Category Archives: Lectures

IWP hosts the Seventh Annual Kosciuszko Chair Conference

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, IWP hosted the Seventh Annual Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies Conference. The event addressed the general theme of “Issues in the History and Current Affairs of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe,” and was dedicated to the memory of the late Brigadier General Walter/Władysław Jajko, USAF (1937 – 2014). Following a moment of silence for Gen. Jajko, the introductory remarks were delivered by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, the holder of the Kościuszko Chair and Professor of History at IWP.

The conference commenced with a lecture entitled “The Female Dialectical Pawn: ‘Women’s Lib’ Soviet-style,” by Ms. Emily Butler, doctoral student at Catholic University of America. Ms. Butler pointed out that many feminist-oriented liberal scholars in the West continue to perpetuate communist propaganda by claiming that the Soviets liberated and empowered women. She debunked these assertions by demonstrating that not only did women serve merely as useful pawns in the Bolsheviks’ revolutionary agenda, but that the Soviet communist system inflicted great suffering on the women they claimed to be “liberating.”

Dr. Tomasz Sommer discussed “The Polish Operation of the NKVD: New Findings.”  He is the editor-in-chief of the conservative-libertarian weekly, Najwyższy Czas!, and the author of Rozstrzelać Polaków [Shoot the Poles], the first monograph on the “Polish Operation” of the NKVD and has just published another book on the subject. He argued that this genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Poles by the Soviets should not be viewed as simply another NKVD “national operation.” In the case of the “Polish Operation,” the Soviet secret police targeted not only those who identified as Poles, but also Soviet citizens of Polish descent who claimed a different identity. Even Polish communists and Jews born in Poland found themselves in the crosshairs of Stalin and his henchmen, who perceived Poles in ethno-racist and deterministic terms: as inherently anti-Soviet and incapable of loyalty to Moscow.

Delivering a presentation on “Remembering Jan Karski,” Ms. Carol L. Harrison shared photos she took of Dr. Karski and recalled her memories of the legendary Polish underground courier who warned the U.S. government about the German-implemented Holocaust in his native Poland. Ms. Harrison is the owner of Carol Harrison/Fine Art Photography + Design and recently published an album of her photographs of Dr. Karski, which she took at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, of which she is a graduate.

Mr. Paweł Styrna, historian and Kościuszko Chair research assistant, lectured on “Choosing the Lesser Evil: Polish Geopolitical Dilemmas during the First World War.” His paper focused on the competing Polish “foreign policies” during a time when Poland did not exist as a state, but was partitioned between three powerful empires: Russia, Austria, and Germany. During the First World War, Polish patriots striving to restore their country’s independence were split into the anti-German camp, favoring an alliance with Russia and the Entente, and the anti-Russian camp, supporting the Central Powers against Russia. These geopolitical dilemmas have a long history in Poland and remain relevant.

“The Counterintelligence Service of the Polish Underground National Armed Forces (NSZ) during the Second World War” was the subject of a presentation by Mr. Sebastian Bojemski, a scholar of the Polish anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet underground and the director of PRacownia, a Warsaw-based public relations firm. Mr. Bojemski pointed out the professionalism of the underground National Armed Forces’ intelligence and counterintelligence cells and dispelled many of the black myths about the NSZ, which was much-maligned by the communists.

The conference concluded with an analysis of a current topic by Mr. Vilen Khlgatyan, an alumnus of IWP and Vice-Chairman of Political Developments Research Center (PDRC), a think tank based in Yerevan, Armenia. Speaking about “Ukraine: One Year Later,” he argued that Ukraine finds itself in a much worse situation economically than before the Maidan rising and that the EU is the biggest culprit responsible for the current crisis.

The papers presented during the conference will be published in the upcoming first issue of Nihil Novi, a scholarly peer-reviewed annual journal which the Kościuszko Chair intends to launch in December.

Dr. Chodakiewicz speaks at Florida International University about the Warsaw Uprising

On Thursday, 25 September, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz delivered a presentation at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Polish insurrection against the Nazi Germans in Warsaw, during which the Polish underground fought the Germans for a total of sixty-three days (1 August – 3 October 1944). Entitled “Warsaw ’44: A Legacy of Sacrifice,” the event was part of the Blanka Rosenstiel Lecture Series on Poland.

The pictures from Dr. Chodakiewicz’s lecture may be viewed here.

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 

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


Please contact with any questions.

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

K Chair Logo 2

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,, 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.

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

Dr. Chodakiewicz completes European lecture circuit

Marek Chodakiewicz in Poland, August 2014 (1)Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz, the current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, has returned from his European lecture circuit during which he promoted his new book on post-communism in Poland, Transformacja czy niepodległość? [Transformation or Independence?].

He spoke in many cities throughout Poland, including: Warsaw (where he also lectured on the anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet Polish underground resistance), Kraków, Tarnów, Lębork, Tczew, Gdańsk, Chojnice, Miastko, Bytów, Łódź, Wyszków, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Kielce, Radom, Łeba, Szwajcaria Kaszubska, Szczecin, and Elbląg.

In addition, Dr. Chodakiewicz delivered two lectures in London: one on Poland’s post-communist “transformation,” and another on “freedom in light of the English legal tradition as compared to the legal culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”

The trip also included a short sojourn in Turkey, where the historian toured the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus on the Aegean Sea coast.

Last but not least, Dr. Chodakiewicz visited Ukraine. He will discuss his observations on the situation in that Central and Eastern European nation during the first Intermarium Series Lecture of the fall semester on 10 September at 2:00 PM.

Marek Chodakiewicz in Poland, August 2014 (2)

Kościuszko Chair holds Fourth Annual Spring Symposium

On Saturday, 12 April, the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP hosted its Fourth Annual Spring Symposium, one of the Chair’s two semi-annual conferences devoted to the historical, cultural, geopolitical, economic, and other aspects of Poland and the Intermarium.

The first speaker, Mr. Michael Szpindor-Watson, a doctoral candidate in economics at George Mason University, spoke on the impact of climate change on the persecutions and expulsions of Jews in Europe from 1300-1795. He pointed out that while climate shocks exacerbated tensions between Christians and Jews and often led to the persecution or even expulsions of the latter, the same positive correlation was not true of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was known as the “Jewish Paradise” (Paradisus Iudaeorum).

Dr. Elizabeth Radziszewski — Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University — delivered a presentation on “Competition, Accountability, and the Private Military Industry.” Although the topic of private military contractors has been a controversial one, Dr. Radziszewski pointed out that competition among several firms had a positive impact on the accountability and effectiveness of the private contractor firms.

Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Warsaw, Poland, deconstructed the attempts of post-modernist scholars and pundits to pin the blame for the vast and bloody crimes perpetrated by Marxists-Leninists on “nationalism.” As an expert of the Polish nationalist (anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet) underground during the Second World War, Dr. Muszyński spoke about Bolesław Piasecki, who started out as a radical nationalist in interwar Poland, continued as the leader of a small Piłsudskiite underground resistance outfit during the war, and ended up collaborating with the communists after the Soviet occupation. In communist-occupied Poland, Piasecki was best known as the leader of a small pro-regime “progressive Catholic” organization/publishing house, PAX. Dr. Muszyński explained all the seemingly sharp twists and turns in Piasecki’s political path — pointing out that the head of PAX had always been an “iron pragmatic” utilizing whatever ideology suited his ultimate goal, power — debunking the revisionist myth of communism as “socialist in form, but nationalist in content.”

For more of Dr. Muszynski’s thoughts on Mikołaj S. Kunicki’s book on Bolesław Piasecki, please click here.

Father Jarosław Wiśniewski — a Polish-born Catholic missionary — shared his experiences from the two decades he spent propagating the faith in the post-Soviet zone, including places such as: Rostov on the Don, Uzbekistan, Sakhalin Island, and Kamchatka Peninsula. The Reverend highlighted the human rights abuses in post-Soviet Russia, including violations of religious freedom. The Russian Orthodox Church, which — as Farther Wiśniewski pointed out, is led by “KGB officers dressed in priestly robes” — has been waging a fierce battle against Catholicism, targeting especially (but not only) priests of Polish descent. Some, as he pointed out, were even murdered by “unknown culprits” or died in suspicious “accidents.” This is an insight into the mindset and modus operandi of the post-Soviet Russian ruling establishment.

Dr. Vahan Dilanyan and Vilen Khlgatyan discuss Non-Kinetic Warfare in the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict

On March 19, Dr. Vahan Dilanyan, Chairman of Political Developments Research Center and Vilen Khlgatyan, Vice-Chairman of Political Developments Research Center and IWP Class of 2013, discussed “Non-Kinetic Warfare in the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict” at an event sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at The Institute of World Politics.

In remarks that were shared with attendees via video, Dr. Dilanyan referred to the dynamic risks associated with frozen conflicts highlighting the primacy of the factor of information in the analysis of conflicts. According to him, non-kinetic warfare in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is significantly different from the overall perception, since it invovles a combination of hatred propaganda, racism and murder promotion. Mentioning the extradited Azerbaijani murderer and Baku’s warlike rhetoric, he noted that the aforementioned create an information atmosphere of Armenophobia. “Thus, if the youth in Armenia and NKR determine their career path through having good education, then what are the youth in Azerbaijan to think if they see a murderer is given a hero’s welcome, a new title and the highest state support?” he said, adding: “similar racism was advocated in the Third Reich during the 1930s and 40s, and we saw where that anti-Jewish propaganda led.”

Among other dimensions of the information policy of Azerbaijan, Dr. Dilanyan outlined the closed culture, pointing to the recent US State Department report and the Aliyev regime’s mobilization of a war-prone society. Another feature is the formation of a victim identity, thus attempting to develop a moral high ground for another war against Nagorno Karabakh. Noting the Khojaly events, a self-inflicted wound against its own population, he also mentioned the recent news of an Azerbaijani family asking Armenian authorities for a political asylum.

He commented that the aforementioned develops a concern that the irrational facets of the advocated hatred culture in Azerbaijan serve as a basis for the development of a pathological cruelty which is one of the roots of terrorism; he also noted potential development of grassroots jihadists.  Referring to Armenia’s effective participation in counter-terrorism and peacekeeping missions, Dr. Dilanyan mentioned the institutional memory of the birth of terrorists in Azerbaijan, which comes from the participation of Afghan mujahedeen on the side of Azerbaijan during the Karabakh War.

Dr. Dilanyan said that Azerbaijan’s policy threatens the overall stability and security in the region. Before and during conflict settlement meetings, Azerbaijani troops implement military diversions on the borderline; shoot innocent people living near the border regions, and through this, cynically violate the humanitarian principles, which are affirmed in the Geneva Conventions and the Helsinki Final Act principle of refraining from the use of force and threat of use of force.

He then announced that the international community and namely the OSCE have been reluctant to openly condemn such behavior and the Co-chairmen’s policy of false parity or pampering of Azerbaijan risked fragile stability. “Just as the same Afghan mujahedeen, supported by the U.S. during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, promoted their jihad against atheist communists, and then a decade later struck the US on 9/11, similarly the currently supported elements may become authors of new terror attacks”, he said.

During the first part of his speech PDRC Vice-Chairman Vilen Khlgatyan referred to the historical, political, legal and socio-cultural roots of the Karabakh conflict.

In the context of the discussion on the essence and meaning of non-kinetic warfare, Mr. Khlgatyan outlined its information, political and psychological dimensions, which led to him present specific examples of appropriate policies implemented by the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides.

Talking about the “Safarov” profile of Azerbaijan, he noted the Aliyev’s regime’s spending of financial resources, in the context of which he mentioned the establishments of Aliyev statues in various cities, proposals of false resolutions of Khojaly events, and huge financial policies being implemented in various think tanks and media platforms.

Regarding the Khojaly, among other arguments, he mentioned the stance of Azerbaijan’s first president Mutalibov, who maintains that Khojaly was a false flag operation aimed at removing him from power.   Mr. Khlgatyan shared images of dead civilians which the Azerbaijani government claims are photos of victims from Khojaly, but in reality were photographs taken from Kosovo, Gaza, and Turkey.

Talking on the “one nation, two states” slogan, Khlgatyan noted that pan-Turkism strategy is still relevant, since Turkey and Azerbaijan maintain an embargo against Armenia and continue to hold hostile political positions against Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora.  Baku’s use of the Islamic factor was presented as well.  For example, to Western states, Baku claims it is a secular Muslim state, and tolerant of all peoples and faiths, but to the Islamic world, chiefly via the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Aliyev regime presents itself as a pious Muslim state engaged in a conflict against infidel Christian Armenians.

As a logical continuation of war-prone behavior, Mr. Khlgatyan outlined the unprecedented increase of the Azerbaijani military budget, which aims to bankrupt Armenia and get official Yerevan to make concessions at the negotiation table.  However, this policy has failed because it has only increased Armenia’s perception as a fortress under siege, and because Russia has helped Armenia maintain a balance of forces so as to keep the status quo intact in the South Caucasus.

Among the examples of non-kinetic warfare conducted by the Armenian side, Mr. Khlgatyan noted the usage of Armenian terms instead Turkish/Azerbaijani and Soviet geographic place names: for example Artsakh instead of Karabakh.  He also mentioned the associating of Azerbaijanis with Turks, the ultimate “other” for Armenians in the national narrative, which can be seen in the portrayal of the victory of Karabakhi forces in the Karabakh War as halting a second genocide against Armenians.  And finally, he discussed the Talysh radio broadcasts from Karabakh that aim to present much needed cultural nourishment to the captive peoples of Azerbaijan, in this case the Talysh of southeastern Azerbaijan.

Please click here to download the PowerPoint presentation from this lecture.

Tymoteusz Zych discusses sovereignty of EU states after the Lisbon Treaty

On Wednesday, December 4, Tymoteusz Zych discussed “Europe after the Lisbon Treaty: Are EU member states still sovereign?” at an event sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at The Institute of World Politics.

Mr. Zych teaches History of Political and Legal Philosophy and Introduction to the Methods of Legal Reasoning at the University of Warsaw. He has a law degree from the University of Warsaw and a degree in humanistic studies from Artes Liberales Academy, an inter-university program established by eight major Polish Universities. He also studied law at Humboldt University in Berlin. Serving as an expert at the Adam Smith Institute, he focuses on issues of regulatory reform, judicial lawmaking, and legal measures in the European demographic crisis. Mr. Zych was awarded numerous research grants and scholarships, including the Scholarship for the Best Young Scholars at the University of Warsaw.

A video of his remarks can be found below.

Vilen Khlgatyan gives a lecture on “Between Moscow and Brussels: Ukrainian and Armenian Dilemmas”

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Vilen Khlgatyan, Vice-Chairman of the Political Developments Research Center and IWP Class of 2013, discussed “Between Moscow and Brussels: Ukrainian and Armenian Dilemmas.”

This lecture was sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at The Institute of World Politics.