June 21, 2013

Ukrainian Golgotha: the Polish Dimension

Given the topicality of the relationship between two independent European countries — Ukraine and Poland — at the present stage of historical development of Europe, we are launching a new project — "Ukrainian-Polish relations: The Truth and Myths".  Under this heading you will find an article "Zakerzonia".

Weakening and disintegration of the Soviet Union in the late 80s - early 90s of the 20th century, had important geopolitical consequences for the countries of the Central Europe. In particular, there appeared favorable conditions for release of members of the former so-called socialist camp from the sphere of  influence of Moscow and building both, among themselves and with their neighbors, new relationships  based on Western liberal democracy.

However, as the experience of the last two decades shows ,”dismantling” of communist order in the Central Europe, as  well as the entry into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures, turned out to have been  measures of sooner   superficial than deep character. They could not radically change the population’s  most urgent - developed in the long-term coexistence with Russians, totalitarian social consciousness. Their political elites together with a significant part of the society, due to an old habit, still look back at their recent  terrible Russian “big brother” - Moscow. At the same time, as it often happened in history, they do not miss an opportunity to argue and quarrel with neighbors, ignoring for some reason historical lessons of exactly such actions.

Unfortunately, this often manifests itself in Poland, causing natural anxiety of Ukrainian politicians because of our adjacency and historical relations of both the nations. By the way, giving a description of this relationship, researchers sometimes use a "diplomatic" adjective "difficult". Why they were difficult may be easily explained, if you remember, for example, the words of F. Engels about Polish politicians who in history “never ever did anything other than daring bandits’ nonsense." One could perceive this as a joke, if ... If, for example, not for the current official documents of authorities, public and religious associations and publications in the Polish media about the  Polish-Ukrainian armed conflict in Volyn during World War II.

Ultimately, this issue is no sensation. It was one of the working topics of special propaganda in the times of the Polish People's Republic (PRP). Although at the time officially was led the policy of internationalism, friendship and peace between nations. But wasn’t it selective and was it spread, particularly, on the Ukrainian? That is, wasn’t unofficially continued the  "Policy” of  predecessors - "endeks" and "pilsudchyks" (dialect nicknames for supporters of Pilsudski and residents of Volyn region) – on Ukrainians - the policy of  forced assimilation of indigenous ethnic Ukrainian lands that Moscow "generously donated" to the official Warsaw for its consent to sit in the wake of the Soviet Union  when the World War II was over? To the successfully practiced before destruction of Ukrainian culture and education, Police terror, Polish authorities added a mass deportation of Ukrainians deep into Poland, their dispersion among ethnic Poles, confiscation of their property and land which later passed into the hands of Polish immigrants. How to call liquidation by the leadership of the  PRP in Poland of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and "legalized" robbery of the latter’s property?

So, in 1945 - 1949 Ukrainians were being repressed  in Poland on national, political and religious motives, that is they were suffering genocide, the  definition of which  crime gives the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide",  which was approved and proposed for signature and ratification of the UN General Assembly, (resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948), which entered into force on 12 January 1951.

In order to somehow justify to their citizens and international community the oppression of the Ukrainian people, which by the Polish-Soviet collusion was cut off from Mother – Ukraine and found itself within Recz Pospolita, the government of Poland had been leading a  permanent information campaign. The image of a Ukrainian had been strongly demonized in the press, at schools and on television. Generations of Polish citizens had been brought up on Ukrainophobia of the books by Edward Prus and such like authors. In order to justify such an openly anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the  leadership of the neighboring USSR was officially told  that the  ideological confrontation was not with the entire Ukrainian people, but only with Ukrainian nationalists. Poles, they explained, had  nothing against the Ukrainian people, only against Ukrainian nationalists - "enemy of both,  Polish and Ukrainian people," as well as  of many other nations. The classical  propaganda  stunt of “separation” was being used again.

Since in the USSR Ukrainian nationalists were also targets to attacks of the official propaganda, it is clear that the trick with "separation" did work.

However, in their  narrower  circle, Polish "fighters of Ukrainian nationalism", name the true reason for their hatred. As states Professor Wlodzimierz Pavlyuchuk, "There would be no independent Ukraine, there would be no history of the Ukrainian nation as a political nation, fighting for full independence, if not for the nationalism, if not for the UPA, if not for the fanatical love of the members of UPA for their people, and their  immortal   idea of transforming  ​​an amorphous “Russian”  mass into effectively significant people. The fate of Ukraine would have  been similar to the fate of Belarus.

If from  the history of Ukraine were erased the ideological value and activity of nationalists, especially the UPA, in the culture and history of  Ukraine nothing else can be found that  would give a chance to legitimization of full independence of this country. In the nineteenth century patriots of Ukraine ... knew nothing about an independent Ukraine and - more so - they did not even think about it. Even Hrushevskyi, Vynnychenko, leaders of the Ukrainian Central Rada in 1917, did not think about full independence and were speaking only for Ukraine's autonomy within Russia."

That is, if there had been no Ukrainian Nationalists, there would be neither a Ukrainian people nor Ukraine. Ukrainian lands and their impersonalized  susceptible to assimilation population (labor force) would have been divided between Poland and Russia.

However, these aggressive plans were not  implemented. In 1991,  the Ukrainian people implemented the political program of Ukrainian nationalists-achieved  independence of Ukraine. Therefore, any attack "only against Ukrainian nationalists" of various wings of  chauvinists, is actually an attack on independence of Ukraine, infringing the freedom of the  Ukrainian people, of all  Ukrainian citizens regardless of their nationality and religion.

After the collapse of the world socialist system in the late 80s - 90s of the twentieth century, Poland unhesitatingly recognized independence of Ukraine. Obviously, due to purely pragmatic reasons. It is now often quoted that "in international politics there are no feelings. There are national interests. " Poland was interested in Euro-Atlantic integration. And it demonstrated the needed for implementation of its plans absence of formal territorial claims against neighbors (that does not mean that a certain -and not excluded greater part- of the Polish political elite does not have those claims). Poland also feels the need (at least temporarily, until the entry into NATO) in the buffer between it and Russia, the activity of which has been scaring it all the time. And for good reason. According to  experts’s statements in Polish media, Poland would be able to withstand in  the war with the use of conventional (non-nuclear) weapons up to two weeks. And what help of Western allies is like,  Poland knows from its own  bitter historical experience (e.g. in September 1939).

There are other interests of Poland, implementation of which is helped by the Ukrainian people. That is why quite logical is adjustment of strong friendship between Poles and Ukrainians which the Polish side has been using more than once (in 1410 – at  Grunwald, or in 1618 - near Moscow). But can we consider logical Poland's Eastern policy to Ukrainian people, assuming that Poland's Eastern policy does exist?

It would be interesting to hear the answer to this question from the Ukrainians-Polish citizens. And how can it be positive when the post-communist Poland has not returned Lemkos and all other deported Ukrainians- citizens of Poland to their ethnic lands, nor has it compensated for their material and moral losses? This is not even being discussed. That is, the results of the post-war ethnic cleansing of western Ukrainian lands from Ukrainians still has not been sorted out.

Instead, in 1991 the editor of "Gazeta Wyborcza" A. Mikhnik said that the Polish consider Western Ukrainian lands as "Eastern provinces of Poland" because "the Polish state has existed in this region for 500 years," and "Polish culture is hard to imagine without Lviv." In Poland many anti-Ukrainian public organizations have got activated. Thus, the Society of lovers of Lviv and "South-Eastern kreses" has over 100 departments and clubs. And there are many other organizations united in a nationwide federation.

“Kresoviaks” ’ Socity, centered in Warsaw, during 1992 - 1995 had been collecting applications of former Polish re-settlers of 1948-1950 years from Ukraine to Poland for  "compensation" for the property and land that remained in Ukraine (Voievodski Council of Zamostski province alone in 1993 received more than 7,000 such applications).In  drafts of  inter-governmental agreements that had been developed, there were plans to return to the citizens of the Republic of Poland the  lands and buildings with claims to live in Ukraine and the right to dispose of dwellings at their  choice.   At the same time  were being discussed questions of the right to preserve the citizenship of the Republic of Poland by the citizens who had expressed their willingness to move to Ukraine.

 "Love" for Ukrainian lands is demonstrated not only by public organizations of Poland, but also by state structures. In particular,  we mean here the introduction of "a Pole’s card". In this regard, the Belarusian newspaper "Zvezda" once wrote that Warsaw wants to add Western Belarus and Western Ukraine to Poland, and one of the tools for achieving this goal has to become a "Pole’s Card". "The Polish society is quite well represented by forces that want Wielkopolska ( Great Poland) within  borders if not" from sea to sea, "then at least within the borders  as of 1939. Obviously, a change of borders in Europe today by armed force is out of the question, but as Kosovo showed,  a piece of territory of a sovereign state may be torn away in a pseudo-legitimate way without a punishment. For example, with the help of  a referendum."

The emergence in  the Polish Sejm of bills, writers of which accuse Ukrainians of  genocide of the Polish population of Volyn in 1943, makes one  agree with the newspaper "Zvezda". For how else to explain steps of Polish politicians, who,  without giving fair and clear answer to the question: how and when and on whose will were Mazurs of Mazovia and Poznanchyks of Poznan in 1943 living  at the ages-long ethnic Ukrainian territory - Volyn, what were they doing during their stay there and what was the determining factor in attitude to them of the native Ukrainian population? - with a respectable appearance those Polish politicians keep chewing myths about the  'Volyn Massacre' that seem to have been copied from the Polish 19th century  belletrist H. Sienkiewicz’s historical novels  about Khmelnychchyna.

Aptly estimation to such actions gave in 1885  an outstanding historian of Ukraine of Polish origin and a truly noble man Vladimir Antonovich. In particular, he wrote: “H. Sienkiewicz and his followers are still at that low level of development of patriotic feelings, at which people believe that all their own is  certainly  good, simply because it is their own. Due to this false patriotic feeling, they feel their duty to deny any attempt to criticize their past and seek, through denial or distortion of certainties, through various stretches to justify and glorify every ugly phenomenon in the historical life of their people. A writer, guided by such a feeling, especially if he is a talented writer and is influential in his society, makes a bad service to his society. He helps darken the national self-knowledge, tends to perpetuate the mistakes of the past, promotes stagnation and makes the progress of his people more difficult…

We do not think that all these Sienkiewicz’ s  trends, no matter how much they flattered the national feeling, no matter how charmingly they effected his audience, were useful  for the future development of that public or for satisfaction of its immediate interests. Conceit, stubborn defense of their errors, hatred and denial of reconciliation on the basis of a broad and comprehensive human development, can hardly serve as a basis for better mental, moral, and practical life of individuals and groups of mankind. (V.Antonovich. Polish-Ukrainian relations of the seventeenth century in the  modern Polish prism. (About  H. Senkevich’s  "With Fire and Sword" novel).

Unfortunately, the current Polish political elite demonstrates a  greater commitment to Sienkievich than to Antonovich. The Polish media space does not stop  anti-Ukrainian propaganda with their participation, numerous anti-Ukrainian publications are being printed. Also are being created and displayed pseudo-documentary films of anti-Ukrainian nature: highly advertized by the famous newspaper "Rzeczpospolita» («Rzeczpospolita») film "Forgotten Crimes in Volyn”  by Cracow film   director Maciej Voitsekhivski," Forget about Cresy”,co-author of which  P.Shelyahovski told in Polish media about his intention to distribute this product in Polish schools, gymnasiums and lyceums.

The consequence of this Anti-Ukrainian zombieing through media of  the population of Poland, is strengthening  in their mass consciousness the planted earlier strong anti-Ukrainian stereotypes. Thus, in 2009, one of the leading Polish editions -"Gazeta Wyborcza" published the results of a poll conducted in Poland by "Pentor Research International" agency for the newly created Museum of World War II. It was noted that the majority (49%) of respondents had contacted the German occupiers and the Russians, and only a small portion (15%) had had contacts with Ukrainians. At the same time it was emphasized that the worst memories of the Poles about the war were connected with Ukrainians (57% of respondents). Was quoted a Comment of the sociologist P.Kvyatkovski that under the influence of stories about events in Volyn in the summer of 1943, in minds of Polish citizens got established a stereotype of a Ukrainian as a pathological killer, enemy much worse than Germans and Russians. All this-despite the fact that those were not  Ukrainians who deprived the Polish of their freedom and independence, bombed Warsaw in 1941, created concentration camps on the Polish land and had been throwing into them Polish patriots, and not Ukrainians imposed after the 1945 on  Polish people foreign and  hostile Communist regime (“Freed” them  from the national government). But thanks to special propaganda, in the minds of most Poles Ukrainians are the worst of all neighbors. This does cause concern to those Ukrainian and Polish politicians who understand the disastrousness, especially for Poland itself, of this state of affairs.

As to the role of Russia in this matter, it is permanently, openly and under cover, inflating the Polish-Ukrainian passions, with ample opportunity for that. In Poland, for example, there is a powerful pro-Russian business lobby and, as note some Polish media, numerous Russian special agents.

Thus, on the 4th of February, 2009 in Poland was arrested a Russian spy. The information was published then by “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” and confirmed by the Homeland Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego). According to them, the  arrested acted in the interests of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. And this case  is not the only one.

Activity of  Russians in Poland does not cease. There are quite a few reasons for this.  One of them was named by Victor Kalashnikov in his article "Varshavskyy Conspiracy" (magazine "Kommersant. Vlast", № 10 (262) 24.03.1998). He expressed  concern with the fact that at the support of the USA "soon on the political map of Europe there will be no Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus".  In their place there will appear a new powerful state. So powerful that the zone of its influence will  reach as far East as Moscow suburbs”. It was noted that this way would  be implemented Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger’s old  Strategic Concept of  the final decision on NATO's Eastern borders security.

The cornerstone of this geopolitical construction,  according to Kalashnikov,  has to  become a tie "Warsaw - Kyiv." That is, the Eastern pillar of the "axis of European geopolitics" - "Paris-Berlin-Warsaw" - will be not Moscow, but Kyiv.

Moscow does not like even theorizing on the subject, let alone to mention possible attempts to implement it. And it is not picky where it comes to means  for neutralizing Poland. The Smolensk air-crash testifies to this. This may explain a new,  "silk" Russification of Poland, which involves both, governmental and non-governmental organizations of both countries.

In particular, in Warsaw in May 1989 was registered an organization of Russian compatriots in Poland - "Russian Community", which in December 2008 became a member of the International Council of Russian Compatriots. In the same year the Senate of the Pedagogical Academy in Cracow decided to cooperate with well-known through its actions at the post Soviet territories, fund "Russian World." There has also been  signed an agreement on the establishment at the University of the Center of culture and Russian language.

Introducing "Russian-speakerness" in neighboring countries serves the interests of Russia, which uses public associations for inciting ethnic hatred and political destabilization of the situation in their places of residence, in particular - in Ukraine. Can be observed also attempts to establish cooperation of subversive "Russian-speaking" social and political structures with anti-Ukrainian forces in different countries of Central and Eastern Europe with the use of Russian agents in the( strange, as it might seem)   right wing  of the Polish political spectrum.

An example of such actions is a joint campaign of the organization " Public Movement for Human Rights" Russian-speaking Ukraine "(Ukraine) and the Society for commemoration of the  memory of victims of crimes of  Ukrainian Nationalists (Poland) on opening in 2010 at the National Exhibition Centre" Ukrainian Home "(Kyiv)of the  exhibition" Volyn Massacre - Polish and Jewish victims of the OUN-UPA. " The action was to convince Ukrainian and world public that Ukrainian UPA was guilty of genocide of Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, Russian and Romani peoples (?!).

In the Polish media have been repeatedly discussed the concept of "genocide" and its manifestations in modern history. In particular, at one time "Gazeta Wyborcza" published material of the Deputy of European Parliament  from Lithuania L. Donskis "Genocide, murder of God", which imposed a biased opinion: "The only case of genocide in history of mankind was the Holocaust of Jews during the Second World War." L. Donskis stated that the Famine in Ukraine in 1933 can be considered only as  a mass murder... “with features of genocide."

Russia does not recognize  Holodomor of 1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people. It justifies its position with all sorts of sometimes  weird "facts".  It is possible that the current activation of chauvinistic forces of Poland and their pressure on the Polish Sejm for the official recognition of the Polish-Ukrainian armed conflict in Volyn in 1943 as  genocide,  have been stage-managed by Moscow, which seeks to strengthen its inhumane and unscientific arguments against recognition of the 1933 Holodomor (Famine) in Ukraine as  genocide of Ukrainian people. Like, how can Ukrainians complain about the genocide commited against them by Bolshevik authorities,  if they themselves committed genocide against other nations. That way the victim - Ukrainian nation- by   means  of subversive propaganda turns  into a hangman.

The Ukrainian side cannot effectively  counter-act the organizers of such a  "transformation". It  has no control over its information space, has no influence on the information space in Russia and Poland. Citizens of Ukraine, not informed properly about the actual state of historical Ukrainian-Polish relations,  are easy targets to foreign political technologists.

As for Polish politicians, they should remember the following: as history shows, every attempt of their ancestors to find common language with Russia at the expense of Ukraine ended ...in  another division of Poland. Therefore, the transformation of Poland  from the "advocate of  Ukraine in Europe" into  the "Attorney-prosecutor" in the organized  by Ukraino-phobes "model  forensic process" at the Ukrainian people,  first of all hits on  Poland itself. And which generation of Poles that will get between the German hammer  and Russian anvil, will pay with its  blood for the short-sighted actions of the political elite - time will tell.

 

In view of the above said, it is appropriate to introduce to Ukrainians the article "Zakerzonia". It raises the curtain over unknown to  many  Ukrainians dark pages of the history of Ukrainian -Polish relations.

However, not with all provisions of the article one can agree. Thus, we must remember that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was an armed formation for territorial defense, which explains its  strategy and tactics of warfare. It was not created to conduct aggressive offensive combat operations on foreign territory, but to protect the local Ukrainian population against the invaders of all stripes, as well as against organized and spontaneous robbers and murderers, whose number always increases sharply during wartime, when Law Enforcement bodies’ control  weakens. The aim of the military and political struggle of UPA was  restoration of the democratic Ukrainian Independent State on Ukrainian ethnic lands torn after World War I by foreign occupiers, Polish ones included. And this struggle was fair, according to human morality, and legitimate, according to the then and to  modern international Law.

UPA stopped fighting in Zakerzonia not because of evacuation  by the Polish occupation authorities from these  lands of the  local Ukrainian population, that  "eliminated any base for a support  to the Ukrainian UPA insurgency" and "condemned  UPA to undeniable defeat", but rather, on the contrary, the  forced absence of  Ukrainian population in Zakerzonia made presence of  UPA units there useless and unneeded, as their  task was exactly to defend  that population. This task UPA was unable to perform due to the enormous military superiority of the combined forces of Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia over  the Ukrainian national liberation movement. And this also should be a lesson.

In international politics almost always wins the stronger: spiritually and physically. The weakness of a state provokes aggression of its neighbors. That is why it is so  important to be strong.

As for geopolitical orientations, it is worth mentioning the scientific conclusion of the Ukrainian geopolitician  Yu. Lypa, who stated  that geopolitical axis of Ukraine is the "North-South", not "East-West". He stressed that the choice of Western or Eastern vector of foreign policy of Ukraine  is the most harmful to Ukrainian people doctrine. There is no better doctrine for destroying Ukraine. Moving along the  "East-West"  axis gives us an ethnographic split into "Westerners" and "Easterners", religious split into  "Orthodox" and "Greek Catholics", and also into  "agricultural" West and "industrial" East and so on.

The symbols of the movement "Eas-West" is Andrusovo (1667) Treaty between Poland and Russia on dividing Ukraine along  the Dnieper, and Riga (1921) Agreement between the same states on dividing  Ukraine Along the Zbruch.

Neither the  East nor the West  is the source of Ukraine. The basis of its race, culture, and philosophy from the very beginning was the South. Another guide direction of  Ukrainian lands and races  is the  North.

Only the "North - South" axis - (Scandinavia-Baltic States, Belarus, the Balkans, Turkey) - is the axis of Ukrainian lands. It was so in  the ancient era, and in the Cossack era. This Ukrainian axis is one of the most attractive geopolitical axes in the spaces between the Baltic and the Urals. Only along it the Ukrainian state has to build its own geopolitical structure, in which Ukraine itself, because of its human, economic and military potential, will be a natural  leader, not scenery  for someone else’s geopolitical performance.