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The Socialist Republic of Belarus (Сацыялістычная Рэспубліка Беларусь / Sacyjalistyčnaja Respublika Bielaruś) is an Eastern European country, member of the Federation of Socialist Republics. It borders with Poland, Lithuania, Latvian SR, Russian FSR and SR of Ukraine. It was called Belorussia or Byelorussia until 1930, when the Supreme Soviet approved series of cultural rights and administration laws.
The territory of Belorussia was under German occupation during World War I. The Red Army reoccupied Belorussia in April 1919. A Revolutionary Military Council proclaims the Socialist Republic of Belorussia or Byelorussia in April 1919. Immediately after formation, the Polish–Soviet War was started, and Belarus was torn between resurgent Poland and Soviet Russia.
The revolutionary government of Russia signed a truce (August 1921) that provisionally established the border of Belarus and Poland. A Revolutionary National Assembly is elected and approves a constitution. The new states starts to nationalize the land and industries.
Political development of SR Belarus
Since the Russian Revolution (1918) and the Socialist Revolution of Belarus (1919-1920) it has been governed by the Communist Party(b) of Belarus, member of the Comintern. Sometimes in coalition with the Social-Democratic Workers' Party of Belarus (SDWPB or Mensheviks). Other legally allowed political parties are the Bund (General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia), Poalei Zion and the Polish Workers' Party (Belarus). Proscribed are all anarchist movements, right and nationalist parties since 1919. Proscribed and labeled has counter revolutionaries are the Social Revolutionaries (SR) and Left Social Revolutionaries (Left SR) after their failed coup of 1923. In a precarious position is the Agrarian Worker's Party, considered by some has a front of former members of the left SR.
The general consensus is the socialist organization of the state and society. Dissidents points of view are in the economical development. After the failed SR coup of 1923, the collectivization of land was implemented with no further discussion and has a necessary step to establish a socialist society. The brief coalition established between the CP(b)B and SDWPB allowed to open the discussion on industrial development beyond the agricultural sector.
The democratic form of government and human rights became an important issue during the 1950s when new cultural legislation established an autonomy from state intervention. This would lead to the people's rights referendum of 1957 that would reform the constitution making an explicit guarantee of its citizen's freedoms and rights and removed some bans on political activity.
However a common criticism, in some periods consider almost illegal and one of the reasons of the purges of the 1930s, was the excessive dependence of the Russian FSR. This, according to some, has range from copying without analysis or modification policies of Russia or the dependence on its industrial and consumer goods. One common examples have been the raionirovanie of 1920 and large scale rural collectivization of the 1920s.
Organization of the SR of Belarus
The constitution approved in 1921, revised in 1925, 1930 and 1957 establishes the organization of the SR of Belarus.
- the supreme organ of power is the Supreme Council (or Supreme Soviet - Вярхоўны Савет / Viarchoŭny Sovyet) of SR Belarus. It is composed between 100-200 of directly elected deputies by the people each five years. The Supreme Soviet is the legislative body of SR Belarus. It elects every five years the Belarusian Central Executive Committee (CVK), the Council of People's Commissars (SNKB), the Supreme Court of SR Belarus and the Prosecutor General.
- the executive power resides in the CVK, that is the collective head of state. It is integrated by a Chairman and two vice chairmen and 4 other members. The SNKB carries out all the executive and administrative functions of the SR Belarus. The CVK and the SNKB are responsible before the Supreme Soviet. After 1925, federal delegates also integrate the Council of People's Commissars.
- the judiciary in in charge of the Supreme Court of the SR Belarus and the Prosecutor General. The reforms of 1957 created an independent Constitutional Court.
The right to vote in elections and national referendums is extended to those who are above the age of eighteen. During elections and referendums, a citizen can vote or not vote without any consequences from the government.
SR Belarus is divided into six voblasts (meaning "provinces" or "regions") and the city of Minsk, which has a special status (Central Administrative Settlement) being the capital of Belarus. Minsk is also the capital of Minsk Region. Below the voblasts are the raions (districts) and urban settlements. In 1920 the republic was converted to the system of raions during the raionirovanie ("regionalization") process. In 1926 the territorial rectification decree created the voblasts (integrating various raions) and urban-type settlements (a subdivision of the raions).
Each voblast has a provincial legislative authority, called an oblsovet (voblast council), which is elected by the voblast's residents, and a provincial executive authority called a voblast administration, whose leader is appointed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council.
As with voblasts, each raion has its own legislative authority (raisovet, or raion council) elected by its residents, and an executive authority (raion administration) appointed by voblast administration.
The urban settlements were established has part of rationalization of the economic planning, and the limited autonomy granted to some linguistic groups. Each urban-type settlements (селище міського типу, selyshche mis'koho typu, abbreviated CMT) has its own legislative authority (cmt sovyet, or CMT council) and executive authority (CMT President) elected by its residents. The urban-type settlements (Law of urban settlements and urban design 1930) are divided into:
- Urban settlements (гарадскія пасёлкі): with population over 2,000, industrial enterprises and developed residential infrastructure
- Resort settlements (курортныя пасёлкі, resort towns): with population of at least 2,000, sanatoriums, resorts or other health recuperation establishments, and developed residential infrastructure
- Worker settlements (рабочыя пасёлкі): with population at least 500, servicing industrial enterprises, construction sites, railroad stations, electric stations, or other industrial objects.
- Central Administrative Settlement, the special status of Minsk.
Special cultural rights are given to some raions. The Polish and Yiddish Autonomous Districts and Urban Settlements that collectively form the Polish Cultural Council and Yiddish Workers' Council. They act as consultative bodies to the Supreme Soviet and Council of People's Commissars-
According to the Constitution of SR Belarus, Belarusian and Russian are the official languages of the administration, justice and education. Special status is granted to the Polish, Yiddish and Romani languages in some district and urban type settlements. Primary education must be given in the two official languages and three special status ones. Secondary and higher education can be provided in the three special status ones, but inside their District and Urban Settlement.
Esperanto is on a trial implementation. It scheduled to be the third official language. Its first stage its implementation on zones that border with other states and selected Autonomous Districts and Urban Settlements in local administration and education. Second stage its implementation in the educational system, mass communications, industrial enterprises and farming units.
From its establishment has an independent state (1919) and the Treaty of Federation (1923) that created the FSR, Belarus had an independent armed forces. It was formed from the rest of the Russian Imperial Army and worker's militia (red Guard) that participated in the revolution and civil war. In the civil war and war against Poland it was assisted by the Russian Red Army.
Revolutionary army corps and Red Guard squads became the foundational core of Belorussian Workers' and Peasants' Revolutionary Army (BWPRA). The Revolutionary Army Committee and the later the People's Commissars for the BWPRA Conscription, were in charge of the BWPRA. Conscription was voluntary. In 1924 the BWPRA was attached to the newly created federal Red Army.
Public order is in charge of the Belorussian Peoples' Militsiya, that is also an auxiliary force of the Prosecutor General. The People's Troops for the Internal Defense (PTID) serve in the frontiers and rural areas.
Economy of SR Belarus
Belarus is defined in its economic planning has an agroindustrial economy (agrarian economy in industrial scale). Property of the land is mainly in hands of state and collective farms; small plots for private household use are allowed. Woods are exploited by Industrial Wood Exploitation Combines.
Important agricultural products include potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, flax, and sugar beets and cattle byproducts, including meat. Machine building and instrument building (especially tractors, large trucks, machine tools, and automation equipment) specialized for agricultural tasks. An import food processing industry exists.
Oil deposits on the territory of Belarus are located in a single oil and gas basin, the Pripyat depression, which covers approximately 30,000 km2.