It is a non-issue. I am coming from a conservative, traditional Polish family and I can tell you that you are being told a fake narrative about Poland. The really important matters occur in a different domain.
My wife Małgorzata Głuchowska is a pianist and was a piano teacher at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland until 2015, when she was fired by the state authorities for allegedly being mentally unfit for the job. They threatened her with a job loss and forced to have two meaningless conversations with a psychologist and accused her of having an unspecified mental problem. We have published the transcripts of the psychologists speech and made full recordings of those conversations available on Youtube. She was the best piano pedagogue of the school with 23 years of experience. Her students won many awards at the national and international piano competitions. Her English CV is available on our website.
At the same time, I was also fired from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Our family has been targeted for years.
In reaction to the harassment and violation of law by the state representatives, we wrote many letters to top officials in Poland, exposing their violations of human rights and of the officially declared law. Law is a fiction in Poland. The state’s modus operandi is the same as pre-1990.
The entire Polish ‘transition to democracy’ in 1989-90 was a farce organised by the Communists themselves. You can call it Communism 2.0, or evolved Communism. The new ruling class is the same as the old ruling class. Decorations are changed from time to time.
Artificial controversies about someone sexuality are a very useful diversion for the Polish regime. The officially declared profile of a government is unimportant. It is the same old ruling class.
This affair is being played as a typical Communist polit-soap opera. Hyper-activism of thousands of ‘protesters’ in a country without any social capital, some holding signs with foul language. Emotions seemingly run high. What you see is what you get? Well, not quite.
Some of these rallies took place in Warsaw in front of the monument to the Communist rule in Poland, the so-called Palace of Culture and Science, erected in the early 1950s, as shown in the article’s leading picture.
The address of this monstrous building is Palace of Culture and Science, Plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warsaw, Poland. It houses the HQ of the Polish Academy of Sciences. During the thirty years that passed since the alleged fall of Communism the Academy of Sciences remained faithful to its totalitarian origin in 1951 and its totalitarian location. The Communist baton dominating Warsaw has not been demolished.
We are told that now it is the Catholic church which holds sway over the public life in Poland and its political affairs. This claim, however, does not hold water. Communists got the Catholic church firmly under their control in the first years of their rule post-WWII. The Vatican itself sought to appease Communists. The Hungarian primate Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty who staunchly resisted the Communist control of the Catholic church in Hungary was stripped of his Cardinal title by the pope Paul VI in 1973.
The Polish pope John Paul II, referred to in an accompanying Times article as ‘the late Polish pope who provided the spiritual authority behind the overthrow of communism’, did not provide any spiritual authority because there was no such thing as an overthrow of Communism. It was a Communist-designed transition from an open dictatorship to dictatorship below the line, disguised as a simulated and managed democracy.
John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his papacy in 2004 with the Red Army Choir concert in the Papal Audience Hall. The last song of the evening was ‘Oka’, the anthem of the first Polish Communist division formed in the Soviet Union in 1943. The concert was broadcast to Italy and Russia. The Russians are telling you in bold letters: ‘dear comrades, he is our man’.
There was no chance for an anti-Communist priest to rise through the ranks of clergy without the regime stopping it. No chance. This could happen only in fairy tales.
Unfortunately, The Times contributes to this contemporary mythology by uncritically publishing these articles, whose entire framework is incorrect.
You also need to understand that the concept of law in Poland is largely abstract. Its meaning is similar to that pre-1990. What matters is not the dry letter of the law but the ‘revolutionary dynamics’ in the sense described by Stanisław Mackiewicz in his book “Russian Minds in Fetters” (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1932). The state is essentially criminal and it does not depend on an advertised political profile of a government. It was equally criminal twenty years ago or ten years ago as it is now.
Poland is an evolved Communist dictatorship in disguise. Dictatorship adapts and evolves.
This text is also supported by my wife Małgorzata Głuchowska, pianist and piano teacher, removed from her job in a state institution in 2015 by unlawful actions of the state apparatus.
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.
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.
Both Sergei Khrushchev and his father Nikita Khrushchev lived at the center of the Soviet dictatorship, built it and served it to the best of their ability. Millions of people were tortured, killed, imprisoned in concentrations camps, expropriated, resettled forcefully, exiled, and had their life destroyed in other ways. And yet: look, no victims!
Obituary suggests that it was the Khrushchev family who have become some kind of victims of Communists. What a ridiculous nonsense.
My grandparents Klemens Ostrowski and his wife Elżbieta had a farm near the village of Buczany in the Brasław county in the north-east corner of pre-WWII Poland. Post-WWII, the Soviet Union occupied eastern Polands with a little help from Churchill and Roosevelt, as a result of the illegal Yalta deal. They were stripped of their Polish citizenship, their farm confiscated by the Soviet criminal state. Even their barn was taken apart, transported several kilometres to the newly installed Soviet collective, and reassembled there. My grandparents and four of their children were imprisoned in Communist concentration camps in various parts of the Soviet Union. My mother was imprisoned from 1949 to 1956 in the area of Arkhangelsk. She met my father there. My father was imprisoned in 1945.
This obituary falsifies history. It repeats the Communist narrative, presenting the genocidal Communist regime not as gigantic criminal organisation, but as an alternative way to seek progress and happiness. Why then The Telegraph does not describe Nazism as an alternative pursuit of happiness and prosperity?
But Khrushchev insisted that his father would have understood. “He was in the Communist Party because he believed it would be best for all of us.”
Who are “us”? A Nazi leader and Party member would also say “He was in the Nazi Party because he believed it would be best for all of us.”
Here “we” does not refer to all people of course. It refers only to the subset of the population supporting the totalitarian dictatorship. The rest was eliminated in various ways. Nikita Khrushchev has not changed this policy by one bit. Only methods were altered.
In Poland, there is a similar story. Adam Gierek is the son of the former First Secretary (1970-1980) of the Communist Party Edward Gierek. He studied in Moscow and had a successful academic career. More recently he has been a senator in Poland and a Member of European Parliament. His membership in the totalitarian Communist Party was not an obstacle. Quite the opposite.
Back to my family. My grandparents stayed in their family house after returning from the camps. The Soviet occupiers imposed strict administrative ban on renovating the house and refused to connect the house to the electric grid throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, forcing my youngest uncle, the only person remaining at the house after the death of my grandparents, to move out. This is the genocidal policy at work.
My parents managed to move from zone occupied by the Soviet Union to the Communist Polish People’s Republic in 1956. Here they continued to be harassed by the Communists. Being a son of survivors of Communist concentration camps I had practically no chance to obtain a PhD in Poland, I went to the US in 1987 and received my PhD in Physics from the University of Florida in 1995. I returned to Poland and began working at the A. Mickiewicz University in Poznań. No effort was spared to make my life at work maximally miserable, frustrating, and to force me to quit. The aim was to make my coming to work at the University most traumatic and humiliating. I had to bring my own personal computer to work, because the university would not provide me with one.
Later on an extremely vicious campaign was unleashed simultaneously against my pianist wife, me, and our daughter, who was in elementary school at the time. Communist methods in full swing.
We were both eventually fired in 2015. The authorities fabricated a fake medical statement, that my wife suffered from unspecified delusions and had to be fired from the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, where she was the most successful piano teacher. We demanded truth, honesty, adherence to officially declared law, respect for human dignity, and common sense. We let the top authorities know about this. We also provided hundreds of MPs with information and documents. The perpetrators were protected and promoted. The prosecutor office refused to act and falsified the case.
I was forced to look for work abroad. I am currently working at a greengrocer’s in West London. My wife is unemployed now.
This obituary is one of many texts falsifying both history and contemporary situation. People from the core of the murderous totalitarian power are presented as the good guys who wanted to do good things. This is truly ridiculous.
When I was fired from my university job in Poland (associate professor of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań) for political reasons, I had to leave the country and quickly find another job that would pay mortgage on our flat in Poland. My pianist wife lost her job at the same time and for the same reasons.
I came to London, where I started as a night cleaner in a restaurant chain with headquarters in Brussels. I worked 99 consecutive nights without taking a single day (night) off. The guy who employed me and my Lithuanian partner, ignored our questions about taking a week off after several weeks of continuous work. The company wanted to have their restaurants clean but was not interested in our well-being. We did a good job, receiving high marks on weekly mystery customers’ reviews, but were not paid for the bus and tube fare when moving from one restaurant to another. This was a violation of the law. We were compensated for it only after I wrote about it to their London office. We were paid a minimum wage.
My next job was leaflet distribution as a self-employed. Again, I was working 7 days/week for 8 months, rain, snow or shine. I travelled everywhere around London and beyond M25, visiting places I would have never had gone to otherwise. I opened and closed thousands and thousands of garden gates. I mostly tried to close them back. When I didn’t on one rainy winter Sunday afternoon, I heard “Shut the bloody gate!” from some unidentified voice. I was bitten by a dog once. Nothing really serious, although there were some more serious bites among the other distributors.
I distributed all kinds of leaflets, from pizza companies through estate agents and opticians to elections leaflets for the Conservative Party candidates and for UKIP. We were driven all the way to Truro to distribute job training leaflets financed from an EU grant. I also found that some London areas south of the river with large council estates are deserts as far as publicly available toilets go. It took me once close to half-hour to find one in a bar and it was not funny.
I had some suprising encounters with people. One morning I was stopped by a guy in Croydon, who asked me to read to him and explain the contents of a letter he received from the bus company he worked for. It was actually a letter of dismissal. Was he not able to read? Probably.
In my current job I had the opportunity to serve a former UK Prime Minister and a former Chancellor on separate occasions.
The second comment added on 29 May 2020
Two of the comments following my post are clearly hostile. The choice of words, as well as a nickname show desire to misrepresent and falsify who I am. It is also an attempt at denying agency. Instead of asking me directly about something, that person is suggesting to google my name on the Internet.
As I wrote in my comment, I was fired for political reasons and it is not just a temporary misunderstanding. The reason is deep and fundamental. I have an excellent education, PhD from the University of Florida, one of the top public universities in the US. Nevertheless, I could not do carry out my job in Poland in a normal way. I even had to bring my own laptop to work. They refused to provide even a single piece of equipment for me.
My wife was also fired for political reasons from her job at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, also for political reasons. We refused to falsify and to lie.
One day before the letter of dismissal was delivered to me, someone wrote to me about creating a Wikipedia page for me. I objected to it, but the page was made anyway.
This is obviously a “dark profile”. A tool to control and to falsify the public narrative about the targeted person.
The University I was fired from continues to send emails to me ‘addressed to all University employees’. This is a violation of EU law. So what? In Poland they can do anything. Who are they? They are Communists, who pretend to have miracuously converted to someone else.
The selection of characters and other elements of the story presented in this article, shows that the article is used as an opportunity to push cultural acceptability and respectability of Communism.
The idea is to present the ideology based on violence and its concomitant multiple methods of inflicting physical and social death to people classified as Other, as synonymous with progress, scientific advance and a positive intellectual adventure.
Both the author and Sir Paul Nurse know the context in which Sputnik appeared. They know that the Sputnik and Soviet military missile program are inseparable as parts of the same whole. They also know about millions of victims of Communism. My uncle Klemens Ostrowski Jr. was tortured by the Soviet henchmen in parallel to the early development of the Soviet space program. He was a young man then. Following torture he lost large part of his consciousness and memory. He was not even able to stand upright. His brain was so severely damaged by torture that he was not able to tell afterwards, where he was held and what has been done to him.
Scientists under Communism were not spared. Educational and scientific institutions were tightly controlled and were weaponised just like everything else.
In mid-1970s my mother’s cousin, an accomplished researcher in semiconductor physics in the Polish Academy of Science was driven out of his laboratory and out of the country. He was a person of integrity and unwilling to bow to ideology and thus the authorities decided to eliminate him.
To point to a by-product of this genocidal system as something positive is absolutely astonishing. And to have it published in the leading British paper is even more so.
I happen to know a great deal about Communist methods of social elimination. They are not thing of the past. My wife Małgorzata Głuchowska and I have been targeted as well. We were expelled from our jobs in 2015. My wife is a pianist and was a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland. I was an associate professor of Physics at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. These methods are alive and well, just like people using them. They deserve careful, critical examination.
Couple of years before being expelled I discovered a group of very interesting dynamic phenomena in driven nonlinear systems. I studied models of resonant neurons. I speculated that the phenomenon of anti-resonance in driven resonant neurons might be useful in explaining e.g. the beneficial effect of Deep Brain Stimulation procedure in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
So in the area of social, political and historical studies, there is plenty to be researched about Communism and its continued, albeit evolved existence.
A veiled praise of Soviet Communism through the praise of Sputnik. As the Soviet post-WWII space program was build on the backs of German scientific and engineering slave labourers, the author should also mention the Nazi leadership and their earlier commitment to their war-time rocket program.
The concern in the current situation is how to save human lives in the fight against the virus. This is 180 degrees opposite to the mindset of Communist leaders who did not care about human lives, as they were busy killing and otherwise eliminating millions of people. I am writing this as a son of parents who were imprisoned in Communist concentration camps. I am also a scientist, like Paul Nurse, referred to in the article. Like him, I come from a modest background. However, needless to say, I do not share his early fascination with Sputnik. Another difference between him and me is the fact, that he can continue his work while I was removed from university in Poland not long ago for political reasons.
There are more appropriate analogies and no shortage of scientific role models. One of them is Marie Curie. Let me quote from the BBC’s website: “The Curie’s research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One Curie helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, which she herself drove to the front lines. The International Red Cross made her head of its radiological service and she held training courses for medical orderlies and doctors in the new techniques.”
Both now and during World War One, proper testing and diagnosis is of crucial importance. Both situations are new in many ways and both involve designing and manufacturing new equipment to save human lives.
On 28 August 2019, The Times reported about doubts surrounding the famous Milgram psychological experiment on obeying authority and administering pain to other human beings carried out in 1961, Shocking truth about famed Milgram torture experiment. One of those involved in re-analysis of the experiment is Gina Perry (University of Melbourne), quoted in the article.
Here is my comment to The Times article.
The interpretation in Milgram’s experiment depends, at least partly, on the selection of data.
The sample size was small and there are surely other shortcomings we can point out. I see the value of this experiment in posing an important question and attempting to answer it, however imperfectly. This is all ok, provided one does not withhold data and the contextual information from scrutiny.
One cannot view this experiment on its own as a conclusive evidence of a widespread inherent cruelty of humans, although it is a very interesting and important contribution to psychological science. It stimulated discussions and further research. That is good.
On the subject of widespread human cruelty, however, there is plenty of evidence from real life. The data in this case can also be extracted and analysed.
I recommend studying e. g. coercion, psychological and social terror in real life. There are whole countries, whose daily operation involves broad participation in organised social violence. Social violence need not have necessarily a physical component. Some of those countries are EU members.
I became involved in this kind of research out of necessity, much less by choice, as both a target and an observer. The project is ongoing. Results are very interesting and very disturbing.
Hans Hellmann, born in 1903, was a German quantum chemist, who lost his university job in Nazi Germany in 1934. He then moved with his wife and son to the Soviet Union where he was employed in the Karpov Institute of Physical Chemistry in Moscow. On 9 March 1938 he was arrested by NKVD, falsely accused of espionage and executed on 29 May 1938.
“Despite his success, or perhaps partly because of the jealousy his success may have wrought, Hellmann seemed to recognize that he was under suspicion.”
The standard method to liquidate a person in Communist dictatorships is to use relatives, acquaintances, people possibly nearest to him/her at the workplace. The Communist dictatorship fully subordinates the personal sphere to the state. Science is no exception. The abandonment of any ethical and moral qualms and full surrender to the demands of the criminal collective of the state was the surest way to social and professional advance.
“She spotted a notice on the wall denouncing her husband, which was signed by two of his colleagues. One of them took over Hellmann’s research group after the arrest.”
There is no need to protect the perpetrators.
Similar scenarios were commonly applied throughout Communist countries.
It is also very important to understand that the mechanisms and methods of organized social violence are not things of the past.