Poland, RIP. Fate doffs its cap to Moscow
You know the news. Moe has published it as I was writing this diary. When I googled it I found this near the top of the page. Conspiracy theories indeed do abound. I’ve been on the phone and email all day and can confirm this, and am quite sure governments of all the old Soviet Bloc in the east will be meeting well into the night assessing and reassessing their new position via Moscow. The people in the streets? Well…
For context, you have to understand Katyn Forest, where for nearly 50 years it was believed the Germans took 8000 Polish officers and executed them. I knew a woman from Budapest whose husband, a strong member of the Party, had lost his father at Katyn. He hated the Germans, even east Germans, with a virulence few can imagine. When he learned after the fall of the USSR that it was the Soviets, not the Germans, who executed his father, the combined disillusionment and shame caused him to take a pistol to his own head. His wife told me this no emotion.
In a mark of sheer cynicism, I don’t know what year, but the Russians built a huge memorial park at Katyn, which alongside Lidice, (a town in Czechoslovakia, where Himmler had lined up the entire town and shot them because of the assassination of his #2 henchman, a fellow named Heydrich) was the major site of actual, in-your-face Nazi atrocities. Yes, more than Auschwitz, Belsen, etc, since the Russians didn’t really like Jews either.
For years, school children were bussed in to visit Katyn…from all over the eastern Bloc. My friends in Bulgaria said it was obligatory to send one “brigade” a year and the competition was keen among Young Pioneers to be selected.
Of course, when it was revealed the Soviets had done this deed, after Poland had already broken away, hatred on both sides deepened. And with Ukraine and the Baltics, at least for now, outside the Russian orbit, Poland is the only former bloc country still on its border. And for reasons I cannot fathom, many Russians are in a deep state of denial about their countrymens’ culpability at Katyn. I can’t explain this, but it sends many Russians into a sullen quiet at the mere mention of its name.
Which brings us to today. Facts about the air crash will emerge, but guess what? The Russian are in charge of the facts and the fact-gathering. This I have been told half a dozen times this morning alone. So you can see why it is easy for cynicism to turn to conspiracy.
And it really doesn’t matter. Whether Moscow or Fate sent this message it was received loud and clear, and with Barack Obama’s timely bowing out of that region only this past Tuesday, on behalf of the American peoples, they all understand coincidence. And they also understand the new reality, which is moving like a virus throughout the streets of eastern Europe today, long before it will ever be revealed as policy.
Did the Russians really do this? I seriously doubt it, but as with all conspiracies, it can never be disproved to the satisfaction of nearly 100 million people who’ve suddenly found themselves living under a shadow they’d thought had been turned away. Besides, as Rahm might say, “You should never let a good crisis to to waste.”
Could they do it? Yes, of course. Would they do it? Hell, yes.