Josif Pryhodski was born in the Russian Empire in 1917. He went to school in Poland. He had a daughter in the Soviet Union. For the last 26 years, he has been living in a country called Belarus
. He has changed his citizenship five times during the 100 years of his life. He has lived his entire life in his house in the village of Hiejstuny near Ašmiany. Grandpa Juziuk did not move anywhere — it was always someone else who claimed his village part of their territory: German Kaiser Wilhelm, Polish marshal Pilsudski, Stalin, Hitler and, finally, Alexander Lukashenko. On the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, we compared what those 100 years were like for Belarus and for Josif Pryhodski.
Each event in Grandpa Juziuk’s life has a corresponding event in the global history that took place at the same time.
Here is one example: 1939.
Grandpa Juziuk bought his first bicycle, Niemen. This is the only vehicle Juziuk ever had in his life. He would ride it as far as 60 km one way.
At the same time, the WWII broke out and the Soviets came to Juziuk’s village (they would take it again later during the Soviet-German war of 1941 — 1945, which would become known as the coming of the second Soviets
, the 1939 —1941 period would thus be referred to as the time of the first Soviets
). The region now known as Western Belarus was part of the Russian Empire before 1917, part of Poland from 1921 to 1939, then part of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (which, in its turn, was part of the USSR) from 1939 to 1991, when it became part of what is known as Belarus.