Wasilewski, Leon

Wasilewski, Leon, b 24 August 1870 in Saint Petersburg, d 10 December 1936 in Warsaw. (Photo: Leon Wasilewski.) Polish political activist and journalist; father of Wanda Wasilewska. A prominent figure in the Polish Socialist party and editor of its official organ Przedświt, he studied, among other places, at Lviv University. There he developed a firsthand understanding of Ukrainian concerns. He published articles on Ukrainian issues in the Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian press. He advocated the idea that co-operation was necessary among the peoples oppressed by the tsarist regime. After the establishment of a Polish state Wasilewski was called upon on numerous occasions to deal with Ukrainian and Soviet issues. In 1919 he led negotiations with Viacheslav Prokopovych in Warsaw and Hryhorii Sydorenko in Paris. He participated in the preparation of the Peace Treaty of Riga (1921). During the years 1921–3 he was leader of the Polish delegation to settle Polish-Soviet and Polish-Romanian border disputes. In 1926 he headed a government committee on the eastern provinces and national minorities, which argued against the policy of national assimilation. Wasilewski even proposed to divide eastern Galicia into Polish and Ukrainian regions. He maintained connections with Ukrainians through the Promethean movement (as a member of the Promethean Club in Warsaw), the Polish-Ukrainian Society, and the Biuletyn Polsko-Ukraiński. His writings include several works on nationality issues in Eastern Europe, particularly Ukrainian affairs, among them Sovremennaia Galitsiia (Contemporary Galicia, 1898), Ukraina i sprawa ukraińska (Ukraine and the Ukrainian Question, 1919), Ukraińska sprawa narodowa w jej rozwoju historycznym (The Ukrainian National Question in Its Historical Development, 1925), and Sprawa ukraińska jako zagadnienie międzynarodowe (The Ukrainian Question as an International Issue, 1934).

Andrzej Zięba

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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