Krečeŭski Piotra (other spelling: Krecheŭski Peter; Крэчэўскі Пётра), administrator, political leader, historian. Krečeŭski was born near the town of Kobryn, Bieraście region, into the family of a village-church deacon on August 7, 1879. He died in Prague on March 8, 1928.

Piotra Krečeŭski studied at the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Vilna from which he graduated in 1902. He however did not want to pursue the career of a priest and became a teacher instead. He worked as a teacher for several years in order to repay the cost of his study in the seminary. A teaching career turned out not to be to his liking either and he went into bank administration. At the beginning of that career he was under suspicion by the police because of his close ties with various political groups. His bank position gave him excellent opportunities to establish contacts with numerous Belarusians who were employed in the tsarist administration. Krečeŭski was drafted into the Russian army during the war. His administrative experience and his knowledge of the bureaucratic apparatus favored his rapid advancement in the army as well as making it possible for him to travel among the military units stationed in Belarus. Making their acquaintance, he came to know well the Belarusians who were in service. After the February Revolution, Krečeŭski was able to profit from his acquaintances within the military and assisted greatly in establishing an organization of Belarusian soldiers. At the All-Belarusian Congress, at which he was a delegate from the Barysaŭ businessmen's association, Krečeŭski was elected to the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. In February of 1918 he became a member of the first Belarusian Government with the function of state comptroller. Krečeŭski was one of the pioneers who formulated and declared Belarus to be an independent republic. In May of 1918 Krečeŭski became the Secretary of Commerce of the Republic. On October 11, 1918 he was elected Secretary of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. On December 13, 1919 Piotra Krečeŭski was elected President of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. As the Government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic headed into emigration, Krečeŭski carried out his functions in Kaunas, then in Berlin, finally settling in Prague. His immediate tasks were to establish working contacts with the representatives of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in various countries, which Krečeŭski did very efficiently. Krečeŭski's activities in Prague were very diverse. He initiated numerous memoranda along diplomatic lines to various Western European countries informing them about the political situation in Soviet Belarus as well as the difficult position of Belarusians in Poland. Next on the agenda were Belarusian affairs. Piotra Krečeŭski convened a Belarusian political conference in Prague in September of 1921, at which Belarusian topics were elaborated. Most importantly, all Belarusian organizations and parties outside of Soviet Belarus unanimously recognized the representation of the Belarusian Democratic Republic as their political symbol and rallying point.

Krečeŭski's political activities in Prague were diverse. He undertook and was successful in obtaining scholarships for Belarusian students from the Czechoslovak Government. He was also one of the pioneers who started the Belarusian Archives in Prague and obtained the financial support for maintaining these Archives. In fact, the Belarusian Archives in Prague were the first of their kind, holding some of the most important documents on modern Belarusian history. As was said elsewhere, these Archives vanished from Prague when the Soviets occupied Czechoslovakia in 1945. In the midst of all his administrative and political activities, Krečeŭski managed to participate in numerous scholarly conferences and authored several articles on topics of Belarusian culture. He also edited an important political-scholarly almanac Zamiežnaja Biełaruś (Prague, 1926).

The most important characteristic of Piotra Krečeŭski, with lasting significance for the Belarusian political emigration, is the fact that he organized the Office of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, he elaborated the Symbolism of that Office, and he withstood the intrigues, the pressures, and blandishments of the Bolsheviks to liquidate the Office of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, i.e., to abandon the Symbol of Belarusian Independence and Statehood and return to Soviet Belarus. Piotra Krečeŭski and his closest collaborators deserve the fullest credit for this; his courageous stand alone puts Piotra Krečeŭski in the ranks of major Belarusian political leaders.

References: Chryścijanskaja Dumka, Vilnia, March 20, 1938, p. 3; Baćkaŭščyna, Munich, March 15, 1953; Zamiežnaja Biełaruś, Prague, 1926, p. 152; Biełaruskaja Trybuna, Chicago, no. 2, 1928; Biełaruskaja Hazeta, Miensk, no. 62(180), August 18, 1943; Byelorussian Times, Flushing, N.Y., Oct. 1975; Jan. 1978.

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