|Belarus Table of Contents
It was those memories that Kastus' Kalinowski (1838-64) tried to evoke in his clandestine newspaper Muzhytskaya Prawda (Peasants' Truth), which he published to inspire an uprising in solidarity with the Polish-Lithuanian insurrection against Russia in January 1863. The insurrection failed, and the Polish territories and people were absorbed directly into the Russian Empire. Kalinowski, today considered the founding father of Belorussian nationalism, was hanged in Vilnius.
Despite the industrial development that took place in Belorussia during the 1880s and 1890s, unemployment and poverty were widespread, giving impetus to large-scale migrations. In the fifty years leading up to the Bolshevik Revolution, almost 1.5 million persons emigrated from Belorussia to the United States and to Siberia.
Following the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War and the Revolution of 1905, strikes and peasant disorders erupted throughout the Russian Empire; to stem the unrest the tsar granted, and then extended, civil liberties. Russian authorities were forced to relax their repressive policies on non-Russian ethnic groups, prompting a national and cultural flowering in Belorussia. The ban on the Belorussian language (and other nonRussian languages) was lifted, although there were still restrictions on its use; education was expanded, and peasants began to attend school for the first time; Belorussian writers published classics of modern Belorussian literature; and the weekly newspaper Nasha Niva (Our Cornfield), published by the Belorussian Socialist Party, lent the name nashanivism to this period (1906-18) of Belorussian history.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress