Polish scholars discuss anti-communism and counterintelligence at IWP

On September 24, 2014, Dr. Karol Sacewicz and Dr. Tomasz Gajownik gave a presentation entitled, “Anti-Communism and Counterintelligence: Poland, 1918-1944.”  The lecturers are scholars affiliated with the Department of History and International Relations at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland.

Dr. Karol Sacewicz spoke on “The Home Army and the Soviets: Polish strategic planning from 1941-1944.” He discussed the relationship between the Polish Government and the Soviet regime during the Second World War. He stated that the aim of the Poles — both in occupied Poland and in the West — was to regain sovereignty and full independence. Dr. Sacewicz described the Polish Underground State as having two pillars: the political and administrative, and the military general command of the Home Army. The main dilemma facing the Polish underground, as the speaker emphasized, was how to extricate Poland from the clutches of the two occupiers — the Nazi Germans and the Soviet Communists — in light of the Red Army’s westward drive in 1944.

Dr. Tomasz Gajownik gave a presentation entitled “A Spy Joust: Poland and Lithuania,” about the military rivalry between the two Intermarium nations during the interwar period. The Polish-Lithuanian relationship was strained due to a conflict over the Wilno/Vilnius Region, which had a Polish majority but was nevertheless claimed by Lithuanian ethno-nationalists as the capital of their new state. The two nations did not have diplomatic relations but nevertheless wanted to know more about the other’s activities, movements, and plans. Spies and intelligence stations were thus created by both Warsaw and Kaunas. Dr. Gajownik stated that some Poles were spies for Lithuania. The two reasons for this were either monetary gains or revenge for the loss of family members during the 1918-1920 Polish-Lithuanian conflict.

Kerri Hagstrom

Dr. Chodakiewicz publishes two articles on Ukraine

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz —  Professor of History and the holder of IWP’s Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies — has been an important voice in the policy debate on the current crisis in Ukraine.  Thus, he has recently published two articles on the post-Soviet Russian aggression against the Intermarium nation of Ukraine for the News & Analysis section of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research (SFPPR) web hub.

In his September 15 article, Dr. Chodakiewicz challenged the claims of “realist” theory vis-à-vis Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he considers ahistorical, and therefore unrealistic.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s September 23 analysis emphasizes that the Kremlin is utilizing its “ambiguous” invasion of Ukraine to test the resolve of the West and NATO in general, and of the United States in particular. He also offers a series of policy options that Western leaders can and should adopt if they wish to prevent further aggression and destabilization in a strategic region of Eurasia.

Paul Goble: Disinformation consists of lies with a bodyguard of truth

In a lecture informed by numerous examples drawn from current affairs in eastern Europe, IWP adjunct professor Paul Goble discussed the nature of disinformation as explored in the work of the scholar Natalie Grant Wraga. At the event, hosted by The Institute of World Politics on September 17, 2014, Professor Goble described how Mrs. Wraga developed her firsthand knowledge of Soviet deception tactics. A prolific author born in Estonia, Mrs. Wraga fled the advancing Communists as a young woman and dedicated her life to the study of the Soviet Union and that regime’s efforts to shape foreign opinions. Although considered to be one of the foremost experts on Soviet deception, none of her works remain in print today.

Professor Goble noted that Mrs. Wraga made a sharp distinction between blatant propaganda — which observers can easily discount from coloring their judgments — and disinformation. He characterized Mrs. Wraga’s description of the latter as a demonstrable lie, or lies, surrounded by both truths and statements which the audience wants to believe. By studying the preferences and biases of various audiences, a disseminator of disinformation is able to tailor messages that successfully spread falsehood without alerting the audience to the presence of any information other than what they have already judged to be factual and reliable. Mrs. Wraga’s line-by-line analysis of numerous Soviet documents, said Professor Goble, shows that most effective disinformation contains “between 90% and 99% truth.”

Furthermore, Professor Goble provided contemporary examples to suggest that the Russian Federation continues to employ carefully-targeted messages laced with deceit about Russia’s objectives and adversaries that appear to be successful in altering the perceptions of both popular and elite audiences. He called attention to the diverse languages of the nations of eastern Europe, many of which are little-understood outside their homelands, thus allowing nuanced meaning in some messages to escape broader attention. He also stressed the failure of Western scholars to appreciate how the events of 1991 are perceived differently by some in Russia compared to the interpretation held by most scholars and policymakers in the West, and called attention to the fallacy of equating “media balance” with objectivity.

In a robust and illuminating question-and-answer session, Professor Goble commented on the comparative effectiveness of various methods of mass communication, saying that the “era of short- and long-wave radio is over,” and suggesting that US concentration on social media results in failures to reach sufficiently broad audiences (he noted that satellite television appears to offer untapped potential for reaching certain audiences). He also addressed questions concerning how the United States might develop a stronger base of foreign language expertise, and how government transparency in the United States is a strength in shaping foreign perceptions.

Russia’s Stake in Ukraine

You are cordially invited to a lecture

on the topic of
Russia’s Stake in Ukraine 

with 
David Satter
Former Moscow Correspondent, the Financial Times of London
Fellow, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Wednesday, October 1
2:00 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Parking Map

Register

Please contact sdwyer@iwp.edu with any questions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies.

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David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times of London, is the author of three books on Russia and the director of a documentary film. He has followed Russian events for almost four decades. In May, 2013, he became an adviser to Radio Liberty and in September, 2013, he was accredited as a Radio Liberty correspondent in Moscow. Three months later, he was expelled from Russia becoming the first U.S. correspondent to be expelled since the Cold War.

David Satter is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He has also been a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He teaches a course on Russian politics and history at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced Academic Programs and has been a visiting professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

David Satter’s first book was Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union, which was published in 1996. He made a documentary film on the basis of this book which won the 2013 Van Gogh Grand Jury Prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival. In addition to Age of Delirium, David Satter has written two other books about Russia, Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of the Russian Criminal State (2003) and It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past (2011). His books have been translated into six languages.

David Satter began his career in 1972 as a police reporter for the Chicago Tribune. In 1976, he became Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times. He worked in Moscow for six years. He then became a special correspondent on Soviet affairs for The Wall Street Journal, contributing frequently to the paper’s editorial page.

David Satter continues to write on Russia and the former Soviet Union for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. His articles and op-ed pieces have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The National Interest, National Review, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, National Review Online, The New Republic, The New York Sun, The New York Review of Books, Reader’s Digest and The Washington Times. He is frequently interviewed in both Russian and English by Radio Liberty, the Voice of America and the BBC and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, C-Span, the Charlie Rose Show and other television programs.

David Satter was born in Chicago in 1947 and graduated from the University of Chicago and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a B.Litt degree in political philosophy.

Anti-Communism and Counterintelligence: Poland, 1918-1944

You are cordially invited to a special event on the topic of

Anti-Communism and Counterintelligence: Poland, 1918-1944

Dr. Karol Sacewicz
will discuss
A Spy Joust: Poland and Lithuania in the interwar period

Dr. Tomasz Gajownik
will discuss
The Home Army and the Soviets: Polish strategic planning, 1941-1944 

Wednesday, September 24
2:00 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Parking Map

Register

Dr.Karol Sacewicz and Dr. Tomasz Gajownik are scholars affiliated with the Department of History and International Relations at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland.

Please contact sdwyer@iwp.edu with any questions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies.

K Chair Logo 2

Al-Jazeera quotes Prof. Chodakiewicz on Russia’s nuclear missile test

Following his recent Intermarium Series lecture, “Ukraine: The Summer is Over,” Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was interviewed on Ukraine and relations between post-Soviet Russia and the West by Yaser Alarami, the DC correspondent of Aljazeera Net. Dr. Chodakiewicz’s comments were incorporated into Mr. Alarami’s article, which was published in Arabic. Below are the questions Aljazeera Net asked Dr. Chodakiewicz about America’s position on Russia’s nuclear missile test:

  1. How do you think Washington sees this move? Is it a violation of the weapons of mass destruction agreements with Moscow?

MJC: Of course it is a violation of various agreements, as well as the international consensus. However, the White House will downplay it because to dwell too much on Putin’s brazen moves would underscore Obama’s impotence. It also shows that signing the New Start (Start III) treaty in 2010 was a serious miscalculation. So expect a little bit of noise and no consequences.

  1. Will this experiment push Washington to back off the sanctions imposed on Moscow? 

MJC: The sanctions imposed on the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine are rather symbolic. I therefore doubt that the nuclear test will impact Western sanctions. Washington understands that this is simply Moscow flexing its muscles, a part of the Great Game.

 

Please click here to read the article.

Fourth annual Kosciuszko Chair Military Lecture commemorates the Warsaw Uprising

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the tragic Warsaw Uprising. During this great feat of martial heroism, the Polish anti-Nazi, anti-Communist underground resistance fought the German occupiers of their homeland for sixty-three days — from 1 August to 3 October 1944. Predictably, the Soviet troops on the other side of the river Vistula stood by passively; Stalin hoped to destroy the Polish resistance with Nazi claws. The Western Allies did little more than airdrop some small arms and ammunition, most of which fell into German hands. As a result, the city of Warsaw was almost entirely destroyed, and a significant element of the Polish Home Army slaughtered. In addition, the Germans and their auxiliaries massacred approximately 200,000 civilians as they suppressed the uprising.

Yet, in spite of the toll and the defeat, the Poles generally celebrate the failed Warsaw Rising. In the fourth annual Kościuszko Chair Military Lecture, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz explained this phenomenon.

In this lecture, given on September 11, 2014 and entitled “The 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising: Why the Poles Commemorate Defeat,” Dr. Chodakiewicz offered personal experiences along with historical facts in order to indicate that Poles do not solely celebrate defeat but rather, the spirit of freedom within the context of defeat.

- Pawel Styrna and Anjani Shah