Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 3rd March 1918

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on March 3, 1918, between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria), marked Russia's exit from World War I.

Negotiations began after the December 1917 armistice on the Eastern Front, with the treaty finalized at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus). The Soviet delegation, initially led by Adolph Joffe and later by Leon Trotsky, faced demands from the Central Powers for the secession of occupied Russian territories.

Photocopy of the first page of Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty between Soviet Russia and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey, March 1918. From left to right the columns are written in: German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Ottoman Turkish and Russian.

Traktat brzeski 1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk - Wikipedia

...Russia recognized Finnish independence and agreed to end hostilities...

Trotsky attempted to delay the talks, hoping for revolutions in Central Europe, but a renewed Central Powers offensive in February 1918 forced the Soviets to agree to peace terms.

The treaty imposed significant territorial losses on Russia, including Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), and the Caucasus regions of Kars and Batum. These areas accounted for 34% of Russia's population, 54% of its industrial land, 89% of its coalfields, and 26% of its railways.

Additionally, Russia recognized Finnish independence and agreed to end hostilities with the Ukrainian People's Republic. A supplementary protocol in August 1918 obligated Russia to pay Germany six billion marks in war reparations.

Signing of the armistice between Russia and Germany on 15 December 1917. Prince Leopold of Bavaria signing the treaty.

Traktat brzeski 1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk - Wikipedia

...saw Russia and Germany renounce all territorial and financial claims against each other...

The treaty was highly controversial in Russia, fueling the White movement and causing a split between the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who withdrew from the Council of People's Commissars and later rebelled. The treaty was nullified by the Armistice of November 11, 1918, following Germany's surrender.

During the subsequent Russian Civil War, Soviet attempts to regain lost territories had mixed outcomes. While the Red Army was defeated in the Baltic independence wars and the Polish-Soviet War, it succeeded in reclaiming Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and parts of Ukraine.

The Treaty of Kars (1921) affirmed the border with Turkey, and the Treaty of Rapallo (1922) saw Russia and Germany renounce all territorial and financial claims against each other.

The Belarusian People's Republic declares independence, 25th March 1918

The Belarusian People's Republic (BNR), also known as the Belarusian Democratic Republic, was proclaimed by the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in its Second Constituent Charter on the 9th March 1918, during the First World War.

The declaration of independence was made in its Third Constituent Charter on March 25, 1918, while contemporary Belarus was under occupation by the Imperial German Army.

The government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic never controlled the entire territory of Belarus. In 1919, it coexisted with the Soviet Russia-controlled Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, which later became part of the Lithuanian–Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The BNR moved its seat of government to Vilnius and Hrodna but ceased to exist due to the division of Belarusian territory between the Bolshevik Red Army and the Polish Armed Forces following the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921.

Belarusian People's Republic postcard with coats of arms of voivodeships.

Belarusian Democratic Republic - Wikipedia

The first government of the People's Republic. Sitting, left to right: Aliaksandar BurbisJan SieradaJazep VaronkaVasil Zacharka. Standing, left to right: Arkadź SmoličPyotra KrecheuskiKastuś JezavitaŭAnton Ausianik [be]Leanard Zajac.

Belarusian Democratic Republic - Wikipedia

...a significant historical and political reference point...

Despite losing control over Belarus, the Rada (Council) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic continues to function as the oldest government in exile.

It symbolizes the enduring quest for Belarusian independence and sovereignty, maintaining its role as a representative of Belarusian national interests abroad.

The BNR's legacy persists as a significant historical and political reference point for contemporary Belarusian democratic and independence movements.

March Days Genocide, 30th March 1918

The March Days, or March Events, occurred between the 30th March and the 2nd April 1918, in Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate.

These clashes resulted from a power struggle between the Bolsheviks, supported by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), and the Azerbaijani Musavat Party, amid rumors of a potential Muslim revolt.

The arrival of the disbanded Caucasian Native Cavalry Division in Baku sparked tensions when its commander, General Talyshinski, was arrested, leading to protests from the Azerbaijani population.

An incident involving the steamship Evelina further escalated the situation when armed former servicemen were disarmed by the Soviet forces, leading to open hostilities.

Bolshevik revolutionary Stepan Shahumyan. Shahumyan orchestrated an attack on Azerbaijani forces during the March Days of 1918 in Baku, leading to intense clashes and significant casualties.

Stepan Shaumian - Wikipedia

Muslim victims in Baku after March days. The March Days of 1918 in Baku resulted in significant casualties, with estimates of around 12,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed during the inter-ethnic clashes.

March Days - Wikipedia

...significant bloodshed and the mass killing of Muslim civilians...

On the 31st March 31, Azerbaijani protests demanding arms for Muslims were rejected by the Bolsheviks, who accused the Muslims of initiating violence and halted negotiations.

The Bolsheviks, supported by Dashnak forces, used this pretext to launch a broader attack, resulting in significant bloodshed and the mass killing of Muslim civilians.

The fighting transformed Baku into a battlefield, with trenches and barricades across the city.

The situation escalated into full-scale battles, with Armenian forces looting, burning, and killing indiscriminately in Muslim areas.

...a significant episode of ethnic and political violence...

The conflict continued until the night of April 2, when resistance ceased after extensive destruction and loss of life.

Reports vary, but contemporary sources like The New York Times estimated casualties to be between 2,000 and 12,000, highlighting the brutal and chaotic nature of the events.

The March Days are remembered as a significant episode of ethnic and political violence in the history of Baku.

Further reading