Questions of hot and cold Polish history

Some Polish History from 1333 to 1795

The difference in approaches to World War II was the reason why Vladimir Putin was not invited to Warsaw for events scheduled for early September this year.

The Russian delegation will not take part in events dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

This decision was made by the host country of the upcoming forum – Poland. The press secretary of the President Andrzej Duda Blažej Spichalski commented on this as follows: “The event is dedicated to a historical event, but invitations were sent out not according to the historical, but according to the modern principle”. And the head of the Chancellery of the President of Poland Krzysztof Szczerski explained that the selection of participants was made on the basis of the following criteria: does the country comply with international law? Does she respect the sovereignty of other countries and their territorial integrity? “The violation of these rules was a sign of the aggressors of 1939 and remains the biggest threat to the world today,” stressed Krzysztof Szczerski.

In turn, in the commentary of the Department of Information and Press of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation it is said: “The decision to make the event private is another manifestation of the twisted worldview of the Polish administration, which, to please momentary political“ priorities ”, systematically falsifies the chronicle of World War II and the post-war period. Let this remain on the conscience of the current Polish authorities “.

The correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” ​​recorded the statements of Russian and Polish experts on this topic.

“Unwillingness to admit Stalin’s guilt casts a shadow on today’s Russia as well”

Chairman of the Board of the International Society “Memorial” Yan Rachinsky believes that the reasons why Poland decided not to invite the Russian president to commemorative events in early September lie both in the historical plane and in the modern agenda.

“Today I would not say that the decision has been made finally, because until recently it was about the fact that the Russian side would be invited,” Rachinsky recalled. Indeed, in early February, information appeared that the Polish Foreign Ministry would recommend sending an invitation to Vladimir Putin..

The chairman of the board of the international “Memorial” also believes that the Polish side did not state the reasons for its decision, and this, in his opinion, is the main reason for the current conflict. “I imagine that the main thing that must be done is the separation of the state and the people. The role of the Soviet state in the history of World War II is one thing, and the role of the people is another. In general, if we talk about the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, which is the main point of disagreement, then it was concluded by the Soviet state. And the Soviet people had no idea that such a Pact was being prepared, and did not initiate, approve or support its conclusion. As well as the subsequent rather perfidious actions on the part of the Soviet government “, – the interlocutor of the Russian service” Voice of America “.

According to Jan Raczynski, this also applies to the post-war problems between the Soviet Union and Poland, which Moscow turned into its vassal for more than forty years: not to plant Boleslav Bierut and other Soviet puppets in Eastern Europe. They went to fight with Hitler, destroy the aggressor, destroy Nazism “.

However, as Jan Raczynski continued, the Polish side chose not to make such divisions, but focused on the actions of the current Russian government. “Yes, indeed, the Russian authorities continue to avoid clear definitions and try to make the participants of the“ Munich Agreement ”the main culprits of the Second World War. And yet they forget that there is a difference between connivance to the aggressor, which took place in Munich, and direct complicity in the aggression, which was in September 1939. And to equalize these things, in my opinion, is completely immoral.

Honestly, the reluctance to admit the guilt of Stalin and his entourage, as well as to condemn the German-Soviet Pact, casts a shadow on today’s Russia. Just as the classification of the results of the Katyn case and the refusal to name it the main culprits of Stalin and his entourage casts a shadow on it. This is a heavy burden on Russian-Polish relations, ”sums up Jan Raczynski.

“The non-invitation of the Russian president to Warsaw is one of the elements of the sanctions”

Former director of the Polish Cultural Center in Moscow, historian Marek Radzivon at the beginning of the conversation with the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America, he warned that his point of view, for sure, is not shared by all his compatriots, but expressed the hope that such, nevertheless, the majority.

“Some of the important moments of our past belong to the so-called“ hot history ”. We often argue about it, and some politicians are ready to use it in their daily political struggle..

And there is a “cold story”, these are the events about which we will not argue, because the facts are more or less known, the archives are open, the documents are understandable. And regardless of whether we like or dislike what happened, whether it was our victory or a tragedy, everything is clear with that, “the Polish historian noted..

And he explained that the events associated with the outbreak of World War II in Polish public opinion belong exactly to the “cold history”.

“This means that all the facts are known and understood, and there is nothing new here: Nazi Nazi Germany has long been gone, together with the Germans we are entering the European Union and the Schengen zone. This is one of the largest EU countries, democratic Germany is our friend. All this is a “cold story” about which it is as meaningless to argue as about the events of the 16th or 18th century. After all, this long history, most likely, will not become a pretext for any international scandals, ”says Marek Radzivon.

At the same time, the expert notes that the definition of World War II as the Great Patriotic War still prevalent in the Russian public consciousness and in the Russian scientific community is not clear to Polish society. “Not only Polish, but generally Western historiography is surprised by the decision to consider June 22, 1941 as the date of the beginning of World War II. For all of us, World War II began in September 1939. In this sense, it is difficult for us to come to terms with the fact that in modern Russian historiography, as before – in Soviet historiography, the attack of the Red Army on September 17, 1939 on the eastern voivodships of Poland is presented as the liberation of a part of the Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples, who were then Polish citizens..

Such a Soviet propaganda view, which contradicts historical facts, is unacceptable to us. But in Russia it still exists and this is, indeed, what turns the events of 80 years ago, to some extent, into events of “hot history”. Yes, it is, “says Marek Radzivon..

Before expressing his attitude to the refusal of the Polish authorities to invite the Russian delegation to commemorative events in early September, the interlocutor of the Russian service of the Voice of America stressed that he does not always approve of the actions of the current government of his country. “But in this case, it seems to me, the main role was not played by a look at the history of the twentieth century, in particular, at the then Soviet-Polish relations. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that this decision was dictated not only by the Polish, but also by the European point of view of Russia as a country that unleashed the war in Ukraine.

I read that the non-invitation of the Russian authorities and the Russian president to Warsaw is one of the elements of the sanctions against Russia in connection with the war in Ukraine. And even if the war in Donbass is now not in such an active phase as before, that is, Crimea, which we do not recognize as the territory of the Russian Federation. And the European Union will definitely never be able and will not want to admit it, ”said the Polish historian.

And at the end of his commentary he stressed that on the issue of sanctions against Russia, the countries of the European Union, including Poland, show unity.

“There are moments where one has to doubt the sincerity of the Russian position”

Editor of the online magazine Przegląd Bałtycki (Baltic Review) Dominik Vilchevsky continued the thought of the previous interlocutor of the “Voice of America”. “It seems to me that this is due to Russia’s policy towards neighboring states, which the Polish side perceives as an aggressive policy,” he began..

“Of course, this concerns, first of all, what Russia is doing in relation to Ukraine. It is also necessary to take into account the position of the Polish state regarding Crimea, which it considers a part of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. And, in addition, there was a statement by Kryshtof Shchersky, a representative of the presidential administration of our country, about what criteria the authorities were guided by when inviting delegations from different countries to commemorative events. First of all, we invited our allies – NATO and EU member states. And also the participants of the Eastern Partnership “, – explained Vilchevsky.

Referring to the invitation from Germany, the expert noted that it is necessary to take into account the position of the current German state, which recognizes its responsibility both for the outbreak of World War II and for further events, including crimes against humanity. “As for relations with Russia, there are many questions here. In particular, there are moments in relation to which one has to doubt the sincerity of Russian policy. And the main such moment is the attitude of the Russian state to the crimes in Katyn, where Polish officers were killed. The same applies to the position of Russia in relation to September 17, 1939 (when the Red Army attacked Eastern Poland – A.P.). Does Russia perceive this as the beginning of a war, or is it repeating an old Soviet narrative about “protecting the local Ukrainian and Belarusian population”? I think that these and other similar issues played a role in the decision not to invite Russia to events for the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, ”noted the editor of the magazine Przegląd Bałtycki.

Dominik Wilczewski added that some Polish commentators are of the opinion that the Russian delegation in one composition or another should nevertheless be invited to Warsaw in September this year. Since the role of Russia in the victory over Nazi Germany is obvious. “For example, they say: if we do not invite an official Russian delegation, then maybe it would be worth calling some independent and non-governmental organizations or just famous people who would represent their country at these events. That is, I think that for a certain unofficial Russian delegation the door has not yet been closed completely, but with regard to the Russian authorities the issue has been resolved, ”summed up Dominik Vilchevsky.

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