Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of brĕst-lĭtôfskˈ [key], separate peace treaty in World War I, signed by Soviet Russia and the Central Powers, Mar. 3, 1918, at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus). After the separate armistice of Dec. 5, 1917, long, bitter negotiations were conducted by Leon Trotsky for Russia, Richard von Kühlmann for Germany, and Count Ottokar Czernin for Austria-Hungary (the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria were also represented). Trotsky at one point suspended negotiations, but Germany resumed warfare and the Soviets—on the insistence of Lenin—accepted the German ultimatum, which set conditions even harsher than at first. Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine and Georgia; confirmed the independence of Finland; gave up Poland, the Baltic states, and part of what is now Belarus to Germany and Austria-Hungary; and ceded Kars, Ardahan, and Batum to the Ottomans. Later, Germany demanded a large indemnity. The general armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, forced Germany to renounce the treaty, and Russia also declared it null and void. The western frontiers of Russia were later agreed upon by a series of separate treaties.

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