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Alaiza Stepanovna Pashkievich Edit Profile

also known as Ciotka, Maciej Krapiuka, Krapiuka, M. Krapivikha, Krapivikha, Gavrila from Polotsk, Gavrila, Bandas’ Asaka

political activist , poet

Alaiza Pashkevich or Ciotka was a Belarusian poet and political activist of Belarusian national-democratic rebirth. She is considered the first Belarusian poetess of the twentieth century.

Background

Alaiza Pashkevich was born on July 15, 1876 in the folwarak Peshchyn, at that time Shchuchyn District, Vilna Governorate, Russian Empire (today’s Shchuchyn District, Belarus) into a wealthy szlachta family. The family had many children. She spent her early childhood years under the care of her grandmother Yugasya at the folwarak Taresin of the Stary Dvor Manor.

Education

Alaiza received primary education at home and in 1884, entered 4th grade of the Vilnius private secondary school of Vera Prozarava. The fee for the school was very high - 100 rubles per year, but Alaiza received a scholarship for good and thorough studies. She graduated from the secondary school in 1901. In 1902, she moved to Saint Petersburg and graduated externally from the Gymnasium Alexandria for girls. From 1902 to 1904, Pashkievich attended higher educational courses of a well-known Russian teacher, anatomist, physician and social reformer Peter Lesgaft.

During her stay in Lviv, Alaiza became a non-degree student of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Lviv University. From 1907 to 1911, she studied at the Faculty of History and Philology of the Lviv University. In 1908-1908, Pashkievich lived in Krakow and studied at the Faculty of Humanities at the Jagiellonian University.

Career

After graduation from the Vilnius secondary school in 1901, Alaiza shortly worked as a home teacher in a village. During her studies at St. Petersburg, society of Belarusian students "A circle of Belarusian Public Education" was formed, and Pashkievich became its member. She supported the ideas of the society on active struggle against the tsarist government, social freedom of the working people, national liberation of the Belarusians. During this period, Pashkievich began her literary career. Already in 1903, the book “Pesni” (“Songs”) was published in St. Petersburg, which contained her poem entitled “Man’s fate” (under a pen name Bandys Asaka) together with the poems by F. Bogushevich. Underground pamphlets “Christmas Egg for 1904” and “Easter egg” contained her poems too under pen names Gavrila from Polotsk and Gavrila. Actually, Pashkievich’s works made almost a half of these small publications.

In 1904, she gave up teaching and returned to Vilnius, where she worked as a medical assistant at the New Vilnius hospital. Pashkievich organized workers' groups, wrote and promoted anti-government proclamations, and took part in debates and political meetings. She actively participated in the activities of the Belarusian Socialist Assembly (BSA) created in 1902, and is considered one of its founders. It was a revolutionary party on the Belarusian territory of the Russian Empire, established as the Belarusian Revolutionary Party, renamed in 1903. In 1905, Pashkievich became a delegate from Vilnius at the Congress of women-workers in Moscow. She actively participated in the revolutionary demonstrations in Vilnius.

Because of her political activism and in order to avoid being arrested, she was forced to emigrate to Galicia by the end of 1905, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She stayed in Lviv, and attended there the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Lviv as a non-degree student. In 1907 to 1911, she became student of the Faculty of History and Philology of the Lviv University. At that period she earned for living working as a massage therapist.

In 1906, she published translated by herself from Ukrainian into Belarusian book for children “A present for children”. She also consulted Ukrainians who wrote about Belarus and Belarusian literature introduced them to the new works of Belarusian writers. In the same year, Pashkievich published two collections of poems “Cross to the freedom” (under a pen name Gavrila from Polotsk) and “Belarusian violin” (under a pen name Gavrila) at the monastery in Zhovkva (near Lviv). Both collections were small and contained 12 (first) and 9 (second) poems, written in 1905-1906.

At that period, she visited the Russian Empire incognito and traveled illegally to Vilnius, where she participated in the issuance of the newspaper “Nasha Dola”. Her first short story was published “The bloody claws oath” in this very newspaper. She wrote various works and sent them to “Nasha Dola” and other Belarusian publications. Financial difficulties and intense creative work worsened her lung disease (tuberculosis), and she visited Zakopane to improve her health.

In 1908–1909, she lived in Krakow and studied at the Faculty of Humanities of the Jagiellonian University. Under the influence of I. Solskaya, she became interested in theater, and attended Solskaya’s drama studio for some time. At that period she also studied Belarusian theater and folklore. In 1911, thanks to the efforts of Pashkevich and Vladislava Stankevich-Lutsevich (future Yanka Kupala’s wife), several illegal Belarusian schools were founded in the Lida and Novo-Vilna Counties.

In 1912, Aloiza Pashkevich married Steponas Kairys, a Lithuanian engineer and social democracy activist. In the same year, she returned to Belarus and joined national educational activities. She performed with the Bajnicki theater in various parts of Belarus. She was also the founder and first editor of “Łučynka”, a Belarusian magazine for children and adolescents. In order to improve her health, she visited Finland and Sweden.

During World War I, Alaiza Pashkievich worked as a Sister of Charity in a military hospital in Vilnius. She also put a lot of efforts to found Belarusian schools and courses for teachers in Vilnius, and lectured at the first Belarusian courses for teachers in Vilnius in 1915. The first Belarusian school was opened in Vilnius in September 1915 thanks to Alaiza Pashkievich, Boleslav Pachobka and Sabina Ivanovska.

In 1916, her father died, and Aloiza went to his funeral. She helped villagers sick with typhoid and also fell ill with typhus. Alaiza Pashkievich died on February 17, 1916.

Achievements

  • Achievement  of Alaiza Pashkievich

    Alaiza Pashkevich wrote not many literary works, but these works became classics of the Belarusian literature. Her political nickname “Ciotka” became her most known pen name. Pashkevich was a political activist of Belarusian national-democratic rebirth, and participated in the establishment of the Belarusian Socialist Assembly, supported Belarusian language, literature and education.

Works

  • book

    • Skrypka bielaruskaya (Belarusian violin)

    • The first reading for Belarusian children

    • Cross to the freedom

  • poem

    • To you, neighbors

    • My thoughts

    • Sea

    • On the New Year's Eve

Politics

Alaiza Pashkevich was a political activist of Belarusian national-democratic rebirth. Her political nickname was Ciotka. During her studies at St. Petersburg, society of Belarusian students "A circle of Belarusian Public Education" was formed, and Pashkievich became its member. She supported the ideas of active struggle against the tsarist government, social freedom of the working people, national liberation of the Belarusians.

Pashkievich organized workers' groups, wrote and promoted anti-government proclamations, and took part in debates and political meetings. She actively participated in the activities of the Belarusian Socialist Assembly (BSA) created in 1902, and is considered one of its founders. It was a revolutionary party on the Belarusian territory of the Russian Empire, established as the Belarusian Revolutionary Party, renamed in 1903. In 1905, Pashkievich became a delegate from Vilnius at the Congress of women-workers in Moscow. She actively participated in the revolutionary demonstrations in Vilnius.

Membership

  • society of Belarusian students "A circle of Belarusian Public Education"

  • Belarusian Socialist Assembly

Connections

In 1912, Aloiza Pashkevich married Steponas Kairys, a Lithuanian engineer and social democracy activist.

Husband:
Steponas Kairys - Lithuanian - Engineer , social democracy activist
Steponas Kairys - Husband of Alaiza Pashkievich

This marriage allowed Pashkevich to return to Vilnius.

poet:
Frantsishak Bogushevich
Frantsishak Bogushevich - poet of Alaiza Pashkievich

She began her writing career under the influence of Bogushevich. She published the collection of poems “Belarusian violin” and thanked him a lot for his “Dudka Belaruska”.