Čarviakoŭ Aleś (also spelled: Charviakoŭ Ales', Tscherviakoŭ; Чарвякоў Алесь), teacher, political leader. Aleś Čarviakoŭ was born into a peasant family in the village of Dukarka, district of the township of Puchavičy, Miensk region, on March 8, 1892. He committed suicide in Miensk on June 16, 1938. Aleś Čarviakoŭ graduated from the Teachers' Institute in Vilna intending to pursue a teaching career. However, World War I changed his plans; he was drafted and sent to military school. While stationed in St. Petersburg, Čarviakoŭ joined the Belarusian community and became active in organizing the Belarusian Social Democratic Workers' Party, leaning strongly to the left. Either shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution or soon after it, Čarviakoŭ joined the Communist Party and became totally involved in Party propaganda work among the soldiers and workers. However, he also kept in close contact with Belarusian national organizations and activities. In fact, Mr. Čarviakoŭ and a few other members of their leftist group — viz., the Belarusian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, which was established in September, 1917 — were elected to represent their organization at the All-Belarusian Congress in Miensk, December, 1917. Under the influence of Čarviakoŭ and other Belarusian Bolsheviks, the Bolshevik Party began paying closer attention to the Belarusian movement and Belarusian national affairs. When the Bolsheviks decided to establish some Belarusian organizations, Čarviakoŭ was appointed Commissar of the Belarusian National Commissariat, formed under the direction of the People's Commissariat for Nationalities of the Russian Federation. He was one of the signatories of the declaration establishing the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1919. After the proclamation of the BSSR (January 1, 1919) Čarviakoŭ became one of the members of the first government and went on to hold a number of very important positions in the Party, the government of Soviet Belarus, and the USSR. Čarviakoŭ was the only Belarusian named a member of the Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Republic and, soon after, Commissar for Public Education in this republic (1919). Čarviakoŭ also served on the commission negotiating the Riga Treaty (October, 1920) and numerous other administrative positions. Although a faithful Communist and Party loyalist, Aleś Čarviakoŭ initiated many Belarus-oriented programs and openly advocated a resurgence of Belarusian culture. He encouraged strong national pride from his various positions of authority. Čarviakoŭ was very instrumental during the first few years of the Soviet regime in uniting Belarusian lands along ethnographic principles. As a result of his efforts (and those of other Belarusian Communists), the territory of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic considerably increased. Čarviakoŭ authored and edited numerous important works on Belarusian economy, political affairs, and administration. Aleś Čarviakoŭ was a close friend of many Belarusian leaders and activists who were not members of the Communist Party. For this reason and because of his zeal for the Belarusian national cause, he became an early suspect for Party's loyalty and, eventually, a victim of Stalin's purges. Aware of his imminent arrest, Čarviakoŭ committed suicide in his office in Miensk.

References: Baćkaŭščyna, Munich, nos. 25-26(559-560), June 25, 1961; Bieł. Sav. Enc., vol. 11, 1974, pp. 196-187; The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, vol. 7, 1958, p. 31.

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