We have just received word that the Russian Army has defeated the Poles, and that Catherine II has created yet another partition. Minsk now belongs to the Russians. We are uncertain at the moment if this will be good for us. The Russians have already begun removing the Polish street signs and replacing them with Russian signs. I worry that it will be hard to assimilate to Russian culture. We also worry about taxes, as money has been tight recently during the war.
It seems we can never become loyal to one empire for too long. For the past 7 years, we have enjoyed living under Russian rule. The governor of the Minsk Province even built the public a magnificent garden in the center of Minsk. I used to spend my summer afternoons meandering the rows of flowers, but now things are much more hectic here. French forces have traveled thousands of kilometers to take over the Russians, and now occupy Minsk. We have pledged loyalty to Napoleon Bonaparte, but who knows how long this will last. Even the Poles have started trying to reclaim Minsk. Many of my Belarusian friends have had enough with this madness, and have joined in the fight, hoping for an independent Belarus. I’ve discouraged their actions as we are wildly outnumbered. The city is in ruins, and the garden I once admired looks more akin to a battlefield. I can only pray that someone will restore order here in Minsk.
1821 Russian Map of the Minsk Province. Showing Postal and Major Roads, Stations and the Distance in Versts Between Them
Savchenko, Andrew. Belarus : A Perpetual Borderland. Russian History and Culture (Leiden, Netherlands) ; v. 2. Leiden ; Boston: Brill, 2009.