Higher degree of skepticism

My short comment on the article Cleaner beats Putin’s man in local Russian poll by Marc Bennetts in The Times, 1 October 2020.

Lech S Borkowski comment on The Times article by Marc Bennetts 1 October 2020
Comment on The Times 1 October 2020

My earlier short comment was removed. I wrote the following:

“The story looks to me produced rather than authentic. Produced in the sense that the Russian ‘democracy’ is managed and simulated. Polit-soap opera ”

I would like to make it clear that I am not questioning the article’s author intentions or his desire to report the story correctly. I am merely saying that the stories appearing in the Eastern Europe’s public sphere should be approached with more caution and higher degree of skepticism than in the West.



Not impressed

My short comment on the article Headbutted and kicked in the ribs — Belarusian police gave me a taste of the brutality meted out to protesters by Gareth Browne in The Times, 19 October 2020.

Lech S Borkowski comment on The Times article 19 October 2020
Comment on The Times article 19 October 2020

Sorry, but I am not impressed. Those without experience of reality in Communist country might be, but not me.

The regime is staging the protests to organize a transition to the next phase, which is a fake democracy. Those protesters are people of the regime. They want to create a founding myth for the next phase: BTL dictatorship, i.e. dictatorship below the line.

I am writing this as a son of survivors of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia, Bolesław Borkowski and Irena Ostrowska.



Communist narrative of WWII in The Times

My comment on Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees review — bloody fantasy versus cruel rationalism, book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times, 23 October 2020.

Lech S Borkowski, comment on book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times 24 October 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment on book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times 24 October 2020

This review starts with a caricature and is a bit of a caricature of history itself. It is a bad idea to use a cartoon to illustrate this subject. I understand, however, that the author is interested in conserving the narrative favorable towards the Communists. Although the cartoon uses insults about each of the leaders, it performs a very important function. It goes well with the grand Communist narrative.

A much better illustration would be the picture taken by a German soldier during the joint Communist-Nazi victory parade in Brześć nad Bugiem/Brest on the Bug river. It shows a banner praising the Red Army written in Cyrillic, two swastikas on each side above the banner, and a slightly raised sickle and hammer positioned centrally above the banner.

The picture is available in the German archives.

The author calls the Soviet leader a “defensive nationalist”. Imagine you heard this phrase out of context. Who would you have associated it with? Quite possibly you would have thought about leader of a western country.

This is another example of the Communist narrative, in which Soviet Union is to be presented as a defensive power, not the bloody genocidal regime that it was.

Also, note the language of the following fragment:

“As the German forces neared Lwow the local NKVD — the internal security police — massacred 4,000 political detainees in Brygidki prison. A few weeks later the occupying Germans egged on local Ukrainians to murder 4,000 Jews by way of retaliation. It was a bloody symmetry, of a kind.”

There was nothing “local” about NKVD. Decision to murder thousands of prisoners, citizens of Poland, was issued from Moscow. This is genocide and should be called this way. In the chaos of the first days of the German advance the Communists decided to give priority to killing the prisoners. The Soviet army retreated chaotically, abandoning equipment and arms along the way. They just could not retreat fast enough. The murder of the prisoners in eastern Poland, however, proceeded with precision and care.



Decades of false reporting

My comment on the article Putin has become tangled in his own web by Roger Boyes in The Times, 20 October 2020.


“He finds Lukashenko embarrassing and ducked out of at least one meeting with him in Moscow, yet under pressure from Minsk he has put the Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, exiled in Lithuania, on the Russian wanted list. If he wants quiet on Russia’s western front, he has decided, Lukashenko has to be propped up.”

The Times record, including Mr Boyes, on reporting and interpreting Eastern Europe is not particularly great. We are now in 2020, after decades of false reporting.

This reasoning is based on assumptions that might apply to a western democracy, but not to Communist states. It ignores what happened there during the last hundred years. It postulates implicitly certain type of stupidity and lack of cunning among the Russian rulers.

If anything, they outsmarted consistently the West.

For example, the changes of 1989-90 in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe were not related to the overthrow of Communism. This was merely a reorganisation, a change of scenography. It was the Communists themselves who organised ‘the opposition’ recruiting from their own ranks, with Adam Michnik and Tadeusz Mazowiecki their prime examples in Poland. Mr Boyes apparently either failed to notice the obvious or decided to cleanse his narrative of contradicting elements

It is no different in Belarus this time.



Communist science mindcraft

The second of my two comments on the article Taiwan academics told to identify as Chinese in journal by Charlie Parker in The Times, 10 October 2020.

The academic world in Communist countries executes strictly instructions from the authorities. They avoid usually admitting it, but there should be no illusion about it. They obey the authorities and they are the authorities’ strong arm. They are an indispensable part of the system of power and control.

Communists went to great lengths to create myths about alleged ‘independence’ and ‘freedom-loving’ of the academic world in their totalitarian countries. These stories, however, are not supported by empirical evidence. I experienced this both as a student in Poland during the 1980s and later as a researcher and an associate professor post-1990.

I am a physicist with a PhD from a well-known university in the US. I returned to Poland in 1995 with the intention of doing research and pursuing my academic goals. I hit the restrictions and the wall immediately, even before I set my foot in the university hallways. First, I was excluded from a conference in Poland, where my presence would not only be natural but also desirable, given the conference’s profile and the research I carried out during my American doctorate.

I was then sidelined in the teaching activities. Instead of being assigned normal teaching duties, I was forced to teach courses related more to computer science than physics. I had also no choice but come to work with my private laptop, as the department refused to provide even the most basic equipment. The farthest they went was to provide a stationary PC shared with another person. Only once. Curiously enough, as I later found out, this was probably son of a Communist general, i.e. a person on the opposite side of the totalitarian axis.

I was also given an office shared with that same son of a Communist general. This was in a brand new university building with an overabundance of office space. However, trivial details such as office space must have been taken care of long before. The mantra of endless excuses was well rehearsed and repeated ad nauseam, whenever I tried to raise the issue.

Even the architecture of the entire department building availed itself to a detailed system of who-goes-where and who-does-what control. It was like a well-designed prison. My key opened only a small number of doors and to access most sections of the department I had to ring a bell and request someone else’s personal assistance. This was a civilian university, not a military or intelligence institution. Or was it? Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, Department of Physics.

I was never part of the normal information flow. I had to beg for information even in the case of courses I was supposed to teach.

Department’s head office did their best to discourage me from working there and did their best to get rid of me.

It was passion and my dogged perseverance that kept me there. When I applied for tenure during the process known as habilitation, the academic authorities did their best to violate the law and sabotage the process.

I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, one of the reviewers of this process was a well-known former principal (president) of a Polish university, who called me ‘arrogant’ in his review, although I have never met the guy in person. There was no overlap of my research with his. I saw him only once or twice on tv.

I understood later that this was a provocation, a typical Communist trap.

I know, of course, that Poland has been promoted as a country that overthrew the Communist rule. All I can say now is the following: you have been misinformed.

Now, back to the theme of scientific journals, which is the article’s subject. When I submitted a paper for publication in a journal published by the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2013, I received eventually a copy which was falsified by the editorial office. One of the basic symbols used in my paper was falsified in a way that would violate normal scientific conventions. The editorial board insisted on me making couple of dozen corrections for each instance of the symbol’s appearance instead of just one for the entire paper. My original submission had the correct form of this symbol. The editor altered it into a farcical form. I would have to make dozens of corrections just to return the paper to its original form.

How much more Communist can you get? I decided to wait and see. They rushed to publish the damaged paper without waiting for my approval. This was clearly a Communist provocation.

You might ask at this point, where did it all go wrong for me. Well, it did go wrong in January 1945, when my father decided to desert from the Soviet-controlled army because the Soviets were killing members of the Polish WWII resistance. I strongly support my father’s choice. And my mother’s as well. They were both prisoners of Communist concentration camps after WWII.

So, you should accept as quite natural course of events that I was fired from the university in Poland in 2015 and came to the UK to make ends meet and to support my family. Here I am working as a greengrocer’s assistant in west London. I had the opportunity to serve both UK’s former PM and the former Chancellor in my new role.

I did not have a financial cushion to pursue avenues of activity more naturally aligned with my professional profile, if you ask me about my current status.

I have not received even a single expression of support during my struggles with the Communist scientific authorities in Poland.

I happened to speak at a conference at the Trinity College in Cambridge in 2012. This was due to my unexpected discovery of effects in the area of neural dynamics which were completely missed in earlier studies. Polish authorities were not impressed, however. I was too stubborn a scientist for their taste. They fired me in 2015. My pianist wife was fired from a Polish state institution in 2015 as well.



Sovietization of Europe

The first of my two comments on the article Taiwan academics told to identify as Chinese in journal by Charlie Parker in The Times, 10 October 2020.

“Its position has prompted outrage from leading academics in Britain, who have demanded that Springer Nature stop partnering with journals that operate under rules set by authoritarian regimes.”

When my wife and I sent alarming letters to the European Commission and European Parliament about methods of eliminating us from our jobs and killing us as social beings, there were no protests.

Polish authorities fired pianist teacher Małgorzata Głuchowska from the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in 2015, accusing her of improper thinking. She was the best piano teacher in the school. She is my wife.

On 16 Nov 2015, the authorities condemned my wife:

“Currently, we can talk about disorders concerning both the formal and the content side of thought processes.”

This is apparently the disorder of thought Nikita Khrushchev talked about in 1959: “Can there be diseases, mental disorders among certain people in a Communist society? It appears there can be.”

Europarliament did not bother to react. Sovietization of Europe is a fact.



Beyond cognitive horizon

My comment on the article Belarus protests: Thousands take to streets of Minsk as Olympian Yelena Leuchanka is arrested by Gareth Browne in The Times, 5 October 2020.

These demonstrations are staged. Communists went far beyond the cognitive horizon of a typical western observer. The West cannot comprehend that the regime can simulate protests in order to move the public narrative in a desired direction. As I wrote already earlier, the Belarus regime wants to transition to a simulated, i.e. fake democracy, similarly to what has been done in Poland earlier.

There is no political power outside the regime. It is that simple.

Also, note the massive use of white-red-white flags. Having no history of their own, the regime tries to claim the heritage of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This is clearly orchestrated.

From the point of view of the regime, the simulated ‘velvet revolution’ has many advantages of course. It is mostly a change of decorations. Power remains in the same hands. Former Communist party members are now welcomed as democrats in Brussels. It worked in Poland.



Polishing images of totalitarian agents in The Telegraph

The untold story of Edith Tudor-Hart: ‘grandmother’ of the Cambridge spies by Charlotte Philby in The Telegraph, 3 October 2020.

When thinking about woman’s bravery, I prefer my mother, who was imprisoned by the Communist henchmen in eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Russia after WWII. She was ‘tried’ by a local Soviet military tribunal in 1949, together with her father and a younger brother. She tried to protect both of them in her responses during interrogations. She was subsequently imprisoned in a concentration camp in northern Russia in the Arkhangelsk area. She was released in 1956. The war, which was started by joint invasion of Nazi and Communist forces on Poland, has never ended for her. Communist thugs harassed her even when she went shopping when I was little. She suffered enormously and never received justice.

The Soviet security system was centered around terror and torture. She was a very brave woman. She did what was right. More recently, I witnessed the bravery of my pianist wife, who refused to yield to Communist methods of thugs running the state apparatus in Poland. This is also a very interesting story.

The current article is part of a totalitarian narrative. Both Communists and Nazis offered important roles to women dedicated to their cause. I would recommend publishing a collection of stories of female emancipation in the service of both of these genocidal regimes.

I would like to correct those optimists who claim that Communism collapsed. It didn’t. The publishing of this and similar articles in top British papers is a testimony to Communism being pushed into the mainstream. This is the next stage. Memory of Communist villains is preserved, while their victims are eliminated again, this time from memory.




Political functionary as chief of the Auschwitz museum

My comment on the article Auschwitz museum chief offers to serve Nigerian boy Omar Farouq’s hard-labour sentence by Jane Flanagan in The Times, 30 September 2020.

Mr Cywiński is more of a political functionary than a museum director.

Here is part of my comment following the The Sunday Times article Holocaust novelists blur Nazi fact and fiction in bestsellers
by Andrew Holgate, 23 February 2020.

“The Museum did not invite Witold Pilecki’s son Andrzej and daughter Zofia, to the 70th anniversary of the Camp’s liquidation in 2015. Witold Pilecki was a Polish officer, who went to Auschwitz voluntarily, organised an underground resistance organisation there and sent reports about the Camp to the Polish resistance and the Polish government in exile in London.

At the same time, Museum issued an invitation to Rainer Hoess, 51, a grandson of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp commandant Rudolf Hoess, to participate in the 70th anniversary ceremonies. Rainer is a well-known anti-Nazi.

After WWII, Witold Pilecki was executed by the functionaries of the Communist dictatorship in 1948. This is clearly the reason behind refusing to invite Zofia and Andrzej Pilecki to the 70th anniversary. The concentration camp lives on under new leadership and with new guards. This is the camp of social death and elimination from history. The narrative is being actively managed and controlled.”

The entire comment can be found under the original article as well as in my blog.



Communist narrative in The Sunday Times Travel section

My comment on the article Exploring Poland’s Lake District by Emma Thomson in The Sunday Times, 27 September 2020.

The article is representative of the Communist narrative. This is a region whose inhabitants either escaped or were expelled later in a totalitarian action. Practically the entire population of this large region was purged. The region was split by an arbitrarily drawn border and the Soviet enclave of “Kaliningrad” was installed north of it. The Koenigsberg of Immanuel Kant and several hundred years of history were annihilated.

“The capital of the region is the “garden town” of Olsztyn”

It is not a garden town. It is full of Communist blocks of flats. This was East Prussian Allenstein before WWII.

My wife’s grandmother Wera Głuchowska and her son Witold, my wife’s father, then a little boy, happened to be in Allenstein as refugees in 1945, just as WWII was coming to an end. Their home was in Iwacewicze, town in eastern Poland under Soviet occupation, presently under Belarussian control. Food was extremely scarce. Wera died of disease and exhaustion in 1945, after the war ended. She is buried in a neglected cemetery behind the church of St Joseph (current name, I am not sure of the German name). An office of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance is located just across the street from the church. The name is misleading, however. A short walk to this cemetery is enough to expose the lie. This has nothing to do with remembrance and everything with forgetting and subjugating to the official propaganda.

This cemetery bears witness to a great tragedy. Graves of little children who came to the world in the aftermath of WWII, graves of older Polish folk, who died in a foreign land instead near their farms in the fields, where they grew up and farmed. Graves of pre-WWII Prussian inhabitants, whose descendants fled, were killed, or were expelled. Most neglected, their boundaries sometimes difficult to recognize.

“The farm near Utka was bought by her great-grandparents for a small sum when the borders were redrawn after the Second World War. This previously German region became Polish, the Germans left, and residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south.”

The name of the place in Polish is Ukta, not Utka. It is quite an achievement to falsify so much history in two sentences. “Borders were redrawn”? By whom? Who did that? Why? No mention of an illegal Yalta agreement to which, sadly, the British government were part.

The phrase “bought by her great-grandparents” is meant to suggest a legal transaction as well as create an air of a long Polish history of the place. The sentence “This previously German region became Polish, the Germans left, and residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south” is a classic example of a totalitarian story-telling. The tragedy of the people is presented like a simple house sale. It was anything but.

This is the Communist narrative subordinated to the Soviet/Russian narrative.

The phrase “residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south” is simply a lie. I am a son of those “residents”. They were indeed residents, but not of Lithuania. Post-WWII, they resided in Communist concentration camps in northern Russia, Arkhangelsk region, for quite a long time. They were lucky to get out alive. Before that, they were citizens of Poland. They were stripped of their Polish citizenship by the Soviet occupiers. Both of my parents lived in eastern Poland, now marked as part of Belarus.

I was born in Kętrzyn/Rastenburg and grew up among refugee families from eastern Poland. We had a very small flat in former German barracks. Among our neighbours was a quiet German-East Prussian family. They may have been evicted from their house or farm. They left for Germany in the 1970s. Two of my childhood friends also moved to Germany during that time. They had a Polish father and a German mother.

As time went by, I gradually realised the enormity of the tragedy of all the people in that war.

And what are we served by The Times? No mention of vandalised country houses, ruined farms. It is all sweet and beautiful. “Bought for a small sum”. Really? This area is not my place and not my heritage.


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