Re-writing history

Putin is now claiming that Poland invaded Russia at the start of the Second World War and that the Poles and Nazis amounted to the same thing!  Could this just be a joke in bad taste?

It is , in any case, total fake news.  Stalin signed the Stalin Ribbentrop pact expecting to acquire a hunk of Poland and to dissuade Hitler from expanding Eastwards and threatening Russia.  He seriously miscalculated, and had mis-judged Hitler’s malignity.   Poland had a good air force but was absolutely incapable of “invading” Russia.  It was the victim of both juggernauts on either side. Hitler invaded Poland and kept going until the battle of Stalingrad stopped him. Stalin is supposed to have been shocked.  He had supped with the devil and had been doubled-crossed.  There are no insuperable frontiers to Russia from the West, as Napoleon realized in 1812.

What our current foreign policy wonks seem to have discounted is the desire among Russians to recover their empire and sphere of influence which, most importantly, included Ukraine. For centuries the Tsars controlled some or all of Poland, but Ukraine was the Russian Empire’s bread basket and essential for any kind of healthy Russian economy. The Russian sphere of influence included the three Baltic countries, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria as well.  They also, on and off over the centuries, controlled most of Poland.   Putin, with America (temporarily we hope) in his pocket, is on a roll at little expense.  The EU is rightly conflicted about expanding further Eastwards.  This is the moment for Russian self-assertion.

All very foreseeable to those who know the history.  Regrettably, that knowledge is in short supply, history and the liberal arts being shunned as more people take business study degrees.  I think this regrettable. Don’t get me started!

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