New air disaster, same old post-Soviet approach

When, on July 17, I first heard about the tragic shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 — and the death of the 298 passengers and crew members on board, over eastern Ukraine — I thought of the heart-wrenching anguish the families of the victims must be experiencing. Simultaneously, I felt a disconcerting sense of déjà vu. After all, there is a long list of shot-down aircraft and suspicious plane crashes associated with Moscow: to name only the downing by the Soviets of the Korea Airlines Flight 007 in 1983; or the Smolensk Plane Crash of April 2010 in post-Soviet Russia.

The latter case — which saw the death of the president of Poland and his entire entourage (96 members of Poland’s political and military elite in total) in highly suspicious circumstances — shares a striking amount of similarities with the shooting-down of MH 17 over Hrabove (near the Russian border) by Moscow-supported Russian separatists. The differences between the two aerial disasters (Smolensk and MH 17) notwithstanding, the post-Soviets behaved as if they were following the same script.

Thus, in both cases the Russians contaminated the crash site, moving the scattered aircraft parts and desecrating the remains of the victims, which were unceremoniously thrown onto trucks by separatist fighters. Adding insult to injury, the post-Soviets despoiled the bodies of the passengers and utilized their credit card information. Thus, even if we accept the explanation that the Malaysian aircraft was shot down by accident, we should still note that the cynical disregard for human life and dignity — implanted in Rus’ by the Mongols, and exacerbated to an unprecedented degree by the Soviet communists — has not changed.

In any case, I am convinced that an independent international investigation of the MH 17 disaster is absolutely necessary. As suggested by a former Interior Minister of Poland, such an investigation should be coupled with an independent international investigation of the Smolensk Crash of April 2010. After all, many questions remain, in spite of the passage of four years. Since the post-Soviets have now demonstrated clearly to the entire civilized world the level of barbarism they are capable of, it is worth reexamining Smolensk to ensure that similar tragedies do not reoccur in the future.

Paweł Styrna
Researcher, The Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies

Note: The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent the views of The Institute of World Politics. They are solely the author’s, and are based on more than a decade of intensive study of Russian and Soviet history.  

 

Dr. Chodakiewicz continues European lecture circuit

As Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz continues his European lecture circuit and promoting his new book on post-communism, we are pleased to share the videos of some of his presentations below.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s brief speech against the Polish inferiority complex in front of ca. 3,000 people at a Christian nationalist demonstration against government corruption:

Discussing his new book in Tczew, Poland:

In Tarnów, Poland:

In Nowa Huta, Poland:

In Warsaw, the capital of Poland (along with journalist Mr. Paweł Lisicki, historian Dr. Antoni Dudek, and political scientist Dr. Tomasz Żukowski):

In London:

New video recordings will be posted as they become available.

Independence Day and US support for Solidarity in Poland: A lecture by Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz

On July 4, 2014, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz gave a lecture on the tradition of freedom in the US and Poland, the history of Independence Day in the United States, and support given to the Solidarity movement by Ronald Reagan’s administration.  The speech was given in Gdańsk, Poland, next to a monument of Saint John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan.

A video of lecture, recorded by TV Solidarność Gdańsk, can be found below.

Strategic Value of Poland and the Intermarium

The following article by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was published by the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research. The whole article can be found here.

STRATEGIC VALUE OF POLAND AND THE ‘INTERMARIUM’
The White House’s erratic, confused, and rudderless foreign policy endangers America’s Polish friend, and, indeed, other NATO members, putting Warsaw and the rest, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, also known as the Intermarium, lands between the Black and Baltic seas, on a collision course vis-à-vis Berlin and Moscow. This is plainly obvious in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

Gdańsk - Poland’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski is the latest foreign leader to pass a vote of no confidence on President Barack Obama’s conduct of international policy. Media reports almost completely missed this salient point focusing, instead, on the Polish official’s Hollywood-style profanity, which had been secretly recorded and leaked to the press. Under the current administration, the alliance with America “is worthless,” according to the Pole.

Sikorski, a staunch Transatlanticist, a reliable friend of America, former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and sometime roving correspondent for National Review, laments that, despite his nation’s bending over backwards, Washington has been an unreliable ally lately. The White House’s erratic, confused, and rudderless foreign policy endangers America’s Polish friend, and, indeed, other NATO members, putting Warsaw and the rest, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, also known as the Intermarium, lands between the Black and Baltic seas, on a collision course vis-à-vis Berlin and Moscow. This is plainly obvious in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

Sikorski’s cri de coeur has triggered some angry huffing and puffing among the globalized punditry. Aside from the usual “hate the U.S.” circles, in the European Union in particular, and the “I told you so” gleeful trolls of the Kremlin, America’s neo-isolationists and anarcho-capitalists have chimed in to skewer Poland’s foreign minister. Is America’s alliance worthless for Poland? Perhaps it is Poland that is worthless for the U.S., they charge. Their arguments boil down to this: What does Poland bring to the table? Nothing but trouble. It is a beneficiary of the thoughtless expansion of NATO with its Article 5 which obligates the U.S. to render Warsaw military assistance in case of an attack by an outside force. Admitting Poland and other post-Soviet countries to the alliance needlessly provoked Russia and exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Washington. America has really no national interest meddling in the post-Soviet zone. Too bad about poor Poland’s geopolitical location but that is really none of America’s business.

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Dr. Chodakiewicz interviewed by Polonia Christiana

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz—who is currently on a lecture circuit promoting his new book in Poland—was interviewed on 3 July 2014 by the Polish web portal, Polonia Christiana (www.pch24.pl).

The main subjects of the interview were the assessment of the quarter-century of post-communist “transformation” in Poland, in general, and the quality of post-communist Poland’s political class, in particular. Dr. Chodakiewicz warned against hubristic and triumphalist celebrations of the “twenty-five years of freedom,” since the political system retains many continuities which still bind it to the communist People’s Republic. One example of the rather limited nature of the “change” in the past quarter-century is, Dr. Chodakiewicz points out, the funeral of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, infamous for his crackdown (martial law) on the democratic opposition in 1981-1983, with full state and military honors. The nihilism and cynicism of the political establishment in Warsaw—recently highlighted by two highly embarrassing and vulgar recordings of top politicians—demonstrates just how much Sovietism remains in the country’s “post-Soviet” ruling caste.

On a positive note, Dr. Chodakiewicz emphasized that a movement for the regeneration of decent civilization is occurring in both Poland and the United States, although it may not be easy to spot at first. He is much more concerned about the future of Western Europe, which continues to view modernity and religion as two radically opposed and irreconcilable forces.

The full (Polish) text of the interview with Dr. Chodakiewicz is available here.

Bolesław Piasecki as the victim of post-modernist historical revisionism

SONY DSCAfter giving a lecture at the Kosciuszko Chair’s Fourth Annual Spring Symposium, Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Warsaw, Poland, shared with the KC his paper entitled “Bolesław Piasecki as the victim of post-modernist historical revisionism.”

In the paper, he discusses Mikołaj S. Kunicki’s book entitled Between the Brown and the Red: Nationalism, Catholicism, and Communism In 20th-Century Poland – The Politics of Bolesław Piasecki (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2012).

An abstract of the paper is below, and the full paper can be found here: Muszynski, Boleslaw Piasecki as the victom of post-modernist historical revisionism

Abstract

In the following review, Dr. Wojciech J. Muszyński offers a critical analysis of Mikołaj Kunicki’s book on Bolesław Piasecki. As an iron pragmatic who began his political career as a nationalist radical, and ended it as a communist collaborator, Piasecki fascinates his ideological enemies to this day. Furthermore, they mirror image and reduce him to the role of the antithesis of what they themselves are: liberal or leftist ideologues, usually of an internationalist bent. It is a striking phenomenon that Bolesław Piasecki – a politician of secondary importance who never exerted a decisive influence on Polish history – became the subject of two ostensibly comprehensive biographies in English. This is all the more amazing, since Poland and the great personages in her history – with perhaps the exceptions of Pope John Paul II in the 1990s, and Lech Wałęsa – are generally not of much interest to Western historians. Piasecki, however, became the subject of an English-language biography well before his death in the form of Lucjan Blit’s The Eastern Pretender (1965). More recently, in 2012, he became the antagonist of a second work in English: Mikołaj Stanisław Kunicki’s Between the Brown and the Red: Nationalism, Catholicism, and Communism in 20th-Century Poland: The Politics of Bolesław Piasecki. Blit’s publication, however, was a political pamphlet, which the author never denied; just as he did not deny his open, fierce antipathy toward Piasecki. Kunicki’s biography, on the other hand, is presented as a work of objective scholarship. In essence, the latter represents efforts by post-modernist, neo-Stalinist academics to depict Polish nationalists as communist collaborators, which serves to whitewash Marxism by pinning much of the blame for the crimes of communism on “nationalism.”

* * *

Bolesław Piasecki, an iron pragmatic who began his political career as a radical nationalist, continues to fascinate his ideological foes to this day. It is quite astonishing that this admittedly second-rate politician who did not play any significant role in Polish history, has already been the subject of two quite substantial biographical publications in English. This is all the more astounding given that famous personages in the history of Poland have not attracted much interest on the part of Western historians, except perhaps for Pope John Paul II during the 1990s and Lech Wałęsa. Upon investigating the shelves of American and British book stores, it is difficult to find any books on important Poles. Piasecki, however, became the subject of an English-language biography many years before his death, i.e. Lucjan Blit’s The Eastern Pretender: The Story of Bolesław Piasecki, which was published in 1965. In 2012, another work appeared: Mikołaj Stanisław Kunicki’s Between the Brown and the Red: Nationalism, Catholicism, and Communism In 20th-Century Poland – The Politics of Bolesław Piasecki. But whereas Blit’s publication was a political pamphlet—which the author did not really disguise, nor did he deny his sharp antipathy towards Piasecki—Kunicki’s biography is presented as an objective work of scholarship.

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Transformacja czy niepodleglosc released in Poland

Marek Chodakiewicz’s new book entitled Trasnformacja czy niepodległość? was released at an event in Warsaw, Poland on June 12.  A video of the event can be found below.

The book, which assesses the past quarter-century of post-communism in Poland, can be purchased online here.

Transformacja czy niepodleglosc, June 12, Warsaw (7)

Transformacja czy niepodleglosc, June 12, Warsaw (6)

Transformacja czy niepodleglosc, June 12, Warsaw (5)

Transformacja czy niepodleglosc, June 12, Warsaw (4)

Transformacja czy niepodleglosc, June 12, Warsaw (1)