Galina Toumilovitch, PhD: BNR. Role of M. Downar-Zapolski in forming the basis for the creation of Belarusian statehood (abstract)

(webzine “Kultura. Natsyja”, issue 28, November 2021, 73-78,

  1. Proclamation of 100 years ago – on March 25, 1918 of Belarusian Democratic Republic (BNR in Belarusian) is the most important event of the entire modern history of Belarus.
  2. This 100th Anniversary of the state connects all Belarusians.
  3. 3.Within the framework of these measures different meetings, lectures and interviews between the public and the political individuals are being held.
  4. As a historian, I believe that one of the most important topics to explore is the basis for the creation of Belarusian statehood.These days this topic is simpler to discuss because of access to detailed historical materials and known studies.
  5. However, 100 years ago the situation was quite different. The first researcher who used his profound knowledge of history to determine Belarusians as having their own unique culture was Downar-Zapolski.
  6. First, to establish the objective substantiation of Belarusian statehood, we discuss his work, “The Basis of Belarusian Statehood.” Second, his contribution to mapping Belarus was crucial as it outlined Belarus’ southern border with Ukraine.
  7. His chief accomplishment, however, is his work justifying a basis for Belarusian statehood. It was he who formulated the main points of Belarusian historical ideology for that period, which BNR leaders relied upon to show evidence of the existence of a long tradition of Belarusian self-governance.
  8. D. Zapolski’s main themes and postulates were the following: a) the Polatsk principality, b) the history of GDL (Grand Duchy of Lithuania or Litva), where he pays special attention to the period before its union with Poland and he emphasizes the rights of both Belarusians and Lithuanians to their GDL heritage. Further analyzing GDL’s development period with Poland, he emphasizes the federal nature of this state. This includes the incorporation of Belarusian land in the composition of Russia, which included Russification of people living there. Thus, he concludes that the GDL is the final government structure that Belarusians could regard as their own.
  9. In addition to its historical and socio-political significance, D.-Zapolski’s’ publication (which concluded that Belarusian statehood was predetermined) also had a more practical purpose. Namely, it was created in order to be presented at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
  10. The merit of Downar -Zapolski’s publication cannot be overemphasized a) because of its sizeable contribution to the development of Belarusian statehood and b) because of its value to the study of Belarusian history.

entire article

Categories: Асобы, Асьвета, Гісторыя, Нацыя Беларусы

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