Belorussian anti-soviet Resistance 1919 - 1959

In 1918 after the collapse of Belarus Peoples Republic the partisan movement was established who kept the fight against communists. The Soviet regime reported that about 1000 to 2000 partisans were active from 1919 to 1941 killing at least 250 NKVD soldiers. The most famous unit was called Leshy (Wood Goblins) under the command of Yakub Kharevsky who cooperated with UPA and Polish government in his struggle against communism.

After the soviets got demolished by German forces in 1941, many of those anti-soviet forces wanted to set an independent Belarusian state, however, it was not meant to happen. Germans were not very keen on independent Slavic states and originally only supported Zuev Autonomy, however, in 1943 German created Byelorussian Central Council who were Nazi puppet government and incorporated in itself defense forces, it was not very popular and many Belorussians who were the armed forces of BCC would later go to the forests to fight the reds instead of going away with the German army and setting up Belarussian Army in Germany like Radasłaŭ Astroŭski, the leader, of BCC wanted.

After the retreat of Germans, many were not really keen on being governed by communists. Belarusian Independence Party that was created in 1939—1940 in Vilnius were the main organizer of the resistance. In 1944 the leaders of the BNP heavily criticized the Belarusian Central Rada, the pro-German government of Belarus, and its leader Radasłaŭ Astroŭski for taking a loyal position towards the Nazis. They wanted free Belarus instead of a German puppet state. The other part of the resistance was created with the help of Abwehr under command of General Michał Vituška.

By 1945 Belarussian resistance had by soviet reports from 10 000 to 30 000 soldiers, in September 1945 all of the resistance commanders, around 40, met in Naliboki forest and decided to start an active armed struggle, but the participants abandoned large-scale sabotage in order not to expose the civilian population of Belarus to harm. They would commit arson, kills soviet officials, and nkvd soldiers, but not take major battles.

In September of 1948 happened the most famous battle, around 200 soldiers of Black Cat and Belarussian forest brothers attacked the city of Navahrudak (10,000 people) and occupied it for some time, freeing political prisoners from nkvd prison there. This happened because, in September 1948, the MGB carried out arrests in the Kobrin region, identifying those who they have seen as sympathetic to Ukrainian and Belarusian independence fighters (in total, more than 200 people were arrested). The prisons were overcrowded, and the prisoners had to be kept in Kobrin’s barracks. Black Cat guerrillas attacked the barracks and freed the prisoners.

However, by 1952 most of the commanders decided to leave Belarus and travel to the western powers meanwhile connecting with polish resistance groups on their way. The last group fighting in Belarus was commanded by Evgeny Zhikhar. In September 1955 when most of the partisans of his unit died he ordered the remaining his man to escape to the West through Poland while he would cover their retreat. He died in battle with the KGB, according to soviet sources when Zhihar ran out of ammunition, he committed suicide with the last bullet he ha left.

Some minor groups were fighting until the end of 1959 however they were not able to liberate any cities and were only shooting kgb agents or burning down their headquarters in minor cities of Belarus.

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