I was fired from a university in Poland in 2015. A Wikipedia page with my name was created one day before delivery of the letter terminating my employment. I received an email from someone informing about the Wikipedia page. I objected to it but the page was created. To mask the fact that this action was directed against me, a whole set of Wikipedia pages, nearly one hundred of them, were created for all faculty members of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The information was basically a copy of the most mundane information from departmental web pages. It was an obvious violation of Wikipedia rules. Part of campaign of harassment and stalking, which was here not only institutionalised but also wikipedialised. Yet, when I let member of the Wikipedia board know about it, he ignored the problem.
Wikipedia is a social medium. Any sufficiently strong group can control large parts of it. Control of entries written in less popular languages is illusory. Branches of Wikipedia in different languages reflect power structures within those languages. Wikipedia is just another tool to shape historical and political narratives.
There is no mention of the invasion of Poland in 1939 in the @Wikipedia ‘Soviet Border Troops’ entry. Nothing about killings and terror. Note the vague language: ‘the Border Troops assisted the pacification of the newly acquired Soviet territory adjoining the state border.’ pic.twitter.com/dL6mWK8HLA
The Belarussian ‘opposition’ tv channel Nexta uses the Telegram app provided by a group of Russians from Sankt Petersburg/Leningrad. Telegram is advertised as a safer, encrypted method of communication. They operate their company from Dubai now. Russia is gradually expanding their control of the Internet. Those signing up to use Telegram voluntarily submit their personal details and their communications to the Russian state.
@Nexta_tv’s last post on Twitter was in January 2021. Nexta’s Twitter accounts direct users to their Telegram accounts instead. You need to sign up to Telegram to view Nexta. This kind of members-only strictly controlled environment is typical of the Communist modus operandi, in which control of content and access to it is key. In other words, it is a strict surveillance.
Nexta’s founder, Stsiapan Putsila is a member of the Belarussian privileged class and is a son of a tv sports presenter. I couldn’t find Putsila’s Twitter account. He probably doesn’t have one.
The material posted by Belarus ‘opposition’ on freely available media is mostly of theatrical nature. I don’t see any substance in it. I am coming from a family of prisoners of Communist concentration camps and I know a few things about state terror and how to distinguish authentic repression from a fake one.
Western media and analysts go hysterical about a bit of shouting and pushing. This is a result of a century of cognitive neglect. Bits of reality which do not fit their preferred mode of thinking are thrown out the window.
Yesterday, I posted a similar comment under The Times article but it was later removed by the paper. You can read it here:
The Nexta channel is run on Telegram, service operated by a Russian team from Dubai, as the company’s website explains:
“The Telegram development team is based in Dubai. Most of the developers behind Telegram originally come from St. Petersburg”, i.e. Leningrad.
Pavel Durov, Telegram’s chief, has an account on Twitter but remains mostly silent since January 2021. Similarly, Nexta stopped posting on Twitter in January 2021.
This story has Russian and Belarussian state written all over it. The so-called ‘opposition’ is fake. Gullible westerners will believe anything and will not ask any questions.
Nexta’s founder Stsiapan Putsila was born into Belarussian privileged class, Financial Times February 25 2021:
“[Putsila’s] father had been a sports presenter since the 1990s who was the only one who broadcast in the Belarusian language”
Putsila doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.
Looking at the material posted by the Belarussian ‘opposition’ I haven’t noticed anything significant. Plenty of theatricals but no substance.
The Russian state is gradually wresting control over large portions of the Internet from western companies and governments. If you believe that Telegram has nothing to do with the Russian state, you are a complete fool. Those signing up for Telegram should be aware that they are giving their personal data and the contents of their communication to the Russian state.
However, he is trying to alter the meaning and point finger at someone else.
“I find the text being of poor quality, merely a retelling of an official story. The problem is that Poland is an epicentre of falsifications of both recent European history and contemporary politics.”
These words are equally applicable here.
By the way, I applied to a Polish university for an official transcript of my undergraduate grades twice. I paid the fee. The functionaries refused to issue the document I asked for. The first time they pretended they didn’t know how it should look like. On the second attempt, they sent few pages which do not qualify as official transcript. The first page was stamped with university seal, but the rest were not. This was done on purpose, of course. I was expelled from Polish state institution for political reasons in 2015. I am a physicist, like Marie Curie.
I used Google Maps recently to try and locate monuments to Felix Dzerzhinsky in Russia. There is lots of them all over the country. Here is a sample. The tweets quoted below are part of a thread, where I provide coordinates and pictures, courtesy of Google, of this organizer of the Communist secret police.
Public space in Russia is as Soviet and Communist as ever. Most of the articles from Russia ignore this most basic information.
Monument to Dzerzhinsky in Novosibirsk, city of 1.6 mln in south-western Siberia on the Ob river. 3rd largest city in Russia. Prospekt Dzierzhinskogo/Dzerzhinsky Avenue. 55°03'43.8"N 82°59'19.6"E 55.062174, 82.988790 3X6Q+VG Novosibirsk, Russiahttps://t.co/1oh6vYerhrpic.twitter.com/CeVTCHKaVz
The men in the BBC documentary Borrowed Pasture, Eugeniusz Okołowicz, photographer, and Włodzimierz Bułaj, electrician, were in the Polish Army during September 1939 campaign of WWII, then crossed into Lithuania where they were interned, to avoid capture by either Germans or Russians. Soviets occupied Lithuania in Spring 1940 and transferred the interned Poles to Russian camps. My wife’s grandfather Aleksander Głuchowski was also among them.
The camps, where Włodzimierz/Wlodek Bułaj was held, marked with yellow pins on the enclosed map:
Yukhnov, Kaluga Oblast, from 15 July 1940
Ponoy in the Kola Peninsula, Murmansk Oblast, from 6 June 1941
Yuzha, Ivanovo Oblast
Camps, where Eugeniusz Okołowicz was held are marked by blue pins:
Kozielsk/Kozelsk, from 13 July 1940
Gryazovets, Vologda Oblast, from 2 July 1941 to 3 September 1941
Orange pin is the location of Tatishchevo, Saratov Oblast, where both men arrived in September 1941. This was one of the meeting points for Polish soldiers and their dependants after they were released from the Soviet camps, following the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Note the location of the Ponoy camp at the tip of the Kola Peninsula. It is a barren tundra in an uninhabited land, very far from any human settlements. Soviets referred to it as the ‘Ponoy point’. Number of prisoners at this location was about 4 thousand. Many of them would be dead during the following months, had they been kept there longer. NKVD documents state the POWs were to be used for the construction of an airfield. It is obvious, however, that the death toll would be enormous. That was probably the aim: to kill by exhaustion and hunger.
My wife’s grandfather was in the same camps of Kozielsk/Kozelsk and Gryazovets as Okołowicz. Thousands of earlier Polish POWs from the Kozielsk camp were murdered by the Russians at the Katyn site near Smolensk in April and May 1940. Returning to Poland under Communist/Soviet control after the war was therefore very risky. Many of the Poles interned in Lithuania and later in the Soviet camps lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union after the war. This was the case of Głuchowski and could be the case of Bułaj and Okołowicz as well.
Aleksander Głuchowski arrived in Poland in 1947 to reunite with his son he last saw in 1939, his wife having died of hunger, exhaustion and disease in 1945. He was arrested by the Communist secret police and imprisoned. He died in 1952 at the age of 45.
The 22 December 1959 edition of Western Mail (Glamorgan County) noted that cameraman William Greenhaigh served at the mass celebrated at the farm:
Wearing gumboots, he recently served at a Roman Catholic Mass for two elderly Poles on a remote farm in Carmarthenshire.
The BBC Welsh television unit, of which he is a member, was on location, shooting scenes for “Borrowed Pastures” – featuring Polish farmers who have left their native land to settle in Wales.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 15 June 1960, in the article Tribute to Courage of Polish Farmers:
A happy ending has been provided to one of the most fascinating human interest stories in recent years, which began when about 100 Welsh farms passed into the possession of Polish Ex-Servicemen at the end of the war.
Two such people were Eugeniusz Okolowicz and Wlodek Bulaj, who borrowed enough money to buy infertile acres and ruined buildings of Penygaer Farm, Trawsmawr, Carmarthen, which had stood abandoned for 20 years.
Neither knew much about farming, but they managed to clear a mountain stream to an old mill and harness a generator. Living on a few groceries and two tins of meat a week, they built up a small herd of cattle and found market for the milk. Also, they found an old tractor, which they bought for £4 10s.
Today, they still work 18 hours a day; their only contact with the rest of the world being a weekly rendezvous with a travelling grocer, and a six-monthly visit of a Polish priest.
The courageous battle of these two men was spotlighted last month in the film, “Borrowed Pasture”, shown on BBC TV, and the Hawker Siddeley Group offered the two farmers one of its new aero-dynamically designed Gloster forage harvesters, worth some £300. An offer which was speedily accepted.
The presentation of the Harvester – built by the same experts who designed Gloster Javelin and Gloster Meteor jet fighters – was made at Penygaer Farm yesterday by a Gloster board member, Mr. W. W. W. Downing.
On Friday, January 6 1961, The South Wales Gazette, Monmouthshire, noted
The BBC Film Unit’s presentation of “Borrowed Pasture” which can be seen on Wednesday, attracted a great deal of attention when it was shown in May last year […]
The film, written and produced by John Ormond, tells the story of two former soldiers in the Polish Army, who settled in a bleak decaying farm on a Carmarthenshire hill-side. […]
The film’s most moving passage deals with loneliness of Wlodek Bulaj, one of the farmers. Bulaj has not seen his wife for 22 years.
John set about the task of helping Bulaj to get Polish and British visas for Mrs Bulaj to come to Wales.
Viewers who had seen the film sent money to help. After months of delay, Mrs Bulaj is now at the farm, having been reunited with her husband in Ormond’s own home. Now she can stay in Britain indefinitely.
The article mentions ‘Polish and British visas for Mrs Bulaj’. This may indicate that the family lived in eastern Poland, occupied by the Soviet Union after WWII.
Here is the scene from the film, in which Włodek is looking at his family pictures. The little daughter he last saw in 1939 has just got married.
However, in 1963, a little over two years after the reunion with his wife, Włodzimierz Bułaj died. What happened to his wife, Mr. Okołowicz, and the farm?
The personal dimension of the story is closely linked with the Communist policy of elimination and separation of anyone not willing to serve the totalitarian system. I mentioned my wife’s grandfather, who was prevented from reuniting with his son, my father in law, and imprisoned upon arrival in Poland in 1947.
Farms of my grandparents on both sides in eastern Poland were seized by Soviet authorities after WWII. Nearly entire family on my mother’s side were sent to concentration camps in different parts of the Soviet Union. Some were tortured. My parents met in the camps. Later on, in the 1980s, Soviet authorities refused permission for my visit to the family still remaining in the Soviet-occupied territory. In 2015, after many years of harassment, my wife and I were expelled from our workplaces at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra and University in Poznań, respectively. Despite official proclamations, the Communist policies continue. I am now in London in the UK, where I came in 2016, while my wife remains in Poland. The story of Bułaj, Okołowicz, Głuchowski, and others like them is not over. It continues.
‘During the Second World War, a generation of young people across Europe were conscripted to fight for their country. For six long years, these mainly young men were separated from their loved ones, lived in fear and died in their millions.’
Some were conscripted to fight for their occupiers. My father, Polish citizen, was conscripted in 1944 to fight for the Soviet occupiers in a Polish army formed under Communist control. His family lived in eastern Poland, area with a sizeable Jewish population, which was already under the second Soviet occupation during that war. He faced an impossible choice: to fight one evil on behalf of another one with high likelihood of being killed or desert from the Communist army. He and many others chose the latter. His group was later captured by the Soviet force. Many were tortured. They were sent to Russian concentration camps after the war. He spent eight years in the camp and further two years in exile in northern Russia.
I understand, of course, where the need for simplified narratives comes from. However, oversimplification comes with consequences.
We must also realise, that evil lives on. It is contagious, it mutates and continues to destroy human lives. It hasn’t stayed behind on the grounds of WWII Nazi camps. While a great effort has been made to develop immune response to one type of evil, there are other variants that spread almost uninhibited.
This is a ridiculous comedy. Russian state apparatus can do what they want. If the messages travel outside, then this is exactly what the Russian authorities want. Navalny is not a victim of that state. He is one of them.
My parents and other family members were prisoners of Communist concentration camps in Russia. This is the same Russia, but Navalny is a fake victim. The trick is to talk about fake victims instead of real ones.
Fake opposition is already a hundred-year old concept in Russia.
‘[WWII] didn’t begin in September 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland, but eight years earlier with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. It didn’t end in the summer of 1945, but dragged on until the autumn of 1989, when the Soviet empire finally broke up.’
Nazi Germany and Communist Russia jointly invaded Poland in September 1939, slight delay on the Russian side notwithstanding. 1989 is not the end of WWII. 1989 is significant mainly as the date of West’s crucial defeat on the cognitive battlefield.
Also, no one here seems to be concerned that the Yalta deal, signed by Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in 1945 was an illegal one.
EU is such a horrible wasteful bureaucracy. In 2017, several of us were driven from London to Truro in Cornwall to distribute some job training/job scheme leaflets paid for by the EU. I worked for a leaflet distribution company at the time. However, this money had to be sent to Brussels by the UK government first and later was sent back to sponsor this bizarre action. Letting some guys in a foreign country decide what is good for Britain, or any other country, and what job training schemes to support means loss of sovereignty.
And what was the carbon footprint of our round trip?
Several years earlier I witnessed a total waste of money provided by the EU to Poland. They sponsored theatrical workshop in a local theatre my daughter’s class was to participate in. The workshop was a fiction and was cut short. Waste of time and waste of money. I am sure the subsequent fictional report looked good on paper.
Another day I came to pick up my daughter from school in Poland and was surprised to find that she was compulsorily subjected to a medical superficial examination she did not need and we parents have not agreed to. When individuals and families are stripped of their fundamental rights and their dignity, that’s totalitarianism. We have not agreed to our daughter being undressed in front of some strange people. This was sponsored by the EU.