Byelorussian Peasants and Workers Party
Byelorussian Peasants’ and Workers’ Party
(BKRG), a mass, revolutionary democratic, national liberation legal organization of workers in Western Byelorussia in 1925–27. It was organized, under conditions of extreme social and national oppression, with the aim of freeing Western Byelorussia from the rule of the bourgeoisie and landowners of Poland. In June 1925 several deputies of the Sejm (the Polish national assembly) from Western Byelorussia, including B. Tarashkevich, S. Rak-Mikhailovskii, P. Metla, and P. Voloshin, influenced by the Communist Party of Western Byelorussia, broke off relations with the so-called Byelorussian national faction (the Byelorussian Ambassadorial Club) of the Sejm, a faction which held bourgeois-nationalistic and conciliatory positions and formed the nucleus of the BKRG. The Communist Party of Western Byelorussia aided these deputies in the organization of their work. Despite repression by the government of J. Pitsudski, the BKRG turned into a mass organization by the middle of 1926. In January 1927 local organizations numbered more than 2,000 (about 120,000 people). The BKRG united working peasants, who constituted its majority, and workers, the urban poor, and the progressive part of the intelligentsia. The chairman of the Central Committee of the party was B. Tarashkevich and the secretary was M. Bursevich. The program of the BKRG included the following demands: self-determination for Western Byelorussia and the uniting of all Byelorussian lands in a republic of peasants and workers, creation of a peasants’ and workers’ government and establishment of democratic freedoms, confiscation of landowners’ and church land, the conversion of this land into state property and its distribution among the poorest peasants and farm workers, encouragement of cooperation in sales and production, establishment of the eight-hour working day and introduction of workers’ control over production, and other measures. The Communist Party of Western Byelorussia used the legal position of the BKRG to develop a mass revolutionary movement. BKRG led a series of large political actions and large meetings of workers that advocated the freeing of political prisoners and the creation of Byelorussian schools and protested against oppressive taxes. The party also organized strikes and peasant actions. At the end of March 1927 the BKRG was smashed by the Pitsudski government, and hundreds of its activists were arrested.
REFERENCESBor’ba trudiashchikhsia Zapadnoi Belorussii za sotsial’noe i natsional’noe osvobozhdenie i vossoedinenie s BSSR: Dokumenty i materialy ν 2-kh tt., vol. 1 (1921–1929). Minsk, 1962.
Revoliutsionnyi put’ kompartii Zapadnoi Belorussii (1921–1939 gg.). Minsk, 1966.
Paluian, V. A. Belaruskaia sialianska-rabochaia gramada. Minsk, 1967.
V. A. POLUIAN