Statement on 100th anniversary of Brest-Litovsk Peace and Belarusian People’s Republic

One hundred years ago, the Brest-Litovsk Treaty was signed.  A horrible war receded from this land but left conflict, grief and debris in its wake. And unfortunately the peace that ensued did not last long.

World War I left an indelible mark on mankind. Together with embassies of other countries, which fought in “the Great War”, the United States Embassy pays respects to the perished servicemen and civilians, as well as their family members. Every Armistice Day (November 11, when the truce was signed between the Allied and the Central Powers) we ring the bell in their memory. In Belarus, former foes rest together in cemeteries all along the former frontline—the completely obliterated Smorgon’, Krevo, Boruny, Oshmyany, Bogdanov, Myadel’, Volozhyn, Baranovichi….

Never short of restlessness and a longing for justice and independence, Belarusians sought to finally achieve their statehood after the Treaty. But the vortex of conflicting goals, ambitions, emotions, and military force in this complicated time consumed the Belarusian People’s Republic within less than a year. On March 25, Belarusians will remember those who tried to stand up for Belarus’ national identity and independence against steep odds.