag of Russia.svg!border
s1 = Lithuanian-Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
flag_s1 = Flag of the Lithuanian-Byelorussian SSR.svg

symbol_type = Coat of arms
symbol = Pahonia

flag_type = Flag

national_motto =
national_anthem = _be. Vajacki marš
"Come, We Shall March in Joint Endeavour"
capital = Minsk, Hrodna
capital_exile = Prague
common_languages = Belarusian
currency = Ruble
title_leader = Rada Chairman
year_leader1 = 1918 – 1919
leader1 = Jan Sierada
year_leader2 = 1919
leader2 = Piotra Krečeŭski
title_deputy = Chairperson-in-exile
year_deputy1 = 1919 – 1928
deputy1 = Piotra Krečeŭski
year_deputy2 = since 1997
deputy2 = Ivonka Survilla
The Belarusian People's Republic ( _be. Белару́ская Наро́дная Рэспу́бліка, IPA2|bʲeɫa'ruskaja na'rodnaja rɛs'publʲika, translit. : "Belaruskaya Narodnaya Respublika") was an independent Belarusian state, which declared independence in 1918. It is also called the Belarusian National Republic, in order to distinguish it from communist People's Republics, and the current BNR Rada refers to it as Belarusan Democratic Republic. The BNR was not recognized by the majority of countries, and ceased to exist since Belarus was taken under Soviet control and foundation of Belorussian SSR in 1919, though BNR authorities later formed a government in exile.


The Belarusian People's Republic was declared on March 25, 1918 during World War I, when Belarus was occupied by the Germans according to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, as part of the implementation of the German plan for buffer states within Mitteleuropa.

The BNR did not become a real state: it did not have a constitution, armed forces (although the attempts to create them are documented [ Selected Bibliography of works on the struggle for Belarusian Independence 1900-1921 in the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library in London ] ] ), definite territoriality, etc. After the German army retreated from the territory of Belarus and the Red Army started moving in to establish the Socialist Soviet Republic of Belarus, in December 1918 the Rada (Council) of the BNR moved to Hrodna, which was the centre of a semi-autonomous Belarusian region within the Lithuanian Republic. During the subsequent 1919 Polish invasion, the Rada went into exile and facilitated an anticommunist struggle within the country during the 1920s and as a representative of Belarus was recognised by Germany, Lithuania and Czechoslovakia.Fact|date=January 2008 The exiled government still exists.

Similar governments-in-exile of the neighboring countries (Lithuania, Poland and others) handed back their "authorities" to the corresponding independent governments in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The BNR council has not done this because it views the current Belarusian government of president Alexander Lukashenko as an anti-Belarusian, anti-independence, and an anti-democratic power. [ [ The March, 20 2006 Memorandum of the BNR Rada] ]


In its Third Constituent Charter, the following territories were claimed for BNR: Mogilev guberniya (province), as well as Belarusian parts of Minsk, Hrodna (including Białystok), Vilnius, Vitebsk, and Smolensk Governorates, and parts of bordering governorates populated by Belarusians, rejecting the then split of the Belarusian lands between Germany and Russia. [ [ 3rd Constituent Charter of the BNR Rada] ] The areas were claimed because of a Belarusian majority according to demographic research, although there were also numbers of Lithuanians, Poles and people speaking pidgins of Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish, as well as many Jews, mostly in towns and cities (in some towns they made up a majority). Some of the Jews spoke Russian as their native tongue; others spoke Yiddish.


Chairmans of the Council of BNR:

* Jan Sierada (1918–1919)
* Piotra Krečeŭski (1919–1928)
* Vasil Zacharka (1928–1943)
* Mikoła Abramčyk (1944–1970)
* Vincent Žuk-Hryškievič (1970–1982)
* Jazep Sažyč (1982–1997)
* Ivonka Survilla (1997–present)


A national flag of three stripes — white-red-white — was adopted, as well as a state seal (Pahonia), which was based on an emblem of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.


In 1998, Belarusian linguist and translator Siarhiej Shupa published a two-volume collection of BNR archives ("Архівы Беларускай Народнай Рэспублікі. Менск-Вільня-Прага-Нью-Ёрк"). The total size of the two volumes is more than 1700 pages. Essentially these are the processed and re-organized documents from the Lithuanian archival fund #582 in Vilnius and they constitute roughly 60% of all the BNR official documents from 1918. Another 20% of BNR official documentation is located in the Minsk archives, and the fate of the remaining 20% is unknown.


See also

* Ukrainian People's Republic
* People's Republic

External links

* [ Belarusian National Respublic Rada website]
* [ Belarusan Centre in Prague]
* [ The sorrows of Belarus: A government in exile, a country in a mess] , "The Economist", 16 November 2006
* [ Europe.view | Heart of darkness] , "The Economist", March 13, 2008

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