Polish citizenship

The population of the former Russian Partition

In order to get Polish citizenship after regaining the independence by the 2nd Republic of Poland, the population had to demonstrate that they resided within the territory of the former Tzardom of Russia, which, after the 1st World War and the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, was given to Poland. The fact of residing must not be understood, however, as real, long-term residence within a given territory, but a type of relationship governed by public law, connecting an individual with a given territory.

The idea of settling with respect to the dwellers of the former Russian Partition was clarified in a different way depending on which part of the partition those people came from - the Polish Kingdom or the remaining part of said territory. In both cases, the grounds for acquiring Polish citizenship ex lege were laid down in Article 2 point 1 of the Act of 1920 on Citizenship of the Polish State.

With respect to the Polish Kingdom, a settler, within the meaning of the aforesaid act, and therefore being a Polish citizen ex lege, meant every person who was registered, or, during the existence of the Polish Kingdom, had a right to be registered, in the register of permanent residents of the Polish Kingdom. However, in the case of the residents of the remaining territories of the Russian Partition, in order to acquire Polish citizenship ex lege, they had to be registered within the municipality or commune or in one of the state organisations within the territory that fell in the hands of the 2nd Republic of Poland. The "settlement" had to be proven as of the dat of promulgation of the aforesaid act, i.e. 31 January 1920. Acquiring Polish citizenship, according to the new Act, was not dependent on whether a person was actually residing within the territory of Poland.

The fact of registering in the registers of permanent residents in the Polish Kingdom was to be decided pursuant to the provisions in force during the Kingdom's existence. From a legal point of view, the issue of keeping the registers of permanent residents in the Polish Kingdom, was regulated by:

  • - Instruction on keeping and maintaining civil registers in municipalities and communes of the Polish Kingdom, ratified by the decision of the Administrative Council of 10/22 November 1861.
  • - Instruction on keeping and maintaining civil registers for the Capital City of Warsaw, ratified by the decision of the Administrative Council of 11/23 February 1866.
  • - order of 8 July 1868 on the procedure of re-settlement from the Russian Tzardom to the Polish Kingdom - introduced minor changes with respect to the two instructions mentinoed above.

On the other hand, registering in a municipality or a communie or one of the state organisation within the territory of the Russian Tzardom, which, after the 1st World War fell into the hands of the Polish state, was to be analysed pursuant to the laws of the Tzardom. The laws did not recognise any special registration in a municipality or a commune as a local-government unit, and the expression used in the Act on the citizenship of the Polish State "registered in a municipality or a commune" meant any person registered as dwellers of municipal or rural areas. Apart from the two categories mentioned above, there were two other social groups in the Russian Tzardom - nobility and clergy. The clergy, however,

did not have any local organisation, therefore belonging to clergy could not be grounds for acquiring Polish citizenship.

The legal grounds for belonging to one of the states were:

  • - The Act on social strata in the Russian Tzardom (collection of laws, v. 9)
  • - Industrial Act for the Russian Tzardom (collection of laws, v. 9)
  • - Passport Act (collection of laws, v. 14)

In accordance with the abovementioned acts, Russian nobility was divided into 6 groups: noblemen, military, civil servants of a certain range, titled nobility and existing noble families and foreign families. City dwellers with a general name of гражданин included: honour citizens, merchants, city dwellers, manufacturers or guild members, and rural dwellers - landowners