Aleś Paškievič. Sejm of Vilnia election in 1922 and Belarusian public’s attitude to it.

The question about the future state affiliation of Vilnia Land appeared to be one of the most up–to–date political problems in the Eastern Europe in 1920—23. The main way to solve it was local election. A representative institution of local governing election which could constitute it-self was to be formed. In the end of 1920, Belarusian politicians supported the idea of election appointed to January, 8, 1922. A year later, however, they decided on boycott. They figured that on condition of coordinated boycott of election from the side of all the national minorities the European countries would incline to hand Vilnia over to Lithuania. This variant looked quite probable as far as Lithuanian authorities unlike the Polish one declared for granting to the Belarusians all the national rights till the creation of the national autonomy in borders of the Lithuanian state. There was hope that the Lithuanian government would keep to its promises at least on account of fewness of Lithuanian population in Vilnia Land and of need to oppose to the Polish element which was undoubtedly influential there.

Sejm of Vilnia, however, was elected without any participation of the Belarusians. On February, 10, 1922 it took a decision about joining of Middle Lithuania to Poland. Nevertheless, the boycott of election was quite active and the Belarusians within reasonable limits used the election campaign to propagandize their ideas. It was that period when some Belarusians for the first time heard that separate Belarusian people existed.

The decision of Sejm of Vilnia about incorporation into Poland actually symbolized the end of post–war period of transition in the Eastern Europe. The Belarusian public and political figures in Vilnia Land had nothing to do then but to think about their tactics in new circumstances — while being a part of Poland.