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Raman Skirmunt

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Raman Skirmunt

Raman (Roman) Skirmunt (Belarusian: Раман Скірмунт, May 7, 1868 - October 7, 1939) was a notable Belarusian statesman, aristocrat and landlord.

Raman Skirmunt was born in the village Parechcha near Pinsk into the local noble family of the Skirmunts. He graduated from a classical gymnasium in Riga and the University of Warsaw (law) and University of Vienna (philosophy).

In early 20th century Skirmunt was among the leaders of the local krajowcy movement and advocated the creation of the Krajowcy Party of Lithuania and White Ruthenia as a common Polish-Belarusian-Lithuianian political organization.

In 1906 Raman Skirmunt became member of the Russian State Duma where he initiated creation of a Polish-Belarusian fraction, the so-called Western Borderlands Group (Russian: Группа западных окраин). Between 1910 and 1911 he was member of the State Council of Imperial Russia.

In 1911 he returned to Belarus and worked as leader of the local zemstvo of Minsk.

In 1917 Raman Skirmunt was head of the Minsk branch of the Belarusian Society for Assistance to War Victims. In March 1917 he became president of the Belarusian National Committee in Minsk. In April 1917 he led the Belarusian delegation at talks with the Russian Provisional Government demanding autonomy for Belarus.

In April 1918 Skirmunt became member of the Council of the newly proclaimed Belarusian Democratic Republic, in July he became prime minister of Belarus and secretary for foreign affairs. In November of 1918 he led the Belarusian diplomatic delegation in Germany and Switzerland seeking international recognition of Belarus.

After the Polish-Soviet War and the division of Belarus according to the Riga Peace Treaty, he advocated autonomy for West Belarus within the Second Polish Republic but was not politically active any more, mostly concentrating on his life in his manor. In 1930 he was elected Senator.

In 1939, upon annexation of West Belarus by the USSR, Raman Skirmunt was killed by some local people.

His cousin Konstanty Skirmunt was a notable Polish diplomat and minister of foreign affairs.

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