THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CENTRAL LITHUANIA IN THE LIGHT OF THE ACTS OF THE INTERIM GOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION (9 OCTOBER 1920 - 20 FEBRUARY 1922) (Polish title - below)
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(Tirle in Polish - 'Spoleczno-ekonomiczne realia Litwy Srodkowej w swietle akt Tymczasowej Komisji Rzadzacej (9 pazdziernika 1920 - 20 lutego 1922 roku'). The proclamation of an independent Central Lithuania by General Lucjan Zeligowski on 12 October 1920 was followed by the creation of an interim government and the administrative apparatus of the new state. It was a difficult undertaking, complicated further by the wartime damage to infrastructure and industry. The formidable task of organizing a new administration was not made easier by the complex ethnic composition of the population. Moreover, Wilno, the historical capital of the Grand Duchy was claimed by the two newly-independent states of Poland and Lithuania. While the hostile attitude of the Lithuanians to the Polish plans was shared by the Lithuanian Catholic clergy, the allegiance of the Belarussian intelligentsia was at best skin-deep, and the support of Jewish elites for a Polish-based statehood could only be gained in return for considerable concessions, namely some form of autonomy for the Jewish minority. The problems faced by the interim government ranged from bringing in new laws, issuing new uniform identity cards, overseeing the replacement of the Russian ruble by the Polish marka, to the introduction of new systems of taxation and social insurance. The new state needed a new labour law and an updated legislation guaranteeing the freedom of association and the rights of trade unions. Meanwhile, however, Central Lithuania had no police; and the use of the draft to stabilize the situation was a risky business in a divided, multiethnic society. The article examines the ethnic and religious composition of the population of Central Lithuania. This is followed by a survey of the achievements of the Central Lithuanian interim administration in two main areas, first, the rebuilding of the region's infrastructure and industry, and second, the introduction of a new legal codes and norms. The author's analyses draw on source material from the Józef Pilsudski Institute in New York (the Aleksander Prystor files). The context for all the developments presented here was the incorporation of Central Lithuania (the Wilno region) into Poland on 22 March 1922.
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