Alas, we have to start the New Year with, not Peace and Brotherhood among mankind, but no, sadly, this new diplomatic kerfuffle between Russia and Poland. The bone of contention, as always, is World War II. With each nation possessing its own beloved narrative of the war, the Russian version based on real historical archives; and the Polish version based on fantasy-fiction and raw emotion.
Loyal Readers may want to review this earlier post of mine, in which we discussed the opening of the Russian archives about WWII. The truth is out there, and yet the same bad actors continue to make up their own history, as it pleases them.
Round #1: The Euros Attack History
The Western Europeans started this fight! It started when the Euro-Parliament adopted a resolution that practically negated the entire post-war consensus, not to mention the Nuremberg Trials, which unambiguously assigned sole blame to Germany for the outbreak of WWII. The post-war German government accepted this blame. These outcomes ensured peace on the European continent for the next 50 years. But then the dissolution of the Soviet Union brought this history, and these outcomes into question. At least on the part of the Western European powers. Since then there has been an unremitting attempt to rewrite the history of the war, with the Soviet Union rather than Nazi Germany, playing the role of the bad guy. At the head of all of these endeavours — are the Poles. At least the Polish government. Playing, as always, the role of the “hyenas of Europe”, as Winston Churchill once deemed them.
So, long story short, with the hyena-Poles leading the fray, the Euros passed a very radical resolution that cast the Soviet Union, alongside Nazi Germany, as two equal instigators of WWII. This is just Step 1, nobody can doubt that in this “boiling frog” process, the next step is to whitewash Germany altogther and portray Stalin’s Russia as the sole aggressor in the war. A major obstacle to this, ironically, is the German government itself. Modern Germany, officially, still considers itself (or rather, its predecessor, Hitler’s government) the sole instigator guilty of starting WWII. But it’s not hard to imagine a later German revisionist government which starts to say that Hitler wasn’t so bad… Especially since the other European countries, and also the U.S., are trending in that direction.
Round #2: Putin fights back
Although he is no fan neither of Stalin, nor of the Soviet Union which, as a younger man, he helped to dismantle, Putin is adept enough to recognize a ferocious ideological attack when he sees one, especially one directed at the very existential core of modern Russia. A nation that he leads, and has led, back from the brink of extinction. So, Putin fought back (verbally) against this EU resolution, and in the process got in a few juicy zingers of his own! Here is what he said, or at least how it was reported:
The Euro-Parliament adopted a resolution which places Hitlerite Germany and the USSR on one plane, speaking directly of the Soviet Union’s so-called responsibility for starting World War II. This is, of course, complete nonsense! Putin has promised to publish an article refuting this thesis.
Then, returning to the theme at one of his expanded collegials with the Ministry of Defense, Putin mentioned the name of Józef Lipski, the Polish Ambassador to Nazi Germany from 1934-1939. Recall that the Russian President is currently engaged in some historical research, preparatory to publishing a monograph; this is probably how he came upon Lipski’s name. Putin said that Lipski once promised to raise a statue to Adolph Hitler should the latter succeed in deporting European Jews to Africa. Putin went on to call Lipski a “bastard” (сволочь) and an anti-Semitic swine (свинья): “A bastard, an anti-Semitic swine, there is no other way to describe him. He was totally in solidarity with Hitler in [the latter’s] anti-Semitic intentions. And moreover, even promised to set up a monument [to Hitler] in Warsaw, to reward the latter for his mockery of the Jewish people.”
Putin’s anti-Lipski remarks sent the Polish government into a frenzy, the likes of which we see all too often among the paper-thin-skinned Poles. We shall see how they responded, and how their captive Jewish Rabbis responded, but first a little fact-checking. Because, as we shall see, the captive Rabbis say that Lipski’s words about the statue were taken out of context and that Mr. Putin was being terribly unfair to a Polish patriot and hero…
[to be continued]