It seems that many in Poland are slowly waking up from the collective spasm in logic that the former Polish government was struck with in 2014. In 2014 the Civic Platform government, so hell bent on creating a problem on Russia’s border, helped bring about the coup in Kiev which brought a fascist government to power.
It seems that that Polish government at the time forgot that the Ukrainian fascists, led in the 1940s by Stepan Bandera, had a record of killing not only Russians and Jews but also Poles. It seemed odd if not absurd at the time that a Polish government was supporting a regime who venerated those responsible for the genocide of Poles at Volhynia and greater East Galicia, an event which in killed nearly 100,000 Poles between 1943 and 1944.
Now, the new government in Warsaw, led by the Law and Justice party, maybe just about living up to its name. In an interview with Polis weekly Do Rzeczy, Law and Justice party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that,
“I plainly told President Poroshenko that they won’t make it to Europe with Bandera. It’s absolutely clear to me. We’ve already shown great patience, but everything has its limits”.
He went on to say that,
“For many years there’s a cult of people (in Ukraine) who committed genocide against the Polish people”.
I’ve got some bad news for Mr. Kaczynski. The obsession with Russian, Jewish and Pole killing fascists in parts of Ukraine is not going away any time soon. Although many Polish nationalists may not want to hear this, the Soviet Union warned that without strong Communist governments in Europe, fascism would return and lo and behold it has done.
From the regions of Ukraine which prior to the German invasion were part of the Second Polish republic, to the Baltics and even in Germany, the far-right is back.
People are well to remember that the so-called Berlin Wall’s actual name was the Anti-fascist Rampart, designed in part to keep out fascist elements which had been rehabilitated in West Germany.
Poland is in a precarious position vis-à-vis Germany and the Baltics. Ethnic Poles were slaughtered by the Nazis with ruthless precision and demonic tenacity. Yet there remains a deep anti-Russian feeling in Poland. Nearly 500 years of war between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia hasn’t helped this, even though no one in modern Poland has a living memory of such wars. The same cannot be said of German aggression towards Poland.
In the Second Polish Republic, there was a battle for ideas between Roman Dmowski and Józef Piłsudski. Dmowski felt that the modern Polish state should be ethnically homogenous and that Germany was Poland’s great enemy. By contrast, Piłsudski felt that Poland ought to re-engage with the world as a neo-Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, a kind of multi-ethnic empire that would be a leader in East European geo-politics. For him, the Soviet Union was a rival and therefore, an enemy.
Although history has moved on since the 1920s and 1930s, this ideological battle for the heart and soul of modern Poland continues.
People in Poland ought to wake up to the fact that Russia is looking south and east for partners. Of course, Russia would like to have good economic and political relations with Poland, but it is far from a priority. By contrast it was the German dominated EU who were threatening Poland’s EU membership because of an internal issue of the Law and Justice party limiting the amount of reporters in the Polish Parliament. Who is really trying to control Poland? It is Germany, not Russia.
Likewise, in trying to re-build Piłsudski’s lost dream of a new Polish led European commonwealth, Poland has ended up aiding those who worship the fascists who committed acts of genocide against Poles, acts so disgusting that even some German Nazis found the barbarity brutally shocking.
Modern Poland must be more realistic about who her friends are and who her enemies are not. Poland’s actions in Ukraine were in this sense, worse than a crime, they were a blunder.