Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poland, Japan and Nazis were going to invade Soviet Union?


Seventy years ago, as the dark clouds of war gathered over Europe, Poland was in secret alliance with Nazi Germany, and Japan, preparing to invade the Soviet Union. (caption on poster, above, says: Under the great leadership of Stalin, forward to communism!)

I know that your history book in school never told you that, but that’s what Russians are being told. I know your history book told you that the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was the not so secret agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in preparation for invading Poland. But you got it all wrong.

The Soviet Union, says a documentary that was broadcast on Russian state TV this week, had to sign the non aggression pact with the Nazis, otherwise the Poles were going to march all the way to Moscow - meet up with their Japanese chums for a tray of sushi and a jolly glass of vodka - and then depose Stalin and set up a fascist regime in Uncle Joe’s place.

Preposterous? Well, maybe highly possible to a Russian audience that is seeing history being re-written by the Kremlin. We have got used to seeing reports of school text books explaining away the Great Famine and the purges of the 1930s in the Soviet Union as necessary evils. Now get used to seeing Poland as the aggressor which almost single handed started WW II.

Poland’s foreign ministry is not pleased with the documentary. At all. In fact, it’s a little bit miffed. In a statement from its embassy in Moscow today, it said:

“It is sad that such a report was broadcast at prime time. Certainly, it will not improve the relationship between our two countries and will not lead to reconciliation between our nations.”

Meanwhile, as Poland starts to think about the 70th anniversary of the invasions in September 1939 of the Soviets and Nazis, Russia is remembering the 68th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

No, this is not some Polish-Russian dispute over mathematics. For Russians - as this news report by RT, the Russian English language TV, shows - the Great Patriotic War started, not in 1939, but 1941, when Hitler went back on his non aggression agreement with Stalin.

If two sides can’t even agree on when a war broke out, what chances of burying, once and for all, the hatchet of terrible history between them?

58 comments:

jannowak57 said...

The Russians claiming that Poland was going to invade Russia was like a rapist telling the judge it was an act of self-defence.

What’s next? The Kremlin announces it’s astronauts actually landed on the moon first and the American media just misrepresented the situation. Perhaps those first famous words were “one small goose step for this man and one giant goose step for mankind”

On Putin’s next visit to Berlin I can just see him staring at the remains of the Berlin Wall and giving a speech, “ Mr. Obama put this wall back up”.

They are so dense in Russia that actually around 70% will buy into the Kremlins message. Time for a war story, a Polish prisoner in Russia during WW2 was working in the prison kitchen being supervised by a Red Army Sergeant. After they got to know each other the Polish prisoner asks the Russian “how was it the Finish kicked your ass when you tried to invade them?”. The Red Army Sergeant looked around to make sure no one was listening and said “ what did you expect there were 400 million of those bastards what could we do?”

I don’t think we can really do much to help the Russians, how do you deal with excessive consumption of vodka and inbreeding?

Anna said...

We also attacked peace loving Germany.
And we killed all the Jews and had the highest numer of Jer-purges in the world.
Which is why after 20th century cross-marriages 10% of Poles still look Jewish.

varus said...

This reminds me of the time I was told by a HK Chinese student at university in Britain, that China's invasion of Tibet was a nessecary act to counter Tibet's military expansion and the threat it posed to China.

The real question is not what the stories are or who in Russia will belive them, but what is the long term aim. As was mentioned somewher. Putin is not a fool and this all must serve purpose. This comes only a short time after the Russian ministry of defence claimed Poland started WW2 by not being reasonable with regards to Hitlerws motorway bilding project in the north of Poland.

Czarny Kot said...

It's a ridiculous claim and a very cheeky one, seen in the light of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

However, Stalin was known for his paranoia so it is very possible that he really did think it was true.

Given that Germany's allies included Slovakia, Hungary and Romania perhaps at the time it was not such a wild fantasy that Poland would cut the same type of deal. To Poland's eternal credit, it did no such thing and to claim otherwise is ludicrous.

Czarny Kot said...

Having said all that, it is not only Russia that plays around with history is it?

Some elements in Germany seem intent on making themselves look more like victims than aggressors.

While we hear all the time about Katyn (and why not?) we don't hear too much about the Poles massacred by Ukrainians as this would upset Poland's ally, Yushchenko (wonder if his approval rating is still above 0)

At the same time, Poles (rightly) point to the injustices of their history but you never hear it discussed that maybe Lithuanians, Belarussians and Ukrainians were not 100% happy to be part of Poland and that Poles going to visit Vilnius and Lwow as 'Polish' cities might irritate the locals like Germans in Gdansk.

Last summer Wprost had a front page with Putin done up as Hitler. Now, I don't have any love for Putin but don't you think comparing him to Hitler is way over the top and extremely offensive to Russians?

Ironically, given the rabid Russo-phobia of some Poles, Stalin and Beria (who killed way more Russians than Poles) were Georgians just like Kaczynski's new best friend Sakashvilli (who launched rockets at apartment buildings in the dead of night without warning, lest we forget)

ge'ez said...

The Wprost caricature was prolly only exteremely offensive to Russians who support Putin.

Oooh. Waiting for 57 on this...

Anonymous said...

Yet again, one must be very careful about generalisations.

What holds true for some Russians certainly does not hold true for all of them.

For example, Russian immigrants to the West, especially to the U.S., tend to have a very different view of their nation's history than many of those who live in Russia.

If you talked to the majority of Russian-Americans, you'd notice that in their view, the last legitimate leader of Russia was actually Nicholas II. Likewise, Stalin is outright denounced by them as perhaps the most evil man in history.

ge'ez said...

Is the statement in a recently published children's book in Poland to the effect that all Germans have lice a generalization or an ethnic slur?

beatroot said...

What book?

It’s true that the most enthusiastic purgers in the Soviet Union were from Stalin’s Georgian cronies…but that says nothing about the character of Georgians, who are famously charming.

I think we should put the historical revisionism in the context of Russia coming to terms with an empire that has disappeared. They hated the Yeltsin era because that was just a symbol of their humiliation. Putin has given back some self respect. So maybe they need to see history in the way they do as part of that process.

jannowak57 said...

Moving beyond Moscow’s comic opera attempts to rewrite Russian/Soviet history into a completely falsify version which thus far has only highlighted its failure to become a normal European country and consider both it’s motives and the consequences of such actions.

Europe would be best served to abandon its double standards where it’s fashionable to snicker and dismiss the Russian actions as just another example of a backward and ignorant people. If in Germany today the government started a program to rewrite the history of the past glorifying the Nazis and praising Hitler than we could just imagine the response and alarm that such an action would generate. Oh do forgive me didn’t the Germans just build a big museum to illustrated their position as the victims of WW2.

During the prewar years Hitler stated his intentions with some clarity and candour in his book Mein Kampf, today Russia states it intentions with a broadly based and well-funded campaign to rewrite its history into a falsified version. A version, which the state can use in the preparation and justification for aggression against its neighbours. Today in Russia legislators from the ruling United Russia Party have proposed amendments to the penal code that will make any alternatives to the official history a criminal offence.

Russia has now openly declared itself hostile to the Polish State and our leaders and political elites need to adjust to this reality.

Czarny Kot said...

I dunno, President Kaczynski isn't too popular but if he was done up as Hitler on the front page of a Russian magazine I think it would offend more than just his supporters.

Russia is messed up in many aspects but I can't buy into this half-baked effort to re-start the Cold War which seems to have been going on recently. People confuse the present with the past, the actions of governments with the general population.....

As for excessive vodka drinking and in-breeding, I have to say that you could live in Poland for decades and you would NEVER see anyone who looked like they drank too much vodka or were married to their sister. Not at all.

As for the millions of dumb Russians who will believe this crap, perhaps the Russian media were inspired by the success that Fox News has in convincing millions of Americans that every word they say is true, and that anyone who disagrees is a Islamo-pinko-liberal. Who hates freedom.

beatroot said...

has only highlighted its failure to become a normal European country

What makes you think they want to be a normal European country?

and you are right, black cat - dressing anyone up as Hitler is childish and offensive.

jannowak57 said...

Czarny Kot said... “dunno, President Kaczynski isn't too popular but if he was done up as Hitler on the front page of a Russian magazine I think it would offend more than just his supporters.”

Like him or hate him, President Kaczynski view of Russian intentions is becoming only too clearly the accurate and responsible position. And Putin is a Hitler wannabe so he shouldn’t be too offended about his portrayal in the Polish media. Putin has made the smoothest and most effortless transition from communist thug to fascist dictator in history.

Czarny Kot said... “Russia is messed up in many aspects but I can't buy into this half-baked effort to re-start the Cold War which seems to have been going on recently. People confuse the present with the past, the actions of governments with the general population.....”

The Putinist glorify the totalitarian past of Russian/Soviet Union in an effort to legitimize their slide from authoritarianism into dictatorship and to unite the nation against an imaginary foreign treat.

Czarny Kot said... “As for excessive vodka drinking and in-breeding, I have to say that you could live in Poland for decades and you would NEVER see anyone who looked like they drank too much vodka or were married to their sister. Not at all.”

The backwardness of the Russians stems from their leaders not allowing the development of a civil society, which is viewed by the Kremlin as the most serious political treat. Through the means of repression and propaganda a backward and simple people can remain subjugated.

Khrushchev once eloquently stated his annoyance at westerners wishing to get too close a look at Russian society with this comment “ there is no need for foreigners to go to where our women pick lice from between their legs”

Czarny Kot said... “As for the millions of dumb Russians who will believe this crap, perhaps the Russian media were inspired by the success that Fox News has in convincing millions of Americans that every word they say is true, and that anyone who disagrees is a Islamo-pinko-liberal. Who hates freedom.”

Hardly a good comparison as there is thousands of alternative news sources in the US as an alternative to FOX, also writing an opposing view will not bring the police to your door as is the situation in Russia. I understand there is a high turn over in Russian for journalists like the new compliant ones replacing the old DEAD ones.

jannowak57 said...

beatroot said.” has only highlighted its failure to become a normal European country
What makes you think they want to be a normal European country?”

This is exactly the problem, with only a small portion of it population consisting of some portion of those well educated and exposed to the rest of world that want Russia to become a liberal democracy. Putin’s deal with the still tiny middle class is your free to be western style consumers but don’t concern yourself with politics.

Russia today hasn’t advanced at all, it just took its old historical time line and shifted it self to around 1900. So we have a weak unstable imperialist state out of touch with today’s Europe.

This makes them dangerous and unpredictable.

Czarny Kot said...

Jannowak: A lot of your criticisms of Russia's government are fair but some of them are not and your obvious prejudice against Russians in general says more about you than them. C'mon, I wouldn't even say some of those things about Americans or Frenchmen ;-)

As for Hitler wannabes, Putin is unpleasant but it wasn't him that invaded Iraq under false pretenses was it? I despise Bush, Cheney and the rest of that gang but I wouldn't go as far as to compare them to Hitler.

"So we have a weak unstable imperialist state out of touch with today’s Europe." Aye, but you could be talking about the Uk here, couldn't you?

"it just took its old historical time line and shifted it self to around 1900." Sometimes in Poland it feels as if they're trying to turn the clock back further than that.

Domestically, Russia is not Sweden, but neither is it North Korea or Burma. When it comes to throwing its weight around the world Russia is not Switzerland but neither is it the USA (or the Uk)

To put it simply, it's not that I like Putin's Russia. It's that I dislike hypocrisy and blinkered thinking.

ge'ez said...

The book:

Entliczek, pentliczek - the best Polish rhymes” by Joanna Furgalinska.

A coupla bits: “One, two, three...all Germans are full of
lice”, “Where are you going gypsy? I’m going to buy some kids”

There seems to have been a bit of a ruckus as well about something said about a Jew, too, but it didn't strike me as quite so tawdry -- however insensitive it may well have been.

jannowak57 said...

Czarny Kot said... “A lot of your criticisms of Russia's government are fair but some of them are not and your obvious prejudice against Russians in general says more about you than them. C'mon, I wouldn't even say some of those things about Americans or Frenchmen ;-)”

I am not anti-Russian but rather ant-imperialist, ant-fascist, anti-xenophobic, ant-racist and anti-totalitarian. Since the Russian population remains indifferent or supportive of Putin they like the Germans who supported Hitler are not in the position to expect any respect.

Czarny Kot said... “As for Hitler wannabes, Putin is unpleasant but it wasn't him that invaded Iraq under false pretenses was it? I despise Bush, Cheney and the rest of that gang but I wouldn't go as far as to compare them to Hitler.”

Did you forget Putin’s invasion and genocidal rampage through of Chechnya, cyber attack on Estonia, the subversion of the Ukraine State and the invasion of Georgia? Also the current atrocities against Ingushetia and the constant economic warfare waged on neighboring countries.

Czarny Kot said... "So we have a weak unstable imperialist state out of touch with today’s Europe." Aye, but you could be talking about the Uk here, couldn't you?”

There exists no comparison here, an advanced western democracy which is cable of remedying its problems through democratic and lawful means is not on the same plane as a despotic failure like Russia.

Czarny Kot said... " it just took its old historical time line and shifted it self to around 1900." Sometimes in Poland it feels as if they're trying to turn the clock back further than that.”

Poland has used it’s 20 years of freedom to develop into a democratic state operating under the rule of law and place it’s economy on a sound footing. Russia has used the last 20 years to demonstrate incompetence and failure.

Czarny Kot said... " Domestically, Russia is not Sweden, but neither is it North Korea or Burma. When it comes to throwing its weight around the world Russia is not Switzerland but neither is it the USA (or the Uk)”

I repeat. Did you forget Putin’s invasion and genocidal rampage through of Chechnya, cyber attack on Estonia, the subversion of the Ukraine State and the invasion of Georgia? Also the current atrocities against Ingushetia and the constant economic warfare waged on neighbouring countries.

What I dislike more than Putin and his gang of criminals are his apologists but Stalin and Hitler had a big group of those too.

ge'ez said...

Comparing Kaczynski to Hitler to Putin?

There's a coupla big disconnects there. Kaczynski (pick whichever twin) is just a dickwad. The other two guys engaged in state terrorism to varying degrees. The German guy was a genocidal maniac but now he's dead. I don't see Putin as a genocidal lunatic but he is certainly more of a danger today than a few Nazi boneheads who prolly care more about soccer than politics.

ge'ez said...

And Poland is not Chechnya, Estonia, the Ukraine State or Georgia.

I can see being wary and careful but to be careful also means not to go over the top, too.

Czarny Kot said...

Chechnya-- bad. As was Nicuaragua, Gaza, Chile, El Salvador..... How do you think the US would react to an Islamist uprising in Hawai or Puerto Rico, bearing in mind their "Shock and Awe" doctrine (not dissimilar to Russian atrocities in Chechnya.)

Cyber attack on Estonia-- bad. As were countless coups around the world supported by the US and other 'normal' countries. Some Estonian's fond memories of the SS probably don't help relations.

Economic warfare against Ukraine-- you mean asking the market price for gas?

The invasion of Georgia--and the difference between this and the NATO attack on Serbia is....??

As you can see from my comments I have repeatedly said I don't like Putin and I have made some criticisms, as well as acknowledging some of yours. Still, you call me an apologist because I fail to agree with you that Putin is as bad as Hitler and that he represents the biggest danger the world faces right now.

You lazily and arrogantly label all Russians as vodka-soaked, dirty, backwards inbreds. You sound exactly the same as some Britons and others do when they talk about Poles. You say you're anti-xenophobic? Pull the other one mate it's got bells on it ;-)

Here's a thought: 2 conservative nationalists on a crusade against corruption, seeking to restore pride to their countries. Both base their power on the Church and a rose-tinted, perhaps Romantic view of national history...If it wasn't for Polish-Russian history, surely Putin and Kaczynski would be allies and best friends. Soul mates even? :-)

jannowak57 said...

Czarny Kot said... “Chechnya-- bad. As was Nicuaragua, Gaza, Chile, El Salvador..... How do you think the US would react to an Islamist uprising in Hawai or Puerto Rico, bearing in mind their "Shock and Awe" doctrine (not dissimilar to Russian atrocities in Chechnya.)”

There is no comparison in terms of proportionate levels of casualties and destructions or the number of attempts at exterminating the Chechen Nation.
150,000 to 200,000 civilians have killed by the Russians out of a total population of around 1 million.
As for your examples:
Nicaragua, Chile and El Salvador were not intervention but support to anti-communists trying to save their country from descending into the darkness of communism.
Gaza was a self-inflicted wound, stop firing missiles at Israel and we won’t shot at you.

Czarny Kot said... “Cyber attack on Estonia”

The Estonians just got tired of having to look at a statue to a drunken rapist and decided to move it.

Czarny Kot said... “Economic warfare against Ukraine”

Using energy as a weapon every time the Ukrainians tried to be at variance with Moscow’s foreign policy.

Czarny Kot said... “The invasion of Georgia--and the difference between this and the NATO attack on Serbia is....??

The Georgians were retaking national territory, as is their right in the UN charter not ethnic cleansing as the Serbs tried to do in Kosovo.

Czarny Kot said... “I fail to agree with you that Putin is as bad as Hitler and”

Hitler started small too.

Czarny Kot said... “ You lazily and arrogantly label all Russians as vodka-soaked, dirty, backwards inbreds.”

You seemed to have added the word “all” and “dirty” is that based on your observations?

Excessive vodka consumption is a matter of statistical fact not just a nasty shot, Russia has one of the lowest life expectancies among industrialized countries - 59 for men and 72 for women - and its record-beating alcohol consumption is a key factor. As well the highest consumption in the world. Excessive drinking causes nearly half of all deaths among Russian men of working age, researchers have found.

jannowak57 said...

Czarny Kot there is a big picture and you’re completely missing the boat here, the miserable condition that common Russians find themselves in is what their leaders want. A Russian, whose faculties are numbed by alcohol, living in ignorance and on the margins of destitutions is the perfect citizen for the Kremlin. Whether the leadership is czarist, communist or today’s new fascists the idea is the same, it’s about control. This is not the natural or normal condition of a people but one that is imposed on them by the top for the most cynical of reasons, the maintenance of power and therefore the unfettered access to the wealth of the Russian nation. In Russia the state exists to permit a privileged and tiny minority the opportunity to loot the wealth of the nation and exercise power over the people for their own ends. The ruling elite knows Poland is not their enemy but the need to manufacture an external threat to justify the existence of the state is the overriding imperative. The west has not done itself any favors by failing to support and encourage progressive forces in Russia. The current state of affairs can create a climate of insecurity and instability in the entire region.

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

There is some self delusion in Russia
that is familiar when discussing the realities of the Soviet-Nazi nonagression pact. Even rabid Trotskyites ( lunatics) fail to graspthat in reality Commies and Nazis allied and divided Europe. The Nazis later betrayed their communist allies and the remainder is spin.

Jan

Thank you for providing excellent responses to the unhinged comments.

The reality impaired types are beholden to a death cult. We get similar naive responses from American apologists for Chavez claiming that all the refugees from the mess in Caracas tell government officials the same identical story because we want to hear it.

varus said...

Geez,

I just looked up that book you were talking about:

http://www.newpolandexpress.pl/npe_news_story-924-kids_book_slammed_for_being_racist.php

and you know what is most telling from the whole story? Not that some racist wrote a book, as they will unforunatley always have a try; but more the reasponse to the book.

The aricle quotes the book in depicting a) Germans as lice ridden; b) Gypsies as baby snachers and thiefs and ) how ironic it is for a Jew to be poor.

I agree with you that perhaps the comments oabout Jews are the least offensive (although still sterotypical and hate related), yet the article quoted a response from a Rabbi and not a Gypsy or a German. Does this mean that it is still ok to be prejudiced against Germans and Gypsies? Preseumabley so!! We often fall into societal-guilt trap where we jump to persecute antisemitism over and above other forms of prejudice.

Czarny Kot said...

Once more unto the breach....

"Nicaragua, Chile and El Salvador were not intervention but support to anti-communists trying to save their country from descending into the darkness of communism.
Gaza was a self-inflicted wound, stop firing missiles at Israel and we won’t shot at you."

So replacing a democratically elected Socialist (Allende) with an unelected dictator (Pinochet) is OK? Maybe Allende would've led the country to success, maybe disaster. Shouldn't Chilean democracy have been the judge? What about the fact that the US has constantly intervened in any Latin American country which tries to introduce any type of independent development, whether socialist or not? The US can have a 'backyard' but no-one else? Is that how it works?
As for Gaza, it sounds like you are advocating collective punishment, just like the Russians did in Chechnya.

"The Estonians just got tired of having to look at a statue to a drunken rapist and decided to move it."

Either you have done some detailed research which tells you that the statue was based on an actual drunken rapist, or you are using the fact that there were drunken rapists in the Red Army to assume that the statue represents one. I'll go for the latter. Using the same logic I could disapprove of the John Paul II statue in town on the grounds that I'm tired of looking at the leader of an international paedophile ring. Of course I wouldn't do so as it would be ridiculous.

"Using energy as a weapon every time the Ukrainians tried to be at variance with Moscow’s foreign policy."

They might be using energy as a weapon or they might have rather more mundane problems with Ukraine, such as prices, theft etc. It is interesting that the supply of Russian gas to Georgia was not cut during the conflict last summer.

As for Chechnya,Serbia and Georgia, the choice of words here is interesting. While Russia 'invaded' Chechnya, Georgia 'retook' national territory, despite the fact that both Chechnya and South Ossetia are officially part of Russia and Georgia respectively. Personally, I think that Russia over-reacted and went too far by entering Georgia proper. At the same time I think NATO went too far by bombing Belgrade, including the Chinese Embassy, instead of limiting its actions to Kosovo alone. In fact, the viokence in Kosovo increased after NATO's intervention. Now Kosovo is a lawless, mafia-controlled fiefdom masquerading as a 'normal' democratic country. NATO's actions in Kosovo gave the green light to Russia's actions in S. Ossetia.

Czarny Kot said...

As for dirty, drunk Russians you are correct when you state that you didn't use the word 'dirty'. Maybe I read between the lines and jumped to conclusions (something about lice, perhaps?) and for that I apologise. Also, you do not say 'all' Russians, again my apologies for the hyperbole.

Of course, the statistics you show are true and awful. However, it would seem to be a bit unfair to blame this situation on Putin as the terrible fall in life expectancy started under Yeltsin and the US-imposed 'Shock Therapy', which was much more drastic than similar reform programs carried out in countries such as Poland. At the time were you despairing of this tragedy or were you gloating about it? As the Beatroot says, Russia was humilated unnecessarily after the Cold War.

"Whether the leadership is czarist, communist or today’s new fascists the idea is the same, it’s about control. This is not the natural or normal condition of a people but one that is imposed on them by the top for the most cynical of reasons, the maintenance of power and therefore the unfettered access to the wealth of the Russian nation. In Russia the state exists to permit a privileged and tiny minority the opportunity to loot the wealth of the nation and exercise power over the people for their own ends."

Again, there is a lot of truth in this statement. However, one could say the same for a lot of countries. Do you think the US government wants all its citizens to be highly knowledgable and politically active? Don't you think that junk TV, junk food and the rest of it is about 'control'?
In the UK, do you think the government wants people asking awkward questions and taking part in protests or do you think they prefer them to be in the pub watching football or at home watching "Britain's got Talent"?
Bread and Circuses, McDonald's and Springer, Beer and Football, Vodka and really dodgy TV (have you ever seen RT Planeta? Bizzare.)
As for elites plundering the wealth of a country, you only need to have watched the news in the UK and US recently to see some good examples.

As for creating external enemies, that is one of the oldest tricks in the book. No doubt Russia plays it, as do many others. The hysterical reactions help maintian the charade, so the whole thing becomes self-fulfilling.

How about this: The US and Russia both suffered terrible attacks at the hands of Islamist terrorists. Now, to claim that 9-11 was a 'black flag' operation is seen as the opinion of a paranoid, delusional, conspiracy-theorist window-licker. To claim that the bombings of the apartment buildings in Moscow was an inside job is seen as a much more reasonable thing. For the record, I think both were commited by Isamist terrorists (anything is possible though) I just wonder why one improbable conspiracy theory is so much more 'socially acceptable' than the other.

A final word: Not so long ago, I would have agreed with you much more. It wasn't Russia Today or any Kremlin propaganda that changed my mind. It was the Western media's coverage which eventually set my critical faculties into action. I'm not praising Russia, why would I? I've never been there, don't know any Russians.. I'm just comparing Russia with the rest of the world. Sadly, it fights right in.

"Do not judge lest thee be judged."

Czarny Kot said...

Re: The racist children's books. It reminded me of this story not so long ago---

Math pupils learn how to drown Turks...
http://www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/News/?id=106067

beatroot said...

Clean drunken Russians...then...no drunks in Poland or UK, of course...especially the guy (called fatty) who just asked me for some change for a "setka"...I gave him 5 zloty (it was all I had) and now he is down stairs in the park pissed out of his head. Apparently, he isn't Russian.

ge'ez said...

Varus wrote:

"yet the article quoted a response from a Rabbi and not a Gypsy or a German."

Well, the article you cited was prolly written by a Brit expat given that one of that ilk also serves as editor of that publication.

Is there someone who is the go-to guy (or woman) widely recognized as a spokesperson for the Gypsies in Poland? Or even for the Germans in Poland?

ge'ez said...

Also, sorry to be going off-topic, sorta, again -- but does anyone know if an older children's book with the cartoon goat main character has been criticized as racist? I forget the character's name but I do recall picking up those books and seeing quite a few black sambo-like characters as well. Never quite figured out what to make of it.

ge'ez said...

CK wrote: "Do you think the US government wants all its citizens to be highly knowledgable and politically active?"

Which part of the gubmint? I think I'll proudly say yea in terms of the highest levels of the executive branch right now. I don't feel good about all they are doing and not doing right now, but I really do believe that Obama is doing his best to do what he believes is best for us all. I have no reason to consider him a lackey of corporate interests or any kind of shadow government.

Czarny Kot said...

@Beatroot: At least he had the good manners to go to the park. I seem to have Russians living in the lift in my block, judging by the smell. I also found a turd in the landing. That's right, a human turd.

@ge'ez: I don't know if there is a 'go to guy' for the Polish Romany but there is a bloke where I live called Roman who would be perfect. He dresses like the man from Del Monte and is about 7 foot tall. I think he's 'King of the Gypsies' round here or something.

Czarny Kot said...

@ge'ez: Of course, Obama isn't Bush. I got caught up in the whole Obama hype when he got elected but that has been tempered slightly with time.

I still view him with cautious optimism rather than jaded cynicism but i'm not sure POTUS is really as powerful an individual as we sometimes think.

Good luck to him, though.

ge'ez said...

Well, he has compared his job to being a captain trying to steer a really big ship in turbulent waters.

So what does Roman have to say about the quip from the kids' book?

Jannowak57 said...

The children’s rhymes book in itself is not a problem; a collection of children’s rhymes going back through history can be expected to have objectionable material. The society was different and the rhymes would reflect attitudes of various periods in history therefore if the intent were a historical document then that would be in order. However if such material was approved for use in schools with age groups too young to comprehend the inappropriateness of the material than some one is really off side with that decision. There is no clear explanation in any of the news articles of the actual nature of the book or its intended purpose.

ge'ez said...

Was it a historical document or were the rhymes actually penned by the author?

The stuff I read in the NWE gave the impression of the latter case.

If they were historically lifted, so to speak, and not original, then NWE messed up pretty bad.

Maybe I confused this matter, though, by referencing the old cartoon goat which as far as I know was not part of the new book.

beatroot said...

we found a human turd outside the pracownia the other day...complete with toilet paper!!!!

ge'ez said...

This conversation is going down the shitter.

Er, or not.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the perpetrators of the foul deed could not have been Russians, the presence of toilet paper exonerates them.

beatroot said...

That's just 'toilet humour'...at its ...worst....

Mark VA said...

Seems to me that some elements in Russia still promote the "siege of motherland" mentality. Apparently, it is still useful in shaping the thoughts and feelings of ordinary, especially young, Russians.

As far as Stalin and his apparatus acting "entirely rationally" in executing, starving to death, and sending millions of Russians to the gulags to perish: one way to view this is as a stern warning to the present generation of Russians - if such actions were "rational" then, they could also be "rational" today, if the situation warrants it.

I wonder if Mr. Norman Davies has made any comments or observations on the present situation in Russia?

ge'ez said...

I don't think Norman Davies spent x# fricken years in graduate school to be called Mister ... Thank you very much.

Interesting article in a recent National Geographic on the Russian Orthodox Church and how it is shaping up in the political context:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/04/orthodox/schmemann-text

Be sure to check out the photo gallery that goes with the article.

jannowak57 said...

Great article and nice photographs, there was a very insightful quote in the article

"Whether the Orthodox Church can wrest itself from the state and become the conscience of the nation will be important in determining whether Russia can discover a new, democratic and civil culture or will return to a dark and threatening authoritarianism."

Anonymous said...

Who would've thought?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish-German_non-aggression_pact

jannowak57 said...

"The Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact (Polish: Polsko-radziecki pakt o nieagresji, Russian: Pakt o nenapadenii mezhdu SSSR i Pol’shey) was an international treaty of non-aggression signed in 1932 by representatives of Poland and the USSR. The pact was unilaterally broken by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939, during the Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland."

Anonymous said...

Poland took a chunk of Czechoslovakia in 38, no?

heat_seeker said...

Yep. Here are some inetersting pix: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=143094

ge'ez said...

One of the photos is taken in Cieszyn, which is still part of Poland today.

There are signs that indicate that this area was taken from Poland 600 years earlier.

The next argument is going to be that the Poles stole Wreslau, Danzig, etc.?

heat_seeker said...

The Poles didn't steal them - they accepted 'stolen property' as a consolation prize for the land stolen from them. Not sure it makes much difference for the individuals (primarily of German descend) who got their homesteads taken away from them.

Earlier in the discussion somebody said something to the effect that Poland used its 20 years in between wars to perfect democratic institutions. I think that statement is a bit of a stretch - between 1926 and 1939 Poland was ruled by a military junta which seized power in a bloody putsch. "Sanacja" does not translate into 'democracy'...

jannowak57 said...

Heat seeker said “The Poles didn't steal them - they accepted 'stolen property' as a consolation prize”

This is a strange mis-intereptation of history as Poland did not agree to any changes to its national boundaries but rather the victorious powers dictated the new circumstances of the Polish state if we can call it a Polish state as it was a continuation of Poland’s status as an occupied country except with new occupiers the Russians.

The shift of Polish boundaries, the transfer of population from the eastern territories to the west and the ethnic cleansing of the German population was at the insistence of the Ussr and approved by the US and Great Britain.

Stalin had demanded that in order to prevent a future pretext for war that all ethnic Germans must live inside the territory of the German state and the victorious powers would dictate what those boundaries would be.

It is clear that Poles were none participants in this process.

heat_seeker said...

Jan, without arguing the historical fact you have cited, you are ( albeit indirectly..)making a distinction which reminds me (no offense...) of the 'good German/bad German' national narrative that the Germans have been conducting to rationalize their participation in the nazi crimes. The Poles had not shown much compunction in taking over German farms and homes. To the contrary, the majority of Poles quite easily bought into the whole "Ziemie Odzyskane" propaganda sham.

heat_seeker said...

BTW: As a child I was always told that Poland was always the victim and never the aggressor. In reality, that was not exactly that black-and-white. Let's try to be honest about it.

ge'ez said...

Anti-German "aggression" right after WWII?

Another way of looking at it might be reparations.

Somebody had to pay for the crimes of Nazi Germany.

BillD said...

Late to the party here, but just wanted to say it was fun coming across a blog entry in English about this topic as I was searching around while writing my own post about the Russian revisionism, the reactions (now, in August) in Germany, etc.

Great stuff, I've subscribed to your feed.

-- Bill Dawson, GermanHistoryBuzz.com

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Douglas A. Willinger said...

"It is clear that Poles were none participants in this process."

Not the Poles, but rather a certain Polish-Austrian individual and his far reaching organization, cited as the 'last of the great Roman generals':

http://continuingcounterreformation.blogspot.com/2009/07/wlodimir-ledochowski-kulturkampf_17.html

http://continuingcounterreformation.blogspot.com/2009/11/along-amber-path-7_7355.html

http://continuingcounterreformation.blogspot.com/2007/06/wlodimir-vladimir-ledochowski-mission.html

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