Poland is currently demanding millions in war reparations from Germany over the 1939-1945 occupation of the country by Hitler’s fascist forces. The move comes as Poland and Germany are currently at loggerheads over Poland’s recent judicial and parliamentary reforms as well as Warsaw’s refusal to take in illegal African aliens in spite of pressure from Berlin/Brussels. This comes shortly after Poland announced a new law requiring the demolition of Soviet war memorials in Poland which are dedicated to the men who liberated Poland from German occupation.
Although Russia does not get involved in internal EU matters, any sympathy Russia would have had in respect of Poland’s absolutely correct decision not to take in foreign criminals, terrorists and opportunists, has been obliterated by Poland’s extremely grave insult to Russia and all the heroes of the Soviet Army which liberated Poland and Europe from fascist occupation.
During the war, the Soviet Army was the only thing that stood between Poland and fascist occupation. The fact that Russia won the Great Patriotic War is the reason that a Polish Republic exists in 2017. Russia has not fought a war with Poland for nearly 100 years, but Poland is taking measures to erase the history of the Soviet Union which played the penultimate role in liberating Poland from German aggression in the 1940s. Only Poland’s own heroic resistance fighters contributed to the struggle. Poland country was left completely alone by its so-called ‘western allies’.
Recently, geo-political expert Andrew Korybko wrote a piece in The Duran proposing that instead of being destroyed, the Soviet war memorials in Poland ought to be carefully shipped to Russia and re-erected as a tribute to the heroic actions of Soviet soldiers and indeed to a time when Poland acknowledged the vital role that Russia played in saving Europe from Hitler.
“Russia harshly criticized Poland’s decision on the grounds that it violates an agreement between the two historical rivals, and some voices remarked that Moscow might take Warsaw to international court over the impending removal of the monuments. Russia’s legitimate response serves to rightly attract the global attention that Poland’s regretful decision deserves, but it will probably not be enough to dissuade Warsaw from carrying through with its plans. If anything, the Polish authorities might even feel impelled to accelerate the implementation of their new policy because of the ire that it’s drawing from Russia.
Granted, Poland stands to receive tremendous damage to its reputation if any international courts eventually rule against its decision, especially if the monuments are already removed or destroyed by that time, but in any case, the whole drama already reflects very badly on the country because it suggests that its leadership is so vindictively obsessed with Russophobia that it will take the extreme step of politicizing anti-fascist monuments in order to spite Russia. Accepting that this is a realistic appraisal of the situation, then it seems likely that Warsaw will go through with this no matter what, and whether international courts support it or not.This means that one should expect that the Soviet-era anti-fascist monuments in Poland will probably be relocated to obscure museums or destroyed after the new initiative enters into force this fall. That being the case, and understanding that Polish civil society is either too jingoistic or intimidated to do anything about it, then the responsibility falls upon Russian civil society to try and save these statues. If Russians don’t act — and soon — then their country’s proud monuments will be relegated to obscurity or demolished.
There’s nothing that Russians can do to influence Poland’s internal decision-making process and implementation of the historically revisionist law, no matter how repulsive it is, but what they can do is raise funds for some or all of the statues’ relocation to Russia where they’ll actually be safe and appreciated. One proposal could be for patriotic NGOs and other civil society forces to identify locations that would be willing to accept these monuments and then jointly work with municipal officials and the local communities to secure the money necessary for this endeavor.
If Russian domestic and international media got involved in this project and made it one of the country’s most celebrated causes, then it’s foreseeable that the organizers could obtain the required funding for relocating all of the statues in time to save them from their unfortunate fate in Poland. Of course, it would be infinitely better if they could remain standing in their original locations in Poland, but since that optimal scenario appears ever less likely by the day, then the fallback plan for preserving the dignity of those who they’re dedicated to could be to relocate them to Russia instead.
There’s always the faint chance that some sort of unexpected breakthrough could lead to the Polish government reversing its decision, and it wouldn’t be wise for Russian civil society to publicly “jump the gun” right away (operative qualifier) before all other options are feasibly exhausted, as this well-intentioned move could unwittingly be read as a sign of defeat by the Poles which could then fortify their recalcitrance to reconsidering their actions. It’s very probable, however, that nothing will successfully persuade Poland to stop with its plans, which is why Russian civil society should begin discretely laying the groundwork for this “rescue operation” as soon as possible so that they can be ready to commence it when the inevitable moment arrives”.
Of course, it would be ideal if Poland reconsidered its decision and resigned itself to being at peace with history, but in spite of that, there is no other sensible option than to transfer the monuments to Russia.
How ironic that just as Poland demands money for Germany’s past crimes against Poland that it is insulting those who freed the country. It’s not exactly a way to earn sympathy.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.