The lessons of the Vistula Operation

Photo: SBU archives. Eviction of the Ukrainian population during the Vistula Operation in Poland.

Photo: SBU archives. Eviction of the Ukrainian population during the Vistula Operation in Poland. 


Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

Commemorations associated with the 70th anniversary of the Vistula Operation have begun in Ukraine and Poland. As a result of this operation to evict the Ukrainian population from the border areas of Poland under the pretext of “liquidating the nationalist underground,” thousands of people not only lost their homes and property, but an entire civilization was in fact destroyed.

Soviet security operatives and Polish communists were the crime’s organizers and participants. And for both of them it was important to destroy any pockets of resistance during the postwar years. It is important to understand that after the victory over Nazism an illusion of freedom prevailed among the populations in the countries liberated from Hitler. And it was this illusion that the true heirs of Hitler’s Reich– Stalin and his puppets in the “people’s democracies”– wanted to destroy as soon as possible. From this point of view, the Vistula Operation appears as absolutely logical and in line with the deportations of peoples on the territory of the Soviet Union itself. And the fate of Ukrainians in Poland did not differ from the fate of the Russian Germans, the Crimean Tatars and the peoples of the Caucasus.

The Russian regime is doing something similar now

But there was another aspect to the Vistula operation that is often overlooked. Polish communists were able to increase their legitimacy in the eyes of their compatriots with the help of ethnic cleansing. The Poles had no doubt that the communists were a foreign power imposed by the Kremlin. But after the Vistula Operation, the number of those who believed that the new government could carry out a “Polish program” increased significantly.   Stalin’s puppets succeeded in expertly manipulating xenophobic instincts and chauvinism. And this greatly simplified their repression of real Polish patriots in subsequent years and the transformation of a freedom-loving country into a Soviet colony. Nobody won from the eviction of the Ukrainians except the enemies of Poland and their allies.

Something similar is happening now, right in front of  our eyes. The Russian regime has deprived thousands  of residents of Crimea and the Donbas of housing and prospects and is carrying out ethnic repressions against the Crimean Tatars. But these actions have only increased the authority of the authoritarian government in the eyes of Russians, who are poisoned by chauvinism and militaristic illusions. As a result, the authorities can now disperse any protest demonstrations without particular problems or deprive thousands  of people in Moscow of housing under the program to demolish the cheap apartment buildings of the Khrushchev era. I have no doubt that there are many supporters of the annexation of Crimea among those who participate in social protests in Russia or who have been deprived of apartments. Do they understand that the reasons for their current problems are related to the war and to authoritarianism?

Repressions always lead exclusively to the triumph of the repressors and to the defeat not only of the victims but also of those who applaud the criminals.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda

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  1. Avatar laker48 says:

    Just an erratum, the evil of the action notwithstanding.
    “(…) thousands of people not only lost their homes and property, but an entire civilization was in fact destroyed.”
    Not quite! One may agree with the part about the destruction of civilisations, but all Boyko, Hutsul and Lemko civilians were allowed to take with them all their belongings, farm animals and implements, and were resettled at the state’s expense to the so called “Recovered Lands” the German population had been driven out of as the result of the postwar changes of the Polish borders. All of them received vacated by Germans, modern husbandries and state resettlement funds. These people still live in western and northern Poland without demonstrating any propensity to come back and resettle to south-eastern Poland they were driven out of.

    The operation succeeded, as the OUN/UPA units were dispersed and driven out of those regions, thus stopping the unnecessary bloodshed. Polish underground freedom fighters who sometimes cooperated with the OUN/UPA in the Chelm and Lublin areas were treated much worse than those civilians, exactly the same way the UPA partisans were.

    As an addendum with the recognition that two or more wrongs can’t make as single right, it’s worth to mention that within the Action Vistula between 140 and 150 thousand Boykos, Hutsuls, Lemkos and Ukrainians were involuntarily but successfully displaced with only few hundred random and far between casualties, while OUN/UPA-B (Bandera and Lebed faction) units and local Ukrainian peasants can be “credited” with carefully pre-planned and thought-through genocide in the cruelest imaginable way of between 150 and 200 thousand mostly Polish civilians, but also Jews and other ethnic minorities in the Volhynia region, and throughout western Ukraine in the years 1939-1945. Those issues remain still open wounds and need to be healed by both nations cooperating with one another, otherwise RuSSia will have enough fuel to stir trouble between them.

    1. Avatar Andrew Chmile says:

      “laker48” is a **LYING** COWARDLY anti-Ukrainian, polak CHAUVINIST who posting as “max Canada” called for the “partition of Ukraine along historical lines per the Treaty of Versailles.” — polak SCUMBAG indeed.

      Whether as “laker48” or “max Canada” his posting profile is hidden. His above EASILY PROVEN LYING will be addressed. With HONEST & accurate “distaste”.

      But FIRST — who is this LOUDLY “LYING*, COWARDLY, anti-Ukrainian, polak?

      Polak’s nasty photo below.

      What *LYING* polak RACIST sounds like {EVIL!}:

      *LYING* polak’s translations & whereabouts biz:
      B.C. broker fined $60,000 after single-mom loses $64,000
      A British Columbia broker has been fined $60,000 after his client, a single-mother with two children, lost $64,000 in 11 months of aggressive trading.
      Zygmunt Janiewicz, who worked for Global Securities Corp. in Kelowna, B.C., has been barred from the industry for six months and ordered to repay his commissions.

      Hmm… was the polak “churning” this widow woman’s (?) account most GREEDILY? Like a SCUMBAG?

      Let’s see:


      [PDF] Zygmunt Janiewicz Reasons for Decision

      Hmm …like I figured, as judging by his *LYING* posting habits & deceitful, “holy polak victimhood BS act”. WHAT A POLAK @SSHOLE! That EVIL polak POS!

      He cheated that poor widow woman with the 2 little kids, that naively TRUSTED that lying, polak SCUMBAG!

      Open the link above & read the for yourself!

      *LYING* — CONNIVING — CHEATING, GRASPING, polak [email protected] put the simple “housewife & mother” into HIGH RISK *PUT* OPTIONS & DIDN’T BOTHER TO EXPLAIN OR TELL HER! — Knowing full well she didn’t know much.

      The *LYNG* polak *COWARD* & Ukraine hater, didn’t even have the CHARACTER to appear at the hearing and have the DECENCY to apologize to the woman and her kids…. just took the “default judgement” — polish SCUMBAG!!!

      IDA imposes $50,000 fine and six month suspension
      on Zygmunt Janiewicz

      Hmm photo later — good thing I saved a copy earlier! — He’s removed any close photos of his EVIL, *LYING*

      WIDOW WOMAN SWINDLING polak face!