Losik Jazep (also spelled Liosik Iazep; Лёсік Язэп), scholar, publicist, writer, political leader. Jazep Losik was born in the village of Mikałajeŭščyna, Miensk region, on November 6, 1884. He died in a Soviet prison in 1940. Jazep Losik graduated from the Maładečna Teachers' Seminary. In his teenage years he entered the revolutionary movement and became a promoter of the idea of a Belarusian Socialist Party. He was an organizer of the Belarusian Teachers' Union in 1906-1907. Because of his revolutionary activities, Losik was arrested and exiled to Siberia for life. However, he kept close contact with the Belarusian movement in his homeland and was a prolific contributor to the newspaper Naša Niva from his place of exile. In Siberia Losik met another Belarusian political exile, Aleś Harun (Alaksandar Prušynski) and the two outstanding Belarusian patriots became close friends. Both returned to Belarus only after the February Revolution. After returning to Miensk in 1917, Jazep Losik soon became the spiritual leader of the Belarusian national intelligentsia and the political leader of the movement. He founded and edited the newspaper Volnaja Biełaruś, the first issue of which appeared May 28, 1917. This newspaper, more than anything else at that time, contributed to the development and the crystallization of the idea of Belarusian statehood and Belarusian Independence. Jazep Losik also participated actively in the formation of Belarusian groups around the country, preparing them for the forthcoming All Belarusian Congress. He master-minded the proceedings of the Congress and the activities of the Belarusian political parties following the events of December 1917. Losik assumed numerous posts in the Belarusian Democratic Republic and from 1918 to late 1919 he was the chairman of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. He also accomplished the establishment of the Belarusian Social-Democratic Party in 1918 and pioneered a new magazine, Biełaruś. When the Soviets advanced in 1920, Losik did not go into exile, but remained in Soviet Belarus. He became active in the educational and cultural life of the republic, remaining an authoritative leader for the new wave of the Belarusian intelligentsia in newly-formed Soviet Belarus. He took part in organizing Teachers' Training Course, the Belarusian Terminological Commission, the Belarusian State University, various youth groups and many Belarusian cultural institutions. Losik's name in Soviet Belarus was truly a household word. While active politically and in the cultural field, Losik was also a very prolific writer and author, contributing to numerous journals and newspapers and authoring several textbooks. As a matter of fact, Losik's textbook, entitled A Practical Grammar of the Belarusian Language (1921), became the standard textbook for hundreds of thousands of students throughout the decade of the 1920s. Jazep Losik was elected to the Academy of Sciences of the BSSR. Unfortunately, he was one of the first Belarusian leaders to be arrested in 1930. Losik was exiled to Russia and was rearrested again in 1938. Around 1940, when his wife began to make demarches as to his whereabouts, she was told that Losik died in prison in 1940. The loss of such prominent personality — a dedicated political leader and scholar, who began his career within the Socialist movement to destroy the Prison of Nations, the Russian Empire, and was executed by the heirs of the Empire, the Communists — represents an enormous tragedy for the Belarusian Nation.

References: Biełarus, New York, no. 186, 1972; Bieł. Sav. Enc., vol. 6, 1972, p. 351; Baćkaŭščyna, Munich, nos. 136-137, February 8, 1953; 434, Dec. 14, 1958; Biełaruski Śviet, Grand Rapids, Mich., no. 14(43), 1983, pp. 4-6; A representative selection of references of his writings on the topic of Belarusian independence appeared in the Biełaruski Peryjadyčny Druk, 1917-1927. Minsk, Biełaruskaje Dziaržaŭnaje Vyd-va, 1929. pp. 139-151.

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