Anschluss, Again — Anticipating Poland’s Strategy in Russia’s Intelligence Assessment

Yves here. An overview of Poland’s ambitions and predispositions, and what that could mean for the future of western Ukraine. Note that this article oddly steers around the fact that Russia has said it will treat any foreign forces that enter Ukraine as hostile and they will be attacked. Given its long range missile capabilities, Russia could presumably destroy or at worst severely weaken an invasion from Poland, even before getting to the fact that its military is far from battle-hardened. Thus you’d have to assume this sort of possibility plays out only if Russia deems it as in its interest. Of course, this is now an overly dynamic situation, so how Russia looks at options could change as events develop.

By John Helmer who has been the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to have directed his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

On June 13, for the first time since the Russian military operation began in the Ukraine, a detailed Russian intelligence assessment has been published in Moscow of Polish strategy for the future of Ukraine. This follows several weeks of brief statements by Russian security and intelligence officials claiming the government in Warsaw is aiming at an anschluss or  union  with the “eastern borderlands” known in Poland as Kresy Wschodnie, and in the Ukraine as Halychyna; that’s to say, Galicia.

These Russian claims have been dismissed as propaganda by the Poles.  Polish strategy, according to Warsaw sources, is to preserve the Zelensky regime in Kiev and the unified Ukrainian military command — and not to acknowledge the possibility of their defeat by the Russian army east of the Dnieper River.

In this week’s discussion between Vlad Shlepchenko, a military analyst for Tsargrad in Moscow, and Vladimir Kozin, a leading academic attached to the Russian intelligence think tank, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, they consider the scope of the strategic problem which they think the Poles, and behind them the US and NATO, will continue to pose, after the objectives of Phase-1 and Phase-2 of the Russian military operation in the Ukraine have been completed.

Vladimir Kozin is a senior advisor and chief of group working at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which is part of the presidential administration. He is also a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences and holder of several state and diplomatic ranks. Vlad Shlepchenko is a reporter for Tsargrad who specializes in military strategy. His last report of April 30 was translated and can be read here.  

Tsargrad is a Moscow-based television channel and internet publication with Russian nationalist and Orthodox sympathies which has been the target of US sanctions and a federal indictment announced in March of this year.


Between opening and closing quotes, the following is a verbatim translation; the maps, captions, links, and sources have been added to amplify the original text which can be read here.

“Vlad Shlepchenko: One of the leaders of the Russophobic movement, as one would expect, has been Poland – a country tormented by phantom pains from its lost power, and with old scores to settle against the Russian world. At the same time, it is Poland which has the greatest chance of becoming the main beneficiary of the impending collapse and division of Ukraine. How far do Polish ambitions reach, and why does satisfying them lay the foundation for a big new war in Europe? Poland is clearly preparing for the return of the territories that were part of it before the Second World War, the so-called “eastern borderlands”. What do you think could be a signal for Warsaw that the moment has come and now it is possible?

Vladimir Kozin: It can be assumed that such a signal will be sent to the current Polish leadership: firstly, when the current Kiev regime ceases to put up armed resistance to the allied armed forces of Russia, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.  Secondly, if the current Ukrainian president leaves Ukraine, voluntarily relinquishing his position, or if he he is removed for another reason. And thirdly, if Russia and the two states allied with it in the Donbass do not make a clear statement about the inadmissibility of any Anschluss [German for union] of any part of Ukraine by any NATO state under any pretext.

Shlepchenko:  Historically, the eastern border territories [Восточных кресов, including present-day Ukrainian, Belarus and Lithuania] were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Maybe God is with them and will let them take it away. After all, why should we be against Poland’s absorption of Galicia — the birthplace of Stepan Bandera and hateful Russophobia?


Kozin: : A new hotbed of tension may arise in this part of Europe on a qualitatively different scale from the current situation, when Ukraine, short of being a full member of the North Atlantic Aliiance,  launched its third large-scale aggression against the inhabitants of Donbass.  That is, in this new situation there may be an armed confrontation between Russia, as well as the DPR and LPR, against the NATO states. This development of events must by no means be allowed to happen.

Shlepchenko: The Poles have long-standing scores to settle with the western Ukrainians. As a rule, the events of the Volhynia Massacre [1943-45] are recalled in this context. But the Galician peasantry, even in the 19th century, while they were still under the rule of Austria-Hungary, slaughtered the Poles at any opportunity. That is, their conflict is real – it is stable and has endured for centuries. If the annexation of the western Ukrainian territories by Poland happens,  how will events develop there? Will the two sides, Galicians and Poles, merge in celebration of their joint struggle against the Russian threat, or will the Poles engage in the denazification of their new compatriots?

Kozin: The first scenario seems to be the most probable one.


Source of map with Ukrainian nationalist interpretation, read this from the Euro-Maidan press.

Shlepchenko:  If Russia does not halt its advance westward, how far is Poland ready to go? Will they try to take Odessa after they absorb Lvov and Ternopil? Will they form a military-civilian administration in Kiev? How far are the Poles ready to go if their heads don’t butt up against Russian tanks?

Kozin:  Most likely Warsaw will follow the path of capturing as much territorial space as possible in Ukraine. Concrete historical examples show that the Poles have repeatedly tried to annex foreign lands by force of arms.

Shlepchenko:  Poland does not act on its own. As you noted, it is part of NATO. But NATO itself is far from united. For some in Germany, the development and deepening of the conflict with Russia is causing the loss of cheap energy and the collapse of industry; for some in Italy, and from the conflict with us, too, there are only losses. Who are the main sponsors and drivers of Poland in its current policy?

Kozin:  I think that the main sponsors of Poland’s imperial ambitions are the United States and Great Britain, which long ago created a state in the shape of Poland with a stable and unchanging policy of maximal Russophobia.

Shlepchenko:  Is this why they are so eager to participate in the supply of American long-range MLRS to Ukraine [Multiple Launch Rocket Systems;  for mapping their range in Ukraine, click]?

Kozin:  And not only that.  The same ambitions are pushing Warsaw to participate in the NATO Baltic Air Patrol program  with the provision of Polish combat aircraft for participation in the program and in Baltic airspace for dual-purpose aircraft of this military bloc; that is, aircraft capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. In accordance with the same considerations, Warsaw gives its authority for heavy strategic aircraft of the US Air Force, certified for the delivery of START [strategic offensive weapons] to cross its airspace when moving towards Russia. Poland was guided by the same considerations when issuing its consent for the construction of an operational US missile defense base at Redzikowo,  in the north of the country, which will be equipped not only with defensive, but also with offensive types of weapons aimed at our country. In all these cases, the same strategic motive looms large in Warsaw — the creation of an immediate threat to Russia as a whole and to the Russian exclave in the Baltic – the Kaliningrad region — as well as to the Republic of Belarus, territory over which Poland has territorial claims. As for Poland’s involvement in the supply of long-range MLRS from the United States, when they transit through Polish territory to the Ukraine, [the Poles and Americans] may well replace one type of system with a firing range of up to 80 km with a longer range system capable of striking at a range of  300 km.


For a Polish think-tank assessment of the range and other capabilities of the Redzikowo missile base, read this.

Shlepchenko: OK. Poland’s current hostility is undeniable. Let’s step back a bit and look into the future. Now Polish society, the elites, the intelligentsia and the average citizen are very fond of the idea of ​​reviving the Commonwealth,    a state that stretched from sea to sea. In the modern version, this is the concept of the Intermarium [Międzymorze] which is supposed to be implemented through partnership programs with the participation of twelve states. According to this plan, the Baltic-Adriatic-Black Sea Initiative (BACHI) was created and is working. It is also called the Three Seas Initiative. How real and dangerous is this challenge?


For a brief introduction and endorsement by the Royal United Service Institute, a British think tank,  click to read.

Kozin:  Under the current conditions, as well as in the more distant future, the implementation of the Three Seas Initiative looks impossible due to the deep contradictions that exist, and will continue to exist, between the potential participants of the project with this name.

Shlepchenko: For the sake of argument, let’s assume this project will be implemented, and that in the end, with the exception of Hungary, the Eastern European countries will not retain so much of their sovereignty, while the Big Brothers in Washington and London compel  them to give way.  The economic benefits from such cooperation are quite real. In the light of this possibility, does it not turn out that the more successfully Poland is acting now, the more reason Moscow has to put it in line for demilitarization in the medium term?

Kozin:  Russia is not in a position to carry out the demilitarization of all the NATO member states, and it does not set such tasks for itself. But to strengthen its defense against the military threat of the transatlantic alliance in the form of its combined forward-based forces, which include nuclear missileforces, anti-missile systems and general-purpose forces, Russia is obliged to achieve in the most effective way.

Shlepchenko:  We are living in an era of geopolitical shifts on an epochal scale. The united West is split, the paths of the European Union and the United States are diverging more and more. In effect, the UK is waging hybrid war against continental Europe, using anti-Russian sanctions as a tool to strangle the German economy. Russia by itself is trying to break out of the geopolitical corner into which it was driven  as a result of the collapse of the USSR.

The demolition of the old structures and blocs is accompanied by the construction of new ones. As part of this process, and for the first time in many centuries, the Eastern European countries have a chance to turn from being the anteroom of Western civilization and the eternally suffering buffer between Russia and real European power into a really significant geopolitical player with its own weight, unique opportunities,  and directly injected into the geopolitical alignment of the global centres of power. Whether this scenario is realized or not is a debatable question. However, the fact that the East Europeans are working on its implementation is obvious.

The formation of an effective Three Seas Initiative will become a big geopolitical and economic problem for Russia, China and the Western European states. The new structure, simply by virtue of its geographical location, will try to establish tight control over the transit of Chinese goods and resources from Russia. In the modern system of the world distribution of labour, Europe is one of the two main producers of high technology and science-intensive products, Russia is the largest exporter of raw materials, and China is the main producer of consumer goods. By placing an organization interested in taking rent from transit flows on the transport routes between them, Great Britain and the US would receive an effective tool for direct control of the transcontinental trade and, accordingly, European industry; and for indirect control over the flow of European technologies to Russia and China.

For our country, the implementation of this scenario would mean a return to the situation at the beginning of the reign of Peter the Great. Moscow will either have to cut a window through to Europe again by force of arms, or make extraordinary efforts to develop its own high-tech industries, equalizing  the value of economic interaction with European countries, and primarily with German industry. And it is this choice that will determine the paradigm within which events will develop in the next ten to fifteen years.”

NOTE: Tsargrad has appended this qualifying note to the original text. "The assumptions and conclusions expressed in the article are the opinion of the author [Shlepchenko] and may not coincide with the opinion of the Editorial Board and the position of the expert [Kozin], whose judgements reflect exclusively and only his own answers to the questions asked."

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  1. amechania

    I am not familiar with any of the personages listed above, except (fleetingly) the euro-maidan organization. If you google “is belarussian” it will autocomplete “Is belarussian a language” Very useful to me, in my admitted ignorance, but still worthy of note. Still not sure what to belive there.

    Putin is reaching back to Peter the Great as a historical parallel, but I reach back to WWII. Again, to Google. Google has been using the encycolpedia Britannica as the new authoritative source, but it is an oddly counter-cultural source. I expect them to purge it. For instance, the Polish-German non-agression pact of 1934 is my personal historical rubrick. I can’t source it, but I hear poland had a secret treaty with Germany to annex eastern Czeckoslovakia as a part of the German later Anschluss.

    Again, my source was ephemeral and isn’t well supported, (excepting the album ‘Secret Treaties’ by Blue Oyster Cult) but it mirrors the same kind of liar’s treaty adopted between WWII germany and the Soviet Union, so I am pre-disposed to believe it.

    WWII is the definitive historical parallel, I argue, Russsian monachists and their alleged utility be damned. If we abandon Ukraine, and we will, and I could argue should (clearly another argument) then why not also abandon Poland. All the old appeasment policies from the west flood back, and Poland and Ukraine have a strong historical identity, (my family is Estonian, plan to go back and read your piece on them after. Anyways.) But in terms of capability, forget it. Poland’s military has been a literal joke in the west for longer than there has been a Polish military. The kid I’m raising is almost 100% Polish, so I’m not being beligerent or dismissive, but attempting realism.

    Poland is playing 4D chess, but it is playing alone with no pieces. Again. IMO. I can’t speak to the Russian decision process or its role in historical equivalency, and I expect people will calm down the war mongering madness soon as we reach yet another new normal. If we don’t the model is WWII, where Poland will play its tragic historical role, and the West is unchanged. Nationalism is the obstacle between humanity and rationality.

    WWII was an unspeakable horror, but the “Wonder Weapons” are here. I plan next on watching another Western war take, where we allege the Russians have the machines but not the manpower to wage war. The unspoken part is the nuclear aspect. Last month, we were entering *very* dangerous nuclear theory… “heat up to cool down” to translate from english. Escalate to De-escalate. Our red-line (that shibboleth again) would be a ‘tactical nuclear weapon’ goes off, and then we demand a conventional de-escalation. Or we erradicate all life on earth, its a gamble, but its profitable for certain classes to encourage gambling, especially near the levers of power.

    We all need to get much smarter, very quickly. Or there will be nobody left to play king.

    1. amechania

      I have further thoughts on political stability in the West and East as the real deciding factors, but will let those breathe for a bit.

      1. amechania

        Correction, my source was independent of the wiki, but I just read to the bottom of it.

        “On 1 September 2009, on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, declassified documents it said were gathered by undercover agents between 1935 and 1945 allegedly showing that Poland secretly conspired with Germany against the Soviet Union. The SVR claimed that Poland had pursued an anti-Soviet foreign policy from the mid-1930s. The documents were compiled by a former senior KGB officer who cited a report from an unidentified Soviet agent purporting that in 1934, Poland and Germany had agreed a secret protocol whereby Poland would remain neutral if Germany attacked the Soviet Union. In response, Polish historians said that there was no evidence that this protocol existed. Mariusz Wolos, an academic at the Polish Academy of Sciences stated that “Nothing similar has ever turned up in archives in Germany. Just because some agent wrote it doesn’t mean it’s true. There isn’t much new here. The documents [released by the SVR] simply confirm what British, German and Russian historians already know”.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This is pretty cute. He denies the authenticity of the records but then depicts them as being consistent with widely held views?

          And more important, are the German WWII archives complete? While they were compulsive records-keepers, buildings were damaged and some records may have been deliberately destroyed.

        2. Polar Socialist

          Also Baltic and Nordic historians. The non-aggression pact between Germany and Poland in 1934, even without a secret protocol basically destroyed the whole basis of the security arrangements for the Baltic countries and Soviet Union against Germany. They all had assumed Polish-German antipathy to prevent any German aggression to reach them.

          After the non-aggression pact there was a surge of diplomacy to made a new arrangement for collective guarantees of the security and inviolability of borders of in the Eastern Europe (Baltic protocol and Eastern Locarno). Soviet Union and the small countries were strongly for retaining the status quo, but Germany and Poland killed all initiatives. Which did not really calm anyone down.

          In short, the Baltic countries did not want to enter any security arrangement without Poland and Germany included (Lithuania was much more scared of Poland’s intentions than Germany’s or Soviet Union’s), neither of which was about to enter any arrangement. Soviet Union made it clear in private and in public that they would not meet the future German attack on Soviet Border, so the small countries better up their game.

          When all else failed, by 1938 the Baltic states tried to find a way out by declaring neutrality, but that still left Lithuania vulnerable to Polish ultimatums and internal German aspirations (instigated by the Reich), so neutrality was not sufficient stance to comfort Soviet Union. The Red Army started to prepare it’s unilateral “security arrangements” for Baltic countries.

          For some reason I can’t quite fathom, this part of the “build up to the WW2” is not mentioned often. Anyway, the point was that the secret protocol wouldn’t add much, except maybe to explain the Soviet urgency in the matter.

          1. amechania

            I must have cut the part about Miedezemore (spelling) or the ‘little Entente.’ Any Swedish historians available?

            Again, WWII is available as an option, but as scientists in the 1980’s proved, firebombing all the cities of even the losing side would blacken all the skies forever.

            Personally, I skipped watching the Australian analyst Perun (the Australians fund their ‘odd intellectuals’) and listened to ‘Podcasting is Praxis’ >five views, really?< Orkonomics ep. 145.

            Good stuff if someone is new to the game. Their take on CLO vs. CDO's in the upcoming economic endgame (it is a finite planet, everyone) is breath-taking in a certain light.

            (CLO vs CDO is private vs corporate debt harbingering the future crash as corporate chickens coming to roost after the failure of 'refinancing' consumer debt ((yes, I ran out of punctuation to denote affectations for consumer, meaning mortgage holders)) as the future of corporate effects on banking assets.

            Warfare is old as heck, but warfare in a true zero-sum game (a.k.a global warfare on a singular planet) is not conducive to a stable poltitical dialectic.

            Not a perfect summary, but a quick one must suffice.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, PS.

            One expert who’s good on this sort of thing is Baltic German noble Anatol Lieven. Fake Croat noble Peter Frankopan is good, too.

        3. hk

          FWIW, I don’t know if there were ever “serious” thoughts of Polish-German cooperation (and this will require digging into both Polish archives and hiring some Polish-speaking mediums for seances), but Russians (even Imperial Russians in late 19th century) always suspected that this was in the workings somewhere. Not surprising that Russian intelligence agencies would have produced reports like that. Whether this is justified, God only knows: Germans, in 1917, confirmed Russian suspicions by declaring Polish independence and calling for Polish support for their cause, and staying true to their tradition of Germanophobia (as strong among Poles as Russophobia), very few Poles answered that call. Among all Eastern European peoples, Poles were the least likely to sign up for SS (compared to the Baltics and, well, Ukrainians who furnished a lot) when Germans were calling for anti-Soviet/Russian volunteers. People who studied Polish history seem fairly confident asserting that, at least historically, serious German-Polish alliance against Russia was never really a possibility.

          Plus, Poles were always too greedy for local gains against their neighbors (Teschen against Czechs, Galicia against Ukrainians, Vilnius against LIthuanians, Danzig and the Corridor against the Germans, to conceptualize long term strategy (i.e. choosing either Germans or Russians as allies against the other, or at least forming alliances with all their neighbors against both–the Intermarium strategy.). Have the modern Poles actually learned from these?

        4. Richard

          How does Germany invade the USSR without going through Poland? How does Poland remain neutral if Germany invades the USSR through Poland?

          1. hk

            The question was whether Germany would have had to fight through Poland or be joined by Poles as Allies to get to Russia. Russians know well that, for Napoleon, the latter was true and always suspected that Poles would repeat as the enthusiastic vanguard of invaders from the west.

    2. Ignacio

      “Nationalism is the obstacle between humanity and rationality”

      I like that. Mix it with religion and or ethnicity (as if ethnicity means anything these days) and we have a good definition of b”llsh%t. Paranoia ensues. Problem is that nationalism and accompanying idiocy is rising everywhere. Because TINA?

      1. Alex Cox

        On the other hand, nationalism in the form of food self sufficiency/autarky may be our only hope.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      The press is using any hook to demonize Putin, so the latest is to pick up on an in-passing remark about Peter the Great….at a talk coinciding with his 350th birthday.

      The far more relevant part was earlier in the same speech, where Putin spent the core of the talk discussing sovereignity and its necessary components:

      1. Lex

        It’s kind of funny that I’ve always seen Peter I as Putin’s model for the early part of his leadership: the desire to modernize Russia and open a window on the west. The western media takes that modeling to be one of conquest. And Putin’s reaction seems to be, “ok, if that’s how you want it, I’ll model myself after Catherine II and we’ll go extra Russian.” They should have cultivated his admiration of Peter I.

        I agree with you though, Yves, anything to demonize Putin. Better yet if it involves deliberately misreading Russian history.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Yves and Lex.

          This is all too typical. Do you remember Reuters* mistranslating, to give them the benefit of the doubt, what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said about Israel?

          BTW some evidence has popped out, suggesting that Thomson Reuters employee Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe was not the innocent party caught up in political games, which explains how and why Johnson blurted out that she was teaching journalists in Iran.

      2. Acacia


        I am not going to give any examples so as not to offend anyone, but if a country or a group of countries is not able to make sovereign decisions, then it is already a colony to a certain extent. But a colony has no historical prospects, no chance for survival in this tough geopolitical struggle.

        …and we can easily guess which group of countries he might be thinking of.

  2. JBird4049

    So we truly are in the Second Cold War with both sides having a hot war with out, quite fighting directly; it seems that controlling resources rather than any actual ideological differences is the reason that the United States is pushing for the conflict; in the first Cold War there were serious ideological differences that provided some of the basis for the conflict, but today it appears to be based only on greed, egotism, and corruption. The Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian fears and aspirations are fantastic tools for creating chaos needed to destroy them and allow the United States and NATO to control the rubble. My government is worse than the Mafia ever was.

  3. Petra

    I think this is a tactic. Russia plays have been quite similar to US precedent, ie creating new terms to skirt international law(Cuba combatants), noting biological capabilities in Ukraine (Iraq) and so many more. There is a pattern there. The West keeps painting Russia as imperial and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now the Russian are flipping it, that PL is in fact imperialist and now on the defensive. I think you don’t need to annex – it’s hard to get the territory recognized, rather it’s where the area is under the sphere of influence via dependencies or interests or else. There is a lot of history omitted there. I’d agree Poland wants a sphere of influence in Ukraine and Belarus – there is a lot of money to be made in the future development, but annexation is definitely not strategic in so many respects.

  4. The Rev Kev

    So I’m looking at that map of the Three Seas Initiative and what comes my mind is that it is a meat shield between Russia and western Europe. But I cannot see it working for several reasons. Where will the Capital be of this Initiative as one would be needed for administrative purposes. How much military will that Initiative be able to draw on? The NATO-Russia war has emptied out the cupboards so not only will they need replenishing but this region will need a network of bases through this region which will have to be done by NATO forces. But looking at that map, the combined GDP of that Initiate combined would be nothing to write home about so how are they to pay for all that militarization? Austria has mostly steered a course of neutrality for the past several decades. What would be the incentives for them to join with this rum setup? And since soon you can write off the Ukraine as a major military force, I am sure that that Initiative will demand that all defenses be concentrated in the north to protect Poland and the Baltic States. Those States in the south will probably tell them to go fly a kite as that is why they joined NATO already. And would the EU look kindly on a block of countries forming together that might be used against Brussel’s demands? Both Poland and Hungary have had run-ins with Brussels so might be tempted to use this Initiative to make their own demands on the EU. Maybe they should forget this whole idea and Poland and the Baltic States should organize the Hanseatic league 2.0 as it would maybe a better use of their time.

    1. voislav

      Visegrad group (Czech, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland) with addition of the Baltic countries is a more realistic grouping. Visegrad group already has a level of economic and military integration, so it would be a logical step to extend this to the Baltic states. Other states are much less likely to join.

      Romania has been offered to join the group in the past but it has refused and it’s unlikely to be involved in any trans-national integrations involving Hungary due to Hungary’s pretensions in Transylvania. Croatia is in the similar position, there have been several recent incidents of Hungarian officials, including Orban, making statements about Hungarian pretensions in Croatia. Additionally, Croatians see any sort of trans-national integration as formation of new Yugoslavia and direct attack on their sovereignty.

    2. Lex

      The Intermarium has always fallen apart for just the reasons you raise in your questions. Everyone involved, or at least the Ukrainians, Poles and Lithuanians, all think they should run it for various historical reasons. The infighting begins and the project falls apart before it has a chance to start. Olena Semenyaka (first lady of Azov and the intellectual/philosophical force behind Azov) is a big fan of the Intermarium but has run into issues with Polish proponents over who gets to be in charge. Certain segments of Polish leadership may well see this moment as key and want to seize it while Ukraine is too weak to claim the leadership role.

      I have a hard time seeing Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria going along with it in the near/medium term. That makes Ukraine and especially Odessa absolutely key to the plan. And that leads me to believe that Russia won’t let Odessa stay Ukrainian for no other reason than denying a century of Polish geopolitical dreams (and denying NATO basing in Odessa).

      1. Susan the other

        And this thinking, sort of nostalgia-driven by their own ancient histories, by Poland and maybe other eastern European countries, makes sense of the sudden about face by Ursula and the EU on making (whatever is left of) Ukraine a member state of the EU. If Ukraine is a member of the EU, then the EU effectively controls all those factions, as well as trade with the Eurasian countries. And it facilitates Ukraine also becoming a member of NATO, if they can only bribe Erdogan. It’s not hard to imagine that without a big bribe Erdogan would simply quit both the EU and NATO at that point. I’m wondering if NATO could create a special category of military ally which is forever pledged to be neutral? That would be interesting.

  5. David

    The article talks about a Russian “intelligence report” apparently issued earlier this month, but doesn’t quote from it or link to it, so we have no idea what it says. All we really have is the personal opinions of one person with links to the Russian military. The evidence that such Polish ambitions actually exist would be interesting to see, but I don’t think there is any. Any country has nationalist extremists who dream of territorial changes, but putting it into practice is another issue.

    The Polish Army looks good on paper (four divisions) but Wikipedia gives a strength of 62,000 overall, so you can draw your own conclusions. They have never deployed in more than brigade strength, and always in the context of an international mission, such as in Afghanistan or Iraq. The capacity to operate outside your frontiers, with all the complications of command and control, logistics, lines of communication etc. is not something that can be improvised, even in a generally peaceful environment. Invading your neighbour, in the face of the remains of a powerful military and an unenthusiastic and armed local population, and then hanging on to what you have occupied, seems to me to be beyond the capability of the Polish military today, or in any reasonable near-future.

    It’s unthinkable that NATO would agree to sponsor such an operation, so the speakers seem to be assuming somehow that the US and Britain will quietly support it, because they “long ago created a state in the shape of Poland with a stable and unchanging policy of maximal Russophobia.” It’s hard to know what this is supposed to mean, or which historical period it refers to. The MLRS link goes to Col Lang’s site, waxing enthusiastic about how MLRS will win the war for Ukraine. The article on the Redzikowo missile base is a relatively technical description of how the Poles could improve defence against short-range ballistic missiles, as part of the NATO initiative that’s been under way for decades. The “endorsement” by the Royal United Services Institute (of London) is an opinion piece by the “Chief Adviser to the UK Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland,” advocating for UK involvement in the Three Seas Initiative, which brings together 12 EU states in a programme of infrastructure and economic cooperation. So …

    I don’t doubt that there are people in Moscow who genuinely believe (and fear) that the Poles might do something like this. Others may actually welcome it for the political havoc and disunity it will bring to NATO and the EU. But as things stand I find it very hard to believe it could happen.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Any country has nationalist extremists who dream of territorial changes’

      You got that right. A coupla days ago, ex-Polish Prime Minister Radosław Sikorski was saying how it would be a great idea how ‘The West has the right to give Ukraine nuclear warheads so that it could protect its independence.’ And should I mention that he is also married to American journalist and historian, Anne Applebaum?

      1. Petra

        But Sikorski hasn’t had any sway in Poland or any inside info since his party was booted out, 2014. His govt lost because they were totally corrupt, but loved by the Western elites. I don’t think he speaks for PL at all. The current govt is considered nationalistic but they are obsessed with Russian imperialism, Russophobic since the head of the party lost his twin brother flying to a ceremony commemorating the massacre of thousands of Polish officers in Katyn and obsessed with history. It’s a mistake to underestimate the pols. So much AI for example developed by US and UK companies actually comes from Polish engineers in Poland. Most Western European profits derive from thier investments in Central and Eastern Europe. I think it’s exactly what Poland wants to do to Ukraine and Belerus – create a colony similar to what Western Europe did in Eastern Europe – all assets are owned by Western Europe, profits and power. They might not have experience, but military strategy has deep roots there. West Point in the US was an initiative of a Pol. They may in fact be trained up on a lot of new weapons since they have been one of the biggest, 2nd, most important market for defense contractors for years. They have been obsessed with energy security, before Russia, building LNG terminals and buying assets in Norway.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Petra and the Rev.

          When Radek Sikorski became a minister in Poland, he and his wife had to declare their earnings. This revealed how much the pair earn from the US MIC and its proxies, on both sides of the Atlantic. It enabled the pair to afford homes in London and NYC and their rural hinterlands and send their two sons to Eton and Oxford, the latter Sikorski’s tertiary alma mater.

          He’s very much part of an Atlanticist network, the sort who gather around the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations (and its European off shoot) and think tanks like the Royal United Services Institute (mainly funded by Qatar).

          Sikorski arrived in London as a child refugee and had his Oxford education paid for by his local authority, which was the norm in the UK until the Blairite reforms of the late 1990s. At Oxford, he pretended to be a mitteleuropa aristocrat and relative of WW2 general Sikorski and was admitted into the Bullingdon Club, overlapping with Johnson. The pair became friends, but fell out over Brexit.

          He (and the guy who was finance minister alongside*) spent much of their youth in England and speak with somewhat upper class English accents. I met the pair at a City of London event to discuss the loosening of the UK from the EU in 2013. They seemed so English, especially their use of colloquial expressions associated with the upper middle class.

          Sikorski and Applebaum are cynical frauds and are more interested in their own pockets and class, a deracinated elite, than Poland and the USA.

          *The finance minister said he was not in favour of a Polish exit from the EU as he did not want Poland to be caught between Germany and Russia (in that order). Sikorski did not mention Russia.

    2. Lex

      The Intermarium project/idea has been floating around Central Eastern Europe for a solid 100 years now. Different groups view it with varying degrees of importance and once the discussions become international (which they periodically do) things fall apart because the Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians fight over who gets to be the leader of the project. Whether the Polish government is trying to actualize it right now is still an open question, but some NATO brass (from the US) have also mentioned it though not by name. Given the US opinion since the early 2000’s about “new Europe”, making the Intermarium and tying it to NATO makes a lot of sense … from a US/NATO perspective.

    3. amechania

      Old news there, on the 62K army.

      I haven’t watched this video, but skipped it despite enjoying the rest of the creators content.

      Perun is a newly minted Australian defense analyst from their uh, department of wierdos. Don’t think he mentions the 200K army Poland is working up quite rapidly in this video (again, skipped it), but they are ready to GO. Uncle Sam told them to chill out though, so they are apparently inside their borders for now. 200K armed persons are googlable as ‘peace keepers’

      There’s the top print result. Not reading that either. The Perun part is probably interesting. A week before he did a part lauding the Finnish losss of neutrality though, ick. He should stick to his specialty of claiming our aerospace industry can crush their aerospace industry in the medium to long term since it is so much better funded.

      He includes the same map of Polish maximalism as the article above, interestingly.

      1. amechania

        Again, I should shut up. However, the development of SCRAM-jet nukes negates all anti-missle-missles since the 1980s from America.

        Liberals tried to warn us. Lasers will be built, and schools will be de-funded. But god help us if there is a cloud. We must get much much smarter.

  6. scarnoc

    If someone has a link to the SVU report that was released on 13 June, I would be grateful. English or Russian works. I can’t find it myself. I have read Naryshkin’s statements to the press about the assessment, but not the primary source. Sadly, Mr. Helmer’s site is nearly always offline for me (and for archive agents, so I don’t think it’s particularly sporadic).

  7. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Once again I might have overlooked mention of this in the article or comments, if so I apologize.
    To all my Polish friends, the Katyn Massacre happened yesterday. And in case anyone forgets, there is a dramatic sculpture in Jersey City to remind them.
    To have any discussion about Polish intentions towards Russia without bearing in mind the fact that this pre-planned historical slaughter is always in the back of the Polish mind seems a bit shortsighted.

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