Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).

Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November 1918 as a result of German’s defeat in WWI. The period of the so-called Polish Republic, which lasted until 1939, was characterized by the rampant Polish nationalism. The attempts of ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Russians and Lithuanians – to preserve their national identity were quelled in the cruelest way. The regime of Juzef Pilsudski and its supports were reluctant to respect the basic minorities’ rights. It had greatly weakened Poland making it doomed to collapse as soon as Germany military delivered the first strikes in 1939. It suffered defeat not only due to military superiority of Wehrmacht over the Polish armed forces but rather because of internal divisions tearing up the Polish society from inside – only few were ready to offer staunch resistance to defend the country which was more like stepmother than motherland.

Here is the historical paradox. Winston Churchill made an apt remark calling Poland the «Greedy Hyena of Europe». For many Western historians this role of Poland paled once it became the victim of Hitler’s military intervention. The same way the crimes of German Nazism made pale the ethnic cleansings and rough treatment of dissidents that the regime of Pilsudski used to commit in its concentration camps.

Long before the notorious Nazi concentration camps where built in the Third Reich, Poland had acquired vast experience of getting rid of the dissenters who disagreed with the ruling regime. In 1934 the first concentration camp was organized in Bereza Kartuska (the territory of contemporary Belarus) to imprison those who were accused of «anti-state» activities: the activists of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Jewish national movements, Communists, members of underground groups and Orthodox Church clergymen…There were no clear rules about who to imprison – they were putting all dissenters without distinction into the camp. The «correctional education» included inhumane conditions, exhausting labor, harassing labor, beatings and tortures.

Polish “law enforcement” officers were closely linked to its Nazi German colleagues, the same way as their bosses, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring regularly visiting Poland, foreign relations chiefs Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Beck were often seen together. Józef Kamala–Kurhański, the commandant of the camp in Bereza-Kartuska, had even received training in Germany. Ironically, he perished in Auschwitz in 1941. Germans were extremely pragmatic: when you are done, you can go.

Germany needed Poland to do what it wanted – ethnic cleansing in Kresy (today’s Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, as well as Lithuania) captured by Poland as a result of the 1920 war with the Soviet Russia. Nazi wanted those lands to be free from «aliens» like Ukrainians, Belarussians and Jews. The Polish regime coped with the task perfectly. Everyone non-Polish was forced to leave, the regime inspired Jewish pogroms in urban areas and coercive polonization was gaining momentum. No matter “aliens” accounted for 40 % of Kresy population with Orthodox Church parishioner prevailing, they were banned of their right to speak, read and teach children in their native tongues, as well as to pray in their churches. Only 37 Belorussian schools out of 400 remained in Western Belarus. 1300 Orthodox churches were demolished and plundered.

In order to increase the Polish population Piłsudski’s regime used to offer extensive land lots to the retired Polish military officers making them and their families settle down in Kresy (mostly in Volhynia). They were at the forefront of assimilation policy to evoke the feeling of hatred among non-Poles. Dr. Gennady Matveev argues that the regime made Poles hostages of their own ethnocratic policy leading to international strife, in particular the Volhynia massacre of 1943-1944, which claimed the lives of 80 – 100 thousand Poles and Jews killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

Another aspect is that UIA had its own Nazi ideology which left no place neither for Poles, nor Russians or Jews on the Ukrainian soil. Hitler used the gangs of Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych to cleanse the Volhynia-Podolian region, as well as some other areas of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, of Poles and Jews. Inhuman atrocities committed by Bandera followers became a routine matter. They formed special «instruments» to do the job – from battalion Nachtigall to Galicia Division. The Volyn massacre was not spontaneous, it was actually a paramilitary operation, thoroughly planned and “effectively” carried out by the UIA.

Today neither Warsaw nor Kiev seem to be willing to recall these stories. Moreover, they demonstrate rare solidarity when it comes to fighting the Russian national-liberation movement in Donbass. Polish involvement on the highest political level in punitive actions in Novorossia was repeatedly reported (e.g. check the cases of Othago private military company run by the former Internal Affairs Minister  Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and Jerzy Dziewulski, the security advisor to ex-President Aleksander Kwasniewski).

Unsurprisingly, the Poles and Ukrainians who used to exterminate each other 80 years ago, today are united on the basis of Russophobia. Ideological descendants of Josef Piłsudski, disguised in democratic clothes, are using multiple rocket launchers and white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Donbass. Piłsudski and Poroshenko regimes are not exactly twins, but evidently birds of the feather flocking together.

It will hardly be a surprise if the Poles share their Bereza Kartuska experience with Poroshenko and Avakov. In June 2014 Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence came out with an initiative to build filtration camps for all adult people of Novorossia, including women, to find those who have ties with the «separatists». He suggested that others should be deported to other regions.

Again, as dozens of years ago, political leaders agitate people to make their wild instincts come out. The majority of Ukrainians and Poles are hardly prone to xenophobia and intolerance to another opinion, but they are directly incited to be hostile to the neighbors who want to speak another language and prey in different churches.

We don’t want to make open old and still hurting wounds; we’re not calling on the Polish people to always make Ukrainians remember that they were responsible for the Volhynia massacre. But the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Back then Hitler connived at Pilsudski supporters who were cleansing eastern Kresy of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. Then Hitler’s special services were condescending when the UIA militants massacred dozens of villages to cleanse them of Poles. If Warsaw convinces itself that Russia is the main enemy and the Ukrainian ultra-Nationalists are their best friends, it will face another Volhynia tragedy. Perhaps it would be called differently but the consequences may be even more tragic.

No doubt if Poland admits its guilt and takes on responsibility for the deeds of the predecessors, the country situated between Western and Eastern Europe, would pave the way for new promising international prospects and play an important role defining the fate of the Old Continent.


Originally published on 2018-08-26

Original source in Russian: Strategic Culture Foundation

The original text was adapted by ORIENTAL REVIEW

Source: Oriental Review

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Eight Reasons Why Ukraine is New Yugoslavia
When the civil war in Ukraine started, the question that arised is whether there are similarities between Ukrainian and Yugoslavian civil wars. So let’s compare these two countries, one that is falling apart – Ukraine and the other one that doesn’t exist anymore – Yugoslavia. Multinational country Yugoslavia was a multinational country with different national and ethnic groups coexisting together and two dominant nations Serbs and Croats. Ukraine is also quite a diverse country with Ukrainians, Russians (around 20% of Ukrainian population) and few minorities (Rusyns, Romanians, Hungarians) living together. Once the Yugoslavia collapsed, in a newly created ex-Yugoslav republic Croatia and ...
READ MORE
Financial Times Finally Prints The Unvarnished Truth: Kiev Is The Violent Aggressor In East Ukraine
Even those in Donetsk who originally supported Kiev have come to realize that Ukraine is waging a war against its own people. The Ukrainian army’s shelling has turned many formerly pro-Ukrainian locals against Kiev Although this article tries to make the people of Donetsk appear gullible and indoctrinated, it does make one incredible admission: Kiev is waging a vicious war against its own people—something that East Ukrainians will never forget, and probably never forgive. This article originally appeared in Financial Times As world leaders convened in Minsk this week to decide the fate of east Ukraine, Tatiana Prussova, a teacher at Khartsysk school ...
READ MORE
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Could Donald Trump already be the worst of all American presidents?  In less than two years his record on the world scene has been frightening enough: U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accords, scuttling of the Iran nuclear treaty, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, unjustifiably punitive sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, terror bombing of Mosul and other Iraq cities, bombastic threats against friends and enemies alike – not to mention a $54 billion gift to the Pentagon and stepped-up nuclear “modernization”.  Hard to imagine much worse. One article of faith among liberals and the corporate media is that ...
READ MORE
Snooker Game and Global Politics: The Players – Obama, Merkel & Putin
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.   Save
READ MORE
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired last week as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program), still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media. That is hardly surprising taking into account the bombshell evidence against the real perpetrators and organizers of the 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, generally known as the “revolution of dignity“. The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers  who were recruited to carry out a “special mission” in Kiev by Mamuka Mamulashvili, a close aid of ...
READ MORE
“Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine” (Documentary Movie, 2014)
"Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine" (2014) This full length GRTV documentary looks at the fictitious land of Nulandistan that has been constructed out of Ukraine.The GRTV documentary deconstructs Nulandistan and the propaganda of the Obama Administration [...], the US Department of States, US officials, and their allies about the crisis in Ukraine and takes a look at their growing frustration towards the Russian media, particularly RT, for challenging their account of the events on the ground in what they have declared is an intensifying information war. The full length documentary starts by looking at the self-benefiting description of ...
READ MORE
British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
Uncovering the Western mainstream mass-media lies on Ukraine. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Why America Needs War
GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. A timely question: Why Does Hillary Want War… ? And why do people support her?  *     *     * Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason ...
READ MORE
Euromaidan Ukraine Today
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save Save
READ MORE
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
As he launches his new TV series offering a critical view of US overseas exploits, the film director tells MEE he didn’t always see it that way. American controversies are Oliver Stone’s forte. The Hollywood movie director has turned his cameras on the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 attacks. But, when researching his television series, The Untold History of the United States, it was American exploits in the Middle East that left him with the most lasting impression, he told Middle East Eye on Wednesday. “When I studied the untold history, one thing that really hit me hard was ...
READ MORE
The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
Introduction The article will examine the model for the creation of a Greater Croatia designed by a Croatian nobleman, publicist and historian Pavao Ritter Vitezović (1652–1713). The article will offer a new interpretation of the substance and significance of Vitezović’s political ideology. Many historians have viewed Vitezović’s political thought and his developed ideological framework of a united South Slavic state as part of a wider pan-Slavic world. According to the prevailing notion, Vitezović was a precursor of the idea of Yugoslavism (a united South Slavic nation-state) and even Pan-Slavism - a pan-Slavic cultural and political reciprocity. Yet a closer look at ...
READ MORE
US-NATO Operations in Kosovo and Ukraine: Compare and Contrast
There have been at least two countries in Europe in recent history that undertook ‘anti-terrorist’ military operations against ‘separatists’, but got two very different reactions from the Western elite. The government of European country A launches what it calls an‘anti-terrorist’ military operation against ‘separatists’ in one part of the country. We see pictures on Western television of people’s homes being shelled and lots of people fleeing. The US and UK and other NATO powers fiercely condemn the actions of the government of country A and accuse it of carrying out ‘genocide’ and ’ethnic cleansing’ and say that there is an urgent ...
READ MORE
What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did
On March 23rd, Gallup headlined “South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering”, and the Ukrainian part of that can unquestionably be laid at the feet of U.S. President Barack Obama, who in February 2014 imposed upon Ukraine a very bloody coup (see it here), which he and his press misrepresented (and still misrepresent) as being (and still represent as having been) a ‘democratic revolution’, but was nothing of the sort, and actually was instead the start of the Ukrainian dictatorship and the hell that has since destroyed that country, and brought the people there into such misery, it’s now by far ...
READ MORE
Twenty Principal Misconceptions about the Kosovo Issue
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save Save
READ MORE
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
24 March 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a preplanned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies ...
READ MORE
Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading as Democracy
For the first time since WW II, overt fascists hold real power in Europe. Radicalized ultranationalists. Anti-Semites. Hate-mongers. Cold-blooded killers. Whitewashing high crimes. A puppet regime. America’s newest colony. Mocking democratic values. Violating fundamental rule of law principles. Unaccountably. Western leaders won’t explain. Nor will the media. Hard truths are buried. Ukraine’s government usurped power forcibly. Putschist rule has no legitimacy. Especially regimes waging war on their own people. Murdering them in cold blood. Committing horrendous human rights abuses. Tolerating no opposition. Ruling by intimidation. Force-feeding neoliberal harshness on impoverished people. Making life unbearable overall. More on this below. On December 4, Wall Street Journal editors published ...
READ MORE
Trump is Advised by Liars, Like Bush Was
As will be shown here, the U.S. federal government, under President Donald Trump, is repeating the very same deception of the public, in regard to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, that it had perpetrated back in 2002, against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, under U.S. President George W. Bush. (By contrast, and for secret reasons, the U.S. federal government does everything possible to downplay the barbarisms, such as are occurring in Yemen, that are perpetrated by the fundamentalist Sunni Kings of Saudi Arabia, and Emirs of Qatar, even while exaggerating the barbarisms by the fundamentalist Shiite clerics who control Iran — a key ally ...
READ MORE
The US: The Century of Lost Wars
Introduction Despite having the biggest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases – over 180 – in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century. In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures. The Lost Wars The US has been engaged in multiple wars and coups since the beginning of the 21st century.  These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Venezuela and ...
READ MORE
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013 A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea Introduction Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea. It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty. I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013. I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
READ MORE
Eight Reasons Why Ukraine is New Yugoslavia
Financial Times Finally Prints The Unvarnished Truth: Kiev Is The Violent Aggressor In East Ukraine
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Save Donbass People from Ukrainian Euromaidan Army
Snooker Game and Global Politics: The Players – Obama, Merkel & Putin
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
“Welcome to Nulandistan: Propaganda and the Crisis in Ukraine” (Documentary Movie, 2014)
British Imperial Project in Ukraine: Violent Coup, Fascist Axioms, Neo-Nazis (2014)
Why America Needs War
Euromaidan Ukraine Today
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
US-NATO Operations in Kosovo and Ukraine: Compare and Contrast
What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did
Twenty Principal Misconceptions about the Kosovo Issue
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading as Democracy
Trump is Advised by Liars, Like Bush Was
The US: The Century of Lost Wars
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu