Former Kosciuszko Chair intern interviewed on Catholic TV in Poland

Ms. Karolina Dobrowolska, a former intern of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies (Fall 2013), was interviewed by the Polish Catholic TV station, TV Trwam [Perseverance]. Ms. Dobrowolska – who is a graduate of the University of Warsaw and an attorney at the “Ordo Iuris” Legal Institute – analyzed and argued against the decision of Bronisław Komorowski, the President of Poland, to implement the Council of Europe’s deceptively-labelledConvention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence as the law of the land.

Ms. Dobrowolska emphasized that the problem begins with the misleading name given to the convention/law, which should be called anti-woman and anti-family, not “anti-violence.” The label of the law is a manipulation. This allows the President and the so-called mainstream to sign off on the law by pretending that it is actually anti-violence. She further questioned President Komorowski’s assertion that he has “found nothing unconstitutional” about the law, a claim that, she pointed out, is contradicted by some legal experts, who argue that the law is essentially about jamming a radical and nefarious ideology down the throats of the Poles via executive fiat.

Dr. Chodakiewicz interviewed about Russia by PHC’s Intelligencer

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz – the current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies and IWP professor of history – has been interviewed by Patrick Henry College’s Intelligencer journal (Spring 2015). We are reproducing the text of the interview below:

  1. (Intelligencer) What are Russia’s strategic mindset and motivations and what lens should we use to interpret Russia’s actions?

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (MJC): The Kremlin’s strategic objective is to restore the Empire. History is the lens to interpret Moscow’s actions.

  1. If Russian citizens genuinely feel threatened by the West, as you said at the US Army Europe Senior Leaders Forum last month, how can the West work to build solidarity with the Russian populace (and thus undermine Russian propaganda)?

MJC: In a short run, this can be done by deploying counterpropaganda: overt and covert. Public diplomacy should be the best tool here. Setting up a Russian language TV station is a must. There should also be a cyber propaganda offensive. Social media need to be mobilized.  In the long run, we must set up a strategic goal. This entails rigorous analysis of the situation. First, is it desirable for the US to “build solidarity with the Russian” population? If yes, then how? The only way to do so is when they are convinced that they prefer someone else than the current denizens of the Kremlin. That means we would have to support a viable alternative and help with a regime change.

  1. Do the Russian people have concerns about the West and Western culture that are legitimate?

MJC: Sure. The excesses of the counter-cultural revolution that the 1960s spawned in the US generate legitimate fears all over the world, not only in Russia. Must Marxism-lesbianism be obligatory everywhere?

  1. How can Patrick Henry College students, as Westerners and as Christians, critique the problems of the current Western worldview without reinforcing anti-Western sentiment in Russia and elsewhere?

MJC: That’s easy. Stop depicting counter-cultural pathologies currently dominant in the West, including post-modernism and deconstruction, as the Western mainstream. The counter-culture has successfully sold itself as being “Western,” and that seriously damages America’s image as a decent nation.

  1. Is it credible to consider Russia a conventional military threat to Western Europe when their military spending is much lower than the combined spending of NATO nations (even absent the United States) and the area they have to defend is much larger? What about the unconventional military threat?

MJC: By “their” you mean “its” – love the mother tongue. Yes, it is credible to consider Russia as a conventional military threat. First, Russia’s military budget is a state secret, so how do you know what they spend? Second, combined spending of NATO nations basically means that America pays for everyone else in the alliance. Others hardly contribute what they should, if they do at all. Third, and most importantly, I do not see the will of any NATO member states to face Russia unless the United States stands on the front line. Fourth, Russia very much has the will to use force to take out whatever obstacles it deems necessary to get its way.

As far as the unconventional military threat, if you are referring to nuclear war, Russia is the only country in the world that can destroy the United States because the Kremlin inherited the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. If by the unconventional military threat you mean irregular warfare, or special operations, Moscow is extremely apt at it and must be considered extremely dangerous. It specializes in active measures, or all dirty tricks of political warfare short of violence, and covert action, including paramilitary operations. We are light years behind the Russian Federation in such capabilities.

  1. Since the end of the Cold War, there seems to be a noticeable lack of a worldwide big-picture “grand strategy” employed by the United States. Should the United States have a grand strategy, and what should it focus on?

MJC: The US pursued a grand strategy briefly during the 1980s; earlier it just cravenly pursued détente. America must have a grand strategy and it should focus on perpetuating our supremacy in the world. It should be based on the idea of free trade and cooperation with the likeminded, providing strong leadership to attract as many as possible to our banners, and propagandizing for a decent civilization which, for me, is inexorably tied to Christianity.

Dr. Chodakiewicz speaks on the Armenian Tragedy

On Saturday, March 28, The Institute of World Politics, Mastrapa Consultants and the Political Developments Research Center co-sponsored a conference on “The Armenian Genocide: A Century of Sorrow.” The event was moderated by Mr. Vilen Khlgatyan, IWP alumnus and Vice Chairman of the PDRC, and included a lecture by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz entitled “The Armenian Portent and Paradigm: Toward Re-Conceptualizing the Armenian Tragedy.”

The text of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s paper is available here: The Armenian Tragedy

Dr. Chodakiewicz participates in Russia collaborative analysis event at Johns Hopkins

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz – who is the current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, and a recognized expert on Central and Eastern Europe (i.e. the Intermarium region) – participated in a two-day (March 23 and 24, 2015) Asymmetric Operations Working Group (AOWP) collaborative analysis at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD. The topic of the analytical conference was “Assessing Russia’s Influence in the Baltic States.” The participants included US Army officers, academics, think-tank experts, and diplomats.

During the exercise, which consisted of the assessment of eight different hypotheses which might explain post-Soviet Russian behavior in the Intermarium, Dr. Chodakiewicz made several points.

He clarified that while Moscow may view itself as a “besieged fortress,” and therefore perceive its own aggressive moves as “defensive,” it is in reality acting offensively to reintegrate the post-Soviet zone under its own hegemony.

To the question of whether the Kremlin’s main aim is power retention or territorial expansion, Dr. Chodakiewicz responded that the two are not mutually exclusive: one must first capture and maintain power to implement one’s expansionist goals.

When the discussion shifted to the Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltic states – and their likely role as a pro-Moscow Fifth Column if/once the Kremlin decides to unleash the “Donbas separatist” proxy invasion scenario against Estonia, Latvia, and/or Lithuania – Dr. Chodakiewicz pointed out that it would be most accurate to refer to the “Russian minority” as a post-Soviet minority, adding that the alleged “discrimination of ethnic Russians” in the Baltics is primarily the anger of a previously privileged post-colonial elite with a suddenly “uppity” native population wishing to reestablish independent statehood (how dare they?).

Another problem was how to counter Russia’s propaganda offensive, to which Dr. Chodakiewicz proposed a three-pronged approach consisting of: public media, private media, and a supervised army of volunteer counter-trolls on the Russian internet.

He concluded that “Moscow’s influence is dangerous but elastic – sometimes waxing and sometimes waning – and therefore opportunistic and always ready to pounce.” In this context, he added, the local Central and Eastern European leaders most threatened by the Kremlin’s aggression want the US government to make its intentions in the region clear and unequivocal: if they feel they cannot rely on Washington to help defend them against Moscow, they will be tempted to bandwagon with Russia, and that would mean the loss of US allies in the Intermarium.

Dr. Chodakiewicz analyzes the Nemtsov murder

Who killed the Russian oppositionist, Boris Nemtsov?

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz – the holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies – seeks to answer this question in an analysis published last week by the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research (SFPPR).

The smoke had hardly cleared after the murder of the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, on February 27, celebrated in Russia, ironically, as “Spetznatz Day,” when the Kremlin and its mignons paraded a slew of conspiracy theories regarding the culprits. None of them included President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Russia’s strongman growled that the killing was “a provocation.” By whom?

For the next week, the Kremlin media and pundits obliged, feverishly hunting the suspects. A frenzy of speculation ensued. But it concentrated on the dual boogieman of terrorism and foreign intervention which has been the hallmark of the Russian President’s system of controlling Russia since the advent of his power. The campaign engulfed TV, the Internet, and newspapers. Water cooler gossip mongering reached epic proportions. It was a disinformation offensive, pure and simple. It mobilized support for Putin and obfuscated the issue, while tapping into the pre-existing prejudices and stoking the fires of paranoia.

To continue reading Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article, please visit the SFPPR website.

Paweł Styrna on the “besieged Kremlin mentality”

According to Kościuszko Chair research assistant Paweł Styrna, it is essential to understand the prism through which the rulers of post-Soviet Russia view the world. As he argues in his recently-published SFPPR News & Analysis article:

A paranoid “besieged fortress” mentality has characterized the foreign policy thinking of the Kremlin for centuries: from the era of the Muscovite Tsars to the days of the mass-murdering Bolshevik Commissars and their current post-KGB successors. Thus, when reading Nikolai Patrushev’s claims about America’s supposedly sinister, aggressive intentions vis-à-vis Russia, one may be very tempted to simply chuckle, roll one’s eyes, and dismiss the far-fetched Chekist allegations. Déjà vu!

We have heard all of this before, both from Moscow and her Western apologists and agents. These charges should not go unanswered, however, because they are part of Moscow’s worldwide propaganda campaignagainst America, Ukraine, and the Baltic states.

To continue reading, please visit the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research (SFPPR).

Moscow’s ‘Spetznatz Day’ is Every Day: Conspiracy, Assassination, and Disinformation

by Marek Chodakiewicz

Nemtsov was shot right outside of the Kremlin, a very secure place. Further, he often complained about his FSB tail, a surveillance squad, which shadowed him. Why didn’t they jump to the rescue? Also, a snow plow inched slowly behind the strolling couple, obscuring security cameras.

The smoke had hardly cleared after the murder of the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, on February 27, celebrated in Russia, ironically, as “Spetznatz Day,” when the Kremlin and its mignons paraded a slew of conspiracy theories regarding the culprits. None of them included President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Russia’s strongman growled that the killing was “a provocation.” By whom?

For the next week, the Kremlin media and pundits obliged, feverishly hunting the suspects. A frenzy of speculation ensued. But it concentrated on the dual boogieman of terrorism and foreign intervention which has been the hallmark of the Russian President’s system of controlling Russia since the advent of his power. The campaign engulfed TV, the Internet, and newspapers. Water cooler gossipmongering reached epic proportions. It was a disinformation offensive, pure and simple. It mobilized support for Putin and obfuscated the issue, while tapping into the pre-existing prejudices and stoking the fires of paranoia.

In essence, we were treated to the good old game of deception and denial. Whereas, in Soviet times, the Kremlin would have been able to cover up Nemtsov’s death, in the brave new world of the information revolution and social media, the post-Soviet leadership banks on the new fog of war: information overload. It is easier to bury the truth in the swamp of mendacious narratives. Hence, multiple stories and multiple messages serve the same goal – all power to the Kremlin. Since it is rather instructive to unveil the mastery of Putin’s propaganda machine and its themes, a brief review of alleged conspiracies follows.

Read more