Legal and Social Aspects of the Belarusian Economic Emigration to Canada in the 1920s-30s

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The author examines the main features for the formation of the Belarusian economic emigration to Canada. The intensity of the emigration from 1921 to 1939 was analyzed, when the territory of Western Belarus was a part of Poland. The historical base of the research was the unpublished documents of the Belarusian, Ukrainian and Polish archives. The article presents the structure of state emigration bodies that were involved in organizing and controlling the recruitment of emigrants, their employment and the process of re-emigration. It describes the features of the Canadian legislation for the scale of the Belarusian emigration and the legal adaptation of emigrants. Particular attention is paid to the role of the Canadian railway companies “Canadian National Railways” and “Canadian Pacific Railways” in the selection of emigrants and their employment in agriculture and industry. The author argue that the Polish authorities stimulated the emigration of the Belarusian population for the polonization of Western Belarus. The problematic socio-psychological adaptation of the Belarusian emigrants, because Belarusians in Canada weakly expressed the national identity, is described. The author concludes that the international cooperation had an important role in forming the diaspora’s and national identity, especially the international contacts with the representatives of other peoples and the participation in common political organizations and projects.

About the authors

Olga V. Koval

Belarusian State Technological University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6794-233X

PhD in History, Associate Professor of the Department of History of Belarus and Political Science

13a, Sverdlov Str., Minsk, 220006, Republic of Belarus


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