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Legal news related to Polish citizenship

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The fate of insurgents and descendants of citizens of the First Republic in the provisions of the Treaty of Riga of 1921

The Treaty of Riga of March 18, 1921 (Journal of Laws No. 49, item 300) officially ended the Polish-Bolshevik war, which was fought in 1919-1920. The signatories of the act were: (II) the Republic of Poland, Soviet Russia and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The peace was preceded by negotiations - they took place initially in Minsk and then in the territory of Riga. The Polish party, represented mainly by right-wing circles, found itself in a better starting position during the negotiations after the victory in the Battle of Warsaw. Jan Dąbski, Henryk Strasburger and Leon Wasilewski were sent to Riga as representatives of the Republic of Poland. The treaty, finally signed in 1921, dealt mainly with the course of the disputed borders. It should be noted, however, that it additionally regulated other contentious issues, such as, for example, possession of Polish citizenship in the case of persons in the area of Soviet influence.

Pursuant to the provisions of the above According to the Act, Polish citizenship could be applied for by persons located in areas controlled by Soviet Russia, who had turned 18 and were registered on the territory of the former Kingdom of Poland on August 1, 1919. Moreover, the descendants of the insurgents sent in the years 1830-1865 and all those who proved that they were no more than the third generation descendants of people who permanently lived in the territory of the former First Republic could also leave for the Republic of Poland. It should be noted, however, that persons meeting the above the premises had only one year to submit a declaration of choice of citizenship.

What should be additionally noted is that Article VI of the Treaty of Riga in fact limited the possibility of choosing the option of Polish citizenship and to a large extent contributed to the blocking by the Russian authorities of trips to the territory of the Second Polish Republic. The group qualified as descendants of participants in the struggle for independence in the years 1830–1865 had to prove and demonstrate to Soviet officials their activities or the use of Polish as colloquial speech, which could indicate attachment to Polishness. Additionally, there was no appeal procedure available to the indicated applicants. As a result, the Russians made it difficult for civilians to leave Poland en masse, and in January 1923 they announced the end of the repatriation operation due to the alleged lack of reports from the interested population. However, the procedure was resumed, for a short time only until 1924, due to an appeal from the Polish side. Total on Russian territory with the possibility of resettlement, as indicated by statistical data. about 1.1 million people benefited.