Russia’s attack on Polish history continues

Russia publishes its Ministry of Defence documents which allege Polish underground forces killed Jews and Ukrainians in Warsaw before the Soviet Army took control of the Polish capital on January 17, 1945.

According to the Russian authorities they are continuing to “protect the truth in history”. The documents refer to activities by the Red Army as it freed Warsaw from the Germans.

The Russians call the actions of the Red Army the “liberation of Warsaw”. Poles however regard the Red Army’s freeing of Poland from German forces as the beginning of de facto another occupation, camouflaged by installing a puppet pro-Soviet government in July 1944.

The documents, according to AFP agency, accuse the Polish underground Home Army (AK) of having murdered Ukrainians and Jews in Warsaw. Russia’s defence ministry has issued a statement on social media with links to the documents and a web page on the “75th anniversary of liberation of Warsaw”.

Lavrov wades in

Russia’s foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov referred to the documents by saying that Russia was open to a dialogue between Polish and Russian historians based on the documents revealed. But he added that “Russia will do everything in its power to counter the falsifying of history and to protect the good name of its victorious soldiers”.

The head of Russia’s diplomacy also accused Poland of trying to have western leaders convey its narrative of history in opposition to that of the Russians during the Holcaust commemoration on January 23 in Jerusalem. He said that he did not understand why Polish President Andrzej Duda would not be attending the commemoration in Jerusalem.


Historians will of course examine the documents. But straight away one is bamboozled by the allegation that the Home Army was killing Jews in Warsaw. Why would it want to help its deadly enemy the Germans in that way? Why in that case did it attempt to help the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and why was it pronouncing death sentences on those who collaborated with Nazi Germany over killing Jews?

As for killing Ukrainians, the actual Ukrainian soldiers present in Warsaw and its surrounds were allies of Nazi Germany! Not terribly surprising therefore that the Polish Underground clashed with them and killed them.

The cleansing of Warsaw of the Germans came over three months after the Warsaw Uprising had ended and the Germans had managed to destroy the city in an act of vengeance. Maybe it would be better if the Russian defence ministry revealed documents for why it had taken the Red Army four months to cross from one bank of the Vistula to the other (by September 1944 the Red Army was already occupying a part of Warsaw on the eastern side of the river Vistula).

As for Mr Lavrov’s accusation that Poland wants to use western leaders to do its bidding in Jerusalem the Russian foreign minister clearly is trying to intimidate western leaders into silence should Mr Putin use the January 23 event to launch another offensive of the Russian narrative of history. Mr Lavrov wants to insure his leader against any critical comment, by painting it just as western leaders helping their Polish ally.

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