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Communist terror as interaction of unhappy people?

Comment on the article ‘Shot for collecting stamps’: gulag letters lay bare the dystopia of Stalin’s Russia by Roger Lewis in The Telegraph, 20 March 2021.


Let us look at the opening paragraph.

In Russia, during the decades of the Communist experiment, was there a single person who was happy? “Millions of the citizens of this great country,” writes Ludmila Ulitskaya in this harrowing book, “were killed by the very Utopia that they strived to create.”

There are several falsifications here already. It is a falsification to use the term ‘Communist experiment’ to refer to bloody terror of the Communist dictatorship. We do not normally use the words ‘Nazi experiment’, unless referring to cruel medical experiments, conducted by the Nazis. To say ‘experiment’ about the Soviet dictatorship is, in essence, to defend it.

Next, we have the word ‘happy’. This is a very strange way to talk about, again, bloody terror. Implicitly, it suggests, that the functionaries of the dictatorship and millions of denunciators and informers were in it together with millions of people with anti-Communist views, and that everyone was a similar victim of the ‘Experiment’. The rhetorical question posed by Roger Lewis has an affirmative answer. There were plenty of happy people. They have eagerly taken part in the criminal, genocidal pursuit of their conception of happiness. Mass crimes were part of this genocidal project from the very beginning.

If, as Roger Lewis suggests, no one was happy in the Soviet Union, we would also have to conclude that there must have been many unhappy people in Nazi Germany, who were unhappy for different reasons. Some were unhappy because they were sent to concentration camps. Others were not content because the killing apparatus they identified with was not efficient enough, terror imposed on the occupied lands has not stopped resistance and Germany was losing the war. We do not use this word, however, in the Nazi context, because it is inappropriate under the circumstances. Similarly, there is a huge difference between an unhappy functionary of the terror apparatus and unhappy dying victim. They are both unhappy but on opposite sides of the killing axis, hardly a unifying feature.

Alexander Dolgun was personally tortured by General Ryumin, deputy chief of MGB, the Soviet Ministry of State Security, see ‘Alexander Dolgun’s Story. An American in the Gulag’, by Alexander Dolgun with Patrick Watson, Knopf, New York 1975:

“Do you just sit there?” Ryumin yelled. He knocked me off the chair with a blow to the head. It hurt like hell. I roared as I fell on the floor. Ryumin yelled again, “Aha!”

By article’s author prescription this is apparently an interaction between two unhappy people.

‘Millions killed by the very Utopia they strived to create’, by an anonymised and depersonalised killing machine? This again is a defense of the Communist perpetrators. Those millions were killed by other human beings who served the dictatorship. And who was tried at Nuremberg? Was it Nazi Utopia or specific persons? There is no legal concept of being killed by a Utopia.

‘…killed by the very Utopia that they strived to create’. This is a Bolshevik-style falsification when minority of Communists among victims is presented as the majority of all.

This is clearly a Communist narrative seeking to purge non-Communist victims from history, while expressing sorrow for killing fellow comrades.

My family members, citizens of Poland, were long-time prisoners of Communist concentration camps after WWII: my parents in the Arkhangelsk region, others at Vorkuta, Norilsk, and other places. My uncle Klemens Ostrowski Jr was tortured and was disabled both physically and mentally when released from the camp. While he gradually recovered physically, he never regained his mental faculty. The document my father received upon release from the camp in 1954 can be viewed here.

My parents lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1941 and then again from 1944. Communist occupiers stripped them of their Polish citizenship and confiscated their families farms.

My family were targeted in a planned genocidal activity. There was nothing accidental about it. All those resisting Communism were to be either physically killed, crippled, or delivered social death. A Communist Final Solution.

This criminal Communist activity evolved and is continued today, albeit in a more camouflaged way. After a long and vicious campaign, my wife and I were expelled from our jobs in Poland in 2015 from state school of music and university, respectively. Her grandfather fought the Nazi forces as a Polish officer in 1939, was later imprisoned by the Soviet authorities, managed to leave the Soviet Union after German attack on Russia in 1941, fought with the Polish forces on the western front of WWII, and was imprisoned again upon his return to Poland under Communist control in 1947.

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Rees, Navalny, Colston, Dzerzhinsky

Comment on the article Marvin Rees: ‘When my pal Alexei Navalny is free, I’ll give him a grand tour of Bristol’ by Matthew Campbell in The Sunday Times, 14 February 2021. Polish version: Rees, Navalny, Colston, Dzierżyński,


Lech S Borkowski comment The Sunday Times 14 February 2021
Lech S Borkowski comment in The Sunday Times 14 February 2021

In the June 8, 2020 article in the Evening Standard Marvin J Rees was quoted to have said

“My concern though is that racism is tackled not just by pulling down statues in symbolic moments – it’s stitched into the system. It’s the systematic exclusion of people from opportunity and power.”

This was after the statue of Colston the slave trader was toppled in Bristol.

This systematic exclusion of people from opportunity and power is a fact in Eastern Europe. The statues of Dzerzhinsky are standing in Russian cities, some erected recently. Contemporary Russia is built on terror and genocide. Navalny has no problem with that. Corruption is a nonessential issue in Russia. It is an ersatz story.

Mr Rees, you can meet me. I have a PhD in Physics from an American university and I will tell you how the systematic exclusion from opportunity and power is carried out in Eastern Europe. I will also tell you how my pianist wife and I were expelled from our jobs in Polish state educational institutions for our beliefs and simply for who we are.

@LechSBorkowski

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Dzerzhinsky Avenue

Comment on the article Alexei Navalny jailed for three years as police crack down on fresh protests in Moscow by Natalia Vasilyeva in The Telegraph, 3 February 2021. Polish version: Aleja Dzierżyńskiego.


Lech S Borkowski comment in The Telegraph 3 February 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Telegraph 3 February 2021

Navalny is one of many Russia’s state-run projects. He is clearly a member of the Russian privileged class. This spectacle is a creation of political technologists. Engaging in it is a waste time. They don’t teach Communist techniques of provocation and narrative control at UK universities, do they?

I have not seen any mention of the Communist genocide in this context. Corruption is a problem but genocide isn’t? I haven’t noticed anyone protesting against town names such as Dzerzhinsk or street names such Dzerzhinsky Street or Dzerzhinsky Prospekt.

Corruption is a nonessential criticism in Russia. It is a useful diversion.

What about those millions murdered, expelled and terrorised? Communist genocidal policies are continued in Eastern Europe, including EU and NATO members.

I have an obligation to point this out as a son of Polish survivors of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia.

@LechSBorkowski

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Discourse control

My comment on the article Poland tries to extradite woman, 97, on SS charge by Oliver Moody and Maria Wilczek in The Times, 1 January 2021.


The Times 1 January 2021
Statue of slave crouching in front of Abraham Lincoln removed from Boston in the US, first left, 1950s Joseph Stalin memorial towering presence in Warsaw with no plans of removal, first right, The Times 1 January 2021

There is an article in the same World section of today’s Times about removal of a kneeling slave memorial from Boston in the US, illustrated by a picture of the statue. The slave is crouching in front of an erect figure of Abraham Lincoln.

The current article, in turn, is illustrated by a crowd in front of a towering Soviet monument, Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw erected in the 1950s on orders from Moscow.

There is no plan to remove the monument. Publishing pictures of this building whenever possible is part of the Communist policy. The picture, although not an illustration of the article’s subject, is consistent with the text in the sense of discourse control.

Writing and talking about, and sometimes prosecuting Nazi crimes is fine. The article is equipped with a testimony of one of the victims of Nazism. Good.

Lech S Borkowski comment in the World section of The Times 1 January 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 1 January 2021

Not so with the Communist crimes. The aim is to purge them from memory, history, and public life. The illustration of the article with the picture of the Joseph Stalin memorial is also a clear message that Communism has not collapsed and the power remained in the hands of the same ruling class.

The article mentions “177 Polish women, many of whom had been arrested in the Warsaw Uprising.” They are only mentioned collectively as a nameless and faceless number. The Joseph Stalin memorial picture represents their post-WWII Communist oppressors. Other postwar Communist buildings in the picture were obviously not what those women fought for. Those buildings are symbolically tied to the Communist oppressors, not to the women.

Polish authorities have not tried to do anything remotely resembling prosecution of the Communist crimes. I have an obligation to raise my voice and point this out as child of survivors of Communist concentration camps and more recently a target of campaign against my own family.

@LechSBorkowski

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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. Wersja polska: Ocieplanie wizerunku agentów totalitaryzmu.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Telegraph 4 October 2020
Lech Borkowski, comment in The Telegraph 4 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.

@LechSBorkowski

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Consequences of imperialism

My comments on the article We need to talk about empire: a conversation about Britain’s history is overdue by Matthew Syed in The Sunday Times, 14 June 2020.


Imperialism has many aspects and is not limited to race relations.

The imperial view still permeates the world politics. The current world order is an outcome of WWII.

It is useful to compare the Brexiteers’ outrage at the loss of sovereignty to the EU and the decisions made in Yalta regarding Eastern Europe. Forced resettlement, arbitrary redrawing of borders and giving a free hand to the genocidal regime of the Soviet Union was no problem for the UK elites. God forbid, however, if even a tiny fraction of something similar were to happen to the UK!

At the end of the world war, when the enormity of crimes was so obvious, the American and British elites showed that preserving their own narrowly perceived short-term interests was far more important to them than the acceptance that every human being and every human life is valuable. National mythologies were constructed around the fight against Nazism, while Communism gained the status of an acceptable and perhaps even inevitable genocide. The disastrous and illegal deal at Yalta was signed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. It was later presented as inevitable and the only possibility.

Yes, the leaders of the so-called ‘free world’ facilitated the loss of my family members’ rightful citizenship, their rights, and their imprisonment in Communist concentration camps, and confiscation of their property. Ethnic cleansing was viewed as acceptable and logical.

Later on they proceeded to lecture people from other countries on the principles of democracy, while denying the self-rule and sovereignty in various parts of the world.

However, decisions that seemed good or reasonable in the UK or in the United States in the short term, in the long term were disastrous also to them.

The Communists of Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have brilliantly exploited this selective and delusional approach to justice and sovereignty.

@LechSBorkowski

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Philippe Sands silent on general Rudenko

Short comment on The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands review by Dominic Sandbrook, The Times, April 12, 2020.


I read Philippe Sands’ East West Street. I was unpleasantly surprised that he chose to completely ignore the problem with the Soviet presence at the Nuremberg trial. He spent time criticising Rafael Lemkin’s approach to the enormous crimes while at the same time seeing nothing wrong with the Soviet presence at Nuremberg. The head of the Soviet team was general Roman Rudenko, a criminal himself, guilty of crimes against humanity.

His writing has many strengths but also some very significant weaknesses.

I won’t go into detail, because this review is about a different book. So, this is just my remark on the margins.

@LechSBorkowski