Riga, Treaty of 1921

Riga, Treaty of (1921)

 

a treaty between the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR on the one side and Poland on the other, ending the Soviet-Polish War (1920) and normalizing relations. It was signed on Mar. 18, 1921.

During the Soviet-Polish War, begun by reactionary circles in Poland and the Entente imperialists, the government of the RSFSR several times came forward with peace proposals. However, the Polish government, prompted by the Entente and attempting to gain time and take advantage of the situation that had developed in the early stages of the war, proposed unacceptable negotiating terms. Only on Aug. 7, 1920, did the Polish government announce its readiness to begin negotiations, but talks did not begin until August 17 (in Minsk), when the Polish forces had launched a counteroffensive. Striving to conclude a peace as quickly as possible, the Soviet delegation made concessions and agreed to deviations from the Curzon Line in Poland’s favor. The preliminaries of the peace treaty were concluded on Oct. 12, 1920, in Riga, and on October 18 military actions ceased. After five months of negotiations the Treaty of Riga was signed, officially ending the war.

Under the treaty the Soviet-Polish border was set considerably to the east of the Curzon Line so that the western parts of the Ukraine and Byelorussia went to Poland. Each side pledged to respect the state sovereignty of the other, to desist from intervening in the internal affairs of the other or engaging in hostile propaganda, and not to permit the formation or presence on its territory of organizations and groups whose activities were directed against the other side. Poland promised to give Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians in Poland all the rights necessary to ensure the development of their culture and language and religious freedom. Poles in the RSFSR and Ukraine were granted the same rights. Both parties renounced compensation for expenditures and losses related to the war. Each side granted citizens of the other side full amnesty for political crimes.

The RSFSR and Ukrainian SSR agreed to return various spoils of war and all scientific and cultural valuables taken from Polish territory from Jan. 1, 1772. Acknowledging the role of Polish lands in the economic life of the former Russian Empire, the Soviet side pledged to pay Poland 30 million gold rubles within a year. Poland was released from its debts and other obligations to the former Russian Empire. The treaty went into force after being ratified. However, the government of bourgeois Poland did not observe certain conditions of the treaty. It did not cease its hostile activity against the Soviet state and did not grant equal rights to Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians living in Poland.

REFERENCES

Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia vneshnei politiki SSSR, ch. 1: 1917–45. Moscow, 1966.
Ol’shanskii, P. N. Rizhskii dogovor i razvitie sovetsko-pol’skikh otnoshenii, 1921–1924. Moscow, 1974.

V. A. EMETS

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