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Prof. Chodakiewicz discusses Russian military and influence operations at US Army Europe Senior Leaders Forum

Photo by US Army IWP’s Professor Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was invited to speak at the US Army Europe Senior Leaders Forum which took place from January 12-14, 2015 in Wiesbaden, Germany on the topic of “Strong Europe.” There were several panels held, in which panelists delivered general remarks and answered analytic questions.  Prof. Chodakiewicz was one of the only non-government experts to participate.

On January 13, he gave remarks at a panel entitled “Russian Military Modernization, Influence Operations, and Russian Operational Art from Georgia, ZAPAD-13, to Ukraine and Donbas.” Other panelists included high level intelligence officers, a senior civilian defense specialist, and a diplomat.

The leadership conference included NATO allies: Germans, Spanish, Belgians, British, and others.  The bulk of the audience consisted of brigade and some regiment commanders, generals, State Department officials, and DoD representatives.  The audience also included senior officers and NCOs, including from the units slated to be deployed to Ukraine.

A version of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s comments appear below.

Muscovite Continuity:
An Integrated Strategy and Counterintelligence Operation

In the past few years, the Kremlin has brought forth a dazzling array of its tools of statecraft, combining political warfare, public diplomacy, active measures, disinformation, propaganda, covert actions, and military power, including conventional and guerrilla operations. In a word, President Vladimir Putin predictably has pursued power to restore the empire. Moscow has deployed methods on which it has relied from times immemorial. We deal here with continuity rather than discontinuity. Thus, the Kremlin’s moves could be anticipated. This is plain, despite the shocking surprise of some of the Western observers who failed to predict Russia’s expansion and, consequently, their flawed attempts to understand the phenomena at play. For example, some of them discovered the alleged novelty of “hybrid warfare.” Yet, what we have seen from Georgia to Ukraine is a traditional, irregular fighting method which has adopted itself to new circumstances by incorporating new technologies.

As I argued in my Intermarium, history undergirds Putin’s moves, his imperial aim remains immutable; and his tools of statecraft are fixed. Within this context, let us look at Moscow’s soft power, strategic messaging, propaganda narrative, military build-up, and new technologies, including cyber and social media capabilities. We shall also briefly consider the relationship between Russia’s economic resources and will to power, as well as the capacity of Western sanctions to diminish both.

I. The Context

The context allowing us to understand Russia requires remembering the factors which have continued to inform Russian conduct for several hundreds of years. First, the Russian Federation is a despotic and patrimonial polity with its Byzantine caesaro-papism (no division between church and state and, hence, no sphere of freedom) descending from the Mongol-controlled Duchy of Moscow and its successors: the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Second, another thread of continuity stems from the fact that the Russian Federation is a product of the transformation of Communism into post-Communism, and not liberal democracy. The transformation ensured that the institutions and the personnel of the totalitarian state have survived to haunt their subjects and the rest of the world into the 21st century. This is the deeper meaning of Putin’s famous dictum, “once a Chekist, always a Chekist.”  Third, continuity in the Russian Federation pertains further to the modus operandi of the regime. Marxist-Leninist dialectics allow the Kremlin to be very flexible and pragmatic, amoral, and relativistic. No longer a millenarian ideology, which masked as “science,” promising paradise on earth by following a self-anointed vanguard of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism serves the post-Communist successors of the vanguard as a handy tool to maintain themselves in power by deftly exercising control over the captive Russian population.

II. The Aim

What is the aim of the Russian post-Communist regime? It wants to maintain Putin and his team in power. It endeavors to restore the empire in three areas. Its first target is the so-called “near abroad” (the newly liberated nations of the old USSR); next on the list are the former Warsaw Pact countries; and, finally, there follows whatever else the logic of imperial expansion dictates. In a way, the sky is always the theoretical limit, but the resources, will, and means inevitably tend to serve as a check on the imperial appetites. Restoring the empire means anything between incorporation and satellitezation. This is accomplished through a variety of means — including cultural and economic influence, for example, the much feared energy weapon vis-à-vis the European Union — deployed shrewdly to undermine and even disintegrate the Western Alliance, NATO in particular.

III. The Tools

What are the tools? Moscow deploys the following resources:

  1. Energy revenues and shady business deals. The latter usually involve raw materials and minerals. They function in a world of murky financial transactions involving a multitude of related companies acquired in the past twenty-odd years by post-Soviet nationals, mostly the oligarchs, with often rumored criminal underworld ties, whose actions are increasingly coordinated with the Russian state.
  2. Integrated strategy
  • Active measures (all tricks short of violence, including spies and agents of influence, e.g., the activities of the Anna Chapman group in New York; the Snowden operation)
  • Counterintelligence and “wet affairs” (e.g., the Alexander Litvinienko assassination, kidnapping of an Estonian intelligence officer from his country into Russia)
  • Swaggering (including Russia’s antics in the Arctic and airspace violation through overflights in the US, Canada, the Baltics, and Scandinavia, as well as coastal water penetration via submarines, as has been experienced lately by Sweden [BBC, 11 December 2014])
  • Sheer force (war against Georgia in 2008, invasion of Crimea in 2014)
  • The will to deploy all of the above

IV. Questions and problems

  1. What are Russia’s main sources of soft power?
  • Iron will of the leader and his team
  • Popular resentment of the West among the post-Soviet Russian people
  • Western naiveté and gullibility

1. Do Russian leaders view soft power the same way that Western leaders do? The short answer is an emphatic “No!” A long response follows:

  • True, both Western and Russian leaders recognize soft power as a tool of statecraft, but that’s where similarities end.
  • For Western leaders, the Americans in particular, “soft power” is a zinger, a sound bite, a gimmick to distinguish oneself from the allegedly troglodyte past of the previous administration. Soft power should serve to make things nice, to show that the Americans are also from Venus. At best, in the West, soft power is a stand-alone phenomenon uncoordinated with other endeavors of exercising political will.
  • The Kremlin regards soft power as just one tool in a vast arsenal of statecraft. In coordination with other tools of power, it is used to dominate, to intimidate, and to achieve strategic objectives.

3. How does Russia use social media or cyber operations to promote its strategic message?

It does so by deploying new technologies to project time-worn propaganda messages, in a protracted campaign dubbed by Russian dissidents as the “weaponization of information,” by:

a. Waging cyberwar or cyberattacks to:

b. Using social media to:

  • Influence
  • Woo
  • Smear
  • Convince
  • Disinform
  • Sway
  • Manipulate

c. As far as new cybertechnologies, the Kremlin’s methods include deploying:

  • Fake websites (including on Facebook, e.g. to spread disinformation about the war in eastern Ukraine or its particular aspects, like the downing of the Malaysian Air passenger plane in July 2014)
  • “Doctoring” Wikipedia pages
  • Fake virtual think tanks (e.g., Center for Eurasian Strategic Intelligence, see, 15 December 2014)
  • Propaganda tweets and hubs (e.g., is set up to allow foreigners to apologize to Putin for Western “aggression” in Ukraine; the website is available in 19 languages; or so-called “source-laundry assets,” news websites, legitimizing the Kremlin’s propaganda spin in one accessible place for local and foreign media to pick it up)
  • Trolls on the internet (various fora, and comment sections of on-line newspapers)
  • Hackers and destruction, or at least crippling, of web news sources deemed hostile to the Kremlin
  • Setting up new and improved English language news media, e.g., Russia Today (RT), Sputnik News (the latter projected to employ from 30 to 100 people in each of its 130 studios in 34 countries, including 100 staff in Kyiv, propagandizing in 30 languages, see Guardian, 6 January 2015)
  • Promoting,  through the Kremlin’s media empire, of the Western and “near abroad” useful idiots, agents of influence, and others parroting Moscow’s propaganda line, who otherwise would linger in obscurity (e.g., an erstwhile populist Samoobrona [Self-Defense] activist, Mateusz Piskorski, in Poland, or the leaders of a radical nationalist miniscule group, Falanga; a bevy of similar non-entities and pro-Russian extremists elsewhere in Europe; the pseudo-Atlanticists in Germany, thus ensuring that the Kremlin’s message spreads and the unity of the West suffers, e.g.,, 11 December 2014,
  • Seemingly legitimate Russian and allied news media patiently and consistently repeating Soviet-vintage propaganda to control the narrative which, in turn infects the Western media echo chamber (e.g., one of the most popular is the canard that the Red Army “liberated” Poland in 1945, completely ignoring that liberation means bringing freedom, and Stalin merely pushed out and replaced Hitler as a new occupier. How could anyone be liberated by Stalin?)

4. What are the most salient features and themes of the Kremlin’s propaganda offensive?

They include:

a. An endeavor to occupy high moral ground, through:

  • Waging a peace offensive against the West’s defending itself (e.g., vs. deploying US missiles in Romania, see TASS, 17 December 2014)
  • Condemning violence (e.g., vs. torture by the CIA, see TASS, 17 December 2014)
  • Exposing and branding “fascism” and “the fascists” (e.g., the new government of Ukraine and, in particular, its voluntary militias)
  • Defense of Christian civilization (e.g., against “gay propaganda”)

b. An effort to purvey disinformation and sow mistrust to undermine NATO and other allies of the United States

  • The Snowden affair (which has become an intelligence and counterintelligence operation by Moscow, see
  • Wikileaks (which should now be considered primarily as a platform for foreign intelligence influence operations rather than merely a cyber anarcho-hactivist performance art)
  • The Western paleo-conservative and libertarian duping (which afflicts Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul followers who see Vladimir Putin either as a champion of traditional values or a victim of Western aggression into “his” sphere of influence; e.g.,

5. How do Russia’s domestic strategic messages differ from its foreign messages?

The target audiences are differentiated according to a sophisticated variety of criteria. Sometimes propaganda messages overlap; however, oftentimes the accents on various propaganda features are distributed differently based on whether they are intended for domestic consumption or for foreign use. Propaganda for domestic use can sound quite hysterical. In the “near abroad” it can be very virulent, in particular in Ukraine. For example, in Kharkiv the pro-Russian underground stuffed mailboxes of Ukrainian activists, including those employed by NGOs, with a Christmas message that read: “We’ll get every single one of you Nazi scum,” virtually an exact replica of letters addressed to Nazi collaborators during the Second World War by Communist guerrillas (see Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 8 January 2015, The regime often practices the art of allusion that is quite readable at home, and quite obscure abroad, in the West in particular.

a. Domestic consumption:

  • The Kremlin narrates its aggression in Ukraine, the Baltics, and Caucasus as if Russia were fighting the Second World War all over again. It includes attacking its opponents in the “near abroad” as “the fascists,” while assistance to the rebels and Russian minorities is dubbed “fraternal assistance,” which — at the same time — the government denies to be rendering. The assault on the near abroad (nearly identical for both foreign and domestic reception) is pregnant with the symbolism of the Second World War, which is projected in a much more emotional manner for the domestic consumer.
  • Moscow claims (both for domestic and foreign audiences) to be defending Jews in Ukraine from fascists and anti-Semites. However, simultaneously, it blames the “oligarchs” — a by-word for “the Jews” — as having taken over in Ukraine, a cryptic message that is easily read by Russia’s domestic audience.
  • The Russian Federation pursues a pro-active policy of support for the Russian minority (or, rather, more accurately, post-Soviet Russian speakers) residing outside of the state’s boundaries, primarily in the near abroad (but also elsewhere in the diaspora, e.g. Cyprus). The concern for these “Russians” is expressed in nationalistic, cultural, and religious terms. They are “fellow Russians,” “our [(post) Soviet] people,” and Christian Orthodox. The existence of large Russian-speaking former post-colonial remnants is the main tool of Moscow’s influence in the “near abroad.” The Kremlin meddles in the affairs of foreign countries by invoking “human rights” in defense of the allegedly “oppressed” Russian minority, and additionally boosts its strength by providing economic and diplomatic assistance, which translate mainly into cultural continuity with the Soviet times and continuous alienation from mainstream cultures through resistance to assimilation. The Russian minority is the main tool of Russian imperialism. This is not only evident in Ukraine, but in the Baltics in particular.
  • Putin singles out the Poles as the greatest threat and the main troublemakers (e.g, the Poles, at the behest of the US, allegedly trained the Kyiv Maidan fighters, and “Polish mercenaries” allegedly battle the rebels in the Donbas). Historically, the Poles were the main rivals of the Muscovites in the struggle to dominate of the Intermarium, the land between the Black and Baltic seas, and the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1919 – 1921 was the only time in history that the Red Army was defeated in the field. Hence, at the symbolic level, the Russian President replaced the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution commemoration with a holiday celebrating the termination of the occupation of Moscow by the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania-Ruthenia in 1612. All this is absolutely obvious at home in Russia, and uniformly ignored in the West. The Kremlin hastens not to explicate this complicated issue beyond the post-Soviet zone.
  • The chief successor state to the USSR loudly proclaims its unity of purpose with Orthodox (Russian) Christian faith. It vows to uphold it as Russia’s true faith, while accommodating as junior confessions Judaism and Islam. Protestant Christianity is treated as a sect, and Catholicism regarded as “a Polish religion,” and dangerous theological and political competition.

b. Narratives for foreign consumption:

  • Russia stands for freedom and protects dissidents in fear of persecution in the  West (Snowden)
  • Russia supports Christian civilization against the West’s counterculture, in particular “gay propaganda.”
  • The Euro-Maidan Rising was a US-engineered coup
  • War in Ukraine is about defeating fascism; the pro-Russian rebels are anti-fascists; the Ukrainians are fascists.
  • Russia is not supporting the rebels in eastern Ukraine; the foreign fighters there are uniformly volunteers.
  • Ukrainians commit mass atrocities (and Russian propaganda outlets duly produce pictures from the Chechen wars which they peddle as Kyiv’s murderous actions; similarly, fake witnesses appear to testify about alleged Ukrainian atrocities, including, e.g., a ubiquitous woman who – under different guises and multiple identities – swears to have participated in at least a dozen affairs simultaneously, see, 8 January 2015)
  • Russia and Russian-backed rebels are a pro-Jewish force for they protect Jews from “the fascists” (this is perhaps the most blatant way to pander to the Western media and public)
  • Moscow protects the “human rights” of minorities (without stressing the Kremlin’s chief, if not sole interest in the Russians)

6. Do Russians believe their government’s strategic message? Are they genuinely aggrieved and threatened by the West? 

Yes, most of them do. They perceive the West as having destroyed their beloved USSR and as invading “their” space via NATO expansion, free trade, and cultural imperialism (McDonald’s, rock music, drugs, AIDS, and subversive ideologies, including feminism, gay liberation, and sexual revolution). Despite their own atheism or agnosticism, which they have dubbed as “cultural Christian Orthodoxy,” they condemn the West as “godless” and irreverent on the account of the dominant counter-cultural paradigm of the 1960s in the mainstream of the United States and its allies.

7. What are the economic limits on Russia’s ability to influence its near abroad? What about Europe?

Short of a collapse on a scale experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there are practically no limits. There is only the will of Putin and his team. The old adage that the Russians will “eat grass,” if that is what it takes to defeat the West, still applies.

8. What is the goal of Russia’s military modernization and how might it be set back by recent economic sanctions?

The goal is restoring the empire. It is to put the Russian military back on par with America’s. As far as the threat to Russia’s modernization through Western sanctions, it depends how serious the United States, the European Union, and Japan are about economic warfare. It seems that they are not too serious since they appear to want to chastise gently the post-Soviets, rather than cripple and even less destroy them. Serious economic sanctions would mean a serious setback to Russia’s military modernization campaign, but only in a long run. In the short run, Moscow has either invented or, more often, stolen enough technologies and generated enough revenue to accomplish at least some of its plans to catch up with the US. Serious sanctions — denial of credit, markets, and new technologies – would ensure that the accomplishments would not be sustainable in the long run.

9. What are Russia’s biggest achievements to date in military modernization?

The greatest accomplishments are maintaining world-class nuclear forces (as the Kremlin like to brag, the Russian Federation is the only nation that can destroy the United States for it inherited the USSR’s nuclear capabilities) and fielding fearsome special forces, as well as resurrecting the navy, its submarine component in particular. Beyond that Russia’s military is inferior and often corrupt, suffering poor morale among regular troops (which is plagued by high suicide rates and endemic hazing of the recruits). The so-called revolution in military affairs has impacted only the elite branches of the military, while neglecting most others.

10. What is the Russian military strategy for the next 3 to 5 years?

In general, it is to regain whatever it lost following the implosion of the USSR. In particular, the military is set to slowly cannibalize the “near abroad” through active measures and special operations waiting for an opportunity to strike and expand. It aims to prevent any of the “near abroad” from either joining the West or succumbing to the Caliphatists (Islamists).

11. How is Russia most likely to implement Hybrid Warfare and what is most challenging for a conventional force in countering this form of war?

“Hybrid Warfare” is a misnomer suggesting a new phenomenon, when it is a traditional Russian fighting method. It is a fancy name for a combined tactic of irregular operations (guerrilla war, asymmetric actions, commando tactics, etc.) that the upstart Muscovities learned from the nomadic Mongols from the 13th century onward. The only difference is that the Kremlin incorporated new technologies, including cyber operations, to facilitate their ongoing success. Irregular operations misnamed “Hybrid Warfare” are nothing new. The greatest challenge is to recognize them for what they are and counter them with the same and/or massive civil disobedience. Their latest Crimean and eastern Ukrainian avatar concerned the deployment of the following traditional components:

  • “Tin cans” (konservy), or military intelligence officers who galvanized, organized, and led the rebellion
  • “Green people” (Russian special forces infiltrators) who provided the backbone for rebel operations
  • Volunteers, real and imagined (both locals and outsiders)

12. What has Russia not yet achieved in terms of military modernization?

It has not achieved a comprehensive revolution in military affairs. It has not empowered its NCO corps because that would undermine the pathological culture of denying and withholding initiative and responsibility at the tactical level. Finally, it has not yet stolen the newest technology to integrate fully all its military branches.

13. How do Russia’s use of information operations and strategic messaging benefit military operations?

Generally, information operations and strategic messaging directed at the West ensure that the responses by the United States and its allies are confused, feeble, and delayed, if any. At the tactical level, information operations and strategic messaging paved the way for a virtually bloodless victory in Crimea. This was a brilliant deception operation which confused and disarmed the defenders. The invaders claimed to have descended upon Crimea to defend the locals against the “fascists” in Kyiv. They avoided the use of violence, whenever possible, instead disarming the Ukrainian forces psychologically by invoking Slavic and post-Soviet “brotherhood,” intimidating through swaggering with an overwhelming force, and bribing many to defect.

14. How could Russia’s strategic messages be most effectively challenged?

This is a piecemeal question. I shall try to answer comprehensively addressing issues beyond strategic messaging to suggest, first, remedies to the current crisis, and, then, strategies to handle the Kremlin consistently.

  • Move NATO nations and their allies beyond debating whether to counter to how to counter Russia’s “weaponization of information,” i.e. its infowars, by drawing from vast Cold War experience, in particular from the 1980s, instead of reinventing the wheel (e.g.,, 8 January 2015).
  • Integrate strategic communications of NATO and its allies, while retaining local flavor of each of the participant crafted to particular challenges.
  • Craft NATO messages pro-actively, anticipating the Kremlin’s moves
  • Provide cultural translation to second tier NATO nations, in particular the Mediterranean countries to help them understand issues at stake and to counter Russian disinformation
  • Carry out the same operation for Third World consumption
  • Create English language multiple media platforms to influence Western public opinion to alarm it to the nature of post-Soviet aggression
  • Produce social media shows on topics of interest to counter Russian propaganda, in particular where it has seeped successfully into the Western public circulation because of the complicity, conscious or unconscious, of the prestige media (e.g., NATO has produced a Youtube video to dispel the Kremlin propaganda canard that western Ukraine consists entirely of fascists, see Financial Times, 7 December 2014)
  • Create a Russian language media platform (TV, radio, internet) to influence the Russian speaking public all over the world: Radio, TV, and Web Liberty (RTVWL). Open its offices in all nations of the post-Soviet zone, in the “near abroad” and Russia itself in particular.
  • Create separate web-based platforms to counter each of Russia’s propaganda narratives (e.g., that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine); make the endeavor interactive; post pictures and crowdsource; get the greatest public involvement possible at all levels.
  • Jam Russian broadcasts in response to jamming Western media activities; respond to Moscow’s blocking of Western web-based platforms by taking down Russian internet infrastructure.
  • Require reciprocity in media access. E.g., if Sputnik News opens an office in DC, then RTVWL must be permitted to set one up in Moscow. If Russia Today (RT) is allowed to broadcast in the United States, broadband and cable access is automatically granted to RTVWL in the Russian Federation.
  • Wage cyberwar against the Kremlin cybertrolls and hackers
  • Launch a public diplomacy program for Russian children; make it a part of educational exchanges. If the Russians want to send neo-Line X “scientists,” they may do so at the pain of expulsion but, more importantly, only if Russian children can be exposed to the American way of life — of course in Middle America as opposed to Manhattan, Los Angles, or San Francisco.
  • If the US really wants peace, it should give a nuclear deterrent to Poland or station a missile defense force there.

If we are willing to learn from history, we shall see that Russia is quite predictable in its moves. Putin simply applies a traditional combination of military power, active measures, propaganda, political warfare, and diplomacy to achieve the reintegration of the empire. However, the West has an enormous technological and resource advantage. Unfortunately, it lacks unity, focus, and will. In particular, the United States has been incapable of providing leadership as far as resurgent Russia is concerned. The solution is simple: to reverse the course and realize America’s potential to make the world a safer place by countering the Kremlin’s aggression.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Wiesbaden, 13 January 2015

Photo above by the US Army.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium mentioned in Spanish scholarly journal

Intermarium, by Mark ChodakiewiczDr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012) has been gaining increasing publicity in the scholarly and policy-analysis worlds since the monograph’s publication.

Quite recently, Intermarium was mentioned by Dr. Dominik Smyrgała, a professor of international relations at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw (Poland), in the Barcelona-based Spanish-Catalan scholarly historical journal Tiempo Devorado: Revista de Historia Actual (No. 1, December 2014, pp. 28 – 37).

The English-language version of the article, “Intermarium: From the battle of Varna to the war in Ukraine,” can be accessed here.

Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz speaks at Yale APAC conference

Marek Chodakiewicz APAC Conference 2014 800On Sunday, December 7, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz spoke at the American Polish Advisory Council’s conference on “Poland’s Emerging Role in Shaping Global Security & the US-Polish Partnership” at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

During the conference, Dr. Chodakiewicz, who currently holds the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP, participated in a panel discussion on panel on “25 Years of Democracy in Poland and the US-Polish Partnership: Military Cooperation, Trade, and Common Objectives.”  Other speakers at the conference included Honorable Boguslaw Winid, Poland’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and Jaroslaw Strozyk, Poland’s Defense Attaché in Washington.

An outline of his remarks can be found below.

Photo courtesy of the American Polish Advisory Council.  


Poland’s Integrated Strategy:
An Outline

Poland needs integrated strategy, one that encompasses many tools of statecraft. However, to play at the global scale, one must have the means to do so. Poland does not. It should acquire them. Meanwhile, it should either lay low and reform or make popular noises at the international level, in other words, bluff, and reform.

Poland can try to go it alone, which is unadvisable, or seek an alliance for security. At the moment it has NATO. However, the US is confused and Western Europe unwilling to step up to the task of defending NATO member states in the post-Soviet zone. “Leading from behind” will continue until a regime change in Washington, but a new administration, after, 2016, may or may not be willing to provide leadership for the alliance.

Meanwhile, despite America’s malaise, Poland needs to reform internally to be able to defend itself. The following should be done:

  • Favor an economic system with low taxes, few regulation, and even fewer government bureaucrats; avoid EU regulations like the plague or learn to overcome them.
  • Support a social system that encourages high birth rates and love of country.
  • Relax gun laws.
  • Encourage grass roots self-defense forces, starting with gun and rifle clubs (bractwa kurkowe).
  • Foster paramilitary activities involving girl and boy scouts and other youthful volunteers.
  • Set up territorial defense from above based upon the Swiss model.
  • Establish throughout the nation a multitude of state arsenals with small arms and individual, portable defense systems, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. They are more efficient and economically feasible than expensive weapons systems they are designed to destroy like planes, helicopters, tanks, and armored vehicles.
  • Train both paramilitaries and territorial defense soldiers both male and female.
  • Re-institute a two track draft — for national defense or for national service (e.g., for hospital or school service).
  • Assemble a small professional elite armed forces, including special forces.
  • De-Communize and de-Sovietize the current brass. No post-Communist mentality permitted.
  • Procure defensive nuclear weapons as deterrent: first step, of course, would be to acquire a nuclear reactor, which would also benefit Poland’s energy sector.

Meanwhile, the Polonia should put its money where its mouth is. Support pro-Polish and Polonian initiatives. Be proud and strong.  Lobby both in DC and in Warsaw. Pressure the Polish government to make Poland into a venue into the EU for American interests, including to institute affirmative action for Polish American businessmen.

Peace can only come through strength.

Dr. Chodakiewicz co-edits new document collection on the Polish underground

NarodoweDr. Marek Chodakiewicz – along with Dr. Wojciech J. Muszyński and Leszek Żebrowski – have just published a document anthology, which they compiled and co-edited, on the Polish underground during the Second World War.

Entitled Narodowe Siły Zbrojne: Dokumenty, 1942 – 1944 [The National Armed Forces: Documents] (Lublin: Fundacja im. Kazimierza Wielkiego, 2014), the collection is the first volume of a trilogy of documents on Poland’s anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet armed resistance. Most of the files – originally generated by the High Command of the National Armed Forces (NSZ) – and were locked way for more than six decades.  They were finally rediscovered in 2008 and are now available for scholars and researchers in a convenient three-volume collection.

Please click here for more information.

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. Marek Chodakiewicz interviewed by Jewish Daily Forward about Jan Karski

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz granted an interview about the late Dr. Jan Karski to the largest Jewish newspaper of record in the United States, the Yiddish edition of the Jewish Daily Forward. An English translation is also available online. The interview concerned the failure of the Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw to invite the relatives of Dr. Karski – the legendary Polish resistance courier who alerted the West about the Holocaust – and the possible reasons behind the omission.

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz interviewed by Armenian TV

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was interviewed by Armenian TV’s Channel 1 on Friday, November 14, about the recent downing of an Armenian military helicopter by Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabagh/Artsakh, a disputed region claimed by Azerbaijan but inhabited by a majority Armenian population. The two post-Soviet successor states fought a war over the status of the province in 1988 – 1994, resulting in an Armenian victory and the creation of the Nagorno-Karabagh (NKR)/Artsakh Republic: a de facto irredentist Armenian state tied to the Republic of Armenia, recognized neither by Azerbaijan nor the UN. Thus, the relations between the two Caucasian nations were generally tense and hostile during the past 20 years, causing international analysts to fear that incidents such as the shooting-down of the Armenian helicopter by Azerbaijan could trigger a renewed armed conflict.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s interview can be viewed below (see the 0:25 – 2:22 minute segment).

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.

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