Peace of Riga

Peace of Riga of 18 March 1921
Central and Eastern Europe after the Polish-Soviet Treaty of Riga
Signed18 March 1921
LocationRiga, Latvia
Expiration17 September 1939
Signatories
Caricature for Riga Peace 1921. Shows a Pole in old-style officer's uniform and sword-belt, and an ammunition-bandoliered and skull-faced Red Army soldier, together tearing White Russia or Belarus into two, while stomping on Ukraine.

The Peace of Riga, also known as the Treaty of Riga (Polish: Traktat Ryski), was signed in Riga on 18 March 1921, between Poland, Soviet Russia (acting also on behalf of Soviet Belarus) and Soviet Ukraine. The treaty ended the Polish–Soviet War.[2]

The Soviet-Polish borders established by the treaty remained in force until the Second World War. They were later redrawn during the Yalta Conference and Potsdam Conference.

Background

World War I removed former imperial borders across Europe. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution had renounced Tsarist claims to Poland in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the war had ended with Germany's surrender, Poland was able to re-establish its independence after a century of foreign rule.

The Russian Civil War presented an opportunity for Poland under the leadership of Józef Piłsudski to regain parts of the tsarist territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which had been incorporated into the Russian Empire during the Partitions of Poland. Meanwhile, many in the Soviet leadership desired to respond to Piłsudski's moves into the Ukraine by using military force against Poland, which was seen by the Soviets as a land bridge to Western Europe, and thus to extend the revolution westwards. The Polish–Soviet War ensued, culminating in the Polish victory in the Battle of Warsaw (1920), after which both sides became receptive to ending the conflict. Further military setbacks following their defeat near Warsaw made the Soviets eager to begin peace treaty negotiations,[3] and the Poles, pressured by the League of Nations, were also willing to negotiate after the Polish army had annexed most of the disputed territories in the war, but was nearing exhaustion.

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