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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."

Further south of Radun (Lith. Rodunia) village in Byelorussia is the small village of Pelesa (Byelor. Peliasa) which is mainly inhabited by ethnic Lithuanians. There is a Lithuanian school there, a repaired church and the village is being served by a doctor coming from Lithuania a couple of times a week. Pelesa is located about 20 km west of Lyda. There are at least two more ethnic Lithuanian villages behind Lithuania's borders: Punskas in Poland and Gerveciai, some 40 km east of Vilnius, in Byelorussia.

1) Agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Belarus concerning the State Border between Lithuania and Belarus signed in Vilnius, on 6 Feb 1995 by a joint commission, signed on 12 July 1996 and became valid from 24 April 1996. Source:

Lietuvos Respublikos ir Baltarusijos Respublikos sutartis "Dėl Lietuvos ir Baltarusijos valstybės sienos"
[Republic of Lithuania's and Republic of Byelorussia's Treaty "About Lithuania's and Byelorussia's Border"
(Ratificated 23 Apr 1996, valid 26 Apr 1996)

This page was last time updated 01/04/10 .