Jazep Varonka

Jazep Varonka (Belarusian: Язэп Якаўлевіч Варонка, Russian: Ио́сиф Я́ковлевич Воро́нко; 4 April 1891 – 4 June 1952) was the first Chairman of the People's Secretariat (i.e. Prime Minister) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic from 21 February to May 1918.[1]

Jazep Varonka


Varonka was born in Sokółka County, Grodno Governorate on 4 April 1891.[2] From 1909 to 1914, Varonka studied at the Saint Petersburg State University and published various Belarusian and Russian newspapers.[3] In 1917, he joined the Belarusian Socialist Assembly and co-initiated the First All-Belarusian Congress.[2] From 21 February to May 1918 he was the first Chairman of the People's Secretariat (i.e. Prime Minister) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. He was succeeded by Jan Sierada.[1] From 19 April, he was also Minister of Foreign Affairs. When Soviet Russia began its westward offensive of 1918–19 and captured Minsk, the government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic went into exile.[3]

Varonka moved to Vilnius where he established contacts with the Lithuanian government, which at the outbreak of the Lithuanian–Soviet War evacuated to Kaunas. When the Lithuanian Ministry for Belarusian Affairs was established on 9 December 1918, Varonka was appointed as the first minister.[3] On 4 April 1919, Varonka and two other Belarusians were co-opted to the Council of Lithuania.[4] After the elections to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania in May 1920, Varonka was replaced by more pro-Lithuanian Dominik Semashko as the minister.[3]

Varonka edited numerous Belarusian and Russian language newspapers, wrote many political and historical essays, actively participated in Belarusian cultural life.[2] In 1923, he emigrated to Chicago, United States and began publishing the first Belarusian newspaper in the United States, Beloruskaia Tribuna (1926). Varonka started a weekly radio program in Chicago in Belarusian and Russian in the late twenties.[1] After World War II became one of the founders of the Belarusan-American Association. He died in Chicago on 4 June 1952[2] and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery (River Grove, Illinois).[5]


  1. ^ a b c Kipel, Vitaut; Kipel, Zora (1988). "Varonka Jazep". Byelorussian Statehood: Reader and Bibliography. New York: Belarusian Institute of Arts and Sciences. pp. 357–358.
  2. ^ a b c d Stryalkova, Alena; Ausiannik, Siarhiy (2016). "Varonka, Yazep". In Roszkowski, Wojciech; Kofman, Jan (eds.). Biographical Dictionary of Central and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. Routledge. pp. 2782–2783. ISBN 9781317475934.
  3. ^ a b c d Bitautas, Algis; Svarauskas, Artūras (2016). "Varonka Jazepas". In Tamošaitis, Mindaugas; Bitautas, Algis; Svarauskas, Artūras (eds.). Lietuvos Respublikos 1918–1940 m. vyriausybių ministrų biografinis žodynas (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras. pp. 465–467. ISBN 978-5-420-01778-4.
  4. ^ Błaszczak, Tomasz (2013). "Baltarusiai Lietuvos Valstybės Taryboje 1918–1920 metais". Parlamento studijos (in Lithuanian). 15. ISSN 1648-9896.
  5. ^ Знойдзеная магіла кіраўніка ўрада Беларускай Народнай Рэспублікі Язэпа Варонкі