Piotra Kreceuski

    Administrator, political leader, historian.  Krecheuiski was bom near the town of Kobryn (presently Brest 'oblast") into the family of a village-church deacon on August 7, 1879.  He died in Prague on March 8, 1928. 
    Piotra Krecheuiski studied at the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Vilna from which he graduated in 1902.  He however did not want to pursue the career of a priest and became a teacher instead.  He worked as a teacher for several years in order to repay the cost of his study in the seminary.  A teaching career turned out not to be to his liking either and he went Into bank administration.  At the beginning of that career he was under suspicion by the police because of his close ties with various political groups.  His bank position gave him excellent opportunities to establish contacts with numerous Belarusians who were employed in the tsarist administration.  Krecheuiski was drafted into the Russian army during the war.  His administrative experience and his knowledge of the bureaucratic apparatus favored his rapid advancement in the army as well as making it possible for him to travel among the military units stationed in Byelorussia.  Making their acquaintance, he came to know well the Belarusians who were in service.  After the February Revolution, Krecheuski was able to profit from his acquaintances within the military and assisted greatly in establishing an organization of Belarusian soldiers.  At the AR-Belarusian Congress, at which he was a delegate from the Barysau businessmen's association, Krecheuiski was elected to the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic.  In February of 1918 he became a member of the first Belarusian Government with the function of state comptroller.  Krecheuski was one of the pioneers who formulated and declared Belarus to be an independent republic.  In May of 1918 Krecheuski became the Secretary of Commerce of the Republic.  On October 11, 1918 he was elected Secretary of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic.  On December 13, 1919 Piotra Krecheuski was elected President of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic.  As the Covernment of the Belarusian Democratic Republic headed into emigration, Krecheuski carried out his functions in Kaunas, then in Berlin, finally settling in Prague.  His immediate tasks were to establish working contacts with the representatives of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in various countries, which Krecheuski did very efficiently.  Krecheuski's activities in Prague were very diverse.  He initiated numerous memoranda along diplomatic lines to various Western European countries informing them about the political situation in Soviet Belarus as well as the difllcult position of Belarusians in Poland.  Next on the agenda were Belarusian affairs.  Piotra Krecheuski convened a Belarusian political conference In Prague in September of 192 1, at which Belarusian topics were elaborated.  Most importantly, all Belarusian organizations and parties outside of Soviet Belarus unanimously recognized the representation of the Belarusian Democratic Republic as their political symbol and rallying point. 

    Krecheuski's political activities in Prague were diverse.  He undertook and was successful in obtaining scholarships for Belarusian students from the Czechoslovak Government.  He was also one of the pioneers who started the Belarusian Archives in Prague and obtained the financial support for maintaining these Archives.  In fact, the Belarusian Archives in Prague were the first of their kind, holding some of the most Important documents on modern Belarusian history.  As was said elsewhere, these Archives vanished from Prague when the Soviets occupied Czechoslovakia in 1945.  In the midst of all his administrative and political activities, Krecheiuski managed to participate in numerous scholarly conferences and authored several articles on topics of Belarusian culture.  He also edited an important political-scholarly almanac "Zamez^naja Belarus" (Prague, 1926). 

    The most important characteristic of Piotra Krecheuski, with lasting significance for the Belausian political emigration, is the fact that he organized the Office of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, he elaborated the Symbolism of that Office, and he withstood the intrigues, the pressures, and blandishments of the Bolsheviks to liquidate the Office of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, i.e., to abandon the Symbol of Belarusian Independence and Statehood and return to Soviet Belarus.  Piotra Krecheuski and his closest collaborators deserve the fullest credit for this; his courageous stand alone puts Piotra Krecheuski in the ranks of major Belarusian political leaders. 

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