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IWP holds the sixth annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium

On April 9, 2016, The Institute of World Politics hosted the sixth annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium, an event sponsored by IWP’s Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies.  Six lectures were given as a part of this conference, and summaries of them can be found below. 

Mrs. Maria Juczewska
Scholars or Friends? Women in John Paul II’s Life

John Paul II died eleven years ago, and the memories of his pontificate are fading away. This is a convenient moment to try to re-invent the history should anybody wish to do so. This is why we have to learn and remember who the Slavic pope was and what he taught.

The main interest of John Paul II as a priest, scholar, and theologian was marriage and the family. His work with people, both in youth ministry at the beginning of his career and later, with individual scholars, was focused on those interests. His friendships with Wanda Poltawska and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka were based on scholarly interests and served the purpose of furthering his theological concepts and the idea of the civilization of life.

The journalists who inquire into Pope’s life tend to be more interested in juicy gossip that the truth. This is why their revelations need to be approached with a lot of skepticism and thorough knowledge about the life of an exceptional man and a saint.

Dr. Ewa Salkiewicz-Munnerlyn
The Vatican and Its Tradition of Diplomacy: 2,000 Years​

Pontifical diplomacy is different from secular diplomacy due to the fact that it is based on custom and on a very long tradition, rather than written codes. It differs also because the diplomats of the Holy See need to be, first of all, devoted priests and persons characterized by loyalty, coherence and profound humanity. The envoys of the Holy See are primarily of the servants of the Word of God and the bearers of the Pope’s words.

The Catholic Church is the only religious institution in the world that has access to diplomatic relations and is interested in the international law. It is a universal and international organization. What enters into diplomatic relations is neither the Catholic Church as a community of believers nor the State of Vatican City but The Holy See (the Pontiff and the Roman Curia), a separate subject of international law of religious and moral values. The Apostolic See has the nature of a moral person by divine law itself.  Apostolic nuncios, whose role corresponds to that of secular ambassadors, are invested with both ecclesial and diplomatic missions. The former relates to the contacts with local bodies of the Church; the latter relates to contacts with the representatives of a given state.

Mr. John Czop
Peasant Politics in France and Poland, 1750 – to the Present

This lecture tested how the views of Barrington Moore, Jr., on regime change, and of Eugen Weber, on the process of modernization, fit the cases of France and Poland between 1750 and now.

Barrington Moore, Jr. posited a theory on the social origins of dictatorship and democracy. This theory concerns relationships between landlords and peasants, and how these relationships changed with commercialized agriculture.  Different paths to modernity were shaped by democratic revolutions in the Atlantic world. The examples of France, Poland and England are compared.

Eugen Weber, in turn, was preoccupied on how the people of local identity, who had not identified themselves in national terms before, gained national identity in Europe in the second half on the 18th century. Again, the situation in France and Poland in terms of relationships between the land owners and the peasants was analyzed, as well as the genesis of the sense of national identity in the two countries.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Counterintelligence as Strategic Communications: 
Russia’s Tradition of Deception and Denial

Virtually all Russian state operations are also counterintelligence operations, including strategic messaging/communications. Counterintelligence, in the Muscovite tradition, means neutralizing all opposition. This tradition dates back to the pre-Muscovy times.

Russian strategic communication is characterized by a number of recurring themes. It involves disinformation techniques, such as manipulation, reciprocity, analogy, provocation, and signals (sometimes they overlap; often they are case studies in predictability).

The ideology, institutions, and tools that are used to form and implement the strategic communication of the Russian Federation are based on the experiences of Tsarist Russia, Bolshevik Russia, and the Soviet Union. Strategic communication targets both the Russian population and the elites, as well as general public of other countries, through media portals, agents of influence, and manipulated celebrities and mercenaries.

Even though Russian foreign propaganda is hardly successful in persuading average people (being successful mainly with opinion-making elites), Russian influence perversely implants nefarious thought patterns and reinforces malicious narratives. It also promotes individuals and groups that use Russian media as a platform to project themselves and their message.

Dr. Tomasz Sommer
Latest Revelations from the Soviet Secret Police Archives

The latest historical discoveries regarding the Polish Operation of NKVD from 1937-1938 were discussed. A large problem in this historical investigation had been the fact that the original order 00485, which sanctioned the Soviet anti-Polish operation, was missing. It was found in Kiev a year ago and presented at a press conference in Warsaw. It was made available on Wikipedia for everyone interested to see.

Another important problem was the question of how the Polska Organizacja Wojskowa (Polish Military Organization) – according to Soviets, the main risk factor for the Soviet system – emerged. The POW  did not actually exist in the Ukrainian People’s Republic, although it was used as a pretext to get rid of Poles.. A solution to this puzzle was found in the State Archives in Chernihiv. Deputy minister Konar-Poleszczuk, who in January 1933 was tried in Moscow for causing the Great Famine, claimed that he appointed Skarbek as a head of the POW. During the judicial procedure, Konar-Poleszczuk admitted to his role in causing Great Famine and explained that he had performed his evil deeds with the help of Polish nationalists from POW whose leader was Skarbek. Why exactly was the eager communist Skarbek accused by him of such a notorious crime? The explanation is simple – he simply knew him from the 20s from Kiev.

Skarbek, of course, could not assassinate Stalin and destroy the Soviet Union alone. Therefore, OGPU created a group of co-conspirators for him co-opting the people who were on trial earlier in 1928 to “the conspiracy.” With time, the number of suspected Poles increased dynamically, with victims singled out on the basis of as little as a Polish-sounding name in the final stages of the genocide.

There is an urgent need to create a list of the victims of the anti-Polish operations. Approximately 40 percent of victims – almost 80 thousand Poles – were executed in the Soviet Ukraine. In the archives of the SBU, a set of those lists was found. Thanks to these lists, the mechanism of the genocide can be accurately described. These documents also contain detailed information about the places of burial.

What is needed now is archaeography, the mining of the resources whose number amounts to 10 million pages in the archive of the SBU alone. Surely, after this enormous material has been read, the history of the Great Terror will have to be written again. Naturally, many historians should work on this task. What Dr. Sommer wants to do alone is to read through as much of material relating to the anti-Polish operation as he can before the Ukrainian archives close, which is an imminent threat related to the situation in the Ukraine. 

Mr. Albert Lulushi
The Origins of CIA’s Involvement in Regime Change and Paramilitary Operations

Beginning in 1949, the CIA embarked on a series of covert paramilitary operations aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing Soviet satellite governments in Europe. The planning and execution of these operations was modeled after the widely successful operations that the OSS mounted during World War II.

The outcome was very different. The lecture described CIA’s initial experience in paramilitary operations, using as a case study its efforts to force a regime change in communist Albania between 1949 and 1954. The origins of the Agency were described, as well as the contribution of Kim Philby’s spying activities to the failure of certain operations.

The aspect of transferability of those experiences was discussed as well.