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Polish, Lithuanian presidents to commemorate 1863 uprising against Russia

23.01.2023 09:30
The Polish and Lithuanian presidents will meet in Warsaw on Monday to honour the heroes of Poland's 1863 January Uprising against Russia, a commemoration that also aims to send a message of solidarity in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, officials have said.
A commemorative event at Warsaws Powązki Military Cemetery to mark the 160th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1863 January Uprising against Russian rule.
A commemorative event at Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery to mark the 160th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1863 January Uprising against Russian rule.Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nausėda will pay tribute to the January Uprising fighters at the Warsaw Citadel, a 19th-century fortress in the Polish capital where many Poles were imprisoned and executed after the failed insurrection, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and members of Poland's Ukrainian community are also expected to attend the ceremony to mark the 160th anniversary of the 19th-century revolt against Russian rule, according to officials.

Polish presidential aide Wojciech Kolarski told reporters at the weekend that "the January Uprising was an important event in the shared history" of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

"It was an important event in the history of Central Europe," Kolarski said.

Nausėda's visit is scheduled to begin on Monday noon with a meeting between the two presidents at Warsaw's Belweder Palace to discuss bilateral relations and Russia's war against Ukraine, according to Kolarski.

"The joint commemoration is expected to send a message about the need for solidarity at a time when Ukraine is fighting against Russian aggression," Kolarski told reporters.

As part of the commemorations, Duda and Nausėda will attend the opening of an exhibition focusing on the 1863 uprising at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Kolarski said.

The exhibition has been put together by Polish and Lithuanian experts and historians, he added.

Duda wrote in a message on Friday that the revolt 160 years ago was the largest and longest-lasting Polish national uprising in the 19th century.

"With arms in hand, Poles stood up against the czarist empire, which did not recognize our rights to self-determination and was intent on destroying all things Polish in a process of fierce Russification," the Polish president said in his message.

"Our nation spoke with a powerful voice of pride and protest," he added.

The 1863 revolt, though unsuccessful, paved the way for the country’s hard-won sovereignty in 1918, officials have said.

The January Uprising broke out on January 22, 1863 when a provisional national government issued a manifesto in which it appealed to all Poles to take up arms against czarist Russia.

The insurgency became the largest and longest of Poland's armed struggles for independence during the 19th century. It comprised more than 1,000 battles and skirmishes fought by some 200,000 insurgents.

Over 30,000 insurgents were killed during the bloody one-and-a-half-year-long struggle and some 40,000 were deported to Russia’s remote Siberia region, according to military historians.

Poland ultimately regained independence on November 11, 1918, the day World War I ended, after 123 years of being partitioned by Russia, Austria and Prussia.


Source: IAR, PAPprezydent.pl