Bird Families

Murderer of 79 Belarusians, burned five villages


One of the most common barbel living on coniferous wood is the brown butt barbel Arhopalus (-Criocephalus) rusticus L. This large beetle (length 9-27 mm) has an elongated dark brown body with a reddish or chestnut tint. Antennae are short, no longer than half the body. Elytra weakly convex, strongly elongated, with more or less developed longitudinal ribs, dense double punctation, with small brownish hairs. Beetles are active at dusk, at night they fly into the light. They prefer pine plantations. Flight from June to September. Females lay eggs in the crevice of the bark singly or, less often, in groups of 3-4 pcs. Fertility is about 150 eggs per female. The egg phase is 2-3 weeks. In the laboratory, at an average daily temperature of 18 ° C, the duration of the egg phase was 14.7 days (Cherepanov, 1979).

The larva is yellowish-white, with black-brown jaws, up to 33 mm long, 8 mm wide. At the end of the ninth segment, there are two characteristic raised spines. She first lives under the bark in the area of ​​thick roots or the root part of the trunk, then goes into the wood and makes longitudinal passages, clogging them with drilling flour. At the last instar, the larva arranges a cradle for pupation and gnaws out the outlet to the lateral surface, clogging it with coarse drilling flour. The pupal phase is 3-4 weeks. The hatching beetles do not need additional nutrition and immediately start mating. Generation lasts 1-3 years, depending on the substrate. The brown butt barbel prefers pine. A number of works indicate that it can populate dry wood, harming cold buildings, sleepers and telegraph poles. Probably, their settlement took place while the logs were in the bark, and the larvae that emerged then continued to live in the mentioned objects and feed on wood for several years. Brings the barbel and indirect benefits. Inhabiting stumps, it accelerates their destruction and thereby contributes to the fastest involvement of organic matter in the biological cycle.

Who is Brown?

Romuald Rice. Photo:

Pole Romuald Rice was born in 1913. In the interwar years - in the army, he rose to the rank of corporal. In 1939, when the Second World War began, his equestrian unit fought with the Germans, but was defeated. Rice retreated, but he was disarmed by the Red Army units, which at that time were allies of the Germans.

Rice was sent to a prison in Bereza-Kartuzskaya (this was the name of the Belarusian city of Bereza until 1939), where, ironically, a Polish prison had previously been located. Rice was later released. In the 1940s, he fought against the Germans as part of the Home Army.

How did it all start?

I'll start from afar (but keep it as short as possible). Back in 1569, the federal state Rzeczpospolita was created. The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Belarusian-Lithuanian state) became its parts. Both retained their troops, financial system, language, etc. But gradually the influence of Poland began to grow. In 1696, the Old Belarusian language in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania lost its state status. As a result, in the minds of the elite (and ordinary Poles), all the lands of the Commonwealth were increasingly associated with Poland.

At the end of the 18th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was divided between Russia, Austria and Prussia. After the First World War, all three empires disappeared, and Poland gained independence (and received the unofficial name of the Second Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).

Among the elite of this country were supporters of both federal and unitary development of the country. The latter, unfortunately, won. After Western Belarus (under the terms of the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921) became part of Poland, polonization gradually began in the region. By the beginning of World War II, all Belarusian-language educational institutions were closed.

In 1939, the territory of Poland was divided between two totalitarian states: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But - and this is one of the paradoxes of the Belarusian history - in this way the reunification of the Belarusian lands into one state took place.

True, the Poles still perceived Western Belarus (as well as Western Ukraine) as their territory. Therefore, the Home Army, when it was created in 1942 and subordinated to the Polish emigration government in London, operated on the territory of Poland within the 1939 borders. That is, in the Belarusian territories.

Who was the Home Army fighting against?

The assault company of the 3rd brigade of the Regional Army leaves the church, led by Romuald Rice. April 1944. Photo:

The Polish government in exile did not recognize the agreements between Germany and the USSR (including the "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact"). Therefore, she considered these countries to be her two opponents. In practice, the Home Army fought against the Germans, and acted in different ways against the USSR: there was cooperation (especially after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and the emigration government), and armed clashes.

In 1944, the Home Army tried to take power into their own hands (plan "The Tempest"). The Poles planned that they would destroy the retreating Germans and by the time the Soviet troops arrived, power would be in the hands of civilian authorities that were subordinate to the emigration government.

AK started an uprising in Warsaw. But the uprising was drowned in blood (according to the Poles, the Red Army did not specifically help them, according to the USSR, the Red Army did not have the resources for this, no one informed them about the beginning of the uprising).

The Home Army was drained of blood. In early 1945, the last head of the AK, Leopold Okulitsky, officially disbanded the army. He himself headed the new underground organization "Niepodległość-NIE" ("Non-Independence"), which conducted reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the rear of the Red Army.

Soldiers of the Home Army are heroes of Poland. And Brown?

For the Poles, the Home Army soldiers are undoubtedly heroes who fought with arms in their hands for the independence of their country. But Romuald Rice definitely doesn't fit into that category. And if it does, then only until 1944/1945. Why?

In 1944, he withdrew his unit from the encirclement, dismissed it and, using forged documents, began to serve in the Polish People's Army (previously fought along with the Red Army on the Eastern Front). But already in May 1945, he deserted and began serving in the 5th Vilna brigade of the AK (some units of the Home Army continued to fight after the official dissolution). In September 1945, the head of the 5th Brigade issued an order for its self-dissolution, but Rice refused to comply and continued to fight in another organization, the National Armed Resistance.

His unit began to fight the new government. By that time, Poland was headed by the Provisional Government of National Unity, formed in June 1945. The Western allies recognized it on the condition that representatives of various political forces (including emigrants) enter there. But in practice, it was controlled by local communists who relied on the USSR.

Bury operated in the Bialystoch region, where the Belarusian population predominated (in 1939 it became part of the BSSR). But the Polish insurgents believed that the Belarusians (besides, they were also Orthodox) were a priori politically hostile to them.

When, after World War II, Stalin transferred these territories to Poland and a new border was drawn, the Polish population got the opportunity to move to this country, the Belarusian - to move to the BSSR. Many residents of the Bialystok region refused to move, because they had lived in these territories for a long time. But the rebels tried to get rid of them, the population of some villages received threats from illegal organizations, some families were even killed. The reaction was the opposite: the actions of the partisan detachments only increased sympathy for the authorities.

What happened in early 1946?

Soldiers of the 3rd Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army. Romuald Rice is among them. 1944 year. Photo:

In January - February 1946, the Brown detachment (by that time he had received the rank of captain) carried out a raid, the purpose of which was to demonstrate the strength of his organization. During the march, five Belarusian villages were burned (in whole or in part): Zaleshany and Volka-Vygonovskaya (January 31), Zani and Shpaki (February 2), the village of Kontsovizna is also called in the documents. 79 people (including women and small children) were killed.

For example, in Zaleshany, residents were herded into one building and set on fire. People managed to escape from the building (Polish historians say that the soldiers fired over their heads, eyewitnesses say the opposite). But then Brown burned the entire village, and many died in the fire or during an attempt to escape. On January 30, local coachmen were killed near the village of Starye Pukhaly, and, possibly, some of them were killed with special cruelty with axes (moreover, those who knew how to be baptized in Catholicism and read Our Father in Polish were released).

In 1948 Bury was arrested. He was promised freedom, after which the captain began to cooperate with the investigation, revealed all the underground addresses and contacts. But a year later, Bury was sentenced to death by hanging. Rice did not admit his guilt.

How did Poland assess the events of 1946?

Romuald Rice. Photo:

In 1995, the Warsaw Military District Court overturned Romuald Rice's death sentence because he "fought for the independent existence of the Polish state." As for his orders (regarding the Belarusian villages), he acted “in a state of extreme necessity” and took “not always ethical” actions.

This caused outrage among the victims of those events. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance began an investigation, which ended in 2005. The researchers concluded that Bury's actions "had signs of genocide" in relation to Orthodox Belarusians.

- Without questioning the idea of ​​the struggle for the independence of Poland under the leadership of organizations opposing the imposed power (talking about the communist government. - Approx. TUT.BY), (...) it should be firmly stated that the killing of drivers and pacification of villages in January - February 1946 years cannot be equated with the struggle for the independent existence of the state, since it bears signs of genocide.

What is the essence of the new conflict?

In 2015, the conservative Law and Justice Party came to power in Poland, which for the first time in the country's history formed a one-party majority government. The leadership of the institute was changed, and the conclusions of 2005 were called erroneous and "not consistent with the facts."

- We believe that Bury did not act with the intention to destroy (in whole or in part) the Belarusian community or the Orthodox community living in Poland within its present borders. (...). Bury's fault lies in the fact that he created a situation that he could not cope with and as a result of which, regardless of his intentions, people who under no circumstances should have suffered were killed, - said the historian Kazimierz Krajewski and the lawyer Grzegorz Visowski ...

According to historians Mariusz Bechta and Wojciech Muszynski, [this] "action was of a political nature and was associated with the active support of the local population for the communist regime."

The Institute stated that the 1995 ruling was the only valid decision. This means that Bury and his subordinates are not to blame. This opinion is also shared by Polish nationalists, who are holding marches in Hajnowka (this city was also attacked by Rice's troops).

It will be very helpful to quote another point from the 2005 document that Rice condemned:

- The events (...) carried out by Burym in no way contributed to the Polish-Belarusian national relations and the understanding of the Polish underground struggle for the independence of Poland.

The truth of this thesis has already been confirmed by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

- We expect the Polish authorities to make public official comments on whether such an assessment of Bury's actions is an official point of view and how much it correlates with the steps to build a dialogue, including a historical one, that have been taken by the parties recently, the Belarusian foreign ministry said. ...

The Polish Ambassador to Belarus has already been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to provide relevant explanations.