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Residents of Smolensk region collect signatures for joining Belarus  ? 179

12:44, — Politics

Residents of Smolensk region collect signatures for joining Belarus

Initiators of the campaign want to hold a referendum.

Activists collect signatures on the website of public petitions to join the Shumyachi district of the Smolensk region to the Republic of Belarus.

The appeal is meant for the administration of the Smolensk region and the administration of the Shumyachi district.

A greater part of the Shumyachi district had been a part of the Republic of Belarus until 1939. We consider the seizure of the original Belarusian lands to be illegal, the initiator write.

A petition for the return of Smolensk to Belarus also appeared on the website

in late March.

Smolensk had been the eastern outpost of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for many centuries. Even after its enforced seizure by Moscow, ethnographic researches of the 19th century said the prevailing part of the population was the Belarusians. The Belarusian People's Republic, which was proclaimed in 1918 and included the lands with the Belarusian ethnic majority, claimed to include Smolensk. The BSSR, founded by the Boslheviks on January 1, 1919, as a response to the proclamation of the BPR, was proclaimed in Smolensk, which was declared as its capital. Most lands of the BSSR were cut off by a half-baked voluntary decision in the following two years. Some of districts were returned after many years of behind-the-scene struggle, but some were not so lucky.

We think the historical injustice should be fixed. The population of the Smolensk region should be given an opportunity to vote freely on a referendum for joining the Republic of Belarus, the petition says.

As many as 1,500 signatures have been collected.

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