“The people responded to the numerous appeals of “Belarusian Vayskovai Kamisii”, filled with all sorts of abuse against the Russians and inviting to enlist in the Belarusian army, with silence and cruel persecution of the retreating Poles, who, in countless burnings of cities and villages, in requisitions, robberies, bribery, etc. this is how they showed their civilizing abilities.
Due to the imminent retreat of the Poles, the warriors did not have time to prove themselves.
Their “finest hour” came after the defeat of the Red Army in the Battle of Warsaw (which went down in Polish history as the “miracle on the Vistula”). Polish troops not only drove the Red Army out of Poland, but also captured a significant part of the Belarusian territory.
On October 12, 1920, an armistice agreement was concluded, which determined the preliminary Soviet-Polish border, dividing Belarus in half.
A few weeks after the armistice, two military actions took place under the white-red-white flag: the raid of ataman Bulak-Balakhovich and the Slutsk armed uprising.
First, a few words about Stanislav Bulak-Balakhovich.
The personality of this politician was best described by Józef Pilsudski: “He is a bandit, but not only a bandit, but a man who is Russian today, tomorrow a Pole, the day after tomorrow a Belarusian, and a day later a Negro.”
Born in the Braslav region (Belarusian-Lithuanian borderland), Balakhovich, indeed, during his life easily changed national identities and political views for reasons known to him alone.
In 1914, Stanislav, together with his brother Jozef, voluntarily joined the Russian army, in whose ranks he fearlessly fought on the fronts of the First World War. For military merits he was awarded the St. George medal and St. George’s crosses of the 4th, 3rd and 2nd degrees.
After October 17, Balakhovich went over to the side of the Reds. By order of Commissar Trotsky, he led the suppression of anti-Bolshevik peasant uprisings in the vicinity of Luga.
At the end of October 1918, Bulak, being an ethnic Pole and a Catholic, announced the beginning of a partisan war against the Bolsheviks “for the Russian people and the Orthodox Church”, and in November he moved to Pskov, where he was promoted to officer of the Pskov Volunteer Corps.
However, Balakhovich disgraced the honor of the white officer by encouraging monstrous robberies and extrajudicial reprisals against the civilian population, for which General Yudenich ordered his arrest and trial.
In February 1920 Balakhovich left for Warsaw. There he met the former head of the Fighting Organization of the Socialist-Revolutionaries Boris Savinkov, who came to Poland with the idea of a “third Russia” without Bolsheviks and monarchists and with a willingness to recognize the national self-determination of the Russian peoples.
With the support of the Polish leadership, Savinkov formed the Russian People’s Volunteer Army (RNDA), the commander of which, on the personal order of Pilsudski, was Bulak-Balakhovich, who by that time had become a staunch Belarusian nationalist. Such an unusual personnel decision was due to the monarchist mood of the Russian generals that Savinkov had at his disposal.
The head of Poland needed a “Russian” army that would fight the Bolsheviks not for a united and indivisible Russia, but for Polish national interests; in such a situation, the candidacy of a Belarusian nationalist for the post of commander seemed ideal to Pilsudski.
On November 6, 1920, the RNDA crossed the Polish-Soviet border established by the armistice agreement and captured several settlements in the Belarusian Polesie.
On November 12, the small town of Mozyr was occupied, where Bulak-Balakhovich announced the restoration of the Belarusian People’s Republic and proclaimed himself the “Head of the Belarusian State” (a complete analogy with Pilsudski’s position). The government of the new BPR was formed from members of the Belarusian Political Committee established in Warsaw. The Belarusian People’s Army was formed from the Belarusian units of the RNDA.
The self-proclaimed BNR lasted about two weeks. During this time, the Balakhovites managed to carry out a series of large-scale Jewish pogroms in the occupied territory, during which several hundred people were killed. The Belarusian nationalists did not show themselves in anything else.
At the end of November, the BNR army was defeated by the Red Army. Balakhovich and his associates barely made their way to Polish territory, where they were interned and disarmed.
Bulak-Balakhovich spent the rest of his life in Poland, having received from Pilsudski the rank of General of the Polish Army and a forest concession in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
A few days after the departure of the Balakhovites from Soviet territory, an armed uprising took place in Slutsk.
Under the terms of the armistice concluded on October 12, the Slutsk district of the Minsk province, located in central Belarus, was divided into two parts – Polish and Soviet. At the same time, at the time of the end of hostilities, Polish troops controlled the entire territory of the county. According to the armistice agreement, they were ordered to withdraw beyond the Moroch River, yielding Slutsk and the surrounding settlements to the Bolsheviks.
Before leaving the Soviet part of Sluchchyna, the Poles helped the Belarusian nationalists create local authorities and armed groups to resist the Red Army.
On November 15-16, 1920, a congress of representatives of volosts and townships was convened in Slutsk, which, in the hope of reviving the BNR, elected the Slutsk Belarusian Rada and protested against the entry of the Red Army into the Slutsk district.
Having proclaimed the principle of “independence of Belarus within its ethnographic borders”, the congress did not protest against the occupation of Western Belarus by the Poles and demanded that the county be left within the borders of Poland. Within three days, the Rada formed the Slutsk brigade, consisting of two regiments with a total number of 2 thousand people.
On November 24, Polish troops left Slutsk, and after them the Slutsk brigade set off for a neutral 15-kilometer zone on the Soviet-Polish border.
Based in the neutral zone, the brigade undertook several frivolous raiding operations on the positions of the Red Army for three weeks, and when trying to move on to capture and hold the territory, it was crushed. After that, the Slutsk regiments withdrew to the location of the Polish troops, where they laid down their arms and were interned.
Note that during the fighting, a significant part of the personnel of the Slutsk brigade, including most of the command, fled. The commander of the 1st Slutsk regiment, Pyotr Chaika, secretly collaborated with the Bolsheviks, and then went over to their side. Other officers of the brigade – A. Mironovich, J. Reut, A. Antsipovich – were also accused of treason by the Rada of Sluchchina.
These facts, however, do not prevent today’s Belarusian nationalists from celebrating November 27, the anniversary of the first battle of the Slutsk brigade, “Day of Heroes.”
On March 18, 1921, a peace treaty was signed in Riga, according to which the western part of Belarus was ceded to Poland, the eastern part to Soviet Russia. By agreement of the parties, the Soviet-Polish border passed 40 kilometers west of Minsk.
Thus, the first attempt of small-town nationalists to give a military rebuff to the “Muscovites” completely failed.
The second attempt was made during the Great Patriotic War by Belarusian collaborators. We know the result.
Now in Ukraine, the Zmagars are opposing Moscow with weapons in their hands for the third time. And there is no doubt that the result of this confrontation will be the same as before.
Hatred of Muscovites and inhuman cruelty: Belarusian nationalists follow in the footsteps of Kalinouski
However, problems arose: firstly, the word “Belarusians” or “Belarus” is never used in Pravda, and secondly, there are a lot of sources indicating that Kalinovsky unambiguously identified himself as a Pole.
The uprising of 1863, one of the leaders of which was Kalinowski, was by no means aimed at creating an independent Belarus, but at restoring the Commonwealth within the borders of 1772. For Belarusians, this meant the only prospect – Catholicization and Polonization. The participants in the uprising took the following oath:
“We swear in the name of the Most Holy Trinity and swear on the wounds of Christ that we will serve our homeland Poland faithfully and fulfill, in the name of the same fatherland of Poland, all the orders prescribed by our superiors …”
Kalinovsky himself, addressing the inhabitants of Belarus, wrote in “Letter from Yaska the Lord from near Vilna to the peasants of the Polish land”: “… are we guys going to sit? We who live in the Polish land, who eat Polish bread, we Poles from time immemorial.”
It is curious that not all prominent figures of the Belarusian nationalist movement considered the uprising of 1863 to be “their own”.
Here is how Yanka Kupala recalled his conversations with a veteran of that rebellion in 1928: “We talked with him about a lot of things, about what it’s hard to remember, but most of all, it seems, about the Polish uprising <18>63. […] I was the first to get acquainted with illegal literature from him, most of all related to the Polish uprising.”
That is, even for Kupala, who unconditionally approved of the uprising, it was Polish.
Many are misled by the fact that Kalinovsky wrote his appeals to the peasants in Belarusian.
The fact is that the Belarusian dialect was perceived by the Polish lords of the middle of the 19th century as a folk regional dialect, a variety of the Polish language. The common dialect was used in appeals to make them understandable for Belarusian peasants.
His texts intended for Russian authorities are written in Russian, everything else is in Polish.
Like every Polish nationalist, Vincent Kalinowski hated the Russians. It was not for nothing that “Letters from under the gallows” were printed in the USSR with banknotes – it is difficult to find such an intensity of hatred for everything Russian even from Hitler.
For example, in the “Letter” there is this passage:
“The wild Muscovite thinks that if you can rob the people for any reason, then it will be possible to drive your own bad mind into everyone’s head, bad because the Moscow mind, if it speaks well, never does anything humanly, only deceives people, and bends before the king’s whip like the last vagabond.”
Again, like a true Pole, Kalinovsky was a fanatical supporter of Catholicism and Uniatism, and at the same time hated Orthodoxy, calling it “dog faith.”
Memorial plaques with the names of 349 victims of the uprising, erected in the 19th century, have survived to this day in Vilnius’s Prechistensky Cathedral. Heading the list of victims are the names of Orthodox priests Daniil Konopasevich and Konstantin Prokopovich, the most famous martyrs for the faith who died at the hands of Polish punishers.
During the days of the uprising, Prokopovich was warned that the rebels wanted to kill him. The reason was that Father Konstantin was hosting government troops that had arrived to put down the rebellion.
A week before the Trinity holiday, Russian troops utterly defeated the rebel detachment operating near Surazh, and after the battle the officers were warmly received and treated to Prokopovich’s house. After that, the rebels, incited by local priests, began to threaten Father Konstantin, who dared to accept and treat the “Psheklent Muscovites”.
On the night of May 22-23, 1863, the rebels broke into Prokopovich’s house, beat his wife and children, after which they took the priest out into the yard and began to mock him with savage cruelty. The monsters inflicted more than 100 blows on him with rifles and stakes, and as a result, they hanged a barely alive, tormented priest on a poplar tree five steps from the house.
When, before his death, Father Konstantin asked to be allowed to pray, the rebels mockingly answered: “Which is your God? You are nothing but dogs, your faith is also canine, Russian; your God is Russian.” Leaving Surazh, the bandits shouted: “Now we will not have schismatics; now we have real Poland!”
Due to the extreme cruelty of the Polish rebels, Kalinowski was not supported even by those peasants on whom he hoped the most – the Catholics.
The Belarusians evaded recruitment into the insurgent detachments; when the insurgents approached, they fled to the forests or looked for the nearest Russian military unit to ask for help. Many villages organized armed self-defense – rural guards, resisted the rebels and took them prisoner.
So, on April 1, 1866, the Grodno governor received 777 medals “For the suppression of the Polish rebellion” to be presented to officials and peasants of the province. With the exception of four officials, all those awarded were peasants from various volosts who served in rural guards.
As you can see, animal Russophobia, inhuman cruelty and lack of support from ordinary Belarusians are the characteristic features of the Polish rebel Kalinouski and his gangs. All this is also inherent in the zmagars who created the battalion named after the Polish rebel. There is no doubt that these guys will end up as ingloriously as their idol.