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The Polish Revolt of 1863

In 1860-1861 all over the Polish Empire, the wave of massive demonstrations in memory of the anniversary of the revolt of 1830 swept. The Warsaw demonstration was one of the biggest demonstrations in February 1831, which was dispersed by government forces. In Poland the martial law was entered, and massive arrests were carried out.

At the same time, certain concessions were made to the patriotic movement: the State council was restored, the university of Warsaw was reopened etc. In this situation rose secret youth circles, calling Poles to the armed revolt. The Polish society was divided into two parties. The supporters of the revolt were "red". "White" - landowners and large bourgeoisie, expected to achieve the restoration of the independent Poland trough diplomatic means.

In the first half of 1862, circles merged into a uniform insurgent organization led by the Central national committee, which was the secret conspirative center of the preparation of the revolt (Y.Dombrovsky, Z. Padlevsky, Z.Serakovsky etc.). In December 1862, the committee did an agreement with "Earth and Will" about joint actions. The program of the Central committee included the liquidation of estates, the transfer to peasants of the ground used by them, the restoration of the independent Poland in the borders of 1772, with the granting to the population of Lithuania, Byelorussia and Ukraine of the right to choose their destiny.

On the 22nd of January 1863, the central committee declared the beginning of the revolt. The direct pretext was the beginning of the recruitment in the Russian army. Military actions developed spontaneously. Coming soon to the leadership of the revolt, the "white", staked on the support of the West-European powers. Despite of the note of England and France, with the requirement to stop bloodshed in Poland, the suppression of revolt proceeded. Prussia supported Russia. Russian forces, under the command of general F.F. Berg struggled against insurgent groups in Poland. In Lithuania and Byelorussia, the armies were under the command of general-governor М.N. Muraviyov ("The hanger").
At the same time, on the 1st of May, Alexander II cancelled the provisory-restrictive conditions of the peasants, decreased up to 20 % loan payments in Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Western Ukraine. Having taken as basis the agrarian decrees of insurgents, the government during military actions announced the land reform. Having lost the support of peasantry, the Polish revolt by the autumn of 1864 came to a final defeat.

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