A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 3, Edited by Jerzy Jedlicki
Chapter 1: The situation of the Polish intelligentsia after the January Insurrection
The late 1860s and early 1870s were marked with a deep and long-lasting change in the Polish intelligentsia’s self-consciousness and ideological profile, and impressed their stamp on most issues relating to the intelligentsia’s everyday existence and prospects for professional development. The intelligentsia had to (re)define themselves, and continue developing in the bosom of three thoroughly different state organisms which themselves were subject at that time to grave transformations and reforms.
After the January Insurrection was defeated, the Russian Partition was subject to brutal repression affecting the whole of society, not just its intellectual elite. The physical losses in the insurgent fights and summary executions were multiplied by the subsequent deportations into the depths of Russia, of Siberia, which embraced some 40,000 insurrectionists and their families, thus eliminating them for a number of years, often forever, from the country’s life. Detentions and deportations were accompanied by the confiscation of property, upsetting ownership conditions (particularly in rural areas) or, at times, irrecoverably changing the country’s map, since a frequent practice in Białystok Land, Byelorussia and Lithuania was the displacement of entire nobility-owned small farms, under the pretext that their dwellers had participated in the uprising. A majority among the deportees were the movement’s most active and most conscious participants, dedicated to the idea of an expeditious restoration of an independent Poland. The Circum-Baikal [also called Baikal] Uprising of 1866 closed this stage of Polish history. Initiated by a few hundred Polish exiles working on the construction of...
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