Speaking at Sunday’s commemorations of the anniversary of the November Uprising, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that today it is difficult for young people to “understand what it truly means to have Polish authorities chosen by Polish people in free elections.”
The November Uprising broke out on November 29, 1830, when a group of non-commissioned officers at Warsaw’s Infantry Cadet School attacked the Belweder palace which was the headquarters of the Polish Army’s Russian leadership at that time.
Poland was partitioned in the late 18th century by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria. Warsaw was in Prussian control at first, but after Napoleon’s Campaign and Vienna Congress in 1815, it had become a part of the Kingdom of Poland, a Russian-controlled country.
“Today, it is very difficult for our youth to understand this subtle, yet gigantic difference, that something only has a name, while something else is real, what it means to have Polish authorities chosen by Poles themselves in elections, what it means that we decide about ourselves, what it means that we have sovereignty and what it means to keep it, what it means not to have it when a stranger comes and imposes his will, his rights - what you have to think, say and do,” the president said.
President added that young people also have a hard time understanding what it means to have a foreign-imposed rule.
In all, around 54,000 Polish soldiers fought in an uprising against a 115,000-strong Russian Army for over a year. The insurrection’s fall in 1831 was followed by repressions against its participants and drastically reduced the autonomy of the Kingdom of Poland.