The Polish Question: The West vs. Russia

The article analyzes the Polish Question in the relationship between Russia and the West. The article considers the Polish Question as an instrument of the West’s ideological struggle against Russia. The article traces the main stages of Russian-Polish relations and concludes that since the Livonian War, Polish authors have been the main transmitters of negative myths about Russia as a barbaric, despotic and expansionist power. The article analyzes the role of the Polish factor in the formation of a negative image of Russia in the West during the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, when the first version of the fake Will of Peter the Great, created by the Polish General Michał Sokolnicki appears. The author analyzes the view of Russia through the prism of the Polish uprisings of 1830-1831 and 1863-1864 and concludes that European Polonophilism had the reverse side of hatred towards Russia. It also concludes that Russia’s suppression of the Polish uprising of 1830-1831 helped to cement its image, not just as an expansionist power, but as a state incompatible with the idea of freedom. It is also noted that despite the fact that after the uprising of 1863-1864 reforms were carried out in Poland, Russia remained the main enemy for new generations of patriotic Poles. The article analyzes the views on Russia of leading European politicians and public figures that were shaped under the influence of the Polish Question. The article also analyzes the racial concepts of Russian inferiority, which were originated by Polish authors, primarily Franciszek Henryk Duchiński, whose ideas had a great influence on the development of European anti-Russian thought.


The relationship between Russia and Poland at different stages of historical development was not just complex, but often dramatic, marked by conflicts, Polish interventions, partitions of Poland, and uprisings. It was connected both with political, or, to put it in modern terms, geopolitical contradictions, and with no less important the religious factor, as the origins of the confrontation between Russia and the West are rooted in the split of the churches and the desire to induce Russia to accept the Union.

Beginning in the 14th century, Poland began to pursue an actively offensive policy in the Russian lands. At the same time, as the national researcher Oleg B. Nemensky rightly notes, as the Catholic country territorially closest to Russia, Poland historically was the main source of information about Russians for Western Europe. In 15th-16th centuries, Polish historians created a concept, according to which Russia has long belonged to Poland by right and for all eternity, since the campaigns to Kiev in the 11th century of Bolesław I the Brave and Bolesław II the Bold [Oleg Nemenski, “Rusofobiya kak ideologiya”—”Russophobia as an Ideology,” in Voprosy natsionalizmaQuestions of nationalism, (1)2013, p. 13]. As a result, Poland already by the middle of the 16th century “had a full-fledged ideology of the conquest of Russia and the destruction of the “schisma,” i.e., Eastern Christianity” [Nemenski, 2013, p. 33].

From the Livonian War to the Partitions of Poland

During the years of the Livonian War (1558-1583), it was Polish publicists who came to be seen as the main experts on Russia. They became the main transmitters of negative myths about Russia as a barbaric, despotic and expansionist power.

As noted by historian Aleksandr I. Filiushkin, during the Livonian War, which Filiushkin calls the first confrontation between Russia and Europe, the idea of immanent hostility of “Asian” Russia to civilized Europe became one of the main aporias of European historical memory. It was the Polish nobility that played a key role in the formation of the myth of Asian and barbaric Muscovy, the antagonist of the Christian world, later picked up in other countries [A. Filyushkin, Kak Rossiya stala dlya Evropy Aziej? (How did Russia become Asia for Europe?), Moscow: Izobreteniye imperii. Yazyki i praktiki, 2011, p. 21]. The development of printing allowed publishing in large print runs of numerous works about Muscovy, which were distributed throughout Europe. According to O.B. Nemensky, the mass appearance of pamphlets that “exposed” the Russian people and its customs, the Moscow state and its rulers turned Muscovy in the minds of the West into “anti-Europe, a terrible and very dangerous country, combining all the known vices of the human race” [A. Filyushkin, Kak Rossiya stala dlya Evropy Aziej? (How did Russia become Asia for Europe?), Moscow: Izobreteniye imperii. Yazyki i praktiki, 2011, рр. 10-48., p. 34].

These were small texts written in simple style, mostly in German and Polish, which were the forerunners of the modern periodicals. They were modeled on the anti-Turkish pamphlets published in large numbers throughout the 16th century. As Belgian researcher Stefan Mund notes, it is not by chance that both were printed in the same printing houses [Review: A. Filyushkin, “Stéfane Mund, ORBIS RUSSIARUM: Genèse et development de la representation du monde “russe” en Occident à la Renaissance,” in Ab Imperio, (1)2004, p. 563]. And it is no coincidence that the Russians were subjected to pejorative characteristics attributed to the Turks, such as “bloody dogs,” “eternal cruel enemies,” and Russians were depicted on engravings in Turkish decorations [.F. Kudryavcev, “Neuznannaya civilizaciya. Zametki po povodu knigi Stefana Munda «Orbis Russiarum.» Genezis i razvitie predstavlenij o «Russkom mire» na Zapade v epohu Vozrozhdeniya” [“Unrecognized civilization. Notes on Stéfane Mund’s book Orbis Russiarum. Genesis and development of ideas about the ‘Russian world’ in the West in the Renaissance”], in Ancient Rus, 3(21)2005, p. 125].

The Vatican was concerned that victory in the Livonian War could lead to Muscovy’s domination in the Baltic and even beyond. In the future, the Vatican assumed that the Polish-Lithuanian kings would create an outer rampart of Europe, which would “stop at its foot all Muscovites and Tatars” [I. Noimann, Ispol’zovanie «Drugogo»: Obrazy Vostoka v formirovanii evropeiskih identichnostei [The Use of the “Other”: Images of the East in the Formation of European identities]. Moscow: New Publishing House, 2004, p. 110]. The long-prepared Brest Church Union in 1597 abolished legal Orthodoxy in Western Russia, and by the beginning of the 17th century Poles appeared in the Moscow Kremlin. And the conquest of Moscow immediately went under the slogan of “affirmation of Uniatism” [Oleg Nemenski, “Rusofobiya kak ideologiya”—”Russophobia as an Ideology,” in Voprosy natsionalizmaQuestions of nationalism, (1)2013, p. 33].

For Europe, the Polish question was a trump card in the struggle with Russia and one of the main arguments for its accusations of expansionism and the desire to subjugate the whole world. These accusations intensified especially after the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772, 1793, 1795). In spite of the fact that Russia, Prussia and Austria took part in them, it was Russia who became the main object of accusations of expansionism and the desire to enslave the unfortunate Poland.

It is no coincidence that it was the Polish author, General Michał Sokolnicki, who wrote the original text of the so-called The Will of Peter the Great. Even the American researcher Raymond McNally in 1958, and in 1967 the French researcher Simone Blanc came to the reasonable conclusion that the author of the original text of the document was Sokolnicki, who in 1797 wrote the document, “General Review of Russia” and offered it to the French Directory. It was a passionate appeal to France, which had forgotten its traditional policy of being an ally and protector of Poland, and which did not know that Poland and the whole of Europe was threatened by Russia [S. Blanc, “Histoire d’une phobie : le Testament de Pierre le Grand,” in Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 1(3-4)1968, p. 268]. The end of the text contained the “Plan of Peter I,” which, according to the author, was extracted from Russian archives, captured in Warsaw in 1794 [Blanc, 1968, p. 271]. The government of the Directory did not demand this document at that time, because the objectives were different.

However, Sokolnicki was remembered by Napoleon Bonaparte, who became First Consul and then Emperor in 1804, and who himself aspired to world domination, not mythical but real. In 1811, General Sokolnicki was summoned to Paris and took an active part in the secret preparations for war with Russia. It was Napoleon, having viewed and edited the text of Sokolnicki’s “Opinion on Russia,” ordered to include it in the book by Charles-Louis Lesur, Des progrès de la puissance russe: depuis son origine jusqu’au commencement du XIXe siècle (1812), which was to be published just before the beginning of the Russian campaign. The first version of Lesur’s book appeared in 1807, probably on the eve of the Peace of Tilsit. However, the work was actually published in October 1812. In any case, R. McNally has called this work one of the most influential in the history of Russophobia [R. McNally, “The Origins of Russophobia in France 1812-1830,” in American Slavic East and European Review, 3(17)1958, p. 173].

At the end of the chapter devoted to Peter I, a summary of the “Plan of Peter I” was given [Lesur, 1812, pp. 117-179]. As S. Blanc has noted, the summary of Lesur’s book differs only slightly from Sokolnicki’s text [Blanc, 1968, p. 268]. This leaves no doubt that we have before us one and the same “document,” which differed only by minor editing and very small changes.

The Polish Question in the 19th Century: Between the Congress of Vienna and the Polish Uprisings

The Polish Question became a stumbling block at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, as Russia’s allies in the anti-Napoleonic coalition opposed the annexation of the entire territory of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw to Russia. Despite the fact that Russia granted the Grand Duchy of Poland within Russia wide autonomy and constitution, Europe perceived it solely as a propaganda measure to put to sleep the vigilance for further development of Russia’s expansionist plans [N.P. Tanshina, “Pol’skij vopros po zapiskam imperatora Nikolaya I i grafa Sh.-A. Pocco di Borgo” [“The Polish question according to the notes of Emperor Nicholas I and Count S.-A. Pozzo di Borgo”], in Novaya i noveyshaya istoriya, (2)2018, p. 15-26].

Following 1815, the Polish issue continued to be stirred up in Europe, and the ferment of minds was often the result of the hands of the Poles themselves, especially since European public opinion in liberalizing Europe was not in favor of powerful Russia. In particular, in 1829, under the influence of Polish agitation in Paris, L’ Histoire des legions polonaises en Italie sous le commandement du general Dombrovski, in two volumes, (History of the Polish Legions in Italy under the Command of General Dombrowski) was published, written by Leonard Chodzko; the Preface to the book included words about the Russian threat. (Jan Heinrich Dąbrowski (1755-1818), Polish military officer, division general of the Grand Army. After Napoleon’s abdication he returned to Poland).

The July Revolution of 1830 was the catalyst for the revolutionary movement in Europe. On November 29, 1830, an uprising began in Warsaw. The events in Poland went beyond the internal Russian problem and became the object of close attention and political discussions throughout Europe.

For the average Frenchman, supporting the uprising in Poland and favoring the development of the democratic idea in France were roughly the same thing. But King Louis-Philippe of Orleans was not at all inclined to interfere in the events in Poland, seeing it as an internal Russian affair. However, as in the case of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, government policy diverged from the mood of public opinion. The authorities, of course, were also Polonophile, but Louis-Philippe, wishing to be recognized as a full-fledged monarch who had no intention of fanning the fires of revolution and exporting it, refused to provide armed aid to Poland. Therefore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Horace François Bastien Sébastiani de La Portam declared France’s non-interference in the affairs of Poland.

Nevertheless, the public did not stop exerting serious pressure on the government, which, in the opinion of the French, was responsible for the current international situation [N.P. Tanshina, Politicheskaya bor’ba vo Francii po voprosam vneshnej politiki v gody Iyul’skoj monarhii (The Political Struggle in France on Foreign Policy Issues During the July Monarchy). Moscow: Prometheus, 2005, pp. 157-159]. In France, there was active propaganda in favor of Poland. Catholics played an important role in this case. For example, in the Catholic publication, L’Avenir, in December 1830, young Count Charles Montalembert (1810-1870) wrote that in the Polish uprising he saw the struggle of oppressed Catholics against Russian Orthodox-oppressors. The liberal Benjamin Constant and the Polish historian, geographer and social activist, Leonard Chodzko (1800-1871), made fiery speeches calling on all friends of freedom to support Poland. Volunteers were sent to Poland from Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg; Poles were helped by doctors; cultural figures organized charity lotteries in favor of the rebels [Charles Corbet, A l’ère des nationalismes. L’opinion française face à l’inconnue russe. 1799-1894 (1967), p. 161].

In the meantime, Field Marshal Ivan F. Paskevich was sent to Poland. He arrived with the troops on the night of June 13-14 and immediately began to prepare an offensive. At the beginning of August, Warsaw was encircled by Russian troops. The commander-in-chief delivered to the besieged an address by Nicholas I, who promised amnesty for the last time on condition of voluntary surrender of arms and submission to the imperial authority. The deputies of the Sejm rejected the proposal. On August 27 (September 7), 1831, after forty-eight hours of bloody fighting, Russian troops triumphantly entered Warsaw. On February 14/26, 1832, the “Organic Statute” was declared. Poland was deprived of the Constitution of 1815, the Sejm was dissolved, the Polish army was liquidated, and independent government was abolished. Poland became part of Russia with provinces instead of traditional voivodships. They retained only the right to some local liberties. According to the “Organic Statute,” Russian representatives were introduced into the Viceroy’s Council. A state of siege was declared in Warsaw. The leaders of the uprising and rebellious generals were exiled to Siberia and deprived of property, and their children were taken to be educated in the Russian army.

From the beginning of September 1831, the front pages of French newspapers were devoted to the events in Poland. When, finally, on September 15, France learned of Warsaw’s surrender, a riot broke out in Paris. In the streets there were shouts of “Long live the republic!” And Parisians broke the windows of the ministries, tried to get into the Palais Royal. For several days, there were anti-Russian popular demonstrations in the capital, which required the intervention of troops to subdue. Under the windows of the hotel building where the Russian embassy was located, shouts were heard: “Down with the Russians! Long live Poland! Revenge!” The windows of the embassy were broken with stones [Blanc, 1968, p. 220].

At times, Paris was covered by popular anger. In March 1831, news spread in the capital that the Russian army had entered Warsaw. Parisians marched on the Champs-Elysees with slogans “Death to the Russians!” The windows of the Russian Embassy were again broken; the police were barely able to protect it.

The French public reacted avidly to the events in Poland. For example, the famous poet, Auguste-Marseille Barthélemy, wrote: “Noble sister! Warsaw! She died for us! Died with weapons in her hands… Without hearing our cry of compassion… Do not talk any more about the glory of our barricades! You want to see the coming of the Russians: they will come.” Abbot Félicité Robert de La Mennais, in his article, “The Taking of Warsaw,” wrote: “Warsaw has fallen! The heroic Polish nation, abandoned by France, rejected by England, fell in the struggle with the barbarian hordes… Glorious nation, our brother in faith and in arms, when you fought for your life, we could only help you with compassion; and now that you are defeated, we can only mourn you. People of heroes, people of our love, rest in the grave where you have ended up because of the crime of some and the meanness of others. But hope is still alive, and the prophetic voice says: You will be reborn!” [A. Dumas (père), Mémoires, vols. 4-6 (1854), pp. 56-63].

Russia’s suppression of the uprising helped to consolidate its image, not just as an expansionist power, but as a state incompatible with the idea of freedom, which was especially used by liberals and radicals of all stripes. According to the American historian Martin Malia, these events produced a real metamorphosis in the perception of Russia and caused a real shock in Europe. Polish patriots were overnight not only suppressed, but also deprived of constitution and autonomy [Martin Malia, Russia under Western Eyes. From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum (1999), p. 92]. As the researcher noted, for the first time, the system of autocracy was imposed, undoubtedly, on European territory. The West created a new image of Russia as a bastion of aggressive militant reaction [Malia (1999), p. 93].

Russia was reminded of the partitions of Poland and the entry of Russian troops into Paris, as well as the heroic resistance of the Poles. The words of French Foreign Minister Sebastiani, “Order reigns in Warsaw,” were circulated by the opposition and became the caption for a popular cartoon by Granville, which depicted a Cossack trampling the corpses of Poles. As the Swiss researcher Guy Mettan notes, “Nicholas I lost the laurels of the ‘liberator’ of Greece, which had long challenged other powers, and consolidated his reputation as an Asian despot” [Guy Mettan, Zapad—Rossiya: tysyacheletnyaya vojna. Istoriya rusofobii ot Karla Velikogo do ukrainskogo krizisa [The West—Russia: The Thousand-Year War. History of Russophobia from Charlemagne to the Ukrainian Crisis] (2016), p. 249].

The personification of the changes that occurred to Russia was Prince Adam Czartoryski, formerly a friend and minister of Emperor Alexander, now opposed to Nicholas as head of the Provisional Government in Warsaw.

According to Martin Malia, Europeans suddenly realized that “after France, Poland is the most heroic nation in Europe.” With the growth of the liberal movement in Europe, after the July Revolution, Poland was perceived as the main bulwark of all progressive values of the time, and received an additional halo of glory as the most faithful of the great emperor’s allies. As Malia correctly noted, the more Poland seemed to be a martyr, the more Russia seemed to be an executioner [Malia, 1999, p. 93].

After the suppression of the uprising, its leaders and, in general, many Poles emigrated and settled in different countries, mainly in France and in Great Britain [21]. It was Poles in the following years who raised a powerful anti-Russian wave and shaped public opinion about Russia. And since the Livonian War, Poles were the main “experts on Russia” and the main source of information, and such information was very much in the soul of the Polonophile-minded European public (V.F. Ratch, Pol’skaya emigraciya do i vo vremya poslednego myatezha 1831-1863 [Polish emigration Before and During the Last Rebellion of 1831-1863] (1866), p. 15).

The French government was sufficiently concerned about the presence of Poles in France. As early as November 1831, the government of Casimir Perrier, in an effort to remove the restless Polish element from the capital, issued a circular forbidding Poles from entering Paris. As a result, Polish emigrants were placed first in two large and then in several dozen small groups in provincial French towns where “Polish depots” were established, while only the wealthiest and generally moderate elements of the emigration remained in Paris.

In the years that followed, Poland was an important element in the internal political life of France, and the Polish Question did not stray far from the parliamentary agenda. Thus, at the January session of 1834, Narcisse-Achille de Salvandy, a prominent politician of those years, compared Russia’s actions in rebellious Poland to the policy of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, but found Russia’s policy even more cruel. François Bignon, an opposition politician, solemnly declared that “the day when the Poles themselves will throw off their chains, or the day when other nations will free them from the bloody yoke pressing on them, will be the day when humanity will triumph over barbarism” [Corbet, 1967, p. 169].

At the same time, it cannot be said that European public opinion was unanimously against Russia, even after the July Revolution and the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising. Everything depended on the system of alliances on which European leaders relied within the framework of the “European concert” at any given moment. In particular, in France at that time, the legitimists, i.e., supporters of the overthrown legitimate Bourbon dynasty, were in favor of an alliance with Russia. Thus, the far-right newspaper Le Quotidienne supported Russia in the Polish issue, not without reason noting that the uprising in Warsaw was a consequence of the July Revolution [Corbet, 1967, p. 176].

In 1835, the Polish Question was once again on the pan-European agenda, and this was due to a speech made by Emperor Nicholas I, on October 5, 1835, in the Lazienkowski Palace in Warsaw. Speaking before a deputation of Polish townspeople, the emperor said: “If you obstinately cherish the dream of a separate, national, independent Poland and all these chimeras, you will only bring great misfortunes upon yourselves. At my command a citadel has been erected here, and I declare to you that at the slightest disturbance I will order to crush your city, I will destroy Warsaw and I will certainly not rebuild it again” [3, p. 215]. [3, с. 215]. This speech was perceived extremely negatively in the West. In the report of the Third Department for this year, it was reported: “It is not surprising that this speech neither the British nor the French liked. Having distorted it and given it a wrong meaning, they filled the newspapers with their reprimands, even rude swear words” [M.V. Sidorova, E.I. Shcherbakova, eds., Rocciya pod nadzorom. Otchety III otdeleniya 1827—1869 [Russia Under Surveillance. Reports of the Third Department, 1827-1869] (Moscow: Russian Cultural Foundation, 2006), pp. 129-131].

With this speech, the Emperor put a very powerful weapon in the hands of his detractors. Even if Nicholas’s character had been more accommodating, this speech would still have been the basis for a new wave of propaganda vilifying the Russians.

The famous journalist, politician, and Sorbonne professor Saint-Marc Girardin spoke very harshly of Emperor Nicholas, publishing a scathing article in his newspaper Le journal des débats, on October 10, 1835. Saint-Marc Girardin (Marc Girardin) (1801-1873) was a French politician, writer, journalist, literary critic and publisher, editor of Le Journal des Débats, and a member of the French Academy. A few months later, speaking in Parliament, on January 11, 1836, he declared that by “confiscating” Poland for itself, Russia had destroyed “one of the barriers protecting it” in Europe; and Girardin went on to trundle out the liberals’ favorite song that Russia and freedom are incompatible, and therefore “freedom is the best barrier against Russia.” And quite in the spirit of the already formed tradition, he frightened his fellow parliamentarians with the “Russian threat”: “Russia did not need a hundred years to reach almost to the door of Constantinople from Azov… It took her sixty years to be where she is now… Sixty more years will pass, and where will she be?” [Corbet, 1967, p. 178].

Many such pro-Polish statements were made. In particular, the already mentioned Count Montalembert until the 1860s consistently opposed Emperor Nicholas I and then Alexander II as far as “Holy Poland” was concerned, and from the Polish Question he turned to the Russian issue. On January 6, 1836, speaking in the House of Peers, he enumerated in detail the “atrocities” of Russia against the Polish people, in an attempt to show that the drama of the Poles was well within the general policy of Russia. The conquest of Poland was only a stage in the realization of a gigantic historical plan: the subjugation of the whole of Europe. Therefore, the Poles were defending not only their independence and their interests, but were defending “civilization against barbarism, the long and noble superiority of the West against the new invasion of the Tartars.” In doing so, Montalembert emphasized that Russia found “admirers and devotees everywhere,” but what did it promise Europe? “Darkness instead of light, military despotism instead of civil liberties, the shame of idolatrous schisma instead of the free beliefs of the West” [Corbet, 1967, pp. 179-180].

Every year, when the French Parliament debated the Address in response to the King’s Speech from the Throne, Montalembert used the opportunity to raise the Polish Question and renew his anti-Russian philippics. On November 17, 1840, on the wave of the Eastern crisis and anti-Russian sentiment, he said in the House of Peers: “We are all threatened by an ever-increasing danger, the predominance of Russia in Europe… Russia is already encircling Europe on all sides: its central border is only 200 leagues from the Rhine… From Bukovina to Kotor, the Slavic peoples of Austria profess her religion; she is awaited and called for” [Corbet, 1967, p. 181].

In England, these themes were developed by David Urquhart (1805-1877), whose name later became synonymous with Russophobia. Of course, Urquhart’s Russophobia was the reverse side of his Turkophilia, but Russian policy in Poland was also one of the main objects of his attacks. All the more so, because the documentary basis of the journal he published from November 1835 to 1837 in English and French (Portfolio, or Collection of State Documents … Illustrating the History of our Time) was the diplomatic documents provided to him by Polish emigrants. These were, first of all, the secret correspondence of Russian ambassadors, allegedly taken in 1831 from the chancery of Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich in Warsaw (in fact, most of the documents were forged by Urquhart) [K.V. Dushenko, “Pervye debaty o ‘rusofobii’ (Angliya, 1836–1841)”—”The First Debate about ‘Russophobia’: England, 1836-1841”], in Historical Expertise, 4(2021), p. 230].

Urquhart’s journals had great international resonance and were translated into foreign languages. In 1835, he published a pamphlet “England and Russia” (D.J. Urquhart, England, France, Russia & Turkey), in which he intimidated the reader with the “Russian threat,” emphasizing that for Poland “its space is void in the political map of Europe,” and the powers themselves allowed it, and the French government, moreover, did not help Poland [Urquhart, England & Russia (1835-1856), p. 1-2].

At the same time, in the eyes of Europeans, Poland was a bargaining chip in the defense of their own national interests. Therefore, when Russia was seen as an ally, the Polish Question was interpreted in a completely different way. Such metamorphoses, for example, happened with the famous politician and diplomat, Napoleon’s confessor, Abbé Dominique Dufour de Pradt (1759-1837). From the very beginning of the Restoration regime, he harshly criticized Russian policy, regularly actualizing the theme of the “Russian threat” and intimidating the French that Russia was “fifty leagues from Berlin and Vienna” [D.G.F. Pradt, Système permanent de l’Europe à l’egard de la Russie (1828), p. 6]. However, in 1836, amid the crisis of the French-English “cordial agreement,” Pradt bet on an alliance with Russia and published, Question de l’Orient Sous Les Rapports Généraux Et Particuliers, in which, among other things, he justified Russia’s policy in Poland, emphasizing that at the Congress of Vienna Russia’s demands on Poland were fair, and Poland thanks to Russia received a constitution [Pradt, 1828, pp. 122-123]. He even justified the suppression of the Polish uprising of 1830-1831 and the Warsaw speech of Emperor Nicholas, noting that any sovereign in his place would have done the same [Pradt, 1828, p. 134]. For the politically engaged Pradt, in this text, Russia is Poland’s natural protector, its real guardian angel. However, it should be understood that this was pure conjecture; for in general, the negative view of Russia through the Polish lens was dominant.

In 1839, Leonard Chodzko, mentioned above, a participant of the Polish uprising, published another version of the fake Will of Peter the Great. It was a bestseller, going through six editions from 1839 to 1847, and played a decisive role in popularizing, in European countries, the idea of the conquering intentions of Russian sovereigns [V.P. Kozlov, Tajny fal’sifikacii: Posobie dlya prepodavatelej i studentov vuzov (Secrets of Falsification: A Manual for Teachers and University Students), 1996, p. 81].

In the same year, Marquis de Custine traveled to Russia, writing the most famous book about the country, which to this day is perceived as a bible of Russophobes. Custine, being an outcast in the Parisian salons, had close ties, first of all, with the leaders of the Polish emigration and was a guest in the salon of the wife of Prince Adam Czartoryski. And in Russia, Custine came, according to one version, to advocate for his kind Polish friend Ignacy Gurowski, taking him with him (George Frost Kennan, The Marquis De Custine and His Russia in 1839, p. 24-25).

The most important source of information for Custine was one of the most famous Poles then living in Paris, the poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855). After the suppression of the uprising, he lived in France as a political émigré, and in 1840, thanks to the persistent petition of the famous historian Jules Michelet, received a chair in Slavic languages and literature at the Collège de France. According to Michelet, “Mickiewicz had laid out the general features of Slavic life from above, and, descending into detail, cast deep, admirable glimmers on the true character of Russian government. He would have gone further, but they wouldn’t let him. His chair was nullified [Jules Michelet, Legendes démocratiques du Nord (1854), p. 36] (the authorities were dissatisfied with the preaching of Slavic messianism). This happened in 1844; and in 1849, the wave of Polish propaganda in five volumes was published as a collection of his “lectures”: Slavs [Corbet, 1967, pp. 168-169].

A new outbreak of anti-Russian sentiments occurred in 1846, after the suppression of the Krakow Uprising by Austrian troops, and again during the revolutions of 1848-1849, and especially after Russia suppressed the uprising in Hungary (at the request of the Austrian Emperor). But the apotheosis occurred during the Crimean War (1853-1856) [Nemenski, 2013, pp. 46-51].

On the eve of the war, Jules Michelet, who loved Poland with all his romantic heart and hated Russia just as passionately, wrote a series of articles entitled, Legendes démocratiques du Nord (The Democratic Legends of the North), in which he created a cult of unhappy Poland and the heroic Poles, and dehumanized the Russians, reducing them to the state of not just non-humans, but mollusks at the bottom of the sea. He called Russia’s policy towards Poland deceitful and Jesuitical, emphasizing that Empress Catherine “planned to drag Russia into a religious war, to make the Russian peasants think that it was a question of protecting their brothers in the Greek faith, who in Poland were being persecuted by people of the Latin faith. And this war, continued Michelet, “took on a character of appalling barbarity. Under the impetus of this atheist woman, who preached the crusade, populations and entire villages were tortured and burned alive in the name of tolerance” [11, с. 301]. According to Michelet, Catherine’s true goal was the destruction of Poland [Legendes démocratiques, pp. 53-54].

A similarly powerful anti-Russian wave swept over Europe during the Polish uprising of 1863-1864. Michelet worked hard this time too, publishing a series of articles entitled, “Martyr Poland,” while the equally illustrious Victor Hugo, also for the umpteenth time, unleashed invectives against Russia. Michelet called Poland, “the heart of the North.” Moreover, for him Poland is France itself: “La Pologne est une France avec tous nos anciens défauts, nos qualités” [Jules Michelet, La Pologne martyr: Russie—Danube, p. xv].

Concepts of Russian Racial Inferiority

It was Poles who stood at the origins of the concept of racial inferiority of Russians. Such ideas were first developed by the Polish historian and public figure, participant in the uprising of 1830-1831, Joachim Lelewel. In the form of a full-fledged theory, these ideas were formulated by the historian and ethnographer Franciszek Henryk Duchiński (1816-1893). After the suppression of the uprising of 1830-1831, he emigrated to France and was a professor of history at the Polish School in Paris. His main idea was that the Great Russians, or “Moskals,” do not belong to the Slavic and even to the Aryan tribe, but are a branch of the Turanian tribe, on par with the Mongols, and who only appropriated the name of Russians, which belongs, properly, only to the Little Russians and Belarusians, close to the Poles in their origin [F. Duhinski, “Osnovy istorii Pol’shi, inyh slavyanskih stran i Moskvy,” in, Russkij vopros v istorii politiki i mysli, antologiya, Pod red. A.Yu. Shutova and A.A. Shirinyanca (“Fundamentals of the History of Poland, other Slavic countries and Moscow,” in The Russian Question in the History of Politics and Thought, anthology, edited by A.Y. Shutov and A.A. Shirinyants], Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2013., p. 479].

Duchiński’s texts, which had no scientific basis, were aimed at justifying the necessity of creating a buffer between “Aryan” Europe and “Turanian” Moscow. This buffer was to be an independent Poland, including Ukraine-Rus, Belarus, Lithuania, the Baltic States, Smolensk and Veliky Novgorod.

Duchiński’s ideas were enthusiastically received by the Polish emigration, which dreamed of the restoration of a “Great Poland from sea to sea,” and his ideas also had a great influence on the Western European thought of the 19th century. In particular, Karl Marx was very interested in the concept of Duchiński and spoke in favor of it: “He claims that the real Muscovites, i.e., the inhabitants of the former Grand Duchy of Moscow, are mostly Mongols or Finns, etc., as well as the parts of Russia located further to the east and its southeastern part… I wish that Dukhinsky (thus in the text—NT) was right, and that at least this view would prevail among the Slavs” [letter dated June 24, 1865, in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Werke, (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1978), vol. 31, pp. 126–127].

Duchiński’s theory was enthusiastically accepted by French intellectuals and politicians—E. Renaud, Aimé Martin, K. Delamar and others [Shutova and Shirinyanca (2013), p. 43]. Thus, the historian, publicist and politician Henri Martin (1810-1883), author of Histoire de France (History of France) in nineteen volumes, characterized by an extremely hostile attitude to Russia, in one of his major works, La Russie et l’Europe (1866) (Russia and Europe) described the Russians as a barbaric people of non-European (Turanian) despotism, who had unjustly appropriated the history of Russia. He considered Duchiński’s concept as “excellent,” and explained the Russian craving for subjugation as follows: “Such a feeling arises in peoples who are at an extremely low stage of cultural development of nations, where an individual person is unable to control his fate and does not even express such a desire” [Shutova and Shirinyanca (2013), p. 382].

Despite the fact that after the uprising of 1863-1864, reforms were carried out in Poland, Russia remained the main enemy for newer generations of patriotic Poles, so that at the end of the 19th century, Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935) proclaimed the main goal of his life as the physical destruction of the Russian state with the subsequent restoration of a new Poland, dominating in Central and Eastern Europe on Russia’s ruins [Shutova and Shirinyanca (2013), p. 45]. In the article “Russia,” first published in 1895, he noted: “The Russian Tsar is the main enemy of the Polish working class. Tsarist autocracy—the main obstacle in our way, now and always” [Shutova and Shirinyanca (2013), p. 514].


As the current situation shows, these ideas did not pass away with Pilsudski—and Poles are still perceived in the West as the main experts on Russia. And, of course, the West willingly believes them, because Polish scary myths about Russia, ideas about Russian “Asianness” and Russians “stealing” history fit very well into the pan-European narrative of a barbaric, despotic and expansionist Russia. And Poles, of course, can speak only “the truth” about Russia, and the West willingly believes in this Polish “truth” and uses it in its ideological and geopolitical confrontation with Russia—without thinking much about the Poles themselves. Only now, Ukraine is the “martyr,” and Western love for Ukraine is the reverse side of hatred for Russia.

Natalia P. Tanshina, is Professor in the Department of General History at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, and is Professor at the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Europe and America, Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow. This article appears courtesy of Nauka Obshestvo Oborona.

Featured: Exposed to the world’s contempt, illustration by Udo J. Keppler, Puck, June 17, 1903.

Wokism: The Engine of War in Ukraine and Poland

LGBTIQ+ propaganda is developing in Poland under the influence of American show business, but also because of Ukraine and the internal tensions that the war there is causing in Poland.

On December 31, 2022, like every year since 2016, Poland organized a big New Year’s concert in the city of Zakopane with international stars. On this occasion, the public television channel TVP, which was broadcasting the event, betrayed its conservative editorial line and caused a scandal by allowing the invited American rap group Black Eyed Peas to wear LGBTIQ+ armbands on stage. LGBTIQ+ propaganda is developing in Poland under the influence of American show business, but also because of Ukraine and the internal tensions that the war in Ukraine is causing in Poland, as Polish President Andrzej Duda mentioned, in justifying the veto of the Czarnek Law.

Between 2004 and 2014, Ukraine was the scene of two color revolutions that boosted what used to be known as leftism and is now called Wokism, i.e., the defense of ethno-cultural and LGBTIQ+ mixing. The main actors in this morality revolution are George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, but also NATO, the armed wing of globalism, which also advocates “inclusive diversity” and “open society.” Thus, shortly after the Orange Revolution in the winter of 2004-2005, the Ukrainian government began to take steps to encourage massive non-European immigration to Ukraine and to re-educate Ukrainians to accept it more readily.

Among other initiatives, in 2007, the Ukrainian authorities launched an “anti-racist” social engineering program, under the name of the Diversity Initiative, with the support of the UN and its International Office for Migration (IOM). This population replacement policy, also implemented by the European Union, was supported by many Ukrainians who hoped to integrate into it and join the modern West, and its ethnomasochism.

This Ukrainian identity suicide was only stopped by the Russian military intervention, launched on February 24, 2022. However, cosmopolitanism in Ukraine continues to affect the paramilitary units, comprising Islamists waging their “holy war” against Russia, since the beginning of hostilities in 2014, with the endorsement of Kiev and NATO. The latest of these combat groups to come to the aid of Ukrainian nationalists is called the Turan Battalion, a reference to the Turkic-speaking world, and is composed mostly of Asian Muslims.

The second strand of Wokism took hold in Ukraine right after EuroMaidan, the coup d’état in the winter of 2013-2014, which allowed the new power to enshrine the whole LGBTIQ+ legal arsenal in Ukrainian law. This led to the legalization of Gay Pride in several cities, but also to the strange phenomenon of the “LGBTIQ+ soldiers,” who recruit homosexuals and transgender people willing to fight against Russia, and are organized in the Union of LGBTIQ+ Military of Ukraine sponsored by the US embassy, as can be seen on their website. More anecdotal, but nevertheless typical of the mix of genres that characterizes the era—no longer a Marilyn Monroe whom the US empire sends on tour as part of its soft power to support troop morale and the war effort—but a Ukrainian transvestite, Verka Serdutchka, whose real name is Andriy Danylko, to sing “Goodbye Russia!” with his glitzy band that evokes the world of Drag Queens.

Across the border, Poles are beginning to understand what is happening in the neighboring Ukrainian pandemonium, and the hell the Brussels regime is dragging them into—the EU and NATO together. Of course, not without some caution, lest they be accused of being “Russian spies,” but something is happening in Polish public opinion beyond the rather narrow circles of anti-globalist organizations like Rodacy Kamraci, Falanga, Zmiana or Konfederacja. A strong current of opposition to the war is emerging—equally opposed to Wokism—of which Leszek Sykulski’s Stop Amerykanizacji Polski movement and the January 21, 2023 demonstration in Warsaw are only the first steps.

Symptomatic of this evolution of mentalities in Poland is that on October 13, 2022, the Catholic media outlet Polonia Christiana commented on an article in the digital newspaper Do Rzeczy [The Essential] about the progression of the LGBTIQ+ collective in Ukraine, including in nationalist (Banderite) circles, which we translate below.

“Kiev prefers to sign a pact with the Western left rather than fall victim to Moscow’s imperialism. That is why Ukrainian patriotism increasingly adopts rainbow colors. And so do the Neo-Banderites,” writes Maciej Pieczyński in the weekly Do Rzeczy.”

The journalist points out that a part of the Polish right wing fears that Ukraine, under Western influence, will become an “outpost of globalism,” a “bastion of leftism” in these latitudes.

In the opinion of the circles cited by the editor, the main cause of the war in Ukraine was EuroMaidan, a revolution to defend the pro-Western course of the country. “Ukrainians are perhaps the only nation in the world where people have died for the European Union with the slogan ‘Ukraine in Europe!” (Україна—це Європа!) on their lips. Russia attacked to make this course impossible.

“Does this mean that in Ukraine there is a war between, on the one hand, the alliance of globalism and left-liberalism and, on the other hand, conservatism? Moscow would very much like Ukrainian and Western conservatives (including Poles) to believe in this simplistic view,” Pieczyński remarks.

Pieczyński recalls that homosexual relations were forbidden in the USSR and that Ukraine was the first of the former Soviet republics to repeal this ban. Despite the adoption by the country’s authorities in 1996 of a law in which marriage was defined as “the union of a man and a woman,” since EuroMaïdan there has been in Ukraine a clear “left turn” on this issue, a turn for which the former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is particularly responsible, who “publicly declared,” Pieczyński continues, “that he had nothing against a Gay Pride in Kiev…. In response to a request from opponents of the parade, he stated that he shared their concern, but that his intention was to build a tolerant, democratic and European society in Ukraine.”

Maciej Pieczyński then notes that, at the beginning of his term, President Zelensky did not take a clear stance on LGBTIQ+ ideology. But this changed with the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“While in Russia,” Pieczyński continues, “propaganda of homosexuality is not allowed, in Ukraine the rainbow ideology is seeping even into the ranks of the army. Already in 2018, an NGO called LGBTIQ+ Soldiers was established on the Dnieper River to provide support for non-heterosexual soldiers.”

In foreign policy, nothing is free, and Ukraine, which absolutely needs the support of the West and longs to be welcomed into Western living rooms, must prove that it adheres to the same values of Wokism that prevail in the West.

Lucien Cerise, PhD in philosophy, writes from France, where he lives high up in a maid’s room and works in the basement of the BNF. This article appears courtesy of El Manifesto.

Featured: The insignia of the Union of LGBTIQ+ Military of Ukraine (a mythical creature for more make-belief?)

1993: The Barry R. Posen Plan for War on Russia via Zombie State Ukraine

“We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, January 24, 2023.

(For an unauthorised biography of Baerbock, see here).

On July 27, 1993, the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (MoD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation on Defense and Military Relations, establishing a programme of defence cooperation at the Department-Ministry-level, with “substantive activities” between those offices being launched in July 1994 (Cf. Lt. Col. Frank Morgese, US-Ukraine Security Cooperation 1993-2001: A Case History). Since that date, the Ukraine has teemed with US military advisors of every stripe.

The Morgese case study is a blow-by-blow review of the US military activity in the Ukraine between 1993 and 2001, designed to set up the Ukraine for her destruction. So detailed a review, that it would swamp the layman. Accordingly, we propose another document dating from 1994, readable by the laymen amongst us, and which spells out thirty years in advance, the full-blown War Plan for a zombie Ukraine.

Its author, Barry R. Posen (Rand, CFR, MIT, Woodrow Wilson Foundation), belongs to the leather-armchair school of strategy the US so excels in: arranging for others to die for the US living standard.

For obvious reasons, only Posen’s assessment of Russian military strength is dated. The remainder of his study predicts with such ghastly exactitude both events in the Ukraine over the last 20 years and the expected, indeed hoped for, Russian response, that one readily perceives that this is no prediction, but rather a fully-formed proposal for War—complete with Posen’s dismay, very faintly-veiled, at Operation Barbarossa’s failure, and his pleasure at the “high cost” Barbarossa exacted on Russia.

To give our readers the flavour of Posen’s text, we have selected a few, notable paragraphs from this Must-Read, one which Russia surely cannot have missed. All quotations are so marked and in italics.

Manoeuvring the Ukraine into Demanding the US Armed Forces Intervene

The problem here is that if Russia were to attack Ukraine, or threaten it conventionally, the US is not obliged to do anything. Ukrainian diplomats could, however, try to argue that any act of war or threat of war by a nuclear superpower involves an implicit nuclear threat sufficient to warrant US action. Even if this argument were accepted, however, Security Council action would be thwarted by the Russian veto. Nevertheless, it should be part of Ukraine’s diplomatic strategy in the event of trouble.

Partnership for Peace Designed to “impose considerable costs on Russia”

Even if Partnership for Peace (PFP) does not come through for Ukraine, it still holds the potential to impose considerable costs on Russia, which adds to Ukraine’s overall deterrent power. Paragraph 8 of NATO’s ‘Framework’ document for PFP states “NATO will consult with any active participant in the Partnership if that partner perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security. The precise action that would follow such consultation is unspecified. Nevertheless, NATO would look pretty sorry if it either failed to consult, or failed to take any action after consultation. Some politicians and pundits will trumpet the credibility costs of a failure to act. NATO might, of course, compensate for a failure to act on Ukraine’s behalf by stronger measures elsewhere, though this would be cold comfort to Ukraine. Fear of these stronger measures elsewhere are, however, another element of Ukraine’s dissuasive power.

If the Russian Government Reject further Western “Reforms,” NATO Must Act

The Partnership for Peace can be viewed as ‘NATO’s Waiting Room.’ The tacit bargain with Russia is that many central European states remain in that waiting room so long as Russia remains a good neighbor. If-and-as Russia begins to try to expand its power, the din in the waiting room will become disturbingly loud. The elements are in place for the rapid extension of NATO to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, even if a threatened Ukraine is tossed to the wolves. Russia can, by its own acts, bring NATO to its doorstep. Stephen Oxman, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs virtually stated this rationale.

…should reform experience a reversal of fortune in Russia, we can re-evaluate NATO’s needs and those of the Central and Eastern Europeans. At the same time, active participation in the Partnership will go a long way toward enhancing their military preparedness and allow partners to consult with NATO in the event of a threat.

Confrontation with Russia “Probable” and She can be Provoked into the Ukraine

Moreover, as noted above, complete inaction would damage NATO’s credibility for a probable future confrontation with Russia. If, as some now argue, NATO expands eastward more-or-less as a matter of course, this useful sanction will have been lost. Nevertheless, it seems that any near term NATO expansion will be accompanied by only limited military redeployments, so long as Russia-US relations remain moderately amicable. Russian policy makers might still calculate that aggression against Ukraine can leave them worse off because of the countervailing actions it would precipitate.

Moreover, near term candidates for NATO membership are only a subset of the PFP participants. Again, Russian action can precipitate more energetic alliance expansion. A word of caution is in order, here, however. If near term NATO expansion is accompanied by energetic military preparations that Russian policy makers view as unprovoked, they may be stimulated to try to reabsorb Ukraine out of their own defensive impulses.

The Ukraine Must be Shifted towards “Ethnic Nationalism”

…Ukraine has one other diplomatic asset. Thus far, the “state ideology” is organized largely around the idea of “civic” rather than “ethnic” nationalism. Anybody can be a citizen of Ukraine, and a good “Ukrainian.” Russians are not a persecuted minority. There are small ethnically Ukrainian elements who might wish to change this orientation. But “civic nationalism” is congenial to the West. Insofar as any future struggle can be portrayed as the “ethnic” Russians against the “civic” Ukrainians, the path of western intervention is eased. Moreover, it is not inconceivable that other states will draw a tragic lesson from an unopposed Russian “liberation” of its brethren in Ukraine. One is better off expelling such potential irredenta.

“Diplomacy Profits from Ghastly Television Footage”—Bucha, Anyone?

Ukraine must organize its military power to ensure the greatest probability of outside intervention. Russian fear of outside intervention could add greatly to Ukraine’s dissuasive power. Diplomacy needs time to work; it also profits from ghastly television footage. This means Ukraine must, as a matter of priority, organize its military forces to avoid the kind of catastrophic defensive collapse often associated with armored warfare.

The West could assist Ukraine in many important ways short of direct military intervention. But all assistance will have to move through Poland, Slovakia, or Hungary. It is improbable that these countries will be willing to cooperate without full fledged membership in NATO, so membership would have to be extended during the crisis. Ukraine will require outside sources of oil and gas if it is to hold out very long. Replacements for weapons lost in the initial battles would be very helpful. Given that many eastern European countries will, for the foreseeable future, have similar equipment to the Ukrainians, they are a ready source of easily usable replacements and munitions.

Give the Ukraine “Many More Opportunities to Inflict Disproportionate Casualties on the Russians”

One of the most useful forms of assistance that could be provided to Ukraine is intelligence. If Ukraine regularly knows where large Russian ground formations are, its forces will be much less vulnerable to catastrophe, and have many more opportunities to inflict disproportionate casualties on the Russians. (Similar assistance may be possible against enemy air forces.). Direct military intervention from the West will be very problematical. One suspects that some secret planning has been done for this contingency, but the task must seem daunting. NATO ground and air forces would have to cross vast distances to reach even central Ukraine.

The distance from the old inter-German border to Kiev is roughly 1500 km. NATO’s relatively few divisions would be swallowed up in the vast spaces of the East, even if they could get there. The optimum direct military assistance would probably be in the form of air strikes. Effective, sustained, tactical air strikes cannot efficiently be flown from existing NATO air bases in western Europe; 2000 km range sorties could just reach central Ukraine, but would be hard on pilots and would require high levels of aerial tanker support.12 (These sorties would also require Polish permission.) Another option would be to fly from bases in Turkey, a NATO ally. Sorties could be flown directly across the Black Sea to Ukraine. Ranges would vary depending on bases and targets, but it is unlikely that any sortie would need to go further than 1500 km. The problem here, of course, would be whether Turkey believed its vital interests were engaged, since the NATO treaty does not oblige them to come to the assistance of a non-NATO country, even if other NATO countries wish it.

Move NATO Ground and Air Forces into Poland

NATO ground and air forces might move into Poland and NATO aircraft could fly from Polish bases. (This would have to be negotiated, of course, and the cost would certainly be immediate full membership in NATO for Poland.) Unfortunately, most Polish bases were built to be close to the old “inner-German” border, the expected zone of east-west conflict. There are only about a half-dozen military airfields in the southeastern quadrant of the country that would meaningfully reduce sortie ranges, and thus the need for tankers. Even these would require sorties of over 1000 km, which is still demanding.for sustained tactical air attacks.

…It seems unlikely that NATO commanders would want to put their very valuable aircraft and support equipment onto Ukrainian bases, without the benefit of a large scale NATO ground force shield.A more arcane, but nevertheless extremely important problem would be the coordination of NATO fighters with Ukraine’s own air defenses to ensure that Ukrainians do not shoot at NATO aircraft. This should prove very difficult to improvise.

The West will Need to Repudiate its High Minded Principles Publicly in a Series of Venues, All Ostensibly Designed for the very Purpose of Protecting these Principles

Because NATO countries lived for nearly a half century with Soviet control over Ukraine, Ukrainians ought not to have confidence that NATO will come to its aid out of narrow strategic interest. Nevertheless, this assistance becomes more plausible, the longer Ukraine can resist, and the longer Ukrainian diplomacy can work. Ukraine should thus try, through its military strategy, to maximize Russian fear of this outcome. Ukraine has available to it a series of for a where it can present its case. Thus, the West will need to repudiate its high minded principles publicly in a series of venues, all ostensibly designed for the very purpose of protecting these principles. Since Munich already happened, this policy has a name and a historical meaning that will provide some additional leverage for Ukrainian diplomats.

The Ukrainian Defence will be a “Catastrophic Failure” and the Army, Destroyed

Even if the Russians start out with a limited aims strategy–with the intent of conquering Crimea, and the three or four easternmost oblasts of dense Russian settlement, the likely catastrophic failure of these forward defense or mobile defense strategies would incur the destruction of most if not all of the Ukrainian army.

A Divided Ukraine Would then Assume the Role in a New Cold War that Divided Germany Assumed in the Last One

Western Ukraine, though weak industrially, is agriculturally rich and ought to be able to feed itself. It does have considerable light industry which could be turned to military uses. Most importantly, it borders Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, all potential sources of supply if NATO admits these countries, applies diplomatic pressure, and provides resources. These are big “ifs,” but for the diplomatic reasons outlined above, there are reasons for hope. If Ukraine makes its western reaches strong enough to resist for a lengthy period, at least several months, and employs its mobile forces effectively to generate serious combat from the outset of the war, Ukrainian diplomacy will have a chance. If the Ukrainian bastion can garner enough western European logistical assistance to survive, Russia will face the prospect of having to employ large active forces to contain it. It will go even worse for them if western Ukraine can get into NATO. A divided Ukraine would then assume the role in a new Cold War that divided Germany assumed in the last one. But the “inner-Ukrainian border” would be much closer to the centers of Russian power than was the “inner-German” border.

Encourage the Ukrainians to Blow Up their Own Cities and Infrastructure

Extensive demolitions would supplement more conventional military operations to slow the attackers’ progress, and complicate their subsequent logistics. Much of this could be organized well in advance; critical facilities can be “pre-chambered” to speed the placement of explosives. Necessary explosives can be cached close to the designated targets, under the control of local police forces or reserve military formations, as is done in Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, and even Germany. As the Ukrainians retreat into geographical areas where Ukrainians constitute a greater ethnic majority, it may prove possible to organize “stay-behind” forces to collect intelligence on the Russians and engage in partisan warfare. This too should be planned in advance.

The Ukraine Must “Convince its Neighbours that It has a Million Men Willing to Die”

A word of candor is in order on the nature of the combat that would be necessary to make this military concept work. The essence of the combat power of the organization I propose is the willingness of the Ukrainian soldier to fight and die for his or her country, in a war that may seem a hopeless cause. This is not a US or even an Israeli military system that strives to beat its adversary mainly through technological superiority, highly trained people, enormously competent leadership, and brilliant tactics. As noted elsewhere, the Ukrainian Army has no chance of achieving this. and they will be substantially outweighed in major items of combat equipment. Historically, the kind of fighting proposed here has taken a terrific toll in casualties–thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, would die. This organization can only inflict casualties on a mechanized adversary if it is willing to accept casualties itself. The mind of the individual Ukrainian soldier is the key. What is the commitment to an independent Ukraine? How untense is Ukrainian patriotism, or nationalism? The answers to these questions are already in doubt in many parts of Ukraine. If Ukraine cannot devise a host of ways to convince its neighbors that it can find a million soldiers willing to die on any day for the sovereignty of the country, then the deterrent power of this military system will be weak.

The Ukraine Must Learn to Love Poland, and Become A Dumping-Ground for Old Weapons

To increase the Russian perception that Ukraine might actually get western assistance to execute this strategy, there are a range of requests the Ukrainians might make of NATO in the context of the Partnership for Peace. Ukraine should seek joint air defense exercises that would familiarize western and Ukrainian air force officers and air defense officers with the coordination problems they would face in a real war. Ukraine should suggest that the Polish air bases closest to it are seen as assets, not threats, and should encourage the Polish air force and NATO to practice forward movement of NATO aircraft into these bases, again in the guise of joint “peacekeeping” exercises. They should also note their interest that these bases remain in good shape. Ukrainian Army personnel should seek joint training opportunities with NATO that would familiarize them with NATO anti-armor weapons. And Ukraine should suggest that anti-armor weapons that NATO armies might intend to retire could still find a useful life in Ukraine.

Alternatively, they could simply ask that such weapons be stockpiled, rather than sold or destroyed. The railroad gauge change yards that transshipped cargo from Russian to European trains should be well maintained so that supplies could be moved East expeditiously. Some might object that these kinds of exercises go beyond what is implied in the Partnership for Peace. But it does not seem beyond the creative powers of diplomats to rationalize them. Ukrainian diplomats are in a position to argue quite strenuously for these measures.

“Inherent Irrationality” of a “Violent Struggle of the Magnitude Envisioned Here” No Obstacle!

The third argument is implicit in the peculiar character of post-Cold War discourse on international politics. Violent struggles of the magnitude envisioned here among great and middle sized advanced industrial powers have come to be viewed as “inconceivable.” There is a widespread inclination to view them as beyond the organizational, economic, social, and political capabilities of these countries. The inherent irrationality of such struggles against the backdrop of modern societies that prize rationality has come to be viewed as a barrier to such conflicts. Many believe that the spread of democracy also makes such wars unlikely among democracies, since “median voters” will demand alternative solutions from their leaders on both sides. In short, while limited uses of military force remain possible, deliberate large-scale aggression of the type discussed here is simply not something Russia could or would do.

And if all else Fail, Nuke ’em

A useful next analytic step would be a systematic consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of this conventional strategy vs a nuclear one.… The strategy I have developed gives the Ukrainians almost no ability to stop a determined Russian attempt to conquer territories populated by ethnic Russians. It is moderately good at raising the costs of an attempt to conquer the entire country, but without outside assistance, it will ultimately fail. Presuming that Ukraine could generate a small, secure second strike capability against Russia, what problems might nuclear deterrence solve?

Ukraine would think of itself as trying to deter attacks on its territory. Russia might think of itself as trying to protect its countrymen–accidentally marooned on territory that has historically been Russian, but which is now incidentally Ukrainian.

Mendelssohn Moses is a Paris-based writer.


Władysław Broniewski (1897—1962), the famous Polish poet, translator, writer and soldier, wrote this poem as a homage to Mikhail Bakunin (1814—1876), the Russian revolutionary. This poem is translated by Przemysław Abramowski.


Such veiny hand on manuscript
Lionish profile of head above it.
Huge shadow falls on wooden doors
Slightly ajar. On the table
Oil lamp glows
While the night—immense, starry…
The silence overwhelms, it’s midnight.
Sparkling snow on roofs, fluffy snow.
Bakunin’s writing.
(This veiny hand. The lion’s mane.
Ominous shadow alludes pain?)
The shadow here might rise a cloud
Which could unleash a storm today!
(How heavy’s hand… To think about
Why pen—my weapon—is a weight…)
Outside—just snow, night, stars…
The tea is tepid. Pipe’s smoke rises…
Bakunin dreams—scenes from his life
Flow in his brain… some, inter alia,
Adventurous—like freedom run
He made alone through Transbaikalia
With Tsarist posse right on his heels
Escape by luck—chance U.S. sail…
His traces then, to their blight
As if some snow obscured white.
The silence grows. The darkness crawls.
Cherry smoke curls dreamingly wade…
This shadow there, dwarfing the walls
It’s him! Year eighteen forty-eight!
Again, voracious and so savage
Sniffing for blood in shifts of tone
Song sung on Dresden’s barricades
Which cries as then: Tear down the thrones!
This song puts Europe to a torch
The spring of nations, freedom’s magnet
The million-footed crowd now bulging
In booms of salvos—hear, young Wagner!
…all lost. Last, mutinous
Prague would flash, then only darkness.
And so things ended up
In chains, in bloody Chemnitz dungeon.
Each day he measured the world with thought
His cell had three steps for him only.
Freedom! Many hard years went by
Whispering her name to walls in torment.
Nicholas’ thugs put him in chains
Whose ringing he only heard as “Rise!”
Free man he sailed the world around,
No land was safe like Switzerland
Where he had settled—and what today—
Bern’s eerie silence so tough to heart?
Here—Siberian snow…
Wild and unbounded freedom!
Longing, which Herzen didn’t know!
In this great silence time seems to
Roll back the memory with its weight
Bakunin’s mind breaks free and talks
Again to Orlov, which their fate
Prevented, yet the old man swears
To give the Tsar no more weak lies
Never kowtow—better offend!
“Pugachov’s spectre is now me
So like a phantom shall I stand
Over Empire, and people’s fury
From prison here I will swing
On world and Russia!”
With squinted eyes
This January Bakunin writes:
“I’m leaving only what I got
Some clothes (all patched), some free thought.
The glass of life—I took a good sip
So as a free man I’m on this old trip
I’m leaving now. Swiss city Bern,
Its silence—Iet clock-masters keep them.
Our stars have harsher sparkle learnt
Over the steppes and in my wisdom.
Slowly through snow I’ll walk alone
After the call of northern wind
Which in eternal snowstorm blows
And blasts, so free—all time it did
Shake fist at Earth—while in its path
Teaching us humans its full wrath.”

Poland’s Pipedream, Redux

It is a curious thing… the chief claims of feminism used to be that women can run the world better than men, in which peace will abound and everyone will be nice to each other—gone will be toxic masculinity, the root of all evil.

But glancing at the women who have clawed their way to power does not bode well for Pax Feminarum.

Of course, this article is really going out on a limb, because it is recklessly assuming that we all know what a “woman” is. Given recent manifestations of feminine grace and “feminine beauty,” one may well be hard-pressed to hold one’s tongue, as it now appears that men make better women.

But regardless, the now-infamous honesty of Annalena Baerbock caught the righteous off-guard who quickly had to declare that shipping untold weapons and money to the Ukraine, to allow that pitiful country to kill some Russians while also getting itself slaughtered—does not mean that anyone actually wants war. Heavens, no! What insanity. Supplying weapons and cash is one thing. War is, well, quite another! Ms. Baerbock is simply “insane,” everyone happily concluded. Of course, what Ms. Baerbock said was all Russian propaganda. (Here, one can only stand in awe-struck wonder of Russian bots that can now hack into a politician’s brain and force out words that can then be used for “propaganda”).

Not to be outdone, of course, Poland launched its own secret weapon, one Anna Fotyga, who helpfully penned an op-ed, in which she laid out her own brilliant master-plan of dismantling Russia and dividing it up into tiny bits and owning all the natural resources, which can only be best managed by the likes of Ms. Fotyga and her various cronies. To help along this endeavor, Ms. Fortyga has set up proper “team” to get the job done good and right. Premeditated crimes, premeditated war, anyone?

You might be wondering, why should Russia be dismantled by those that know better? Let’s just quote Ms. Fotyga (and please hold back Polish jokes until later):

There are no such things as Russian gas, oil, aluminium, coal, uranium, diamonds, grain, forests, gold, etc. All such resources are Tatar, Bashkir, Siberian, Karelian, Oirat, Circassian, Buryat, Sakha, Ural, Kuban, Nogai, etc. For most of the inhabitants of the regions — be they ethnic Russians or indigenous people — Moscow represents only war, repression, exploitation and hopelessness. Harassment and discrimination against ethnic minorities in Russia is commonplace. Hyper-centralisation has exposed the country’s multiple weaknesses, but foremost, subjugated theoretically autonomous regions and republics to the will of the Kremlin. Moreover, with its odious war of aggression, Moscow is sending ethnic minorities to the meat grinder, implementing a real ethnic policy by further harming both the Ukrainian and already conquered nations of the Far East.

In other words, Ms. Fotyga wants to do exactly what she says are “Russian crimes”—taking other people’s stuff. The rationale for all this, you might wonder? Well, here’s the headline to the article: “The dissolution of the Russian Federation is a far less dangerous than leaving it ruled by criminals.”

What she herself is planning are not crimes, because only Russians can be dangerous criminals. Polish politicians… not so much.

And wonder what does she really mean by “dangerous?” And how does she really understand “criminality?” “Dissolution”—the Final Solution? But among her cronies, saying “Russians” is explanation enough. You see, in Ms. Fotyga’s version of the world, the Russians by nature are beastly criminals and don’t deserve to have a country, let alone live, since they took it all from other people anyway. Dissolution!

One might want to ask Ms. Fotyga whether she’s considering returning any of the “wealth” stolen by Poles from the indigenous people that once lived on the real estate that she and her ilk so presumptuously call “Poland?” As an example, why not first break up Poland and give it back to the Vlachs, the Avars, the Scythians, the Balts, the Sarmatians, the Celts, and heck, even the Germans, all of whom lived in this area long before the Polans, a tribe of Slavs, decided to show up in the 7th century AD. And true to form, the Polans went ballistic and killed everyone, so they could steal their land. Thus, the ancestors of Ms. Fotyga were busy being horrible colonialists, using genocide and conquest to their advantage. Yes, “dangerous” “criminals.” The dissolution of Poland is a far less dangerous than leaving it ruled by criminals.

Given the “moral” outrage at Russia, it is high time that Poland led by example. For starters, the worthy team, “European Conservatives and Reformists,” might want to put together a working group that will trace the descendants of the aforesaid indigenous peoples of Poland and start making reparations. It’s high time for a Polish version of Truth and Reconciliation, to pay for the crimes of the Polans. By the way, lots of cash is always a good way to begin. (By the way, how the heck can you be a “conservative” and a “reformist?”)

While all that is taking shape, these Polish politicians might also wish to explain why in a poll conducted in 2011, a lot of people living in Poland decided that they were not going to identity as “Polish.” Wonder why that is? Truth and Reconciliation.

Here, it is necessary to say that this is not about ordinary Polish people, who are being ruled over by warmongers—just as in every other Western country, where politicians are a tribe all their own, who rule against the people that they supposedly work for. But let’s not digress.

Now, we all know the real reason for Ms. Fotyga’s dreams of conquest and plunder. Her fellow countryman, one Mr. Brzezinski, also had the same dream, and he imagined that he could convince America to be the hacksaw that would hack apart Russia and let Poland be the Gauleiter-in-chief of the “eastern lands.” In other words, Poland wants to get its hands on all those resources that Russia has via the USA. See “criminality” above.

And so, Poland wants to transform the war in the Ukraine into pure banditry aimed further East—yes, exactly what the Polans did to the area now known as “Poland.” The apple does not fall far from the tree.

The only problem with this pipedream is that Ms. Fotyga and her band of self-righteous looters are relying on old Uncle Joe who, granted, has a lot to bury in the Ukraine. But as he just outplayed Scholz of Germany with tanks, let’s not get too carried away, would be sane advice to Poland. Joe isn’t as foolish as he appears, that is, his handlers aren’t.

By the way, why is everyone dutifully calling the tanks the Germans will be sending to the Ukraine “Leopards?” And why are the earlier versions of these tanks that went into the same region, back in the day, in the 1940s, always called “Panzers?” Remember the Panzerlied? In 2023, Panzers are not “Panzers,” because they’re “Leopards,” which in German is Panzers. Got that? Yes, because gender is fluid.

But why does the current crop of female politicians love war so much? Keep in mind, the entire Ukraine mess is the creation of one Victoria Nuland, of “F*** the EU!” fame, and who also could not help but gloat recently, when she remembered what happened to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline…

So, the rumors are true—Poles got the go-ahead from her to blow up the pipelines, and dutifully did?

There was another woman, with thwarted presential ambitions, who gloated and cackled at the horrendous murder of Muamar Kaddafi, she of the “We came, we saw, he died” fame. But let’s go down that rabbit hole.

Polish politicians actually thinks such people are their friends? How deluded do you have to be?

But let’s go back to where we began. Whatever happened to that feminist claim that women will manage the world far better than men? There is an old trope in folktales the world over—of the evil step-mother. That is who these women politicians are—our evil step-mothers.

As for Poland, back in the day, the Poles assumed that they had finally found the perfect friend in this world. Old Adolf Hitler himself and they were going to pal up to him and use the Germans to destroy the Russians. We all know how that turned out. Well, it’s the same pipe dream again; and to show Uncle Joe that this time Poland means business, they are arming themselves to the hilt, because you know, Russians—and all that loot, just yours for the taking. Just replace Adolf with Joe Biden. And the conniving strategy is to draw America in so deep into the Ukraine that withdrawal will become impossible and then the fun can really begin. How quickly people forget Afghanistan…

Ok, break out the Polish jokes.

And, please God, deliver us all from evil step-mothers.

Thane Angus writes from a small northern Canadian town.

Featured: The Great Adventurer, by Avery Palmer; painted in 2017.

Of Collective Security: An Interview with Michael Jabara Carley

Michael Jabara Carley is a specialist in 20th century international relations and the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research focuses on the Soviet Union’s relations with Western Europe and the United States during the years 1917 and 1945. This research has come together in a three-volume study, first of which, entitled, Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936, will be published by the University of Toronto Press.

He is the author of 1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II, Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, and Une Guerre sourde: l’émergence de l’Union soviètique et les puissances occidentales.

Professor Carley has also written many essays on French intervention in the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), on Soviet relations with the Great Powers between the two world wars, on questions of “appeasement,” the origins and conduct of the Second World War, and on major current issues. He is a Professor of history at the University of Montreal. It is a great pleasure and honor to discuss his work with him in this interview.

The Postil (TP): You have written a trilogy on the Great Patriotic War, that is the Second World War as experienced by Soviet Union. The first part of this magisterial study will be published soon. What is your overall aim?

Michael Jabara Carley (MJC): My trilogy, as I call it, deals with the origins and early conduct of the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War (Velikaia Otechestvennaia voina). The VOV is the name given to the war in Soviet and Russian history arising from the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941. My work runs from January 1930 to December 1941. My project was first entitled “A Near-run Thing: The Improbable Grand Alliance of World War II,” supported by an “Insight” research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. My initial objective was to write a narrative history of how the USSR, Britain, and the United States, powers hostile to each other during the interwar years, became allies against Nazi Germany and the Axis. The work evolved from an envisioned single volume into three dealing with Soviet relations with the great and lesser European powers and the United States.

Michael J. Carley.

TP: Is there a difference between a Western historiography of WWII and a Russian one?

MJC: Oh yes, the difference is enormous. During the war, it was clear to all who had eyes to see that the Red Army played the key role in smashing the Nazi Wehrmacht and winning the war in Europe. The United States and Britain played supporting roles. After 1945 the war became an important object of propaganda in the Cold War. The new narrative was that the United States or Churchill single-handedly won the war in which the USSR was practically invisible.

In the western media, histories, iconography, Hollywood films, comic books, more recently video games, the Red Army is invisible. The key moment in the war was operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, when in fact, they were an anticlimax, grand to be sure, in a war whose outcome had already been determined by the Red Army. In the context of the Cold War, it was normal that the United States would seek in various ways to rub out the memories of the Soviet role in the war, for otherwise how could you portray the USSR as a menacing communist enemy.

TP: Would you tell us about the other two volumes in the trilogy?

MJC: Volume 1: Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936, explores the Soviet Union’s efforts to organize a defensive alliance against Nazi Germany, in effect rebuilding the anti-German Entente of the First World War.

Volume 2: Stalin’s Failed Grand Alliance: The Struggle for Collective Security, 1936-1939 covers the period from May 1936 to August 1939. These were the last three years of peace in Europe during which occurred the great crises of the pre-war period (the Spanish civil war, Anschluss and the Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia) and the last Soviet efforts to organise an anti-Nazi alliance.

Volume 3: Stalin’s Great Game: War and Neutrality, 1939-1941 covers the first phase of the war in Europe, notably the disappearance of Poland, the Winter War between the USSR and Finland, the fall of France, the battle of Britain, and the Nazi build-up and invasion of the USSR. All this occurs within the broader framework of Soviet diplomacy and intelligence operations and Stalin’s failures to interpret correctly the signs of Hitler’s intention to destroy the Soviet Union.

TP: Your work has focused on Russian archival records. Were there any surprises, which made you rethink your position(s)?

MJC: My work has focused on Russian archival sources and western archival sources (inter alia French, British, US, etc.). The Russian sources indicate—and this will be a surprise for some people—that Soviet foreign policy as conducted by the Commissariat for foreign affairs (NKID) functioned like that of any other foreign ministry. It sought to define and protect Soviet national interests, as perceived by the NKID, and promoted amongst the Soviet leadership, especially in the Politburo (in effect the Soviet cabinet), which over time became synonymous with a single person, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin. In the 1920s this meant seeking to improve political and economic relations with the main western powers. No country was too small to escape NKID attention and wooing. In the 1930s it meant seeking to build an anti-Nazi alliance to contain Hitlerite Germany or to defeat it in war if containment failed. The first generation of Soviet diplomats were well-educated (or self-taught), multilingual, sophisticated, and good at their jobs.

So? What is so surprising about these “discoveries?” Several generations of western historians have maintained that Soviet foreign policy was made by the Communist International or Comintern and intended to pursue world socialist revolution and not the protection of Soviet national interests. These did not exist. My previous book Silent Conflict deals with the complicated interaction of the NKID, Comintern, Stalin, and the Politburo in the 1920s. Suffice it to say that traditional western historiography requires revision based on the study of Russian archives. We now have histories before the opening of Soviet archives and histories after their opening.

TP: The Soviet era is largely dominated by Joseph Stalin. Are there aspects about him that are ignored or misconstrued by Western historians?

MJC: People have been writing books about Stalin since the interwar years. His recent biographer Stephen Kotkin reminds us that he was a “human being.” He was that, but of course human beings can also be serial killers. Stalin was what he was, amongst other things, crude, cynical, vengeful, murderous. He placed little value on human life and freely dispensed with it.

In the realm of foreign policy, he had a more or less normal relationship with the NKID and its leadership until the purges. In the 1930s his principal NKID interlocutor was Maksim M. Litvinov, the commissar or narkom for foreign affairs. Stalin’s interactions with Litvinov were those of a head of government with his/her foreign minister. There was give and take on both sides, but most of the time until 1939 Stalin supported Litvinov’s policy recommendations. Not always but most of the time. It is a “normal” side of Stalin that we sometimes miss because of his ruthlessness and the purges.

TP: In the years leading up to WWII, how did the West view, or understand, Stalin and Soviet Russia? And, likewise, how did Stalin view the West?

MJC: The “west” did not have a uniform view of Stalin. There was the mainstream media view of him as bloodthirsty communist. In some government circles, in the British Foreign Office, for example, he was perceived as a ruthless “realist” looking to secure his own power. Western iconography, political posters, cartoons, etc., are rich in their portrayal of Stalin, amongst other roles, as a vampire feeding on the blood of innocents. This was a consistent view of him during the interwar years with some moderation in the 1930s when western realists—Winston Churchill is the best known of these people— recognised the need to cooperate with the USSR against Nazi Germany. The “realists” were always a minority amongst western governing elites and were never able to impose this policy in government until the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Of course, western communists were more disposed to recognise Stalin as the great leader of the USSR. They had to or were expelled from European parties or purged when Stalin got his hands on them. There were however exceptions to the rule when communists (in France for example) could initiate policy changes accepted in Moscow.

As for Stalin, he remained a communist, but he was willing to cooperate with the western powers against Hitler both in the 1930s and after June 1941. We operate under different social systems, he often said, but this should not prevent us from recognizing common interests and cooperating against common foes.

TP: Then, there is the notorious year, 1932, with its Great Famine, in which 5 to 7 million died. Was this famine “political strategy,” ethnic cleansing (Holodomor), a natural disaster, or something else?

MJC: I only deal in passing with this issue in my work because the famine did not affect foreign policy, but the best recent treatment of the famine is in the second volume of Kotkin’s biography of Stalin. Kotkin argues that the famine was the result of various factors, political, economic, weather, and insect infestations. It was not aimed at the Ukraine as a form of genocide or “ethnic cleansing.” The famine affected the entire Soviet grain belt with Kazakhstan being the hardest hit.

TP: The next year, 1933, brought Adolf Hitler to power. How did Stalin and the Soviets view Hitler?

MJC: The initial Soviet reaction to Hitler’s assumption of power in early 1933 was to try to maintain the “Rapallo” policy of tolerable relations with Germany. Nazi hostility to the USSR in 1933 was so intense that the maintenance of Rapallo became impossible and in December 1933 the Politburo approved a shift in policy to collective security against Nazi Germany. This meant in effect the rebuilding of the World War I Entente against Wilhelmine Germany. Litvinov became the great Soviet spokesperson for this policy, but it was not his personal policy, it was that of Stalin and the Soviet government. Stalin was the Soviet government. No policy, large or small, could pass without his approval.

TP: The years leading up to 1939 are complex and often little understood, especially in regards to the motivations and concerns of Soviet Russia. Did the Soviets see a war coming?

MJC: There is not the slightest doubt that the Soviet leadership saw war coming. Nazi Germany was the great danger to European peace and security. Litvinov and other Soviet diplomats liked to quote to their western counterparts Mein Kampf, Hitler’s best-selling book, outlining his plans for European conquest. France and the USSR were identified as targets of German conquest. Germany needed Lebensraum, additional living space in the USSR. Slavs, Jews, Roma were lower species of human being good only for slavery or death.

TP: What was the role of Britain and France in this regard? Were they more suspicious of Hitler or of Stalin, or of both equally? And why could they not form an alliance with Stalin against Hitler?

MJC: The answer to this question is complicated and is the subject of Stalin’s Gamble, vol. 1 of my trilogy. In France and Britain anti-communism was a driving force, though its intensity fluctuated from time to time during the interwar years. Political and economic elites were largely anti-communist, but not entirely, as I have noted above. This was especially true during the 1930s after Hitler became German chancellor. One Soviet diplomat noted that the great question of the 1930s was who was enemy no. 1, Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? Western elites, with important exceptions, got the answer wrong to this question. Fascism was the great bulwark against communist or socialist revolution, the ideology arising from the crisis of capitalism during the interwar years. Remember, Germany was not the only fascist state, the Duce Benito Mussolini had taken power in Italy in 1922. In France and Britain there were tolerant attitudes toward Italian fascists. If only Hitler would soften the hard edges of Nazism and adopt the “softer” fascism of Mussolini, it would be easier to accept him. For numerous European conservatives Hitlerite Germany was not an enemy but a potential ally against the left.

When Soviet diplomats tried to warn of the Nazi danger, many western counterparts did not buy the argument that Hitler was the problem. This was especially so after the eruption of the Spanish civil war in July 1936. It looked to many conservatives that communism might take root in Spain and then spread to France. What a catastrophe! So, when Soviet diplomats warned of Hitlerite Germany, conservatives, the political right, but also spreading into the political centre and centre-left, saw this as a ruse de guerre to spread communism into Europe. Collective security and mutual assistance against the common foe, did not work as an argument, because European elites did not see or did not want to see Hitler as a common foe. The British Foreign Office was against collective security and against anti-fascism as arguments for unity. Anti-communism was a major impediment to an Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance against Hitler, even in 1939 when war looked increasingly inevitable.

TP: Then there is Poland. How would you characterize the Polish view of Hitler, especially given that Poland was allied with Nazi Germany until 1939 (a little-known fact)? What were Poland’s ambitions and motivations?

MJC: Yes, then there was Poland. I call it the skunk in the woodpile of collective security, but it was not the only one. A Polish state reappeared on the map of Europe in 1918 at the end of World War I. It was intensely nationalist. During 1919-1920 Poland sought to reestablish its frontiers of 1772, as a great European power. This led to war with Soviet Russia and a white peace, signed in early 1921 which satisfied neither side. Poland did not re-establish its 1772 frontiers, but obtained important Ukrainian and Byelorussian populated territories, which Soviet Russia saw as lost because of military weakness.

The Polish leadership saw itself situated between two potentially hostile great powers, and so explained its foreign policy as neither one or the other. But when push came to shove the Polish leadership always leaned toward Germany. In January 1934 Poland signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. Soviet offers of rapprochement were rejected. In following years Poland acted as a saboteur of collective security and worked against Soviet diplomacy. Everywhere in central and eastern Europe, diplomats warned that Poland was marching toward its ruin if it continued to pursue a pro-German, anti-Soviet policy. I would not say Poland was a Nazi “ally” but it was certainly an accomplice in 1938 when it cooperated with Germany to bring about the dismemberment of the Czechoslovak state. For its troubles Poland got a small portion of Czechoslovak territory. Incredibly, in 1939 it continued to sabotage attempts to conclude an Anglo-Franco-Soviet alliance. It did so until the very day the Nazi Wehrmacht invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.

TP: Was the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 the Soviet attempt to thwart war, or was it a reaction to the Munich Conference of 1938, in which the West thought it had won “peace in our time?”

MJC: The Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was not a Soviet attempt to thwart war, it was an attempt to stay out of the war and to remain neutral. Yes, in part, it was a reaction to the Munich accords, but it was more than that. It was the direct result of six years of failed Soviet attempts to construct an anti-Nazi grand alliance. One by one, the prospective members of this failed grand alliance fell away: the United States in the spring-summer 1934, France paradoxically in late 1934 (in a more complicated process), Italy, yes, fascist Italy in 1935, Britain in February 1936, and Romania in August 1936. One after the other they fell away; and Poland of course, the spoiler of collective security, the proverbial skunk in the woodpile, never contemplated an alliance with the USSR against Germany. Moscow was always the undesirable ally, the greater enemy, even though, paradoxically, it was Poland’s only option for salvation.

The Soviet Union could not, on its own, organise mutual assistance against Nazi Germany. Collective security had to be a grand political coalition from left to centre-right, a World War I union sacrée, of all-in national defence of all political parties against a common foe. In the west no one wanted it; no one wanted the Soviet Union as an ally (with the exception of communists and “realists”; a Soviet ambassador called them “white crows”) in a potential war-fighting alliance, in a situation where there was no agreement on the common foe. Even Czechoslovakia, the most needy potential ally, would not go all-in with the USSR. No eastern European country would without France and Britain, but France would not march without Britain, and Britain would not march at all.

This is a complicated story related in volumes 1 and 2 of my trilogy. In the great cover-up of the genuine history of the origins of World War II after 1945, it was the necessary corollary of Cold War propaganda to rub out the primary role of the Red Army in the destruction of the Wehrmacht. Early on, revisionist historians began to put the story together, starting with the “Guilty Men,” the appeasers, who prepared the way to catastrophe. It was the release of Soviet government papers in the 1990s, however, which has allowed the emergence of a more complex narrative, constructed with the assistance of Soviet eyes. In this narrative Stalin, the “human being,” understandably could not trust the British and French governments, conniving, manipulative, unwilling, to be all-in allies against Nazi Germany even in August 1939.

As it was, the British and French left their ally Poland to blow in the wind when Germany invaded it. Stalin correctly assumed that France and Britain would sit on their hands while Germany and the USSR fought it out in the east. Would they have been more loyal to the USSR than they had been to Poland? Of course not, if you asked Stalin. However, war is full of the unexpected. The USSR ended up fighting a ground war practically alone against Nazi Germany from June 1941 to September 1943 and even after the Normandy landings still carried the main burden of fighting on the ground. That of course is another story.

TP: World War II, when it broke out, was the result of diplomatic failure on the part of Britain, France, and Poland. Is this a fair assessment?

MJC: I have answered this question in my above responses, but yes, Britain, France, and Poland bear a large responsibility for the failure to organize an early grand alliance in Europe against Hitler.

TP: Could the Allies have defeated Hitler without the Soviets?

MJC: No, and this is not a conclusion made in hindsight. The main argument of western “realists” was that without the USSR, France and Britain could not win a war against Nazi Germany and would certainly lose it. Britain had no army to speak of, two divisions could at once be sent to France in the event of war. The French army could not alone fight off a German invasion. On the other hand, the Red Army could at once mobilise 100 divisions, in fact, more, against Nazi Germany. Churchill and former prime minister David Lloyd George said it plainly in the House of Commons during the spring of 1939. Victory was impossible without an alliance with the USSR. Do the math of relative contributions to boots on the ground: Britain, two divisions; the USSR, 100. This is not to mention 35 Czechoslovak divisions prior to the Munich betrayal. The French and British governing elites liked to count every enemy twice over and potential allies not at all.

TP: In your book, Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, you discuss Soviet relations with the West. How would you categorize these? And did these early years set the tone for the Cold War?

MJC: With the notable exception of Soviet-German relations and the conclusion of the treaty of Rapallo (spring 1922) which regularised Soviet relations with Weimar Germany, Soviet-western relations were poor. Anti-Communism was an insurmountable obstacle to better relations even though there were “realists,” notably in France, who advocated rapprochement. The Comintern was active in China where a great revolutionary movement was underway. Britain especially had important commercial interests in China threatened by the revolutionary movement. I see this period as the early (or stage 1 of the) Cold War which ended in 1941. Western-Soviet hostility in the 1920s was an impediment to building an anti-Nazi alliance in the 1930s.

TP: The West has long had deep-seated Russophobia. What accounts for this?

MJC: Russophobia is not really a subject directly treated in my work. It is a form of western racism against Russia, motivated these days by the Russian threat to US world domination. This is a topic for another discussion.

TP: Are there other projects that you are researching?

MJC: I am getting on in years, and the publication of my trilogy will take up my time, inshallah, for the next couple of years. I see the trilogy as the capstone of my work as historian and author. After the trilogy is published, as I hope it will be, who knows?

TP: Professor Carley, thank you so much for your time.

Featured: “Europe will be Free!” Poster by Viktor Koretsky, 1944.

Will Poland be at War?

In the context of hostilities in Ukraine, media and messenger publications focus on the fighting, shelling, and supply of weapons and military equipment. Occasionally there is information about the actions of mercenaries. No less significant events fall outside the scope of the above—the build-up of Poland’s own armed forces, the massive presence of combatants (read—not necessarily soldiers, but people trained in the military) in Ukraine, the provision of unprecedented benefits for Polish citizens in the neighboring state. If you take into account the strategy of warfare, then in addition to action on the line of contact and neighboring territories, an important component is the preparation of a reserve or even the formation of a strike group outside the conflict territories. This was the case at Stalingrad, when troops formed in Siberia decided the overall outcome of the battle. In the events under consideration for the coalition, composed of Ukraine and Western countries supplying it, the “Siberians” mentioned could be the Polish army. This is the first scenario, where Poland will make up a kind of reserve for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), allowing it to free up available forces and means to continue fighting with Russia. This would require the introduction of troops into Ukrainian territory and the occupation of defensive lines.

With such a development, Ukraine should be fully assured of Poland’s loyalty to the regime. At a minimum—that the deployed Polish divisions will not remain forever on the “defended” territories with their further annexation to Poland. Then there will almost certainly be pockets of resistance to the new invaders, given the centuries-old contradictions between Poland and Ukraine, including in the issue of ownership of the territories, given the same dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of Western Ukraine to any power, whether the Soviets, or the Rzeczpospolita. Warsaw itself actively promotes the idea of creating the Third Rzeczpospolita, or the no less famous Mezhmorye with an axis between Warsaw and Ankara.

The implementation of this option is connected with “technical” moments. Of the four existing Polish divisions (mechanized divisions: the 12th, 16th and 18th, and one tank division, the 11th), the 16th mechanized division is supposed to be used in the direction of Kaliningrad, and the 12th overlaps with the army of Belarus. Two more divisions remain for action in Ukraine: the 18th Mechanized Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry Division, including the 6th Independent Airborne Brigade.

The second scenario considers the direct involvement of the Polish army against Russia. Here further development is possible in two directions: in the first, Poland will fight after Ukraine has finally lost its combat capabilities to continue the armed conflict with Russia; in the second, with a much lower degree of probability, it will take part in the armed confrontation together with Kiev.

In all of the options under consideration, Warsaw needs a significant amount of manpower and resources. This is not only the numerical increase of the army, but also equipping (re-equipping) it with weapons and military equipment (WME), taking into account the modern nature of combat operations. That is the availability of a large number of multiple rocket launchers with correction of firing results (targeting). Similarly—in the part concerning artillery, as well as the use of UAVs for reconnaissance purposes, to direct fire on the enemy, in general—the creation of a single information field for data exchange.

Poland has taken the route of receiving new equipment by sending its old equipment to Ukraine. To date, it has transferred from its existing stockpiles:

  • 150 units of barrage ammunition (the Polish equivalent of Geraney) Warmate;
  • 230 units, T-72M;
  • 232 pieces of Polish RT-91 Twarday tanks (T-72 modification);
  • 20 pcs. BM-21 (“Grad”) MLRSs;
  • 20 pcs. of howitzers 2S1 “Gvozdika”;
  • 19 units. 19 pieces of AHS Krab anti-tank gun.

Thus, there was a need for more than 400 tanks, artillery and MLRS.

Poland planned to receive the above-mentioned equipment from the US and Germany. However, due to various reasons, the deliveries have not yet been made. Warsaw therefore negotiated with South Korea, which will provide what the U.S. promised, with similar (and in some cases even superior) quality.


  • More than 1,200 K2 “Black Panther” tanks (replacing the former 115 M1A1 SA “Abrams” tanks);
  • More than 600 K9 155-mm. self-propelled howitzers;
  • 288 K239, Chunmoo (MLRS analogue) rocket systems;
  • 3 squadrons of FA-50 light fighters.

According to various experts, South Korea’s artillery is ranked among the best in the world. The K-9 howitzer has a British BAE Systems barrel mounted on a Polish Crab (T-72 chassis and turret of the same BAE Systems), and the K-2 tank is armed with a German-made 120-mm L55 gun produced under license.

An additional incentive for striking a deal with South Korea is that, unlike the United States, Seoul offers localization of production. If we take the K-2 tanks as an example, then 180 tanks (three battalion-size sets) will be supplied in the first stage in 2022-2025, and then 820 tanks (14 battalion-size sets) K2PL will be produced through localization of production beginning in 2026. The latter are an upgrade of the basic K-2 with enhanced armor, all-around vision system, and ASOP active protection system. Production of the K3PL, a new promising Polish-South Korean tank to be manufactured in Poland and South Korea, is scheduled for the future.

Similarly with the Krab ACS. In 2022, two Regina division firing modules comprising 48 Krab SAUs were delivered, which makes it possible to “load” the output capacities of the Huta Stalowa Wola SA (HSW). Until 2025, the production of howitzers of the following modifications will be localized: K9A1 with the Polish automated artillery control system TOPAZ; K9PL, K9PLA3 – (“Krab 2”).

The same with MLRSs. Production of key components and ammunition for them is planned to be transferred to Poland. Chunmoo guided missiles (239 mm caliber) will be produced by the Polish factory Mesko. The claimed range of high-precision operational-tactical ballistic missiles used is up to 290 km., which is equal to and even exceeds the launch capabilities of ATACMS missiles from MLRS and HIMARS.

UAVs, as well as guidance and reconnaissance systems, are necessary for the effective use of artillery and MLRS.

Poland has three projects in this area:

Gryf (“Gryf”) – procurement of medium-range tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying guided munitions;

Ważka (“Dragonfly”) – procurement of microdrones, weighing no more than 1,600 g, intended mainly for reconnaissance in urbanized areas by day and night;

Płomykówka (“Sipucha”) – procurement of visual (IMINT), electronic (SIGINT) and radar (RADINT) reconnaissance aircraft, possibly on the Airbus C-295 platform.

In the latter case, Warsaw already now has capabilities for precision targeting, because as a NATO member it is connected through the National Air Operations Support Center to the Unified Intelligence and Control System (ASOC).

The Polish government bought eight Aerostar UAVs and six Orbiter-2 UAVs from Israel to implement the first two projects, with plans to deliver 20 Hermes-450 and Hermes-900 drones to Israel’s Elbit Maarahot. As in the case of multiple rocket launchers, anti-missile guns and tanks, plans are to localize production in the future. At the first stage of the deal, Elbit will supply data on the construction, assembly and control of drones, while the Poles will produce encryption parts and other equipment.

In addition to Israel, Turkey is the UAV supplier, with its Bayraktar TB2 strike drones, the first batch of which has already entered service with the Polish Air Force’s 12th UAV base.

In the long term, constant aerial reconnaissance and a unified data exchange network are necessary for more effective application of forces and capabilities. This can be ensured through the purchase of the Eitan (Heron TP) UAV developed by IAI back from Israel. The latter is one of the world’s largest drones—its wingspan is 26 meters, which is comparable to the dimensions of a Boeing 737 airliner. The onboard equipment includes tracking and target detection systems in optical, infrared and radio bands, satellite navigation.

In addition to the use of drones themselves, in the event of war against a country that uses them en masse (Russia in particular), countermeasures are needed. The Geraniums used by Russia are an analogue of the Iranian Shahedin. Israel has the most experience in countering these UAVs. According to Zman Yisrael and The Times of Israel, to counteract the UAVs used by Russia, Tel Aviv has transferred through Poland to Ukraine rather innovative SmartShooter systems, designed to hit ground unprotected targets, as well as to destroy drones. There is no full information available about the effectiveness of their use at the moment. However, Israel has a “Drone Dome” complex with a declared 100% efficiency against drones. The latter was created by “Rafael Defense Systems,” to combat a variety of aerial objects, including drones weighing from 2 to 150 kilograms. It includes four RPS-42 radars, the Control MEOS optronic and infrared surveillance subsystem, the S-Gard RD REB subsystem with the NetSense Wideband Radio Network detection kit.

In addition, the counter-drone lineup includes the Drone Guard (ELI-4030) system developed by Elta, the Convexum suite, and an advanced anti-drone system called EnforceAir, developed by D-Fend Solutions.

As for the development of the armed forces, Poland currently has about 58,000 troops in its ground component, which it plans to raise to 300,000. This thus compares the land component with the current strength of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

As a result, Poland will be able to replenish and obtain the necessary forces and means to implement any of the variants of events in the period from 2024 to 2025.

The assumption of offensive rather than defensive actions by Poland follows from the ratio of equipment transferred to Ukraine and purchased. In a situation where Warsaw would be focused exclusively on defense against an external enemy, it would only need to replenish the fleet of equipment transferred to Ukraine (460 tanks, 20 MLRS, 39 SAU). In contrast to the “defense” assumption are the figures of the purchased AVT: 1200 tanks, 600 SAU, 288 MLRS, plus UAVs. It is three times the original number. According to previous Soviet military canons, a threefold superiority in capabilities is required for offensive operations.

It is quite possible that Russia will be designated as the “main” enemy. From where does this assumption come? From a recent analytical report by the British Intelligence Service, published on Twitter, subsequently reviewed by various publications (including the Polish, Niezależny Dziennik Polityczny, and the British, Independent).

To summarize what was said in the report, Ukraine is 40 times weaker than Russia. The Russian troops have an overwhelming advantage in rocket and barrel artillery, as well as in combat support (dozens of times) compared to the AFU. Russia exceeds Ukraine 20-fold in the number of guns and MLRS, and 40-fold in ammunition. The AFU is experiencing a shell starvation, and it has practically exhausted rockets for Smerch and Uragan MLRS. The main firepower of the AFU is represented by “grads” and howitzers, with a maximum range of 20-30 km. “Long arms” in the form of modern missiles and modernized howitzers, the Russians have an overwhelming air superiority. The irretrievable losses are in the order of 100 thousand people. The factor of the concentration of artillery, multiplied by the range, losses in manpower, depress the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians. To summarize: the suppression of the Ukrainian armed forces by Russia is a matter of time. In this case, the Ukrainian armed forces will be destroyed and the Russian ones weakened, which can be used both to seize territories and to destroy Russia as a global adversary.

A number of reports can be noted in the media confirming the indicated hypothesis. In particular, this is stated by the Deputy Chief of the Belarusian General Staff Valery Gnilozub, based on data on the militarization of Poland. Inside Poland, Dziennik polityczny says this. The article by Marek Galash says that the “War Party,” represented by the ruling coalition of Poland, officially recognizes participation in a foreign conflict. Returning to the already mentioned intelligence analysis, Britain claims the participation in the conflict of 2,300 Polish mercenaries on the territory of Ukraine. In fact, this is the first stage of the operation to return the “Eastern regions,” carried out by the ruling party “Law and Justice.” At the same time, it is emphasized that the Poles and Ukrainians will not become brothers. Already, Polish mercenaries are not too eager to follow the orders of the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and it comes to skirmishes with the nationalists.

The beginning of the implementation of Poland’s ambitious plan has been laid—this is the participation of mercenaries in the conflict, and the re-equipment of its own army. The active phase is predicted in two cases: the complete re-equipment of the Polish army with the planned forces and means, which, as mentioned, can be completed by 2024-2025, or when Russia declares that it has completed the tasks of the special operation, including returning the lands of the east and south of Ukraine, including Transnistria. In the second option, Poland, under the pretext of introducing a peacekeeping contingent, will invade the western territories of Ukraine. Further, using various social levers, the dissatisfaction of Ukrainians with the actions of their own government, the destruction of the social structure, Poland will ensure the holding of a referendum on the accession of the western territories of Ukraine to Poland, with a guarantee of ensuring further security and ensuring the well-being of the population.

Conclusions. Considering that by 2024 (2025) Poland will be equipped with the latest self-propelled guns, MLRS, tanks, UAVs, in combination with an increase in numbers to the strength of the Ukrainian army, in the event of an armed confrontation with Russia, this will create an adversary for us, superior to us in the area of application. If the Armed Forces of Ukraine, having the size of the army planned by Warsaw (300,000 people), in the presence of a small number of modern weapons and military equipment, resists Russia, and also conducts successful offensive actions (operations) for 9 months, then in the case of Poland, with the same size and equipment of the Russian army, it could turn into a disaster for us.

The use of Israeli systems by Poland can completely neutralize the opportunities gained with the receipt and production of kamikaze drones “Shahed” and “Geran.” According to recent Israeli statements, this is quite possible, especially after the localization of the production of Iranian drones in Russia, as well as the transfer of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russian troops. But this can happen also without these reasons, based only on economic benefits.

The probability of a war between Poland and Russia by 2024-2025 is assessed as high. By the time of 2024-2025, the Polish army will in any case be ready for offensive operations. If Ukraine fails as an adversary, the United States will be interested in continuing the conflict to weaken Russia and will make every possible effort to do so. This will be supported by forces inside Poland with the promotion of the Intermarium idea.

Sergei Atamanov writes from Russia. This articles appears courtesy of Geopolitika.

A Letter to Professor Dugin from Poland

Dear Professor Dugin,

I am writing to you mostly because I am afraid that if I don’t write, no other Polish common folk will. I want to give you my sincerest condolences for the untimely death of your daughter, Darya. She was a beautiful young woman with a top-class education, who fell prey to the dark forces of modern-day Ukrainian Nazism. So, one can say that on that horrific day beauty, femininity and careful thought were killed by indiscriminate hate and a devilish murder imperative.

I actually thought about her assassination quite a lot, as I am unusually drawn into following this whole war on the web, even though Poland is still (as of yet) on the sidelines. You certainly know that there were voices in Ukraine and Poland which ostentatiously praised her killing—I can only say that I am deeply ashamed about those Polish people who had no decency, to the point that they expressed such inhuman views.

I also want to write that I was totally aghast at our Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, calling in May, in the British press, for an all-out NATO war on Russia, to force a regime change in the Kremlin. Only after a few weeks I realized that he wasn’t even serious about this idea, even though his text had an apocalyptic tone. His “call to arms” of May 10, 2022 also hatefully refers to your “Russkiy Mir” concept, which he equates, just like that, with Nazism and communism, both at the same time—well, perhaps he was at least a little shamed when he learned about the killing of Darya, as it obviously appears that he might have inspired this heinous act.

However, there are still some people in Poland who at least try to have a balanced view of the whole war situation, although I would say that the death of Darya certainly does not invite a “balanced view.” Not being sure about your familiarity with Polish circles, but I’ll give you the names of Leszek Sykulski and Jan Engelhardt—Sykulski is a specialist in geopolitics who has a very independent and level-headed way of seeing things, while Engelhardt publishes the Mysl Polska (Polish Thought) weekly; perhaps the only politics-related newspaper in Poland with a pro-Russian view, but still with a very small circulation.

Professor Dugin—if we are to avoid war between Poland and Russia, we need really cool thinking leaders which is now not the case on the Polish side. I would just like to turn your attention to the fact that a lot of current hate towards Russia in Poland was born after what we call “10/04/10”—the Polish presidential jet air disaster in Smolensk. Russian secret services have been blamed for 12 years now in Poland for pre-arranging this disaster, and about 30 – 40 percent of the Polish population firmly believes this assassination version, no matter how counterfactual it actually is. There is even a new official report which claims to have proved the so-called “explosions theory;” but actually it’s an exercise in fake science glossing over obvious questions. I know, because I have lost untold hours studying this disaster myself. The whole disaster and the following investigations are an unbelievable story, where both Polish and Russian sides have clearly contributed, but I’ll leave it for now.

I read so much of independent sources about the Russo-Ukrainian situation that since at least the purported Bucha killings I’ve been holding my fingers crossed for the Russian army. We have such a tornado of lies, manipulations, cherry-picking and all other disinformation tricks in Polish media that actually it makes me depressed, because I clearly see it all happening.

For about two months now I have been reading in Russian (I had this old socialist course at school, for 8 years), and now I can say that I can understand up to some 80 – 90 percent. I even began toying with the idea of somehow joining the Russian forces—if Konashenkov says that some 2,000 Poles went to fight for the Ukrainians, why is nobody going to fight for Russia? Shouldn’t it be a manifestation of one’s political views? And if so, are Polish views really so one-sided? It’s disheartening to realize that we’ve been emotionally programmed by the media so effectively. The problems with me are that I’m 53, overweight, highly short-sighted, zero shooting skills. Looks like I can only offer my thoughts in English!

Professor Dugin—I wish you all the best and that you may get over this horror as quickly as possible. The world is in dire need of your thinking.

Support and admiration,

Przemyslaw Abramowski

P.S. I wrote this on September 25th, but I am a procrastinator. The letter now flies off to you. In the meantime—Kerch Bridge, three more people blown to heavens. But now we have a tough Russian response. Professor Dugin—I imagine the spirit of Darya helped the Kremlin get their act together. Continued support. P.A.

Przemysław Abramowski lives in Szczecin, Poland. He is an engineer who also translates from English. He researches contemporary politics, the complexities of the modern world and the human mind, as well as war and military history.

Featured: “Henri Cordier,” by Gustave Caillebotte; painted in 1883.

The Volhynia Massacre

Of all the volatile issues emanating from Ukraine’s participation in the Second World War, perhaps the most debated has been Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s (UPA) conflict with the Poles, which has been described by Yale historian Timothy Snyder as one of the earliest examples of ethnic cleansing in the 20th century. A landmark of sorts was reached in 2003, the 60th anniversary of the attempted elimination of the Polish population in Volhynia region, when scholars, writers, and journalists on both sides of the border discussed the matter openly, albeit without reaching any firm conclusions. On the level of government politicians, the then opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, made some conciliatory remarks to the Poles concerning responsibility for past events. The Ukrainian response at the grassroots level, from those generally sympathetic to the UPA at least, was that there were similar atrocities on both sides, as evidenced by the enforced deportations of populations from both sides of the border and the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilians in Operation Vistula.

The discussion differs from the previous ones that have been analyzed in that it has taken on an international hue, with Ukrainians, for the most part, defending the actions of the insurgents against criticism from outsiders. However, while Soviet propaganda prevailed, the Polish question left the UPA vulnerable to attacks from the official media as well. Because of the controversial nature of these events it is logical to reflect first on the existing English versions of the events that are based on careful archival research.

Snyder has noted that in 1939, the Polish population constituted about 16% of the overall population of Volhynia (Volyn and Rivne oblasts), and by 1943 it had decreased to about 8%. He maintains that the UPA mounted a campaign to identify the Volhynian Poles and the Polish government with the occupation regimes of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. He believes that the fury of the actions against the Polish population was the reason for the Polish retaliation against Ukrainians—reflected, for example, in Operation Vistula. They then provided the UPA with an excuse for introducing what Snyder calls “ethnic cleansing” in the territories of Halychyna to the south. However, Poles there were more numerous and better able to defend themselves.

In a related article, Snyder delves into the topic in more detail. In his view, the brutal operations of the Germans against Volhynian Jews provided training for many of the future UPA members for the 1943 actions against Poles. Ukrainians became familiar with violent death on a mass scale, and those who took part in German operations as auxiliary forces subsequently became the main recruits for the creation of the UPA in Volhynia by the OUN-B. The decision to take the latter action was taken following the German defeat at Stalingrad, when in April 1943 OUN SD (Ukrainian Nationalist Organization) leader Mykola Lebed’ proposed to eliminate the entire Polish population in the area of the UPA forces.

Poles were also under intense pressure from Soviet Partisans. Snyder describes members of the OUN-B security forces as extremists and fanatics, with an implacable hatred of people they considered to be enemies of the nation. Thus the Ukrainian political scene in Volhynia came under the domination of “immature and angry men” led by the 33-year-old Lebed’ and practically the entire Ukrainian youth entered the ranks of the UPA (in part, the OUN-B achieved full membership by threatening to kill all those who remained in the service of the Germans). By removing the Poles, they could prevent any possibility of a return to Polish rule in this territory of northwestern Ukraine, and up to 60,000 Poles, mainly civilians, fell victim to this orgy of violence.

Wiktor Poliszczuk’s work is an indictment of the OUN and UPA, and who stresses that, in the spring of 1943, Mykola Lebed’, the head of the OUN-B Provid, along with Shukhevych, carried out the proclamation of the First Congress of the OUN by massacring the Polish civilian population of Volhynia. Up to that time, the deaths of Poles at the hands of Ukrainians had been somewhat random and a result of personal animosities. He notes that in this period, the OUN-B demanded of the Ukrainian police still in the service of the Germans that they flee to the forests taking their weapons with them. Former members of the Schutzmannschaften Battalion 201 arrived in Volhynia from Belarus, having completed the brutal pacification of Belarusian villages on behalf of the Germans. These men, he adds, in a similar vein to Snyder’s account, had experience with the elimination of the Jewish population and were now to make up the foundation of the military forces of the OUN-B, along with the Security Service run by Lebed’. Most of the latter forces were made up of Ukrainians from Halychyna.

Using the basis of the First OUN Congress and the Second OUN Conference, it was Lebed’ who provided the instruction to the troops to undertake the systematic extermination of the Polish population of Volhynia. The deaths ran into the tens of thousands, he writes. Members of the Mel’nyk wing of the OUN, where present, were coerced into the same activity. The picture portrayed is one of ruthless ethnic cleansing led by the nationalist security units that had received training at the German political school in Zakopane in 1939–40…. all those dealing with the OUN-UPA as warriors for an independent Ukraine (particularly those who allege that the two organizations had taken on a more moderate and democratic complexion by 1943), have to come to terms with the events of Volhynia, which appear to contradict such an assessment.

David R. Marples is a Distinguished University Professor of Russian and East European History, University of Alberta. He is the author of sixteen single-authored books, including Understanding Ukraine and Belarus (2020), and Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine (2008), from which this passage is excerpted.

Polish Dissident Anti-War Voices on the Rise

There is no doubt that Poland is and has been the leading voice in NATO and in the European Union advocating for a more aggressive approach to Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine. Apart from the daily reproaches of the Polish government and president against Moscow and in its perversely subservient line of support for Kiev, two recent developments are a clear testimony that Warsaw’s Eastern policy is becoming more and more of an aberration.

On May 9th, the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Poland, Sergey Andreev, was doused with red paint while on a visit to a Soviet war cemetery in Warsaw by Ukrainian activists. Iryna Zemlana, who was personally responsible for the attack, was not apprehended by the police, and what is more, was able to escape Warsaw.

This egregious act, which should have been prosecuted, was even mildly praised by the Polish Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Kamiński, on Twitter. Worth mentioning here is that active assault or insult of a representative of a foreign state is regulated in Article 136 of the Polish Criminal Code. This provision states in the first paragraph that “whoever, on the territory of the Republic of Poland, commits an active assault on a head of a foreign state or an accredited head of diplomatic representation of such a state or a person enjoying similar protection under laws, agreements or generally recognized international customs, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 3 months and 5 years.”

Paragraph two states the following: “Whoever, on the territory of the Republic of Poland, commits an active assault on a person who is a member of the diplomatic staff of a foreign representation or a consular official of a foreign state, in connection with the performance of their official duties, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years.”

In light of this, to say Zemlana abused her status as a guest in Poland is an understatement. The total lack of any interest on the part of the Polish authorities to prosecute is in itself a criminal act.

A few days later, on May 10th, Britain’s The Telegraph published an article by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the opening lines of which declare: “Russia’s monstrous ideology must be defeated. It is the equivalent of 20th-century communism and Nazism—and it poses a deadly threat to Europe.” It’s hard to imagine Morawiecki actually saying this with a straight face and yet, here we are. Leave it to the current Polish Prime Minister to try and out-neocon the neocons!

To an outside observer it would seem that Poland wants nothing more than to enter the fray in Ukraine, while at the same time explaining away the economic woes already being experienced by the great majority of Poles, due to the radical nature of the anti-Russian sanctions, as something insignificant. Thankfully, dissident voices are growing louder by the day. I decided to reach out to three representatives of the diplomatic, academic and media worlds respectively to demonstrate to the international reader, to paraphrase the opening lines of the Polish national anthem, that “Poland is not yet lost!”

The Polish Authorities should pursue Polish Interests

Dr. Jacek Izydorczyk served as Poland’s ambassador to Japan from 2017 to 2019, and he currently teaches law at the University of Łódź. The esteemed professor was one of the first former diplomats to openly criticize the Polish government’s pro-war agenda after hostilities began in Ukraine.

Izydorczyk is blunt and to the point: “It is in the interest of Poland to end the war as soon as possible, because whether it is a full-scale World War III or just a local war with Polish participation, it means the destruction of our country and the death of thousands, if not millions of our citizens.”

The former diplomat believes that Polish and U.S. interests are not identical in Ukraine, despite the massive media propaganda campaign claiming the contrary. And while not advocating for totally abandoning the formal alliance with the United States, Izydorczyk does see the need for an immediate rebalancing towards “a minimum of assertiveness and defense of one’s position.” The Polish citizenry, Izydorczyk points out, should not hesitate to put pressure on the current government of the Law and Justice party, whose members “have been brought up on blind hatred of Russia and such absurdities as the cult of Napoleon and his expedition to Moscow.”

The Academic Community in Poland has its Freedom of Speech severely Limited

The conservative political scientist, Professor Adam Wielomski, in our exchange expanded on the themes raised by Ambassador Izydorczyk. When asked about the evident unanimity among the Polish academic elite regarding the situation in Ukraine, Wielomski pointed to two main factors responsible for such a state of affairs. “One part of the academic community repeats what they hear on television, and the other part is afraid to speak out. The academic community in Poland has its freedom of speech severely limited because a habit has developed of writing letters of complaint against professors for expressing views in the media that differ from the banal ones. Professors are afraid of being summoned by the rector’s office and having to explain themselves. The community prefers not to speak out on any controversial issue, unless it is in line with the media. Paradoxically, those who are knowledgeable about the political situation remain silent, and the main ‘experts’ are the undereducated journalists.” In essence this means that “professors have limited civil rights in Poland in relation to ordinary people. They have been terrorized by the liberal media, and the university is no longer a place of free debate.”

Wielomski believes that in the current geopolitical situation, Poland has two options: either to be a transmission and trade-belt on the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin-Paris axis and benefit from it, given its geographical location, or become nothing more than “a spoiler of the United States in Eurasia.” The Polish elites chose the second option. “They may be right; but I, for one, was not convinced. To be frank, they didn’t even try to convince anyone, because after 1989 there was no debate on this issue in Poland. The government was taken over by people who had been in opposition until 1989 and who took money from the CIA for their activities, pacifying not only opposing views but even calls for a debate on this issue.”

This lack of a serious debate on such critical issues as Poland’s geopolitical orientation “enforces unanimity on every issue of importance.” Warsaw should strive to emulate the moderately cautious approach of Paris and Berlin and possibly even the openly anti-war position of Poland’s supposed ally in Budapest.

When asked to assess the chances for the emergence of political forces focused on realism in Eastern policy and more assertive formulation of Polish national interests, without interference from Washington or Berlin, Wielomski is pessimistic. “In Poland, there is little chance of this happening. Even the ‘populist’ right-wing Confederation party, which holds anti-systemic views, as they say in the U.S., practically collapsed because of the dispute whether Poland gets to define its own raison d’être, or whether it is defined by the American embassy. Most of Confederation’s members, as it turned out, entered the Sejm under anti-system slogans only to knock on the System’s door and report their readiness to serve it.” This is all attributable to what Wielomski calls a peculiar “disease of the Polish soul,” which manifests itself predominantly not only in the lack of realism in foreign policy, “but also in some irrational pride in not pursuing such a policy.” Wielomski frames the choice facing Warsaw in the following words: “In politics you either defend your own interests or act in the interests of others.”

No Nuance Allowed

Dr. Wojciech Golonka is a Catholic philosopher and a regular columnist at Poland’s premium center-right weekly Do Rzeczy (DR). DR has remained one of the very few mainstream venues where dissent from the politically correct line on Ukraine is tolerated. This no doubt is due to Paweł Lisicki’s, impeccable free speech credentials, and who manages the editorial side of the publication.

Thanks to such a praise worthy modus operandi, Golonka was able to publish an interview with retired colonel Douglas Macgregor, an American voice which needed to be heard in Poland. “Adopting a zero-sum narrative, which is unopposed, is very conducive to internal politics and also allows for a temporary cover-up of current problems—the grilling of Poland by Brussels, galloping inflation, the refugee crisis, social discontent. Any criticism of the government can therefore now be shouted down with the imperative to fight Putin, and in Polish conditions no major political party will allow itself to put reason above the aforementioned atmosphere of systemic Russophobia”—says Golonka. He believes attempts to censor in Poland Russian outlets, which present a different perspective on the war in Ukraine, are “ridiculous.”

The banning of Russia Today in the early days of the conflict was a clear example of government overreach. According to Golonka, “solutions that seek to restrict civil liberties should, on the one hand, be under the control of the courts, and on the other, be appropriate for emergency situations, the framework of which is defined by the Polish Constitution. Every arbitrary decision of the executive power using purely rhetorical justification corrupts the rule of law and creates precedents for government arbitrariness that is dangerous to citizens.”

Golonka points out that “people who feel hunger for diverse information or analysis already use the so-called alternative media.” However, these venues still remain relatively marginal in Poland in terms of impact and influence. In his view, this dire situation stems from the fact that “Polish society did not have an appropriate period in its contemporary history, in which it could mature to the mechanisms of democracy, without being an object of foreign external factors and internal factional struggles for power.”

“Television lies” used to be the famous slogan in the halcyon days of the Solidarity movement. No more, seems to be the view of the young columnist.

The late professor Andrzej Walicki, one of Poland’s greatest scholars of Russia and Russian political thought, in one of his last interviews defined the grand logic animating Warsaw’s hubris in foreign policy, in the following words: “Mainly an inferiority complex towards the West, offset by a superiority complex towards the East.”

In the current circumstances, the voices of dissent quoted above, among many others (thankfully!), give courage to ordinary Poles, who prefer not to succumb to either of the complexes.

Michał Krupa is a Polish historian and commentator. He has published in various Polish and American media outlets, including The American Conservative, Consortium News, Chronicles Magazine and the Imaginative Conservative. His Twitter handle is: @MGKrupa.

Featured: “Polish Hamlet. Portrait of Aleksander Wielopolski,” by Jacek Malczewski; painted in 1903.