Former Lithuanian exclave of Pagiriai
View of Pagiriai watched from
north-northwest towards the former farm. Photo taken during our visit to
the former exclave on 21 May 2006.
Pagiriai was a 1,69 km˛ small exclave of
the Republic of Lithuania inside the Byelorussian Soviet Republic of the
Soviet Union from 11 March
1990 until 25 Aug 1991 when the Republic of Byelorussia declared her
independence, and further surrounded by this country until 26 April 1996 when a new border treaty became valid. The
exclave area became exchanged and became Byelorussian territory. The
exclave existed as a domestic exclave during the USSR from after WW II until Lithuania
reestablished her independence from the Soviet Union on 11 March 1990, or
de facto on 23 Aug 1991 to 26 April 1996. It was the shortest existing
exclave/enclave in the world.
The actual measured area according
to my own computer estimates of the Pagiriai enclave is 1,6 km˛ or
160,5 ha. Shortest distance from Pagiriai to Lithuania is 934 m. The
enclave was west-east 2044 m and north - south 1186 m.
Mr Josif Rybak, a former
mayor of Salcininkai municipality told methat Pagiriai
before 1990 belonged to a collective farm under various organisations (kolukiai,
tarybinis ukis, valstybes zemes ukio imone Salcininkai) before it in
1994 became a private company (bendrove). During the Soviet
period republic borders had no real significance and it happened that
regional exclaves appeared. The actual name of this
company is not known, but it certainly does not exist anymore. According
to the information it was only one house there in a rather bad shape
about 1995. One family lived there, the Zanegina family living there which consisted
from the mother (about 75 years) and at least two sons (about 50 years
of age) thereof one was officially registered at the house. The son not
registered had been imprisoned. The family was not of Lithuanian or
Polish origin, but most likely Russian. They accepted that their farm,
where the house was not their own property, could be Byelorussian territory on
condition they would be granted Lithuanian citizenships and pensions.
After 1995 the brothers moved to Zavisonys village north of Salcininkai
town. According to what is known the sons who both are said to be social
cases are now both living from odd jobs they are getting in Salcininkai
area. The mother is not alive anymore.
I presume the Lithuanian agricultural company (in Sakaline?) was
compensated for the land in Pagiriai somehow, but since it does not
exist anymore it has been difficult to find further information.
According to the Lithuanian State Border Delimitation and Demarcation Commission
the "State border between the Republic of Lithuania and the
Republic of Belarus was established by the Agreement on State Border
between Lithuania and Belarus signed on 6 February 1995 (ratified in
Lithuania on 23 Apr 1996 and entered into
force on 26 April 1996).1) In the negotiations for
the border delimitation the two countries agreed to eliminate Lithuanian
Pagiriai enclave (covering an area of 169 ha) and to compensate
Lithuania with land, adjacent to its mainland. The following 4 lots of
land were transferred to Lithuania (see the high resolution map):
1) – 31 ha to the south of Tavreli village;
2) – 63 ha to the north-west of Podeguti village;
3) – 52 ha to the north of Brazhelci village;
4) – 23 ha to the north of the river Dumble.
During the negotiations other possibilities concerning the Pagiriai
enclave were also considered, in particular joining the enclave to
Lithuania by a narrow (200 m in width) 'corridor'. This proposal was not
acceptable to the Belorussian side.
There was a farmstead inside the enclave with three people (citizens of
Lithuania) living in it. A farming company of Salcininkai district
raised lupin in the enclave."