Place:Kresy, Poland


Alt namesKresy Wschodniesource: Wikipedia
Located inPoland

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'Kresy Wschodnie' or 'Kresy' (Eastern Borderlands, or Borderlands) was the Eastern part of the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period constituting nearly half of the territory of the state. As a concept the Polish notion of Kresy corresponds with the Russian one of Okrainy (Oкраины).. The population in Kresy had a considerable proportion of national minorities, which in total were roughly equal in their number to ethnic Poles and even exceeded the numbers of Poles in some areas. Administratively, the territory of Kresy was composed of voivodeships of Lwów, Nowogródek, Polesie, Stanisławów, Tarnopol, Wilno, Wołyń, and the Białystok. Today, these territories are divided between Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, and south-eastern Lithuania, with such major cities as Lviv, Vilnius, and Grodno no longer in Poland. In the Second Polish Republic the term Kresy roughly equated with the lands beyond the so-called Curzon Line, which was suggested after World War I in December 1919 by the British Foreign Office as the eastern border of the re-emerging sovereign Republic following the century of partitions. In September 1939, after the Soviet Union joined Nazi Germany in their attack on Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the territories were incorporated into Soviet Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania in the atmosphere of terror.

The Soviet gains in the course of World War II were ratified by the Allies at the Tehran Conference, the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference. When the Soviet Union broke up, the former Kresy remained a significant part of the former Soviet republics as they gained independence. Even though the Eastern Borderlands are no longer in Poland, the area is still inhabited by Polish minorities, and the memory of Kresy is still cultivated among them, though the attachment to the "myth of Kresy", including the prewar vision of the region as a peaceful, idyllic, rural land, has been criticized in the Polish political discourse after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Economically the region was less developed than the western part of interwar Poland and had the lowest literacy level of the nation, as education was not compulsory in the Russian Empire.

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