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2011 | 19 | 181-198

Article title

A NATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS MOSAIC IN THE EAST LAND IN 1919 EXEMPLIFIED BY THE MINSK DISTRICT (Mozaika narodowosciowa i wyznaniowa ziem wschodnich w 1919 roku na przykladzie okregu minskiego)


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The article presents results of the population census conducted in the territory of the Eastern Lands [Kresy, Borderlands] (administration counties of Vilnius, Brest and Minsk), with special attention given to the Minsk county where the census was taken in December 1919. The census was carried out when the issue of country border was to be determined yet and it was difficult to forecast whether the problem would be resolved by military action or diplomatic negotiations. Poland took over from the partitioning powers a very inhomogeneous territory. Each partitioner enforced its own laws. Thus, the Polish state awaited a long process of eliminating differences among individual partitioned areas. The eastern border of the country which is discussed in this article was outlined not before the peace treaty concluded between Poland on one side and Russia and Ukraine on the other side (signed in Riga on 18 March 1921). The treaty determined borders and obliged the parties thereto to respect rights of national minorities as well as abide by principles of religious tolerance. Until the Polish and Bolsheviks war, the so-called Eastern Lands also incorporated the area of the Middle Lithuania which by that time formed the western part of the Vilnius county subject to the Eastern Lands Civil Administration [zarzad Cywilny ziem Wschodnich] at the High Command of Polish Military Forces [Naczelne Dowodztwo Wojsk Polskich]. Finally, the eastern border of Poland was established on the basis of the resolution adopted by the Ambassadors' Council on 15 March 1923. It constituted the legal basis for recognition of incorporating Wilenszczyzna [Vilnius area] to Poland at the international level. However, the Lithuanian government did not accept that solution until 1938 when normalized, Polish and Lithuanian relations remained very strained.








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