Monday, February 04, 2008

Katyn – it was the Nazis what done it!

A strange thing is happening at Wikipedia. Or perhaps it is not so strange.

I just went on the site to get some copyright free photographs for something I was doing, when I noticed that the first sentence of the entry about the Katyn massacres read:

The Katyn massacre, also the Katyn Forest massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, 'Katyń crime'), was a mass execution of Polish citizens ordered by Nazi authorities in 1940.

By the Nazi authorities? Maybe it was just a typo? Strange, especially as the rest of the article goes on about how the Soviets were responsible.

Even stranger – I went down stairs to get some wine, and when I came back the wiki article had changed:

The Katyn massacre, also the Katyn Forest massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, 'Katyń crime'), was a mass execution of Polish citizens ordered by Soviet authorities in 1940.

The word ‘Nazi’ had changed to ‘Soviet’ in the ten minutes it took to go and get a bottle of merlot.

How fluid history has become since the advent of wikipedia type sites, when anyone can get in and screw around with what someone else had written.

See here which word wiki is using at the time of you reading this.

But who could be screwing around with the Katyn entry? Well, it might be Russian ‘historian’ Aleksandr Shirokorad. reports:

The Russian Niezawisimaja Gazieta daily claims that the Soviet NKVD secret police could not possibly have been responsible for the mass murder of over 20,000 Polish officers in 1940. The author of the article Aleksandr Szirokorad claims that the massacre could not have been the doing of the NKVD since the ropes used for tying the victims' wrists, and the bullets used to kill them, were not those used by the NKVD. He also claims that the shooting technique used was apparently alien to the NKVD.

Contrary to most historical opinion, the murders, claims Szirokorad, must have been the work of the Nazis [that old chestnut raises its ugly head once more, to mix metaphors].

There has already been a series of four articles in the Russian press questioning the truth about Katyn recently, the last one being inspired by the Oscar nomination for Andrzej Wajda's film Katyn. Moscow has refused to define the murders in Russia and Ukraine as ‘genocide’ or regard them as war crimes.

I meet quite a few Russians when I go to Egypt for holidays in the winter. Nice, intelligent people, some of them. But many seem to be psychologically unable to come to terms with their Stalinist past. The real low point for them was during the Yeltsin years, when the country was being humiliated by a bandit capitalist economy and a leader who was often very, very drunk.

The only good thing they have to say about poor old Yeltsin was that he appointed Putin to be his successor.

I also got the impression that they think that Yeltsin, in some ways, and to some of the more nationalist, was a worse leader than even Joe Stalin. OK, Stalin was a bad man, but he didn’t humiliate them like The Drunk.

I wonder how many Russian members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences there are? If there are any, I suppose they won’t be voting for Wajda’s movie about Katyn, a massacre in which some of his family died.

But I don’t think Wajda is going to need their help, as New York Times readers are putting the film as (87% at the time I looked last) favourite to win Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Vote here yourself and annoy a Russian 'historian'.


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Anonymous said...

This film will never receive an Oscar, for if it did it would highlight Poland’s victimization and the existence of the genocide perpetrate against Poland by it neighbours. The western media does not have room for more than one genocide and Poland has few friends in Hollywood therefore I suggest we don’t get our hopes up for an Oscar. Also any bit of influence the Russians can exercise will be used to make sure this doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

You need only to visit a library in the west to see the active erasure of Polish history to the point that the non-Pole would be excused in believing that there were no Christian Poles involved with Polish history during the 1939-1945 period or for that matter ever. The typical Polish section contains a dozen books, count on 8 of 12 being about the holocaust and the Jewish experience in Poland.

Currently the western media has been re-writing history with such terms as “Polish Concentration Camps” and replacing all mention of Polish struggle against the Nazis with “Polish acts of anti-Semitism” in order to vilify and dis-credit the notion that Poles were victims of a Genocide.

Millions of our people died at the hands of the Soviets and their helpers.

Anonymous said...

Yea, Putin has budgeted megarubles and sent out goons to stop Katyn from getting an Oscar. And Cuba has already been approached about a new missle base.

beatroot said...


Anonymous said...

It's not a rational argument based on science, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

ugh... merlot

Anonymous said...

You need only to visit a library in the west to see the active erasure of Polish history...
... Currently the western media has been re-writing history

I work in the Western media and haven't been to a library in about seven years. What's in libraries is not really of any relevance to me. Re-writing history? I'd rather read bonkers blog comment like this...

beatroot said...

Merlot is cool. Better than cabernet Ozzy boredom.

But I do not agree the west is on some erasure of Polish history trip. The main historical 'line' in history departments is more to the Norman Davies direction. The NYT thing is just ignorance, not anti-Polish.

I think I need a bit more detail in your argument to come to the same conclusion as you.

So come on - dazzle me with some history.

Anonymous said...

Khatyn in Belarus????????

A uniquely Russian/Soviet deception meant to be a masterstroke of disinformation concerning the Katyn massacre. As we know from recent history the Belarusian region suffered from many atrocities in WW2. During the German occupation 5300 communities were subject to destruction and massacre of civilians.

By “complete coincident” they chose the community of Khatyn in Belarus in 1969 it was named the national war memorial of the Byelorussian SSR. Thus the leadership of the Soviet Union could parade foreign dignitaries through the Khatyn massacre site and sow the seeds of confusion, a calculated policy of disinformation.

The Russian state controlled media, these days that means nearly all of it, is instructed to deny Russian/Soviet responsibility for the Katyn massacre.

Boris you need to confess and atone for the crimes of your people only then we can start on the path to Slavic unity.

Unknown said...

I have exactly the same experience with a very intelligent Russian chemist I know.
On all other topics one can have interesting discussions with him, but he seems mentally unable to admit any wrongdoings by Russia. To him Putin is a great hero and the communist leaders did what the did because of the Americans trying to kill Russia.

The changes to the Katyn-article was done by someone in Berkley, CA. The revised version was online during 12 minutes before changed back.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nowak: It was nice of you to write more about Khatyn than the mere mention of it in the Katyn article in Wikipedia.

Crimes of my people or an unelected government? Or even a rigged elected government...

When are you going to confess and atone for the crimes of Jaruzelski? I take it you are wearing a hairshirt?

If Wajda and Katyn get the Oscar, will you you experience any victimology shrinkage?

Anonymous said...

On the fluidity of Wikipedia...

A good page for tracking what's changing most/fastest at any one time on Wikipedia is

Can act as an interesting touchpaper of what hot in current affairs. Or vandalism.

To be taken with a pinch of salt obviously.... as with all Wikipedia entries, especially at certain times ;-)

beatroot said...

Thanks pinko and mj for the update on the strange antics on the wiki pages. And MJ shows that what many Poles and others say about many Russians - nice people, shame about the history.

When are you going to confess and atone for the crimes of Jaruzelski?

There is a constant noisy babble on that subject here, Boris. Poles are always accusing each other of crimes gone by.

But you still have not dazzled me with a counter history of Katyn. I really am interested in what you have to say about what 'really happened back then'.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that Mr. Nowak does most of the accusing?

What happened at Katyn is obvious enough. Let those responsible apologize and repent. The Russian people are not living better and did not gain any advantage from the massacre.

beatroot said...

WEll, indeed, quite the reverse. But I am still wanting to know what you mean by:

It's not a rational argument based on science, that's for sure.

And another question: why do some in your country think the Nazis did it? Why do they still think that?

Anonymous said...

Quite the reverse? I thought I was clear enough in acknowleging Soviet responsibility.

Some people believe what they are told to or expected to believe.

Why do some Poles think they didn't benefit by the dispossesion of Jewish property during WWII?

Why do some Brits think they simply shouldered the white man's burden during the era of British colonialism?

There are all kinds of party lines. Pro-GM foods. Anti-GM foods. And so on. Ideology trumps science in either advent. And consequently, truth is a casualty.

Anonymous said...

Boris said: “The Russian people are not living better and did not gain any advantage from the massacre.”

I agree with you that the Russian people gained no benefit from this crime; also I acknowledge the suffering of the Russians under communism was certainly
proportional to everyone else.

My point of view on Russia and the notion of collective quit is not fashion by a single moment in Russian history but by the long pattern of behaviour. Have we Poles seen much difference from you Russians under the Tsars, the communists or now the current authoritarians? To us it’s the same old belligerence and imperialist dogma.

On the idea of collective guilt, is it not logical to suggest that your rulers did all the evil by themselves. We have to ask ourselves why a people able enough to reach out into space and courageous enough to repel Nazis invaders can not find a path that would allow them to live as free men and women under democracy and the rule of law? What is it in the Russian heart that continues to take comfort from variations of autocracy?

beatroot said...

Why do some Brits think they simply shouldered the white man's burden during the era of British colonialism?

That comes from the ideology of Empire. But I don't see many historians today claiming that they 'shouldered the burden.' So why do some Russian historians continue to do so now?

Anonymous said...

Somewhat similarly, I ask if Russians have not seen a particular pattern on the part of Poles in terms of going out of the way whenever possible to serve the designs of western monopoly capitalist interests, more often than not without securing attendant or even any national benefits.

In the case of Russia, I would say that widespread economic backwardness (and of course corruption) has long been very much the basis of dependence on political authoritarianism.

But this will continue as long as the west insists on making Russians adversaries.

And I think it is fair to maintain that Russians shouldered most of the burden of WWII (even as Stalin was also responsible for much of the misery of those days).

beatroot said...

Somewhat similarly, I ask if Russians have not seen a particular pattern on the part of Poles in terms of going out of the way whenever possible to serve the designs of western monopoly capitalist interests, more often than not without securing attendant or even any national benefits.

That is true, but then, they are a capitalist country now and they want to get into all the western structures. They do that because a) that is capitalism...which is crap but not as crap as Stalinism...and b) because they want to protect themselves from Russia, which has been, to put it politely, a pain in the arse in Poland for over 200 years.

But you change the subject. Why are Russian historians still of the mindset where they see nazi crimes when they were, in fact, Soviet ones?

Anonymous said...

Boris please explain what is meant by “the designs of western monopoly capitalist interests” and “the west insists on making Russians adversaries” in more detail.

Anonymous said...

"That comes from the ideology of Empire. But I don't see many historians today claiming that they 'shouldered the burden.' So why do some Russian historians continue to do so now"

The answer is simple, the fall of the USSR hurt Russia's pride. The Russia that has emerged from that is very much imperialist (like the USSR) nation, Poland is their "sphere of influence" to use a 19th century phrase which Russia has brought back, as is much of the former communist states. Polish, Estonian, Lithuanian etc. sovereignty is not recognised by Russia which feels that it is entitled to dominate these regions. There can be no peace until Russia adjusts its arrogant attitude or until the time comes when commodity prices fall and Russia simply does not matter..

Anonymous said...

On Wikipedia vandalism. I was studying for my final the other day and found this on wiki:

"Casimir Pulaski Day is a national day in Nazi regions on the first Monday of every March to commemorate Casimir Pulaski, a Revolutionary War cavalry officer born March 4, 1747 in Poland as Kazimierz Pułaski. He was a Polish mass murderer. He is known for his contributions to the US military at the time by training its soldiers and cavalry. The day is celebrated mainly in Nazi areas that have large Polish populations."

It was quickly changed back...

By the way, the Russians are the best at playing redutio ad Hitlerum.

Look it up on wiki -- if you trust it.

Anonymous said...

Polish sovereignty is not recognized by Russia?

Poland is in the Russian sphere of influence?

And yet American missiles are going to be installed on Polish soil?

Let's not forget, too, that Poland is about the size of the state of New Mexico in the US.

"There can be no peace" ? ? ?

beatroot said...

There can be no peace until Russia adjusts its arrogant attitude or until the time comes when commodity prices fall and Russia simply does not matter..

Well, energy prices are not going to drop until they get their fingers out and create more nuclear power plants. Which won;t be for a generation...

On the missile shield, Boris, Poles do not support this wither. The only hope there is if Obama becomes president, as all the rest of them support the idea.

Anonymous said...

But the government, much more freely elected than in Russia, does support the American missiles and military bases.

beatroot said...

It does. Most of the parties do. This is the position of the political class in Poland. They have thrown everything in with the US, as protection against any more funny business from Moscow. It's called realpolitik. Poles do not trust Russia. They felt better when Russia was in ruins ten years ago. But now we have the oil boom, Moscow has got more confident and Warsaw feels threatened again. Best Putin can do is to try and calm things down.

Anonymous said...

More likely it ensures more funny business from Putin. And it ensures Putin's hegemony.

Anonymous said...

"It" meaning the missile bases.

Anonymous said...

To me, Russia is like the bear in an old joke:
A bear meets a rabbit in the forest.
- Hey, rabbit, you have a cigar?
- Sure, here you are.
- Hey, these are filtered cigars, and I want a cigar without filter!
He gets so angry he beats the rabbit 'till he's unconcious.
On the next day they encounter each other again.
- Hey, rabbit, you have a cigar?
- Sure, here is a cigar, no filter this time.
- But I want a cigar with filter!
And he beats the rabbit again.
On the next day, there is another encounter.
- Hey, rabbit, you have a cigar?
- Sure. With or without filter?
- ...Rabbit, I see you're not wearing your hat again!
Guess what he does next.

And it is somewhat disturbing, that current Russian goverment has seemingly chosen Poland as their favourite rabbit.

There is actually a number of significant technical differences between a rocket and an anti-rocket (a rocket designed to take down other rockets). So if someone really does put nukes at that base, someone else will find out. The location is well known, taking pictures of a military installation isn't illegal anymore, and if someone decides to bring some dangerous stuff to Poland after all, they won't announce themselves on the news anyway.

As for assaches, it's not 200 years, it's 450. There have been Polish-Russian wars pretty much since Russian tzardom was established. Ivan the Terrible himself got his ass kicked in this fashion.

But the saddest thing is, the film in question is a personal matter for Wajda. He's been making films for most of his life, some of them very good, and now that his career is at an end, he decided to create something for himself. It's not his attempt at propaganda, it's a very old artist's act of self expression. And now everyone is trying to turn it into politics, as if the Katyn issue was something brand new.

As for the poll at NYT's page, there has been some mobilization among Net users in Poland. "Let's help Wajda out" and so on. That's why Katyn is getting so many votes right now. We Poles love foreign recognition, even if it's something as irrelevant as some internet survey that has no real impact with the actual award.

michael farris said...

"And it is somewhat disturbing, that current Russian goverment has seemingly chosen Poland as their favourite rabbit."

Tell the Chechens that.

Poland makes a nice target for current Russian bellicose rumblings for two reasons.

a) Poland is part of NATO and the EU and is therefore beyond attack (barring geopolitical world collapse). The Russian government can make threatening noises and at the same time has a good excuse for not following through (which it really doesn't want to do anyway). It's a little like fighting guests on Jerry Springer who talk tough because they know the bouncers will keep them and their opponents apart.

b) It takes two to tango. The Russian government knew it could trust the former Polish government to overreact returning demogoguery for demogoguery (justifying more empty growling from the Russian side). Hostile public assertions served both Putin and the Kaczynskis. So far the new government is not playing along.

Anonymous said...

Does everybody here think that Wajda's movies are all that great?

I've seen about half a dozen and for the most part haven't been all that impressed.

My guess is that he and his flick will get the award though. There are so many Polish cinematographers in Hollywood that their vote alone could probably carry him over the top.

Talk of the Russians having any influence in regard to the Oscars is rather silly, too, methinks.

Some Jews who vote may have their predispositions against Poland but I don't think those feelings will necessarily extend towards Wajda or the subject matter of the film. Same folks aren't too fond of the Russians, either.

I will honestly be very surprised if Katyn doesn't get the award.

beatroot said...

I don't think the vote will have any national meaning at all. I was only looking for an ending for the post, so I dragged that in. And the NYT poll is just fun. But I think it will get the Oscar, too.

Geez - Wajda is not to everyone's taste in Poland, either. He is the kind of director you are expected to like, however.

And two zonkingly good posts from Jacek and Mike. Yes, the film has been politicized, but it is very much a 'Polish film', like all his films are. So I think it is a little puzzling that he should bleat that his is just an artistic statement, when many of his iconic films had a cultural, national message, (if not political sometimes) as well.

Russia's power this time comes from the high value of something the west wants: energy. In the Cold War, they were trying to give us something we didn't want.

That's progress.

Anonymous said...

Michael, Chechens are starting in a different competition, because they are fighting back (well, not anymore, but they sure didn't sell their blood cheaply). The rabbit from the joke was trying to be friendly.

Poland isn't exactly avoiding confrontation (think of Ukraine or Georgia), but professional diplomacy is at least trying to keep a civil tongue (unless we count the infamous Ms. Fotyga as a professional diplomat, which I think would be an insult to all the world's professional diplomats).

I wouldn't treat Katyn the movie as an expression of strictly artistic nature. I think it's more of a complaint. Wajda made that film, because the topic was bugging him personally. There is a difference between "Ashes and Diamods" or "Kanal" on one hand and "Katyn" on the other. Those old films used to seed doubts and raise questions. They were highly controversial in Poland, because they told things many people didn't want to hear. The new one is just a lecture. That's why I think Wajda made it for himself. He made a film he needed to watch.

YouNotSneaky! said...

I've had the Katyn page on my watch list since like 2003 and did some minor edits on it. Basically there's a few really good Polish editors - professional historians who worked on it and keep an eye on it. Then there's like a couple (i.e. 2) Russian editors who've tried to "balance" the article by editing it to make it seem as if there is controversy as to who is responsible for the crime. It didn't work. Then there's a few more Russian editors who just insist that the word "Soviet" be used instead of the word "Russian" - a reasonable point and the one I think Boris is trying to make.

Then there's the trolls who occasionally try to change the article to remove all blame from the Soviets. Strangely enough (or perhaps not), most of the time these do not seem to be Russians, but rather unreconstructed Stalinist professors or something from US and UK who still toe the party line laid out by Uncle Joe 60 years ago. If this last edit was made by a guy from Berkley I can probably guess who it was.

michael farris said...


Yes, of course references to Katyn should use the term 'Soviet' rather than 'Russian'. It's far more accurate.

Wajda - At his best there's some great stuff, but his best seems mostly a long time ago. One of my favorites (perhaps favorite while watching it in the theater but it loses a lot on tv) was the slow, idyllic (but caustic) Panny z Wilka, which was not overtly (or covertly?) political.

But I've avoided both Pan Tadeusz and Zemsta (I'm not the target audience for verse plays).

Anonymous said...

Reading some reviews...

Noticed it wasn't just that "some of his family died" in Katyn, but Wajda's father was murdered there. And his mother and he did not know for sure of their father's fate for decades. It seems he tries to create an alternative past (and demise) for himself through the character Tadeusz. One review points out, "Unlike Wajda himself, Tadeusz prefers death and truth to a life lived in the shadow of historical falsehood." (Anne Appelbaum in the NY Review of Books).

Wajda is now 81. He apparently explained that he made the film for young people, since most of those who lived through the war are now dead.

And this from the Applebaum review:

"But there are also pitfalls inherent in trying to make patriotic movies and Wajda, sometimes through no fault of his own, ran into a few of them. Purely by accident, Katyn was premiered in the middle of an unexpectedly early Polish parliamentary election campaign. Partly as a result, the leaders of the political party then in power-- officially named Law and Justice, better known as the party of the identical Kaczynski twins--was accused of attempting to manipulate the nation's sudden interest in Katyn for its own purposes. With no more than a couple of weeks' notice, the government suddenly decided it would hold a major Katyn commemorative ceremony, with several elected officials given starring roles, as if the legacy of Katyn belonged to their political party and not any other. The Katyn families protested, as did Wajda. The date of the ceremony was changed. But the ugly image --of politicians vying to take advantage of the emotions raised by the movie--stuck. "

And please note, Boris: "The Russian democrat, human rights activist, and ex-dissident Sergei Kovalev, who attended a showing of the film at the Polish embassy in Moscow, afterward called on Poles to "forgive us" for the murder."

And about Russian hijinks:

"Following (the Russian news article claiming that the responsibility for the massacre remained dubious)perhaps it is not surprising that a few days later, Polish commentators took offense at the fact that Katyn was not a contender at the Venice film festival. Some wondered darkly whether this was a reflection of secret Russian influence over the jurors; others took it as yet another sign that foreigners don't understand Polish history, or don't appreciate Polish suffering, or otherwise discriminate against Poland. In fact, Katyn simply appeared too late to make the festival's cut-off date, and will probably be shown in Venice next year. But for a day or two, before this technical explanation became clear, the nation's insecurities were on sudden, prominent display.

Also, the British government for quite some time parroted the Soviet line that the Nazis were responsible for the massacre.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting...

Anne Applebaum's husband is Radek Sikorski, now Minister of Foreign Affairs.

She was (is?) a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.

Ah. Michael Novak, George Weigel, Father Richard Neuhaus.

She wrote "the" book on the Soviet Gulags.

Sikorski was also associated with AEI and served as an economic advisor to Rupert Murdoch investing in Poland.

Small world.

beatroot said...

Also, the British government for quite some time parroted the Soviet line that the Nazis were responsible for the massacre.

Hardly a shock, Geez, as during and after the war the UK had its tongue so far up Stalin's %$^$#@ that it was tickling his tonsils.

Anonymous said...

Applebaum is also a weekly columnist for the Washington Post.

Not sure now exactly her "title," if any, with the AEI, though, but birds of a feather...

Now, I'll better understand Polish decisions to allow the missle base, supporting Israel no matter what it does, staying in Iraq, etc.

Was the UK engaging in an endoscopic or colonoscopic procedure?

beatroot said...

The second one...

Anonymous said...

Will the Russian bear devour our Mr. Tusk when he visits the Kremlin or will his Russian hosts emasculate him on national television in order to remind him and everyone else of his status as a mere vassal of the Muscovites?

Big political risks for Tusk if he is perceived to have mishandles this trip, no real risk for Putin whichever way he decides to play it.

Perhaps a gift DVD of Wojda’s film would break the ice.

beatroot said...

Well, yes. Many of the newspapers thunk its a risk for Tusk, too. One suggested that Putin might well snub him altogether. Now that really would put the cat among the bears.

Anonymous said...

Will Sikorski be going with Tusk?

Anonymous said...

BTW, I came across your Polonia radio site about the Gross discussion in Krakow.

Neat that Gross was there with Marek Edelman and Michnik. Shows that folks in Krakow know what they're doing in putting on such an event.

The cafe idea is good but there was a bit too much background noise on the podcast.

I wish the radio recap went into a bit more detail about who said what, too.

sonia said...

There are some parallels between Polish reactions to Jedwabne (or Kielce), and Russian reactions to Katyn.

Nie rob drugiemu co tobie nie mile.

Russians go nuts when Poles try to make them feel guilty for Communist crimes. Poles, of all people, should understand that, since they themselves hate it when Jews try to make them feel guilty about Nazi crimes...

Anonymous said...

Sonia said: “There are some parallels between Polish reactions”

Only superficially in that there was anxiety and discomfort with the issue but no attempts on the part of the state at denial. The Russians failed badly to make their “big lie” work for them, finally confessed their guilt and now they’re backtracking. I expect any day now to hear a statement from the Kremlin suggesting extra-terrestrials did it.

The other major differences are the Russian refusal to investigate and prosecute those responsible or to call the crime genocide.

I have little sympathy for the Russians; they are in the process of glorifying the soviet past they therefore should assume the collective responsibility for the crimes they committed against other peoples. By glorifying the soviet past they have proclaimed continuity between today’s Russia and the old Soviet Union.

Already the “new” Russia has committed genocide in Chechnya (that makes it twice with that group in the last 100 years), it certainly can be said that the Russians are creatures of habit.

Meg Q said...

"Now, I'll better understand Polish decisions . . . supporting Israel no matter what it does, staying in Iraq, etc."

Well, on the Israel question, I would think that that has less to do with any putative influence of American Catholic "neo-con" intellectuals and, um, perhaps, more to do with what Sonia mentions, drawn out.

On Iraq, Poland is withdrawing all troops by the end of October:
Radek Sikorski was just here in Canada talking with our defense and foreign affairs ministers about Afghanistan, where Poland will be boosting its support, also loaning Canada 2 helicopters (Canada has had serious procurement problems over the last 15-20 years - loooooooong story - and has been begging allies for the loan of about 10 helis for ops in Afghanistan).

FYI, Sikorski hasn't been with AEI since 2005, and Applebaum never has been - hardly surprising, as she's a working journalist, as opposed to opinion columnist. Though I don't have a problem with AEI. They're as mainstream as Brookings - with which they have a joint project.

Re: the film, personally, I was shocked that neither "Persepolis" (which is up for animated film - but "Ratatouille" will win) nor "4 Months" made it. Among the 5 films that made the cut, "Katyn" does have a good chance, but all of the films have a strong appeal in certain ways. "12" is a revisit of a seminal American story, only with Russian-Chechen tensions instead of American class and ethnic problems. And Mikhalhov, the director, won for 1994's "Burnt by the Sun", which was a critical and commerical (art-house) success here in North America. Then there's "Beaufort", a sympathetic look at Israeli soldiers in Lebanon - well, hey, we all know about Israel, America, Jews, Hollywood, etc., etc. - do I have to draw you a diagram?


A lot of film-follower types are complaining b/c films like "La Vie en Rose" (which was okay) didn't get nominated, but I think this is a strong group, and IF "Katyn" doesn't win, it will be no embarrassment. But, as I said, I think it has a good chance - Academy voters love a) foreign-film period pieces and b) misty, tragic WWII films. Of course, I believe you could also say this of the Austrian entry, "The Counterfeiters". Hmmmm . . . which leaves "Mongol", the story of Genghis before he was Khan. There'd better be some good, Lawrence of Arabia-quality horseback riding shots in that film. If it's all young Genghis being emo before he attends a medieval Tony Robbins conference in the last half-hour and awakens the Khan within, I am out of there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

AEI is mainstream to the Cheney administration, not to to rest of the American body politic.

Just because someone has not been with AEI for x years doesn't mean they still don't maintain an ideological allignment and working relationships of all sorts. AEI also publishes and widely disseminates Applebaum's screeds.

There was talk about stopping the missle bases when Tusk won. So much for that. Now, I won't be at all surprised if the Polish government reverses itself about pulling out of Iraq. And yes, Poland is upping its military ante in Afghanistan because the US has ignored the reemergence of the Taliban for the years of its involvement in Iraq.

Sikorski and Applebaum are very much tied in with the Catholic neo-cons. You can certainly argue about the legitimacy of that one way or the other. But their connections are obvious.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Applebaum's regular columns in the Washington post are most definately opinion pieces.

Richie D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richie D said...

BTW--- The lead investigator in the 1950s Congressional investigation of Katyn was ROMAN PUCINSKI, a first-generation Polish-American who served in the WWII Army Air Corps, as a reporter for the Chicago SUN-TIMES, and a Congressman from Chicago.

Czesz jego pamiec

Anonymous said...

It is surprising to think that people would have though that there was going to be changes in Polish foreign policy with the election of Tusk other than style. The same issues and problems continue to exist. There has been no major shift in direction since 1989 and other than style; there has otherwise been continuity.

It is amazing to note that Tusk became the flavour of the month just batting his eyelashes at Angela in the absence of a single policy change.

The desire for the missile base and some sort Nato base is an issue of physiological importance to both Poland and Russia, the technical ramification of the missile represent a zero change to the geo-strategic position of everyone concerned. To the Russians it represents a physical reality confirming to all their loss of influence in Poland. To Poland it goes a long way in dealing with the insecurity about Russia. The only thing that can stop the missiles now is if congress shuts the project done because of funding issues.

I expect Poland will exit Iraq but increase its commitment to the Afghan Mission.

It’s a shame Europe can’t get it’s act together on foreign policy and defence, and if you have any doubts or need a reminder just watch the Kosvo issue turn into another hat in hand appeal to the US for help.

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Katyn remains an actual crime against the Polish people. The standard response of Commies and twits are if you do not like actual history lets make a movie.

The fact that the movie is entirely
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the us media is pretty awful in its coverage of venezuela. i don't really like chavez, but, it's kind of embarrassing when the WSJ and economist lie about economic growth projections because a socialist leading higher economic growth than has been seen for 30 years simply does not fit with the economic model they believe in.

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katyn-shmatyn. katyn was a tragedy but that was 70 years ago. i wish east europe would stop boring the world with its sad but not all-too-thrilling history and get down to building roads, schools, etc - and paying its workforce at least as much as unemployed get in germany. all this twaddle leads nowhere. someone here wrote poles always bicker about past crimes - they wouldn't if they had more of a present. i know, i'm one.

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