| Territorial changes of|
the Baltic states
in the 20th century
The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty, also known as the Moscow Peace Treaty, was signed between Lithuania and Soviet Russia on July 12, 1920. In exchange for Lithuania's neutrality and permission to freely move its troops in the recognized territory during its war against Poland, Soviet Russia recognized the sovereignty of Lithuania. The treaty was a major milestone in Lithuania's struggle for international recognition. It also recognized Lithuania's eastern borders. Interwar Lithuania officially maintained that its de jure borders were those delineated by the treaty despite the fact that a large territory, the Vilnius Region, was in fact controlled by Poland.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, previously known as the Russian Soviet Republic and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, as well as being unofficially known as the Russian Federation, Soviet Russia, or simply Russia, was an independent state from 1917 to 1922, and afterwards the largest, most populous and most economically developed of the 15 Soviet socialist republics of the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1922 to 1990, then a sovereign part of the Soviet Union with priority of Russian laws over Union-level legislation in 1990 and 1991, during the last two years of the existence of the USSR. The Russian Republic comprised sixteen smaller constituent units of autonomous republics, five autonomous oblasts, ten autonomous okrugs, six krais and forty oblasts. Russians formed the largest ethnic group. The capital of the Russian SFSR was Moscow and the other major urban centers included Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara.
In law and government, de jure describes practices that are legally recognised, regardless whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, de facto describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised. The terms are often used to contrast different scenarios: for a colloquial example, "I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it's a de facto swimming pool". To further explain, even if the signs around the flooded parking lot say "Parking Lot" it is "in fact" a swimming pool.
Ratification documents were exchanged in Moscow on October 14, 1920. The treaty was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on March 8, 1921.
Lithuania declared independence from the former Russian Empire on February 16, 1918. In March the Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and renounced any claims to the Baltic states, including Lithuania. Ober Ost, the German occupying authority, did not allow Lithuania to establish government institutions, organize military or police forces, or attempt to define its borders. Lithuanian independence remained a largely unrealized political declaration. That changed when Germany surrendered in November 1918. Lithuanians hurriedly adopted a provisional constitution, formed a government, and started organizing an army.
The Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania or Act of 16 February was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The Act was signed by all twenty representatives of the Council, which was chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The Act of 16 February was the result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the Act of 8 January. The path to the Act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the Council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully maneuver between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people.
The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918 between the new Bolshevik government of Russia and the Central Powers, that ended Russia's participation in World War I. The treaty was signed at German-controlled Brest-Litovsk, after two months of negotiations. The treaty was agreed upon by the Russians to stop further invasion. According to the treaty, Soviet Russia defaulted on all of Imperial Russia's commitments to the Allies and eleven nations became independent in Eastern Europe and western Asia.
Soviet Russia denounced the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and renewed its interest in the Baltic region. In late December 1918, Lithuanian territory was invaded by Bolshevik forces, pursuing the retreating Germans. That marked the beginning of the Lithuanian Wars of Independence and the Polish–Soviet War. Within a month Soviet forces controlled large portions of northern and eastern Lithuania. The advance was stopped only with help from German volunteers. In Vilnius, the Bolsheviks proclaimed a puppet Soviet government, led by Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas. In February 1919 the Lithuanian SSR was merged with the Byelorussian SSR, to form Litbel.The entity was short-lived as Poland and Lithuania successfully counterattacked. Vilnius, the historic capital of Lithuania, was seized by the Poles in April. The last Bolsheviks were pushed from Lithuanian territory at the end of August. The entire territory of Litbel was taken by September 1919 and it ceased to exist.
The Lithuanian Wars of Independence, also known as the Freedom Struggles, refer to three wars Lithuania fought defending its independence at the end of World War I: with Bolshevik forces, Bermontians, and Poland. The wars delayed international recognition of independent Lithuania and the formation of civil institutions.
The Polish–Soviet War was fought by the Second Polish Republic, Ukrainian People's Republic and the proto-Soviet Union over a region comparable to today's westernmost Ukraine and parts of modern Belarus.
Freikorps were German military volunteer units that existed from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, which effectively fought as mercenary or private armies, regardless of their own nationality. In German-speaking countries, the first so-called Freikorps were formed in the 18th century from native volunteers, enemy renegades and deserters. These sometimes exotically equipped units served as infantry and cavalry, sometimes in just company strength, sometimes in formations up to several thousand strong; there were also various mixed formations or legions. The Prussian von Kleist Freikorps included infantry, jäger, dragoons and hussars. The French Volontaires de Saxe combined uhlans and dragoons.
As the Bolsheviks were pushed from the Baltic region, Lenin sought to arrange peace treaties to ease anti-Bolshevik tensions in Europe.The first Lithuanian–Russian attempt at negotiation took place on September 11, 1919, after the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of Soviet Russia, Georgy Chicherin, sent a note with a proposal for a peace treaty. It was a de facto recognition of the Lithuanian state. Similar proposals were delivered to Latvia and Estonia. On September 14 and September 15, 1919, the Baltic states held a trilateral meeting in Tallinn and agreed to begin simultaneous peace talks with the Soviets.
Georgy Vasilyevich Chicherin was a Marxist revolutionary and a Soviet politician. He served as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the Soviet government from March 1918 to 1930.
A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities, or a surrender, in which an army agrees to give up arms, or a ceasefire or truce in which the parties may agree to temporarily or permanently stop fighting.
Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.
However, Lithuania delayed contacting Moscow and the collective negotiations did not take place. [ citation needed ]Lithuanian feared that negotiations with communist Russia, which was isolated from European politics, would damage its relationships with the western powers that had not yet recognized Lithuania. While Lithuania was preparing for the first democratic elections to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania, election campaigns urged the government to start negotiations. On March 31, 1920 Augustinas Voldemaras, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, informed Soviet diplomats that Lithuania was ready to open the talks on condition that Moscow recognized Lithuania within its ethnic lands and acknowledged that Vilnius was its capital. The Soviets agreed to discuss the situation and suggested that preliminary negotiations begin on April 15. The talks in Moscow did not begin until May 7.
The Constituent Assembly of Lithuania was democratically elected in 1920 to draft and adopt the 1922 constitution of Lithuania.
Augustinas Voldemaras was a Lithuanian nationalist political figure. He briefly served as the country's first prime minister in 1918 and continued serving as the minister of foreign affairs until 1920, representing the fledgling Lithuanian state at the Versailles Peace Conference and the League of Nations. After some time in academia, Voldemaras returned to politics in 1926, when he was elected to the Third Seimas.
The Lithuanian delegation, led by Tomas Naruševičius, demanded that Russia recognize independent Lithuania as a legal successor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while the Soviet delegation, led by Adolph Joffe, was prepared to recognize Lithuania only based on the self-determination principle.Territorial disputes were the most contentious issue. Lithuania demanded the territories of former Kovno, Vilna, Grodno, and Suwałki Governorates. These areas, according to the Lithuanians, were ethnically Lithuanian. M. Balinsky's census of 1857 was provided as evidence that the territory was inhabited primarily by Lithuanians. Lithuanians asserted that the Jewish and Belarusian populations in the region, which were large, wished to be part of Lithuania. They brought a representative of each group, Simon Rosenbaum and Dominyk Semashko, to support this case. It was agreed that the territory of Lithuania could be easily identified, as it was inhabited by Litvaks. The Second Polish Republic also laid claim to this territory and had actual control over it at the time.
The Soviets agreed to recognize the territory to Lithuania if it agreed to form a military alliance against Poland, which was engaged in the Kiev Offensive against the Soviet Russia.The Lithuanians were tempted by the opportunity to regain Vilnius, but refused. Even though the Soviets seemed a natural ally against Poland, Lithuanians reasoned that staying on good terms with Poland and its allies, France and Great Britain, was a better long-term strategy. Lithuania informed Britain about Soviet plans. They hoped such a move would prove Lithuania's trustworthiness and would put indirect pressure on Poland to reach an acceptable agreement in regards to Vilnius. These tactics did not prove successful, as Poland was invariably backed by France and indirect British pressure was not strong enough to change Poland's foreign policy.
The negotiations were long and difficult. While the Russians were losing ground to the Poles, who took Kiev in May 1920, the Lithuanians sought to delay the talks. On May 22, 1920, the Lithuanian delegation even threatened to withdraw from the peace talks. However, as the situation changed and Russia successfully counterattacked, the Lithuanians were pressured into signing the treaty on July 12. [ citation needed ]After some debate over whether the treaty was sincere, and whether the Soviets had assumed any real liability, the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania ratified it on August 8, 1920.
The treaty had 19 articles. Article 1 stipulated that Russia recognized Lithuania's independence without reservations and voluntarily abandoned any territorial claims.Article 2 described Lithuanian territory. The Soviet Union acknowledged Lithuanian authority over the Vilnius Region, including Brasłaŭ, Hrodna, Lida, Pastavy and Vilnius. The fate of the Suvalkai Region was not determined by the treaty as the line was drawn only to the village of Sztabin. The Bolsheviks also promised to pay war reparations in the amount of three million rubles and 107,000 hectares of timber. Lithuania was relieved of any debt obligations.
The treaty allowed refugees and prisoners of war to return to their homeland. At the time, Lithuania held about 2,000 Russian prisoners, while Russia held about 150 Lithuanians.Russians in Lithuania could opt for either Lithuanian or Russian citizenship. Russia promised to return any cultural and historical property removed during the wars. A working commission was created which evaluated the damage to Lithuania at about 816 million rubles, and 407 million rubles for damage to the territory then controlled by Poland. Separate agreements would be made later to decide protection of the frontier, conventions of trade and transit, and other details.
The treaty also contained a secret clause allowing Soviet forces unrestricted movement within Soviet-recognized Lithuanian territory for the duration of Soviet hostilities with Poland; this clause would lead to questions regarding the issue of Lithuanian neutrality in the ongoing Polish-Soviet War.
Lithuania was to stop the activities of the "anti-Soviet organisations and groups" on its territory, including the activities of the exiled bodies of the Belarusian People's Republic.
While the treaty was being negotiated and signed, most of the territory by the treaty granted to Lithuania was already controlled by Bolshevik forces.As the Poles were retreating from western Russia, Lithuania attempted to secure the borders outlined in the treaty. Lithuanian forces crossed the Foch line on July 19, seeking to take control of the territories granted to Lithuania by the Soviet Union, advancing rapidly despite Polish protests, and in several cases fighting skirmishes with retreating Polish forces. This led to clashes in southern Lithuania over the towns of Sejny, Augustów, and Suwałki. According to historian Piotr Lossowski, the Lithuanians also provided the Soviets with logistical support.
The Bolshevik forces were the first to enter Vilnius on July 14, 1920, and despite the treaty did not intend to transfer it to the Lithuanians.The Soviets installed a puppet government, the former Litbel, with the intent of fomenting a socialist revolution. Leon Trotsky and Mikhail Tukhachevsky were making preparations to overthrow the Lithuanian government. The plans never came to pass as Poland defeated Soviet forces in the Battle of Warsaw between August 13 and August 25. On August 26, as the Polish Army was approaching the southern borders of Lithuania, the Soviets finally transferred Vilnius to Lithuanian control and the Red Army retreated.
During September, when the Poles had gained an upper hand and were pursuing the Soviets back to the east, Soviet forces moved through Lithuanian-controlled territory at will, but Polish forces that tried to pursue them were arrested and interned.Lithuania's declared neutrality was challenged by Poland, which accused Lithuania of allowing free Soviet passage through its territory. Lithuania could not deny this. The treaty did not create a formal military alliance between the Soviets and Lithuanians, but diminished Lithuania's standing as a neutral state. Łossowski has written that Lithuania's lack of neutrality towards Poland was such that "the Polish government could have with full justification treated Lithuania as a country participating in the war on the other side, with all of its political and legal implications." Historian Alfred E. Senn wrote that "the Lithuanians cannot claim to have been 'strictly neutral'", and that "the Lithuanians should not have been surprised when, at the end of August, Warsaw refused to recognize Kaunas's neutrality."
In late August Lithuanian and Polish missions met in Kaunas to negotiate the situation. While the talks were underway, Polish troops retook Sejny, Augustów, and Suwałki in the south.The Suwałki Region held great symbolic importance for Lithuanians as a locus of their independence movement. Lithuania mounted military operations in the area. Poland also wanted to reclaim Vilnius, which it had been forced to abandon during the Soviet offensive in July. These clashes led to a war on a wide front between Poland and Lithuania in September. An intervention was made by the League of Nations, which brokered the Suwałki Agreement on October 7, 1920; it was to have taken effect on October 10. However, on October 9, Polish General Lucjan Żeligowski staged a mutiny, invaded Lithuania, and took over Vilnius. Most of the Vilnius and Suwałki Regions would remain under Polish control during the interwar period, and Polish–Lithuanian relations during that time were described as "no war, no peace."
The treaty represented a major breakthrough in the Lithuanian Republic's quest for international recognition. The provision that permitted the return of Lithuanian World War I refugees and prisoners was a welcomed development. However, the Soviet Union did not pay all its reparations and never seriously considered returning cultural and historical property. [ citation needed ]Lithuanian politicians and historians continue to seek the return of those items, but the Russian government claims that they are lost.
Modern Belarusian historiography regards the treaty, especially the cession of ethnic Belarusian territories to Lithuania (primarily Hrodna, Shchuchyn, Lida, Ashmyany, Smarhon, Pastavy, Braslaw, but also the contemporary Vilnius Region with Vilna) as a unilateral act by the Soviet authorities that disregarded the national interests of the Belarusian people, aimed at immediate military and political gains.
Some historians have asserted that if Poland had not prevailed in the Polish–Soviet War, Lithuania would have been invaded by the Soviets, and would never have experienced two decades of independence.Despite the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty Lithuania was very close to being invaded by the Soviets in summer 1920 and being forcibly incorporated into that state, and only the Polish victory derailed this plan.
The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, also commonly referred to in English as Byelorussia, was a federal unit of the Soviet Union (USSR). It existed between 1920 and 1922, and from 1922 to 1991 as one of fifteen constituent republics of the USSR, with its own legislation from 1990 to 1991. The republic was ruled by the Communist Party of Byelorussia and was also referred to as Soviet Byelorussia by a number of historians.
The Republic of Central Lithuania or Middle Lithuania, or Central Lithuania, was a short-lived political entity, which did not gain international recognition. The republic was created in 1920 following the staged rebellion of soldiers of the 1st Lithuanian–Belarusian Infantry Division of the Polish Army under Lucjan Żeligowski, supported by the Polish air force, cavalry and artillery. Centered on the historical capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilna, for eighteen months the entity served as a buffer state between Poland, upon which it depended, and Lithuania, which claimed the area. After a variety of delays, a disputed election took place on January 8, 1922, and the territory was annexed to Poland.
The Lithuanian–Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic or Litbel (Lit-Bel) was a Soviet socialist republic that existed within the territories of modern Belarus and eastern Lithuania for approximately five months during 1919. It was created after the merger of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia. The republic was dissolved after the Polish Army took over its claimed territory of eastern Lithuania during the Polish–Soviet War.
The Polish–Lithuanian War was an armed conflict between newly independent Lithuania and Poland in the aftermath of World War I. The conflict primarily concerned territorial control of the Vilnius Region, including Vilnius, and the Suwałki Region, including the towns of Suwałki, Augustów, and Sejny. The conflict was largely shaped by the progress in the Polish–Soviet War and international efforts to mediate at the Conference of Ambassadors and later the League of Nations. There are major differences in Polish and Lithuanian historiography regarding treatment of the war. According to Lithuanian historians, the war was part of the Lithuanian Wars of Independence and spanned from spring 1919 to November 1920. According to Poland, the war included only fighting over the Suwałki Region in September–October 1920 and was part of the Polish-Soviet War.
The city of Vilnius, the capital and largest city of Lithuania, has undergone a diverse history since it was first settled in the Stone Age. Originally the head of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, it changed hands between Imperial and Soviet Russia, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania multiple times. It was especially often the site of conflict after the end of World War I and during World War II. It officially became the capital of independent, modern-day Lithuania when the Soviet Union recognized the country's independence in August 1991.
Vilnius Region is the territory in the present-day Lithuania and Belarus that was originally inhabited by ethnic Baltic tribes and was a part of Lithuania proper, but came under East Slavic and Polish cultural influences over time.
The Sejny Uprising or Seinai Revolt refers to a Polish uprising against the Lithuanian authorities in August 1919 in the ethnically mixed area surrounding the town of Sejny. When German forces, which occupied the territory during World War I, retreated from the area in May 1919, they turned over administration to the Lithuanians. Trying to prevent an armed conflict between Poland and Lithuania, the Entente drew a demarcation line, known as the Foch Line. The line assigned much of the disputed Suwałki (Suvalkai) Region to Poland and required the Lithuanian Army to retreat. While the Lithuanians retreated from some areas, they refused to leave Sejny (Seinai), because of its major Lithuanian population. Polish irregular forces began the uprising on August 23, 1919, and soon received support from the regular Polish Army. After several military skirmishes, Polish forces secured Sejny and Lithuanians retreated behind the Foch Line.
The general election in the Republic of Central Lithuania was an election to the Vilnius Sejm (parliament) of the Polish-dominated Republic of Central Lithuania on 8 January 1922. The new parliament was intended to formally legalize incorporation of Central Lithuania into Poland. Such measure was fiercely opposed by Lithuania, which claimed the territory for itself. The election was boycotted by non-Polish population and its results were unrecognized by either the Lithuanian government in Kaunas or the League of Nations. The elected parliament convened in February 1922 and, as expected, voted to incorporate the Republic into Poland. At the end of March 1922, Central Lithuania became Wilno Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic.
Żeligowski's Mutiny was a Polish military operation led by General Lucjan Żeligowski in October 1920, which resulted in the creation of the Republic of Central Lithuania. Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski had surreptitiously ordered Żeligowski to carry out the operation, and revealed the truth several years later. The area was formally annexed by Poland in 1922 and internationally recognized as Polish territory in 1923. Nevertheless, Lithuania continued to claim the Vilnius region.
The Suwałki Agreement, Treaty of Suvalkai, or Suwalki Treaty was an agreement signed in the town of Suwałki between Poland and Lithuania on October 7, 1920. It was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on January 19, 1922. Both countries had re-established their independence in the aftermath of World War I and did not have well-defined borders. They waged the Polish–Lithuanian War over territorial disputes in the Suwałki and Vilnius Regions. At the end of September 1920, Polish forces defeated the Soviets at the Battle of the Niemen River, thus militarily securing the Suwałki Region and opening the possibility of an assault on the city of Vilnius (Wilno). Polish Chief of State, Józef Piłsudski, had planned to take over the city since mid-September in a false flag operation known as Żeligowski's Mutiny.
The 1938 Polish ultimatum to Lithuania was an ultimatum delivered to Lithuania by Poland on March 17, 1938. The Lithuanian government had steadfastly refused to have any diplomatic relations with Poland after 1920, protesting the annexation of the Vilnius Region by Poland. As pre-World War II tensions in Europe intensified, Poland perceived the need to secure its northern borders. Five days earlier, Poland, feeling supported by international recognition of the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, decided to deliver an ultimatum to Lithuania. The ultimatum demanded that the Lithuanian government unconditionally agree to establish diplomatic relations with Warsaw within 48 hours, and that the terms be finalized before March 31. The establishment of diplomatic relations would mean a de facto renunciation of Lithuanian claims to the region containing its historic capital, Vilnius.
Soviet–Lithuanian Non-Aggression Pact was a non-aggression pact, signed between the Soviet Union and Lithuania on September 28, 1926. The pact confirmed all basic provisions of the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty of 1920. The Soviet Union continued to recognize Vilnius and Vilnius Region to Lithuania, despite the fact that the territories were under Polish control since the Żeligowski's Mutiny in 1920. It also recognized Lithuania's interests in the Klaipėda Region. In exchange Lithuania agreed not to join any alliances directed against the Soviet Union, which meant international isolation at the time when Soviet Union was not a member of the League of Nations. Ratifications were exchanged in Kaunas on November 9, 1926, and the pact became effective on the same day. The pact was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on March 4, 1927.
The Lithuanian–Soviet War or Lithuanian–Bolshevik War was fought between newly independent Lithuania and the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic in the aftermath of World War I. It was part of the larger Soviet westward offensive of 1918–1919. The offensive followed retreating German troops with intentions to establish Soviet republics in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and link up with the German Revolution. By the end of December 1918 Soviet forces reached Lithuanian borders. Largely unopposed, they took one town after another and by the end of January 1919 controlled about 2⁄3 of the Lithuanian territory. In February, the Soviet advance was stopped by Lithuanian and German volunteers, who prevented the Soviets from capturing Kaunas, the temporary capital of Lithuania. From April 1919, the Lithuanian war went parallel with the Polish–Soviet War. Poland had territorial claims over Lithuania, especially the Vilnius Region, and these tensions spilled over into the Polish–Lithuanian War. Historian Norman Davies summarized the situation: "the German army was supporting the Lithuanian nationalists, the Soviets were supporting the Lithuanian communists and the Polish Army was fighting them all." In mid-May, the Lithuanian army, now commanded by General Silvestras Žukauskas, began an offensive against the Soviets in northeastern Lithuania. By mid-June, the Lithuanians reached the Latvian border and cornered the Soviets among lakes and hills near Zarasai, where the Soviets held out until the end of August 1919. The Soviets and Lithuanians, separated by the Daugava River, maintained their fronts until the Battle of Daugavpils in January 1920. As early as September 1919, the Soviets offered to negotiate a peace treaty, but talks began only in May 1920. The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed on July 12, 1920. Soviet Russia fully recognized independent Lithuania.
Suwałki Governorate was a governorate of Congress Poland which had its seat in the city of Suwałki. It covered a territory of about 12,300 km².
The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR) was a short-lived Soviet republic declared on December 16, 1918, by a provisional revolutionary government led by Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas. It ceased to exist on February 27, 1919, when it was merged with the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia to form the Lithuanian–Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Litbel). While efforts were made to represent the LSSR as a product of a socialist revolution supported by local residents, it was largely a Moscow-orchestrated entity created to justify the Lithuanian–Soviet War. As a Soviet historian, adhering to official propaganda, put it: "The fact that the Government of Soviet Russia recognized a young Soviet Lithuanian Republic unmasked the lie of the USA and British imperialists that Soviet Russia allegedly sought rapacious aims with regard to the Baltic countries." Lithuanians generally did not support Soviet causes and rallied for their own national state, declared independent on February 16, 1918, by the Council of Lithuania.
The Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed between the Soviet Union and Lithuania on October 10, 1939. According to provisions outlined in the treaty, Lithuania would acquire about one fifth of the Vilnius Region, including Lithuania's historical capital, Vilnius, and in exchange would allow five Soviet military bases with 20,000 troops to be established across Lithuania. In essence the treaty with Lithuania was very similar to the treaties that the Soviet Union signed with Estonia on September 28, and with Latvia on October 5. According to official Soviet sources, the Soviet military was strengthening the defenses of a weak nation against possible attacks by Nazi Germany. The treaty provided that Lithuania's sovereignty would not be affected. However, in reality the treaty opened the door for the first Soviet occupation of Lithuania and was described by The New York Times as "virtual sacrifice of independence."
Lithuania–Russia relations refers to bilateral foreign relations between Lithuania and Russia. Lithuania has an embassy in Moscow and consulates in Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Sovetsk. Russia has an embassy in Vilnius, with consulates in Klaipėda. The two countries share a common border through Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave of the Russian Federation.
The Polish coup d'état attempt in Lithuania refers to a failed attempt by Polish statesman Józef Piłsudski to overthrow the existing Lithuanian government of Prime Minister Mykolas Sleževičius, and install a pro-Polish cabinet that would agree to a union with Poland. The Polish intelligence agency, the Polish Military Organization (PMO) was to carry out the coup d'etat, planned to be implemented in August 1919. The coup was designed to seem to be an initiative by local Lithuanians aiming to free their government of German influence. The PMO hoped to rely on the assistance of sympathetic Lithuanian activists. They were thwarted by the lack of cooperation and the unwillingness of sufficient number of Lithuanians to support the Polish cause.
The Lithuanian regions of Suwałki brought forth a large number of scholars, writers, poets and public figures of both a nationalist orientation and belonging to various social ideologies.