Putin’s Omissions in His History Lecture

 

The reason I chose to highlight Putin’s history lecture with Tucker Carlson involving Poland is because there is more to the history of WWII. The secret agreement for both the Soviet and German invasion of Poland was not the end of the brutal occupation of Poland by the Soviet Union after the end of WWII.

The occupation of Poland is living history. It is not forgotten by the Polish people that are still alive, as some of us were alive during this time. The last of the Soviet Union troops in Poland left in 1993.

The persecution of AK (former Polish Home Army) members was only one aspect of the reign of Stalinist terror in postwar Poland. In the period from 1944 to 1956, at least 300,000 Polish civilians were arrested.

Some sources claim that up to two million were arrested. Approximately 6,000 death sentences were issued, and the majority of them were carried out. It is probable that more than 20,000 people died in communist prisons. including those executed “in the majesty of the law”, such as Witold Pilecki, a hero of Auschwitz.

A further six million Polish citizens (i.e., one out of every three adult Poles) were classified as suspected members of a ‘reactionary or criminal element’ and subjected to investigation by state agencies. During the Polish October of 1956, a political amnesty freed 35,000 former AK soldiers from prisons. But some partisans remained in service, unwilling or simply unable to rejoin the civilian community.

The cursed soldier Stanisław Marchewka “Ryba” (“The Fish”) was killed in 1957, and the last AK partisan, Józef Franczak “Lalek” (“Doller”), was killed in 1963 — almost two decades after the Second World War ended. In 1967, long after the abolition of Stalinist terror, Adam Boryczka, the last member of the elite British-trained Cichociemny (“The Silent and Hidden”) intelligence and support group, was finally released from prison.

Until the end of the People’s Republic of Poland. Former AK soldiers were under constant investigation by the secret police. It was only in 1989, after the fall of communism, that the convictions of AK soldiers were finally declared invalid and annulled by Polish law. – from Wikipedia

The NKVD and the UB (Polish Security Force) that was supervised by the NKVD were no better than the Nazi Gestapo of WWII.

Russians are not liberators. They are occupiers. The Katyn Forest Massacres in WWII was not the end of Soviet-Russian atrocities involving Poland. Putin is a clever historian, and most of his reflections on history are for home consumption. If he is believed outside of Russia that’s useful as well. The danger comes when history is rationalized, and it contains the lies that drive military actions.

I start to wonder about those citizens in our own country who don’t know much about history. How can you forget the German bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1776, that started the American Civil War against France that didn’t end until 1916.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The reason Russians are so perplexed by the attitudes of their neighbors toward Russia is because they don’t know their own history.

    • #1
  2. Brian J Bergs Coolidge
    Brian J Bergs
    @BrianBergs

    Percival (View Comment):

    The reason Russians are so perplexed by the attitudes of their neighbors toward Russia is because they don’t know their own history.

    Technically they might know their history…a version of their history.  As Putin points out their history is important and more so to the Russian culture.  The survival and continually increasing strength of the Rus people is an amazing story.  As with any history it can be used for current political purposes and Putin appears to be a master of that useful craft.  I watched the Tucker Carlson interview with great interest. 

    As Putin points out there is a 1,000 year history of the inclusion of Ukrainian territory within the Russian Empire.  Ukrainian history is closely tied to Russia and the peoples are closely intertwined culturally, linguistically, and genetically.  He points out the special relationship between Russian and Serbia.  Also implicit in his history lesson is the close ties with Lithuania and Poland.  These last two nations have much to be nervous about.  Especially Poland as Putin points out the many times Poland had mistreated the Russian people and nation (in his very slanted version of history).

    Americans also have to be careful on how history is used to politically control us.  The whole object of the 1619 Project was to shame Americans to politically behave a certain way.  The current narratives on reparations focuses on a very specific and shameful part of American history.  Typically there is much truth in the version but tends to overemphasize one area…slavery…from the rest of the American story.

    Overall the Putin interview should be instructive on several levels for the American viewing audience.  One is to understand the current Russian leadership view of what they are doing.  Another is how does America respond to such aggression.  Finally we should recognize how history can be used and misused.

    • #2
  3. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Percival (View Comment):

    The reason Russians are so perplexed by the attitudes of their neighbors toward Russia is because they don’t know their own history.

    Oh, they know some of it, maybe, but they’ve been told for over 100 years now that everyone else is out to get them.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    You don’t know much about history, Doug.  You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations.  Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert.  This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too.  Just like everyone else.  But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine.  Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland.  But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours.  You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    • #4
  5. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    “The future is certain; it is only the past that is unpredictable” – Russian joke 

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    You don’t know much about history, Doug. You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations. Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert. This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too. Just like everyone else. But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine. Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland. But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours. You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    Of course, nobody’s version of history justifies Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter.  Bogdan Khmelnytskyi pledged allegiance to Moscow in the 1650s.  Americans pledged allegiance to King George in the early 1700s.  So what?  The Russians have been treating the Ukrainians badly ever since and the Brits treated the Americans in America as 2nd class Brits.  The Ukrainians managed to unify disparate parts of their current country in order to make a single new nation-state, and some of the American colonies did the same in the 1770s and 1780s.  In both cases they convinced enough other countries that they were a legit-enough and cohesive-enough country to be its own entity, and were able to fight to make the idea stick (with help from other countries who saw it to be in their own self-interest, of course).  

    Putin wrote his paper on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians back in 2021. Tucker Carlson could have saved himself some time by familiarizing himself with it before he went to Moscow.  But even the title shows that Putin doesn’t understand history.  History is about continuity and it’s also about change.  Old entities break apart and new ones come together.  Old relationships do matter and shouldn’t be broken up lightly, but abuses of old relationships matter, too. 

    • #6
  7. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    You don’t know much about history, Doug. You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations. Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert. This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too. Just like everyone else. But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine. Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland. But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours. You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    Of course, nobody’s version of history justifies Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter. Bogdan Khmelnytskyi pledged allegiance to Moscow in the 1650s. Americans pledged allegiance to King George in the early 1700s. So what? The Russians have been treating the Ukrainians badly ever since and the Brits treated the Americans in America as 2nd class Brits. The Ukrainians managed to unify disparate parts of their current country in order to make a single new nation-state, and some of the American colonies did the same in the 1770s and 1780s. In both cases they convinced enough other countries that they were a legit-enough and cohesive-enough country to be its own entity, and were able to fight to make the idea stick (with help from other countries who saw it to be in their own self-interest, of course).

    Putin wrote his paper on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians back in 2021. Tucker Carlson could have saved himself some time by familiarizing himself with it before he went to Moscow. But even the title shows that Putin doesn’t understand history. History is about continuity and it’s also about change. Old entities break apart and new ones come together. Old relationships do matter and shouldn’t be broken up lightly, but abuses of old relationships matter, too.

    And I was kinda thinking that maybe those groups might be more or less “Even Steven” after WW II.

    • #7
  8. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    You don’t know much about history, Doug. You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations. Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert. This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too. Just like everyone else. But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine. Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland. But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours. You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    I remember it like it was yesterday when Giordano’s people invaded my homeland. Surely if I were to murder Jerry in his sleep no one could blame me since his ilk   started it in 4 A.D. by invading Germania. 

    • #8
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Doug Watt:

    I start to wonder about those citizens in our own country who don’t know much about history. How can you forget the German bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1776, that started the American Civil War against France that didn’t end until 1916.

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? : r/johnbelushigifs

    • #9
  10. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    TBA (View Comment):

    “The future is certain; it is only the past that is unpredictable” – Russian joke

    “History is bunk.” — Henry Ford

     

    • #10
  11. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    America’s real fight is on the Homefront  and it is about money and the power of the federal bureaucracy. 

    Our disputes with NATO are largely the same as what our middle class is called on for at home, i.e. who is being abused by government largesse (sometimes known as uncontrolled taxing and spending, with inflation as a major taxing element). Our European allies are abusing America, not the other way around.

    • #11
  12. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    “The future is certain; it is only the past that is unpredictable” – Russian joke

    “History is bunk.” — Henry Ford

    Now that Henry Ford is history, he has become “bunk”, by his own definition of history.  

     

    • #12
  13. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    You don’t know much about history, Doug. You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations. Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert. This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too. Just like everyone else. But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine. Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland. But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours. You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    Jerry, I left middle school a long time ago. When someone challenges your world view you become very defensive and respond with insults and then labels. I cannot control what other people think, nor do I care in many cases what other people think. 

    • #13
  14. John Park Member
    John Park
    @jpark

    In about 1792, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia divided Poland between them.

    After invading Poland in 1939, the Soviet Union killed thousands of Poles. Katyn was one instance, which Stalin tried to blame on the Nazis.

    • #14
  15. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    It’s really too much to untangle. Facts in dispute, interpretation of facts in dispute, sincerity of belief in dispute.

    Once upon a time Western narratives benefited from an abundance of earned credibility. It’s alarming how quickly that credibility has evaporated.

    So while Putin isn’t particularly credible, I think we – we in the broad sense – too quickly dismissed Putin’s case for the fighting. He makes a long game historical case, a mid range historical case, and a contemporary case all touching on events, culture, population preferences, broad trends, local trends, etc. Are his arguments factually correct? Interpretationally correct? Is he sincere or manipulating? All of the above?

    What about “us”? Does any of that apply to us too? Ask the native Americans or BLM. Does that make us equivalent? No, not in my mind. The unique thing about the US is not that we are innocent of things other people did too, it’s that we did good things other didn’t do.

    • #15
  16. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    It’s really too much to untangle. Facts in dispute, interpretation of facts in dispute, sincerity of belief in dispute.

    Once upon a time Western narratives benefited from an abundance of earned credibility. It’s alarming how quickly that credibility has evaporated.

    So while Putin isn’t particularly credibile, I think we – we in the broad sense – too quickly dismissed Putin’s case for the fighting. He makes a long game historical case, a mid range historical case, and a contemporary case all touching on events, culture, population preferences, broad trends, local trends, etc. Are his arguments factually correct? Interpretationally correct? Is he sincere or manipulating? All of the above?

    What about “us”? Does any of that apply to us too? Ask the native Americans or BLM. Does that make us equivalent? No, not in my mind. The unique thing about the US is not that we are innocent of things other people did too, it’s that we did good things other didn’t do.

    That is the problem. My view, that is my personal opinion of America and its government’s credibility, has done a one-eighty in the last twenty years.

    • #16
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    . . .

    Of course, nobody’s version of history justifies Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter. Bogdan Khmelnytskyi pledged allegiance to Moscow in the 1650s. Americans pledged allegiance to King George in the early 1700s. So what? The Russians have been treating the Ukrainians badly ever since and the Brits treated the Americans in America as 2nd class Brits. The Ukrainians managed to unify disparate parts of their current country in order to make a single new nation-state, and some of the American colonies did the same in the 1770s and 1780s. In both cases they convinced enough other countries that they were a legit-enough and cohesive-enough country to be its own entity, and were able to fight to make the idea stick (with help from other countries who saw it to be in their own self-interest, of course).

    Putin wrote his paper on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians back in 2021. Tucker Carlson could have saved himself some time by familiarizing himself with it before he went to Moscow. But even the title shows that Putin doesn’t understand history. History is about continuity and it’s also about change. Old entities break apart and new ones come together. Old relationships do matter and shouldn’t be broken up lightly, but abuses of old relationships matter, too.

    Of course somebody’s version of history justifies the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter.  The truthful history justifies this quite obviously.

    The Ukrainians didn’t unite disparate parts of their country to create a new nation-state.  That’s nonsense.  Crimea and eastern Ukraine — generally meaning east of the Dneiper — were Russian for centuries.  In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, what is now eastern Ukraine became a separate “Soviet Socialist Republic,” but was under the control of Moscow, and Crimea remained part of the Russian soviet republic (within the USSR).  At the time, what is now western Ukraine was mostly Polish.

    Crimea was administratively transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the union of “Ukraine” with Russia, which at the time was the Russian empire.  There wasn’t really a separate Ukrainian nation before that union in 1654, but rather, the “Ukrainians” — generally called “Cossacks” at the time — were being ruled by the Polish-Lithuanian state.  Oppressed, actually, with the collaboration of the Jews in the area.

    It’s a mess.

    The eastern portion of modern Ukraine is generally Russian.  It’s heavily Russian-speaking and culturally Russian, and many of the people are ethnically Russian, while others are currently called ethnically “Ukrainian,” though it’s not clear what that means.  They’re all Slavs, mostly Orthodox in faith, and even the modern Ukrainian language is a variant of Russian.

    In 2014, a US-backed coup overthrew the Russia-friendly elected president of Ukraine, whose base of support was in the Russian-friendly area of eastern Ukraine.  The new government started suppression the culturally and linguistically Russian areas.  This led to the almost entirely peaceful Russian seizure and annexation of Crimea, whose people seem to strongly prefer to be part of Russia rather than subject to the western Ukrainians.  It also led the Donbas regions to declare independence, and a civil war broke out.

    There was a deal made to resolve the civil war while maintaining Ukrainian sovereignty over the Donbas, called the Minsk Accords, but this was a Western lie, admitted by Merkel to have been a subterfuge.

    Zelensky was from the east, and ran on a peace platform, but became strongly anti-Russian once elected.  The Russians sought negotiations, particularly to prevent even further NATO expansion, and we rebuffed that diplomatic effort.  Essentially, we told the Russians to go to hell.

    They responded, quite understandably, but turning Ukraine into a bit of hell on earth.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    You don’t know much about history, Doug. You seem to start around 1939.

    Maybe you want to study the 300-odd years before that, to understand the historic context of Russo-Polish relations. Maybe start around 1600, when the vicious Poles took advantage of a double-whammy suffered by the Russians, a dynastic crisis and famine, by invading.

    The Poles were about to put a Pole on the Russian throne, and the Russians were going along with it, but being Catholic, the Poles insisted that the Russians convert. This was too much, so the Russians rebelled.

    I don’t think that the Russians forget those who invaded them from the west — the Poles, and the Swedes, and the French, and the Germans.

    So it turns out that the Poles are pretty awful, too. Just like everyone else. But they became weak, and suffered the natural consequences.

    By the way, much of what used to be Poland is now western Ukraine. Much of what used to be eastern Germany is now western Poland. But I don’t hear you bitching about the Poles (and Russians) having ethnically cleansed about 10 million Germans.

    Putin’s historical understanding dwarfs yours. You pick and choose only the snippets of recent history that support your Neocon virtue signaling and foolishness.

    Jerry, I left middle school a long time ago. When someone challenges your world view you become very defensive and respond with insults and then labels. I cannot control what other people think, nor do I care in many cases what other people think.

    You’re right, Doug.  My tone was bad.  I’m sorry.

    Your tone was bad, too.  Your post was based on a simplified and misleading historical narrative, and was insulting in the part about “those citizens in our own country who don’t know much about history.”  Those who know more history, I think, understand and sympathize with the Russian point of view.  I took offense, and responded in kind.  That was not a good thing for me to do.

    The history of the area is complex and, to my surprise as I learned more about it, I find that Putin’s account is far more historically accurate than the general narrative told by our politicians, media, and even popular conservative historians.  Putin does spin the historical account a bit in his favor, but not much.

    I want to further address your claims about Poland.  I will try to do so in a more calm and measured way.

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    So, about Poland.

    I don’t think that it’s true that there was a lengthy, “brutal occupation” of Poland by the Soviet Union after WWII.

    There was an occupation, and I think that it was fairly brutal in the immediate post-war years.  This was true of our occupation of Germany, too.  The European situation was a disaster.  West Germany was on the brink of starvation, and I’ve seen arguments that large numbers of West Germans actually starved.  This is historically disputed, though the terrible conditions of hunger are not disputed.

    As an example, I’ve seen arguments that Eisenhower deliberately starved German POWs, by reclassifying them to DEFs — “Disarmed Enemy Forces” — to avoid violating the Geneva convention by cutting their rations.  The reclassification is true, and the reduction in rations is true.  We were occupying West Germany, and didn’t provide enough food.  I don’t think that this was motivated by malice, though, at least not to a great degree.  Instead, it turned out that many more Germans ended up in the West than expected, both civilian and military.

    The Geneva convention essentially required us to feed German POWs like we fed our own troops, but there wasn’t enough food to go around.  So under that rule, we’d have to cut the food supply to the rest of the West German population in order to provide higher rations to the POWs.  That didn’t make sense, so Ike did the reclassification.

    This is one example of how difficult things were in the immediate post-WWII years.  The Russians faced the same problems.

    Back to Poland.

    I don’t think that the Russians occupied Poland for very long.  The Poles had their own government.  Naturally, the Russians (Soviets) made sure that the Polish government was a friendly, Communist government, as we actually agreed in the deal about spheres of influence.  The deal was principally between Stalin and Churchill, but we went along with it.  We’re shockingly hypocritical about this, pretending to abhor the idea of spheres of influence, while relentlessly expanding our own sphere of influence.

    It’s true that Poland was in the Warsaw Pact.  The Warsaw Pact was formed in 1955, in response to NATO provocation.  The NATO provocation was the admission of West Germany as an armed member of NATO in 1954.

    Gee, why would the Russians object to our re-arming the Germans?

    So in my view, the situation is complicated.  I find the traditional triumphalist American WWII and Cold War narratives to be essentially false, and certainly oversimplified.  I think that this is troubling, because it risks drawing us into further conflict with a nuclear power.  Recently, it’s also been very costly in terms of US tax dollars, the European economies, and Ukrainian lives.

    I know that you didn’t create these narratives, Doug.  You’ve been taught this by our politicians and media, probably with CIA (and Mossad) connivance.  Me too.  I used to believe the standard Republican pro-American narrative myself.  As I’ve learned more in recent years, particularly about the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel-Palestine, I’ve been surprised at how much I had been misled.  At least, misled is how I feel about it now.

    So, to conclude about Poland: I don’t think that there was a brutal Soviet occupation of Poland lasting from WWII until 1993.  Poland was Communist for most of that period, and was part of a military alliance with the Soviet Russians that was formed to counter the threat of NATO, specifically by the NATO action in re-arming the (West) Germans.

    You can surely understand why both the Poles and the Russians wouldn’t much like German rearmament, less than 10 years after the end of WWII.

    • #19
  20. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Ukraine and Russia do not like each other. They never have, and they never will. When two groups despise each other, it’s best for each to be their own sovereign nation.

    As it was established on August 24, 1991.

    Divorce has been around since ancient times. For good reason.

    Putin’s history of events is immaterial to the present. It’s a litany of grudges that are all disputable because reporters never get things right and historians are biased.

    Time for Russia to move on.

    Their failure to do so makes them the belligerent bully in this conflict, and the death and destruction are all their fault.

    The tragic fact is that Putin has a standing army he doesn’t know what to do with. Rather than building homes and towns, he sends them on marauding missions.

    He is evil.

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    . . .

    Of course, nobody’s version of history justifies Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter. Bogdan Khmelnytskyi pledged allegiance to Moscow in the 1650s. Americans pledged allegiance to King George in the early 1700s. So what? The Russians have been treating the Ukrainians badly ever since and the Brits treated the Americans in America as 2nd class Brits. The Ukrainians managed to unify disparate parts of their current country in order to make a single new nation-state, and some of the American colonies did the same in the 1770s and 1780s. In both cases they convinced enough other countries that they were a legit-enough and cohesive-enough country to be its own entity, and were able to fight to make the idea stick (with help from other countries who saw it to be in their own self-interest, of course).

    Putin wrote his paper on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians back in 2021. Tucker Carlson could have saved himself some time by familiarizing himself with it before he went to Moscow. But even the title shows that Putin doesn’t understand history. History is about continuity and it’s also about change. Old entities break apart and new ones come together. Old relationships do matter and shouldn’t be broken up lightly, but abuses of old relationships matter, too.

    Of course somebody’s version of history justifies the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and thereafter. The truthful history justifies this quite obviously.

    You forgot to tell us what history justifies an invasion, maybe because you got some of it wrong.

    The Ukrainians didn’t unite disparate parts of their country to create a new nation-state. That’s nonsense. Crimea and eastern Ukraine — generally meaning east of the Dneiper — were Russian for centuries.

    Crimea was conquered by Russia at the time of Catherine the Great.  That doesn’t make it Russian in any ethnic-national sense.  There were other ethnic groups that lived there, some of which were deported by Stalin during WWII. Nothing about it makes the invasion of Crimea justified in 2014.

    In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, what is now eastern Ukraine became a separate “Soviet Socialist Republic,” but was under the control of Moscow, and Crimea remained part of the Russian soviet republic (within the USSR). At the time, what is now western Ukraine was mostly Polish.

    The Polish empire at one time included what is now western Ukraine, and at the end of WWII when the Poles and Ukrainians were ethnically cleansing each other there were Poles who lived there.  I don’t know that that makes it mostly Polish. There were many ethnic groups who lived there at different times.  But either way, I don’t know how that doesn’t make it one of the disparate parts that was united with the others to make the Ukrainian nation-state.

    Crimea was administratively transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the union of “Ukraine” with Russia, which at the time was the Russian empire. There wasn’t really a separate Ukrainian nation before that union in 1654, but rather, the “Ukrainians” — generally called “Cossacks” at the time — were being ruled by the Polish-Lithuanian state. Oppressed, actually, with the collaboration of the Jews in the area.

    Everywhere in central and eastern Europe (and elsewhere) there are people who have whined about being oppressed by the Jews. Complaining about the Jews doesn’t mean their troubles were due to the Jews, who were generally in no position to do any serious oppressing. It just gives them somebody to blame.  Just the same, there are Jews who have continued to be Ukrainians.  The Cossacks were called that because they started out as outlaws and escapees from the Polish-Lithuanian and perhaps the Muscovite states. Empires have a nasty tendency to be brutal, and there are often people who find the advantages of living in an empire not worth the disadvantages, and who try to get away and operate independently.  The word Cossack was not originally a slavic word, but is related to a Turkic (sp) word for nomads, or wanderers. It’s the same word that was used for the Kazakh nomads, though the two groups are not ethnically related to each other.    The area that was dominated by Cossacks after they gradually became a bit more organized does not include all of what is now Ukraine.  As I said, the modern state is made up of disparate parts that have come together.  It is not unlike the way the United States was made up of disparate parts with different histories, or the modern German state is made up of disparate parts with different histories, including even some slavic parts.  Some of the slavic people in Germany moved to Texas in the 19th century.  I’ve visited their museum and a couple of their churches.  Their slavic language has kind of died out in Texas, but that doesn’t mean it would be right for one of the reconstituted slavic empires to invade Texas to protect them. Nor does the fact that Crimea was controlled by the Ottomans at the time of Peter the Great and had a large Tatar population mean that it would be right for Turkey to invade it and take it back.

    It’s a mess.

    And one that is made messier by the recent Russian invasions.

    The eastern portion of modern Ukraine is generally Russian. It’s heavily Russian-speaking and culturally Russian, and many of the people are ethnically Russian, while others are currently called ethnically “Ukrainian,” though it’s not clear what that means. They’re all Slavs, mostly Orthodox in faith, and even the modern Ukrainian language is a variant of Russian.

    Or you could say the modern Russian language is a variant of Ukrainian, since the Ukrainian language (along with the western slavic languages)  has kept many parts of the old slavic vocabulary that are no longer in daily use in Russian.  Russian has kind of drifted away.

    In 2014, a US-backed coup overthrew the Russia-friendly elected president of Ukraine, whose base of support was in the Russian-friendly area of eastern Ukraine.

    There was no US-backed coup.  The Russian-friendly president was reneging on his promises and grabbing new powers, so there was a grass-roots protest.  The Russian-friendly president fled after shooting a number of the protesters in the streets.   Then he was replaced with a democratically elected president that the U.S. did not pick for the Ukrainians.

    The new government started suppression the culturally and linguistically Russian areas. This led to the almost entirely peaceful Russian seizure and annexation of Crimea, whose people seem to strongly prefer to be part of Russia rather than subject to the western Ukrainians. It also led the Donbas regions to declare independence, and a civil war broke out.

    You left out that your “seeming to prefer” is entirely made up by the Russians who invaded and didn’t allow people to express their preferences freely, and that Putin had to send in troops (at first in convoys of unmarked trucks) to get the Donbas region to declare “independence” and to cause a so-called civil war.  Ukraine did start to prioritize the Ukrainian language to a greater extent, as it had been doing ever since independence.  They were not as brutal about it as the Russian suppression of the Ukrainian language had been under people such as Catherine the Great, the czars, Stalin, and Khrushchev.  There are honest differences of opinion in Ukraine over whether Ukraine overdid it in turn, but it was no justification for an invasion.  The Baltic countries are now facing the same issues.  Latvia is now requiring everyone to have some proficiency in Latvian in order to be a citizen, which affects mostly people of Russian ethnicity and language. Putin is whining about it.  Nothing is happening to justify an invasion of Latvia.

    There was a deal made to resolve the civil war while maintaining Ukrainian sovereignty ovfor er the Donbas, called the Minsk Accords, but this was a Western lie, admitted by Merkel to have been a subterfuge.

    Those Minsk accords would not have maintained Ukrainian sovereignty.  One of them would have required Ukraine to pay for a separate Donbas foreign policy.

    Zelensky was from the east, and ran on a peace platform, but became strongly anti-Russian once elected. The Russians sought negotiations, particularly to prevent even further NATO expansion, and we rebuffed that diplomatic effort. Essentially, we told the Russians to go to hell.

    The Ukrainians rebuffed Russian efforts to control Ukrainian foreign policy.

    They responded, quite understandably, but turning Ukraine into a bit of hell on earth.

    It is understandable that a foreign aggressor would turn angry when its unsjustifiable conquest was being thwarted. It’s no justification for an invasion.

    • #21
  22. ToryWarWriter Coolidge
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    As someone who knows a fair bit about the first 30 minutes and could push back on this situation.  I will point out the Soviet Union and Russia are two different things.

    The Russian people were just as much victims of the Soviet System as my fellow Poles.

    Soviet Communism murdered millions of Russians for the progress of the state.  

    We do ourselves a diservice when we equate one with the other.

    Czarist Russia was of course Imperialist but in the same way the USA and all the other western powers engaged in colonialism.  

    Just ask the people of the Philipines.  

     

    • #22
  23. Chris Hutchinson Coolidge
    Chris Hutchinson
    @chrishutch13

    Jerry is correct that history is far more complicated and nuanced than many on either side are aware, which is why I really hate to even jump into these discussions knowing I simply don’t have the time to defend what I say properly. All I can say though is that no one here in Poland believes his take. The people who lived it day in and day out. We are politicized here as much as anyone but not on that point. I am in constant contact with people from all the Baltic countries. The same.

    Also, Tory War Writer, I’m not sure I would completely agree with you about it being a disservice. I get your point and there are some differences but there are also many similarities, especially with Putin, who blends many Czarist and Soviet tendencies. I believe it is a disservice to ignore the similarities.  

    • #23
  24. ToryWarWriter Coolidge
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Chris Hutchinson (View Comment):

    Jerry is correct that history is far more complicated and nuanced than many on either side are aware, which is why I really hate to even jump into these discussions knowing I simply don’t have the time to defend what I say properly. All I can say though is that no one here in Poland believes his take. The people who lived it day in and day out. We are politicized here as much as anyone but not on that point. I am in constant contact with people from all the Baltic countries. The same.

    Also, Tory War Writer, I’m not sure I would completely agree with you about it being a disservice. I get your point and there are some differences but there are also many similarities, especially with Putin, who blends many Czarist and Soviet tendencies. I believe it is a disservice to ignore the similarities.

    Lets do another show soon and Iron those differences out

    • #24
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