Cimoch Kavaleŭski. Belarusian People’s Republic as a Democratic Alternative to Bolshevik Dictatorship in Belarus

The author tries to identify the main features of a state which could be developed in Belarus if the Belarusian People’s Republic declared in 1918 had become a true sovereignty. It would be a parliamentary republic with separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches and protection for its citizens the fundamental rights such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of taking part in meetings and associations, person’s freedom. All were proclaimed as equal before the law independently from origin, nationality, religion and social class. Social reforms in interests of vast majority of population, mainly peasants, had to be the priority goal of the state policy. Independence and sovereignty were declared as the main attribute of the Belarusian People’s Republic. The founders of the republic prearranged to organize election to the Belarusian legislative assembly which had to legitimize a new state in eyes of its population and internationally as well. The German occupation and impossibility to call the legislative assembly became one of the reasons of the BPR to fail.

In a sharp contrast to this kind of statehood stood the Belarusian Soviet Republic based on dictatorship of the proletariat which didn’t recognize the separation of powers didn’t guarantee equality before the law and didn’t lead to sovereignty. Defeat of the BPR state project and triumph of the Soviet statehood deprived Belarusians of a chance to get their sovereign state detaining the development of Belarusian society towards democracy for a long time.