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You have been misinformed

My two comments on Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum, review: a querulous and flawed analysis of Europe by Philip Johnston in The Telegraph, 26 July 2020.


Lech Borkowski
26 Jul 2020 7:04PM

Putting it mildly, you have been misinformed by both Anne Applebaum and her husband Radek Sikorski on Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.

Radek Sikorski has been trained by Communist intelligence, probably the military branch, and secured a place at Oxford by Zbigniew Pelczynski, an Oxford professor on friendly terms with the Communists in Poland.

When I was about to leave the US at the end of my doctoral studies at the University of Florida, I was contacted by Radek Sikorski, who suggested that I participate in his team supporting the candidate in the upcoming presidential election in Poland. My initial response was positive, but I soon abandoned this idea without having met RS. Thank God.

Below I am including the letter my wife sent to Anne Applebaum on 22 May 2013. I collaborated in writing it. It tells you a completely different story to the one you are accustomed getting from your media outlets.

This is an English translation of the Polish original. You can also view it on our website at https://lsborkowski.com/pol/killing-the-soul-22-may-2013/ , where we present some of our texts associated with our project. The same text is available at at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330015944_Letter_to_the_Washington_Post_22_May_2013

I wrote the statement “Citizenship de jure and citizenship de facto” on 8 July 2014 and sent it to Radek Sikorski. It is available at

https://lsborkowski.com/pol/citizenship-de-jure-citizenship-de-facto-8-july-2014/ or at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329923338_Citizenship_De_Jure_and_Citizenship_De_Facto

He did not reply.

@LechSBorkowski

Research

22 May 2013

It is both interesting and disturbing that historians, sociologists, political scientists or journalists do not tell the truth about contemporary Poland. Even Poles themselves do not have the courage to face the truth. They do not have the courage to admit that they are flooded with lies.

[…]

The Communists worked hard over the years to perfect their killing ways. From the murder of the body they evolved towards the murder of the soul.

[…]

The loyalty to the mob, the falsifications and the active participation in the process of liquidating a human being are all rewarded with money, advance on the professional ladder, special privileges and total impunity.

[…]

The Solidarity movement was a skillfully manufactured lie.

I can now say with full certainty that there is no democracy in Poland. There has been no democracy here since 1939. We have only Potemkin-style democratic decorations. I live in the country governed by junta, where dignity and the social function of the human being are murdered. It is only natural that the result of such action by organized liquidation groups is not only the death of the soul but often also the death of the victim’s body. The perpetrators remain unpunished.

Today Poland is a country without natural social activity. The entire public life remains firmly under control of junta, who simulate a democratic system, but in reality destroy everyone whom they classify as an inconvenient person. Those who might pose a threat to junta’s hegemony are identified at a very early stage. Their lives and careers are often destroyed before they even have a chance to spread their wings. The know-how of the Communist secret police has not gone to waste. The hunt continues. Anyone who raises his or her head will be silenced or liquidated. The totalitarian state silences its opponents, as Hannah Arendt described in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem.

The Polish junta is a far more advanced product of totalitarianism than e.g. the Argentinian junta of the second half of the 20th century. In Argentina people were kidnapped and murdered secretly in isolated locations. In Poland people’s souls are murdered “on-site”, in exactly the same location where they live and work. Observers have an excuse to claim that nothing evil is taking place. This technique is far more sophisticated than the relatively ancient methods of an average Latin American junta.

My country, to which I returned with a great joy after traveling in Europe or the United States, is subject to Bolshevik rules. Contemporary Poland is actually a Communist concentration camp, in which the Communist perpetrators donned democratic uniforms. Certainly, number of political scientists must have at least asked themselves a question, how was it possible, that the totalitarian regime so easily and simply withdrew in 1989-1990. Was it really so, that the guards of the Communist concentration camp Poland simply got up from their desks, opened the camp’s gates and went home to live ordinary lives? And the next day they became pious Catholics and democrats? Was this a miraculous conversion? After the murder and expulsion of millions? After several decades of increasingly more perfect cruelty?

No, this is not true. The Communism did not fall. It was transformed, modernized and adapted to the new times. The banner of Communism was taken down and hidden away. But the dictatorship remained in place. In many ways the actions of the junta are bolder than before 1990.

[…]

Małgorzata Głuchowska


Lech Borkowski
26 Jul 2020 10:55PM

Applebaum’s narrative is a Communist one. You can see this in larger texts as well as in single sentences. Here is one example from the back cover of the Penguin’s edition of Iron Curtain:

“At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe.”

Try taking this sentence apart and try to understand what it tells you. A big red flashing light.

This sentence signals her allegiance to the Communist/Russian narrative. Superficially, she may criticize Russia and Communists for this or that, but the signs are clearly there. People and key facts are omitted when harmful to the Cause. Often, what is omitted is much more important than what is included in the text. You will notice it easily when browsing through the index of the Iron Curtain, an awful book written with an apparent intention to confuse the readers.

My parents, Polish citizens, were imprisoned for many years in Communist concentration camps in northern Russia in the Arkhangelsk region. My father deserted from the Communist army on 13 January 1945, one day before the military oath was taken. My mother was imprisoned in 1949. Both lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939-1941 and again after 1944. These are Communist taboo subjects and do not appear in her texts as well. Writing about it would harm Communist and Russian interests.

@LechSBorkowski

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Polish-Soviet friendship 2.0

My comment on the article Polish president looks for US troops to give him edge in election by Oliver Moody in The Times, 25 June 2020.


There is a misunderstanding about the changes of 1989-90. It was not, as it is usually presented, a ‘transition to democracy’. The ruling Communists maintained the same firm grip on power. What changed, was decorations and the plurality of lies.

As the Soviet troops were withdrawing from Poland in the first half of the 1990s, a contingent of civil operatives were brought in from the Soviet republics, who were installed at the state cultural and scientific institutions. Jobs, that were difficult to get for qualified Polish citizens, were given to the Russians. Given the circumstances and the logistics of this exercise, it was clearly the result of a cooperation of Poland, Russia, and the Soviet republics.

There was no obvious need that these people would fulfill.

Poland pretended to be officially an opponent of Russia, while on the ground continued the Communist business-as-usual. The mutual recognition of university degrees and other certificates continued until Poland entered the European Union in 2004. So, if you e.g. had a degree from a top western university, you had to go through the verification process with your diploma. However, if your degree was from Belarus, Kazakhstan, or any place in Russia, it was automatically accepted as valid.

In my wife’s workplace, at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in what is now western Poland, the head of the piano section was and probably still is an operative from Leningrad. That woman came to Poland around 1991 to a school of music in a small town in south-west Poland. Later on she moved to a better known school on the Polish-German border, and finally, after another couple of years to Zielona Góra. These moves would not have been possible without any special backing. These are jobs which are difficult to obtain for the Poles.

There are quite many examples of this policy in Poland. Quite obviously this is the next phase of the Polish-Soviet friendship.

These Russian operatives do not have any particularly precious expertise. Their presence contradicts common sense and sometimes even the law.

My wife was fired from the said School of Music in Zielona Góra, despite being the most successful piano teacher. Interestingly, the Russians (there is more than one of them in the school), often used the Soviet and Russian editions of classic composers, which were clearly falsified. The musical text was clearly wrong. It was not only the cyrillic of the letters, that was the problem. but also the musical text. But nobody dared to raise the issue.

This tells you more about reality than the noise about American troops, which might come to Poland.

If they come, they will be puppets in someone else’s hands. Americans do not have a clue.

@LechSBorkowski

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Good man Goodman

My comment on the article Agent Gustav: Geoffrey Goodman, the Fleet Street titan who spied on Harold Wilson by Gabriel Pogrund, Martin Dixon and  Tom Calver in The Sunday Times, 13 June 2020. The text includes the comment I made following the June 8, 2019 article by Jake Kerridge in The Telegraph, ‘Why should my family apologise?’ Kim Philby’s granddaughter Charlotte on her new spy novel.


Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 14 June 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 14 June 2020, part 1
Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 14 June 2020, part 2
Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 14 June 2020, part 2

Characteristically, these Communist spy cases are presented in a moral vacuum. There is a man/woman of ideals, there is a foreign power, but there are no victims. The victims have been sanitized out of the picture. There seems to be only one issue, that of loyalty to the state, which the spy is the citizen of.

Victims? They have not hit or murdered anyone personally, they only delivered information, so why talk about victims?

The defense of informer’s family and his sympathizers follows the familiar line “he was a good man”, an idealist or an intellectual, where the “good” extends into many dimensions.

Quote from the article:

Karen Goodman released a joint statement with her brother, saying she was “surprised” by the extent of her father’s involvement with the StB.

“Our father was a lifelong socialist and at the same time deeply patriotic and devoted to creating a better life for everyone. He was a strong internationalist […]”

Apparently, Goodman’s family and I are using different dictionaries. Our understanding of the word “everyone” is different. It is similar to the difference between “people” and “former people” in the Soviet Union. I think the full sentence should rather be “Our father was a lifelong socialist […] and devoted to creating a better life for everyone, with the exception of former people”. The code-word ‘internationalist’ is basically an admission that he viewed Communist supremacy as desirable and was a faithful disciple of the ideology.

Unsurprisingly, in a recent BBC Radio 4 podcast by David Cannadine about Anthony Blunt, the defense of his spying for the Soviet Union used similar arguments: man of ideals, great, great, great many times over. Here spying for the genocidal dictatorship is presented as an issue of ‘intellectual liberty’.

Then we have the case of Kim Philby and his relatives. In an article in The Telegraph on 8 July 2019, on the occasion of the publication of her spy novel, his granddaughter Charlotte does not seem to have any feelings of shame:

I wonder if Charlotte ever worries about having to explain to her own children what their great-grandfather did. “[…] It’s not like he was, I don’t know if I can say this, but it’s not like he was a Nazi apologist. And also they’ve grown up in Hackney, where Communism isn’t necessarily a dirty word.”

Look ma, no victims.

The victims of Communism have been mostly eliminated from the media, from schools, from public consciousness.

Members of my family, Polish citizens, were imprisoned in Communist concentration camps in the Soviet Union after the second World War. Some were tortured. Their lives were destroyed. The Soviet Communists confiscated their farms. They continued to be harassed and spied upon throughout their life.

My wife and I lost our jobs at state institutions in Poland 2015 after a long and brutal campaign aimed at eliminating us from public life. Typical Communist methods were used against us. I worked at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. My wife was employed at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra.

They attacked also our daughter in her elementary school, where the head teacher and my daughter’s main teacher participated in organized provocations.

Philby, Blunt, Goodman, and many others served those henchmen.

Few years ago I read an interview with the daughter of Rudolf Hoess, who was the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her father was a warm family man. In her words, “he was the nicest father in the world”. His children had a happy childhood. You can also watch part of the interview online.

I do not blame the children or grandchildren for the deeds of their parents or grandparents. However, I expect them and the newspaper writers to have a genuine awareness of the enormity of the Communist crimes and to call things by their true name. If you worked for the criminal Communist regime, that means you worked for the criminal Communist regime.

My family and I are not faceless numbers. We are real people whose lives were devastated as a result of Communist persecution. This is an ongoing story, not a thing of the past.

@LechSBorkowski

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Cast of characters

My second comment on Niall Ferguson’s farewell article in his Sunday Times column, My crystal ball missed Brexit but got Donald Trump, 24 May 2020. The first comment, Dizzy with success, was blocked by the paper.


My yesterday’s comment was blocked. Were my few critical words unbearable for this unabashedly self-promoting article in the old, well-established paper?

Was my satirical take on Niall Ferguson’s prophetical prowess with Joseph V. Stalin’s ‘dizzy with success’ Pravda article of 2 March 1930 considered inappropriate? Was the editor concerned about possible violation of copyrights to Stalin’s words?

As a historian, Niall Ferguson is trying to write history of the future before it happens. In the old days person trying to predict the future course of events was futurist. Now they call themselves forecasters or superforecasters in apparent analogy to those predicting tomorrow’s 15pc chance of rain.

The difference between predicting tomorrow’s rain and next year’s events is that weather is not so directly influenced by newspaper articles as is the narrative about the present and the future. Political and economic forecasting in popular media and government agencies is not neutral.

Take a look at the second part of the word ‘forecast’: cast. As in ‘cast of characters’. Think: narrative. Participants of the narrative. Forecasting is shaping and guiding the public narrative. It promotes certain characters, elevating their status, and eliminates others. It is definitely not a neutral activity.

One good example is Niall Ferguson’s article in The Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2011, about Europe in 2021, which was published in a modified form in The Sunday Times on 27 November 2011. Both fictitious and real-life characters are featured in this text. Among them is Radek (Radosław) Sikorski, Ferguson’s friend from Oxford, who was trained by Communist intelligence. Ferguson writes ‘Poland, under the dynamic leadership of Radek Sikorski, the former foreign minister’. This is not forecasting. This is casting.

Finally, I leave the last two paragraphs of my yesterday’s comment unchanged.

On November 3, 2019, Niall Ferguson wrote lots of nonsense about the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’. The concept of the ‘collapse of Communism’ belongs to Communist mythology. Communism has not collapsed. It was a mere change of clothes and an exercise in redecoration.

Although he is not alone in being terribly wrong, being one of the many who are terribly wrong should not be an excuse.

@LechSBorkowski

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Communist subjugation of church

Comment on The Times’ article Putin and Stalin exalted beside angels in Russia’s ‘pagan temple’ by Marc Bennetts in Moscow


The appearance of Stalin on the wall of an Orthodox church seems surprising at first. However, if we reflect a little, we will see that it is far from being an isolated incident. The Communist takeover of the church hierarchy and organised religion has been carried out during the first few years of dictatorship in each of Communist countries.

Those who believe otherwise, have been indulging too much in fairy tales. Communists themselves pretended to have been unable to control the church in some countries, notably in Poland, which is utter nonsense. The Polish pope John Paul II invited the Red Army Choir to the Vatican for celebrations of the 26th anniversary of his pontificate in 2004. The video from the Choir’s performance can be viewed on Youtube. The last song performed that October evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the Communist-controlled Polish forces formed in the Soviet Union in 1943.

The church in Communist hands is an excellent tool of intelligence.

Putin going to church does not signify the triumph of religion. Quite the opposite. It represents the triumph and confidence of Communist intelligence.

@LechSBorkowski

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Spy from “God’s playground” becomes pope and saint

Comment on the article Virtual Vatican: Video game that lets you play Pope by Tom Kington in The Times, April 23, 2020.


Funny, that game makers haven’t come up with a pre-1990 ‘East-European democratic opposition to communism’ simulation and ‘East-European democracy post-1990’ simulation. I understand that games of this kind might be accidentally revealing too much.

Games like the one mentioned in the article are an excellent tool for shaping cognitive horizons of young persons. Very useful politically to train and shape ways of thinking of the youth in countries of the West.

Here is one scenario. You are a young cleric in postwar Poland. You are recruited by the Communist security service. You already have had some theatrical schooling. Your aim is now to rise as high as possible in the church hierarchy, while continuously serving your Communist handlers. You win the game if you (1) become pope, (2) you manage to celebrate the 26th anniversary of your pontificate with a concert of the Red Army Choir in the Vatican without raising public suspicion. Allow for the variant of first being recruited by the Communists and then becoming a cleric.

This game scenario has the obvious fault of being unrealistic. The game should be played in a collective mode. In other words, you need to control and influence actions of the clerics (one is not enough), political officials in different countries and security operatives. You win, if (1) one of the clerics progresses to be a pope and celebrates the 26th anniversary of his pontificate with a concert of the Red Army Choir broadcast to both Italy and Russia, and (2) some dozen years later he is declared saint in a falsified canonization carried out at a turbo-speed. So, to summarize, the aim is to go all the way.

This game has, in fact, been played in real life.

@LechSBorkowski

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Pugachev and Putin are voices of one Soviet choir

Short comment on The inside story of how Putin and his KGB cronies took control of Russia, an article by Catherine Belton in the Sunday Times, March 29, 2020, which is based on her book Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West.


Let me quote first:

In the rush to help install Putin, though, Pugachev had ignored warnings that appointing someone from the KGB was “to enter a vicious circle”.

Those who believed they were working to introduce a free market and democracy had underestimated the enduring power of the security men.

“This is the tragedy of Russia,” said Pugachev.

Pugachev comes from a Soviet military family. There is not much difference between the KGB and the Soviet military. This quote shows that Pugachev tries to present a false narrative. He got to a very good start in the 1990s because he is coming from the inner circles of the Soviet power.

@LechSBorkowski

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Invisible Hand

Ben MacIntyre’s piece in The Times, February 29 2020, Putin’s spies are pulp fiction characters. Here is my comment.


In 1968, at about the same time as the Soviet series, similar story was filmed and released as series on Polish Communist tv. It is about an agent of Polish Communist underground infiltrating the war-time Abwehr, German military intelligence in occupied Poland.

One should remember that this was the time, when children of the first generation of post-war Communists were growing up and this series provided them with a role model.

At about that time, or just a couple of years later, there was a weekly slot introducing to intelligence activities in the Sunday morning children tv show. It was called Invisible Hand, Niewidzialna Ręka.

Communist military intelligence continues to be of key importance in Poland. One of them is a high-profile internationally active politician, a graduate of Oxford. See my tweets of Feb 12 and Dec 19 2019.

@LechSBorkowski

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Communist intelligence and the Communist regime

One more comment on the article Sprint to freedom: how the East German athlete Ines Geipel outran even the Stasi by Oliver Moody in The Sunday Times, 5 November 2019.


I am deeply skeptical of a daughter of a Communist intelligence officer playing the part of being in opposition to the dictatorship. I have read many similar stories in Poland and they are all false.

Expressing certain criticism towards the system is all right among Communists. To control the narrative you cannot avoid expressing criticism. They know that if they don’t do it, someone else will. Therefore the trick is to channel the criticism into safe areas, and leave it in safe hands, while at the same time preventing the full truth from being revealed.

In Poland the entire so-called “democratic opposition” to Communism was the creation of the Communist intelligence. The top leaders of the “opposition” were Communist party members, their children, and generally people from the inner circles of the Communist power. The first “non-Communist” prime minister in Poland was earlier a three-time member of the Communist “parliament”.

The story in the article seems to be made up in many ways.

Putting up posters protesting the violence in Tiananmen Square is exactly what a person protected by the authorities would do. Someone authentically opposed would not bother, because it was pointless, revenge would be inevitable.

“There was a big row,” – this also points to the falsehood of the story. Communists eliminate their opponents most often quietly. An open row served to build up a person’s social visibility. Communists were not that stupid. This element of the story does not make sense.

@LechSBorkowski

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Stasi daughter

On 25 December 2019, The Times re-published the article Sprint to freedom: how the East German athlete Ines Geipel outran even the Stasi by Oliver Moody, originally issued on November 5, 2019.

The sprinter is a daughter of an East German intelligence officer. The circumstances and events presented in the article contradict the modus operandi of the Communist state.

I made a couple of short comments about the text.


This story is not credible. Ines Schmidt (Geipel) belonged to the most privileged cast in the DDR. She was sent to the Russian school preparing future intelligence officers. As far as I can see from the article she has not revealed anything substantial about the Communist regime.

Interestingly, during recent reminiscences of the 30 anniversary of the opening of the East German border, both The Telegraph and The Times chose to focus on two Communist children from the regime’s inner circle and presented them as opposed to the dictatorship, although they were born into the Communist privilege and led privileged life.

This is a fundamentally false narrative.

@LechSBorkowski


I know Communism from the receiving end. I have seen many stories about privileged Communist children being allegedly opposed to Communism. The problem is they weren’t and their stories are false.

To eliminate an athlete from the competition they did not need a surgery. It is also highly unlikely that she did not know about being doped.

The father agent and the Stasi Russian school? This was the elite of the Communist intelligence.

In Poland, the biggest figure among the so-called dissidents was Adam Michnik, son of an important Communist agent acting on behalf of the Soviet Union. He also has a false story of opposing Communism. This is just one example.

The collapse of Communism was staged.

@LechSBorkowski


There is an unspoken assumption here, that Communists did not want to dismantle the wall and that they wanted to remain indefinitely long in some kind of a Brezhnev nirvana. However, this assumption is incorrect.

For a long time they were busy engineering fake dissident movements. Preparations took long time.

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