Russian soldiers singing in the Vatican

My comment on the article Soldiers filmed singing Franco song by Isambard Wilkinson in The Times, 10 December 2020.

Lech S Borkowski comment The Times 10 December 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times, 10 December 2020

I would like to remind The Times of a much bigger scandal.

When the Red Army Choir visited the Vatican to sing at the celebration of the 26th anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate in 2004, some of the media did report it. However, no one in the media pointed out, that the last song of the evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the Communist Polish First Division formed in the Soviet Union in 1943.

The event was broadcast to Italy and Russia. The audience was packed. Yet, no one in the media, including The Times, seemed to notice the scandal. Metaphorically speaking, the pope showed his middle finger to the faithful that night. The message was clearly “You have been told lots of lies. This is who I really am.” You can find the concert’s video online.

Would The Times, please, correct this lapse of attention? This is really significant.



15 October 2004

My comment on the article […] abuse scandal tarnishes John Paul II’s sainthood by Philip Willan in The Times, 16 November 2020. I posted the text around 1 am. It was held until late morning when it was finally allowed to appear. Top picture, full text of the comment.

Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 16 November 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 16 November 2020
LS Borkowski comment in The Times 16 November 2020
Lech S Borkowski’s comment was held by The Times from around 1 am to at least late morning, 16 November 2020

There are also other problems with John Paul II, which are outside the scope of this article and which have never received any scrutiny.

The article mentions George Weigel, the hagiographer of John Paul II. In the article Pope John Paul II’s Soviet Spy in the Wall Street Journal on 14 May 2020 he claimed:

“Students of the Cold War’s dark arts know that Communist intelligence services deeply penetrated the Vatican in the 1970s. Yet few know that Pope John Paul II, whose centenary will be marked on May 18, had his own secret agent in the Soviet Union during the 1980s.”

John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate in 2004. There was only one event devoted to this celebration: the Red Army Choir’s concert in the Vatican on 15 October 2004, broadcast on Russian and Italian tv. The last song of the evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the First Division of the future Polish Communist army, formed in the Soviet Union in 1943. Curiously enough, no one in the media commented on the “Oka” song.

Red Army Choir performing in the Vatican on 15 October 2004
Red Army Choir performing in the Vatican on 15 October 2004

The keywords of that article’s title: “pope John Paul II” and “Soviet spy” indeed seem to be accurate, but not in the way most people would expect.

The speed with which JPII was canonised was more likely due to an intervention of quite an earthly force and the problems described in the article, while very bad indeed, are not the only ones.



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.



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.



John Paul II approved elimination of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty

Another comment following Niall Ferguson’s article in The Sunday Times.

One reader asked me,


Interesting and challenging views in your comment. Do you have a reference or evidence for the Pope refusing to pray for the Polish victims of NKVD massacres?

My response:

If I remember correctly, the information about the reluctance of John Paul II to pray for the murdered by the NKVD, appeared in the closing chapter of “The Triumph of Provocation” by Józef Mackiewicz (1902-1985). The book appeared in Polish in 1962. In 1982 Mackiewicz wrote one more chapter dealing with the then-recent events in Poland. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected pope in 1978.

Since I don’t have the book with me, I can’t give you a precise quote. Józef Mackiewicz was very critical of the Vatican’s raprochement with the Communist regimes under Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.

The Vatican envoy who negotiated church’s concessions with the Communist regimes in the 1960s and 1970s, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, was elevated to the position of the Vatican’s Secretary of State by Pope John Paul II. This decision implies John Paul’s approval for the Vatican’s earlier policy towards Communists, in which Casaroli played a key role, as well as approval of the degradation of the Hungarian anti-Communist Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, in which Casaroli again must have played a key role. As I wrote in an earlier comment, Pope Paul VI stripped Mindszenty of his title of Cardinal. Absolutely abominable decision which was the result of a long process. John Paul II must have approved and applauded.

The English edition of The Triumph of Provocation was published by the Yale University Press in 2009. It is interesting that the book was not translated for 47 years. When it appeared finally in English, the editors tried to alter the book’s message by adding a misleading commentary.


Oka flowing wide in the Vatican

My second comment following the article Benefits boom pushes Polish populists to victory by Oliver Moody in The Times, 14 October 2019.

Cardinal Wojtyla wouldn’t have advanced to the top of the church hierarchy without Communist support. The church in Poland quickly lost its independence after WWII. The Communist control was total.

In October 2004, the Red Army Choir gave a special performance in the Vatican during the celebration of the 26th anniversary of his pontificate. The last song performed that evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the Polish Communist army units formed in the Soviet Union under the Soviet control. There is nothing accidental about it. The performance was televised to Italy and Russia. Press correspondents noted that the pope was ‘visibly moved’. Ha ha. Visibly moved, sure.

He did come to the Vatican from a ‘faraway place’ indeed as he declared in his speech right after becoming the pope.

He did not want to pray for the Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD in Katyn in 1940.

‘Very instrumental in the downfall of the Iron Curtain’. These are just empty slogans.


Social terror in Poland

Another comment I wrote under the same article in the Telegraph as mentioned in my previous blog post.

“Lech Borkowski

After many years of bullying and all kinds of harassment of our family, my wife and I were expelled from our state jobs for political reasons in 2015. I worked as an associate professor of Physics at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan My wife Malgorzata Gluchowska is a pianist and she worked as a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra.

Whenever we objected to the violations of law or violations of our rights, we were threatened with the job loss either explicitly or implicitly.

Our family has been subjected to an extremely vicious campaign of bullying and harassment. Our daughter was attacked in her elementary school as well. You can read about it online at

My wife was eventually dismissed as psychologically unfit for her job despite being the best, the most successful piano teacher in the school.

These are mechanisms of social terror employed by the Communist regime. Nothing changed, except for superficial, meaningless symbolism. Crosses displayed in public places should be viewed more through the prism of the Red Army Choir’s triumphant visit to the Vatican in 2004, where they celebrated the 26th anniversary of pope John Paul’s pontificate. You can find this concert on youtube. The last song that evening was “Oka”, the anthem of the Polish Communist division organised in the Soviet Union in 1943.”