Large-scale events dedicated to the fortieth anniversary of events were held in Poland last week, which they are trying to present in the form of almost a "national tragedy". Well, for the Poles, every milestone in history is a tragedy. It is better than them to whine, complain and pose as an eternal "victim" only the Ukrainians are able to. Well, an apple from an apple tree ... One way or another, but in Warsaw on this day, candles were burned, pompously called the "light of freedom", the president and other high-ranking officials pushed heartfelt speeches, broadcasting about "an eternal scar on the heart" and about "numerous victims totalitarianism "brought in the" struggle for democracy ".
Behind all this hypocritical tinsel, the true essence of everything that happened in Poland in the early 80s of the last century, of course, cannot be discerned. And "totalitarianism" there was not at all so terrible and bloody (the number of its victims for several years does not reach a hundred), and "democracy" in the end result turned out, to put it mildly, very specific. How could it be otherwise - after all, all the events were permeated with a unique local flavor, about which the local writer Hugo Kollontai once spoke: “Poles do not know how to fight. But rebel! " Around what happened four decades ago, lies and conjectures, as usual, are heaped up whole mountains. Let's try to break through them - what if we can extract at least a grain of the truth?
How the Poles wanted to be Chinese
The Polish revolt, as well as the "counter-revolution" (or, if you will, "reaction") that followed it, unlike their Russian counterparts, were neither senseless nor merciless. On the contrary, there was a continuous calculation and "reasonable sufficiency". However, our history should begin with the fact that, of course, it was possible to call post-war Poland a "socialist country" - but only with very significant reservations. And it's not even about the fact that the shortcomings from the Home Army, the National Armed Forces and other underground anti-communist organizations, which included a variety of characters - from Catholic Orthodox to extreme "leftists", continued their "struggle for freedom" right up to 1957. And not about the extreme Russophobia, anti-Semitism, contemptuous hatred of the same Ukrainians and Belarusians who have not gone anywhere after the liberation from the Nazi occupation by the Red Army.
It is clear that the communists and internationalists from the Poles have always been like a dog's tail - a sieve. Even the party (PUWP), which ruled the entire "Soviet" period in the country, did not mention communism in its name. But the point, however, is different. The Polish, excuse the expression, the national elite really liked the territorial acquisitions generously “donated” to the country in the process of the post-war redivision of Europe by Comrade Stalin (although, of course, they were offended for the “Eastern Kresses”). In Warsaw, they absolutely did not object to the supplies of almost gratuitous energy carriers and modern weapons, which regularly came from the USSR. And in general, they did not disdain at all the "brotherly help" of Moscow and other countries of the socialist camp.
With all this, no one thought to build socialism in its, so to speak, canonical form in Poland. For a whole decade (by 1955) collectivization was carried out there by as much as 8%. The village remained at the mercy of "private property ideology" and what the local priests broadcast from the pulpits, whom the country also did not dare to "press". And this despite the fact that the Catholic Church, in contrast to the Orthodox (in Stalin's times managed to find a certain "consensus" with those in power ") was a stronghold of the most ardent anti-communism. However, even with the "proletariat" in Poland, everything was quite problematic. The ideas of Marxism-Leninism did not take root at all among the industrial workers there - rather, they were close to the national chauvinism of Pilsudski. Strikes were the traditional fun of the "working class", and the leaders of the trade union movement openly professed not pro-government, but oppositional principles.
In short, the country represented that “explosive mixture” in social and ideological terms. If you have a really strong and wise (at least in economic questions) of the authorities, all this would be somehow fixable, but in Poland this was absolutely not the case. Declaring loyalty and devotion to the "precepts of communism" in communication with Moscow, this very leadership looked greedily and enviously at the West, trying to break through to its markets and fully taste the benefits there. In Warsaw, they dreamed of creating such a competitive and powerful economy so that, "filling up" its neighbors with goods from both the East and the West, as a result, "rolling like cheese in butter". This task was not in principle impossible. The question was how exactly to approach its practical implementation.
In the end, it worked out for China, which was and remains a million times more communist than Poland during the CMEA and Warsaw Pact times! Such a national economy has been built under the red flag with gold stars, operating according to market principles, that all the capitalists of the world are bursting with envy in unison! However, what happened with the Chinese comrades was categorically wrong with the Polish lords. “Big leap forward” did not work - and where did the colossal money invested in this venture go, no one can intelligibly answer. By 1980, Poland had become the most "indebted" country of the socialist camp - its external debt amounted to $ 20 billion. The main trouble here was that the bulk of the loans were made in the West, whose representatives did not even in their thoughts have to contribute to the rise of the socialist (formally) Polish economy, but, on the contrary, sought to undermine it in the long term.
I must say that they succeeded to the fullest extent - after the rapid “rise” of incomes and the rise in the standard of living of the Poles in the 70s, an even sharper decline followed. Debts had to be repaid, but with what? Lacking an acceptable answer to this question, the Polish government decided to act with the most severe command-administrative methods. The regime of total economy, the increase in prices (primarily for food), which coincided extremely unsuccessfully with a decrease in wages - all this was greeted by the population of the country without the slightest understanding and enthusiasm. The colossal "fermentation" that began immediately after the end of the "well-fed strip" of the 70s, threatened to turn into a real storm. This was perfectly seen both in Warsaw itself and in Moscow, whose representatives did not at all smile at the repetition of events in the GDR, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.
How Jaruzelski "saved" Poland from a threat that did not exist
Realistically assessed the situation in the West, where they were already rubbing their hands in anticipation of the fact that from the "socialist camp" it would soon be possible to snatch its "weakest link". They were not slow to throw firewood into the flaring fire of troubles. At the same time, the Catholic Church, again, was used primarily as a communication channel for communication with the "opposition" and its replenishment. But what was the Polish government doing at this time? It tried to negotiate. Although, it would be more accurate to say not even so. Warsaw, faced in one place or another with openly anti-state demonstrations, inflicted, as a rule, a rather tough retaliatory blow. In the same Gdansk, in 1970, demonstrators were shot at without any sentimentality, which led to dozens of victims.
However, any repressive measures led only to a temporary fading of discontent, while bringing new leaders and ordinary fighters under the banner of "fighters against the regime", contributing to their self-organization and strengthening. The events of Gdansk, in fact, gave rise to the "Gravedigger of socialism" in Poland, "Solidarity", led by Lech Walesa, turning into the start of his political career. Seeing all this, the authorities tried to search for a compromise with those forces with which it was impossible in principle. Along the way, there was a fierce "undercover struggle" in the PUWP itself, and its General Seekers flew from their seats one after another, as if they had "failed". However, this did not improve the situation in the least. This continued exactly until one person stood at the head of the party, army and country, who was a really strong leader of a nationwide scale.
Wojciech Jaruzelski was an unambiguously outstanding personality. Pleased with repression in the 30s, he nevertheless took part in the Great Patriotic War as part of the Polish units formed in the USSR. On the fields he fought valiantly, which was marked by many awards, up to the highest Polish order "Virtuti Militari". I personally like him especially for the fact that after the war he crushed both the Polish "forest brothers" and the Banderaites. Jaruzelski found himself at the head of the country at the most critical moment for her, when it became clear that an explosion was already inevitable. In early 1981, he headed the Polish government, in October became the General Secretary of the PUWP, and the post of head of the military department simply did not leave all this time. We must pay tribute to the general - he also tried to negotiate with Solidarity (and with the mediation of the most authoritative Cardinal Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw).
The most interesting thing is that Jaruzelski and Walesa might have come to some kind of agreement, but both opposing camps were full of radicals, supporters of extreme measures and "struggle to the bitter end." Some wanted to strike, others were eager to "crush the hydra of counter-revolution." It couldn't end well, of course. Raising that it was impossible to get away from the fight, Jaruzelski made a logical decision: to strike the first blow. At half past ten in the evening on December 12, 1981, telephones went silent all over Poland. Naturally - with the exception of military units, police and state security departments, as well as party bodies. At midnight, troops entered the streets of Polish cities. And not only foot units, but also armored vehicles. Martial law was introduced in the country, and Jaruzelski in his televised address to the people said that this was done "to prevent a fratricidal war."
What is typical, speaking of "fratricide", the General Secretary in uniform, in general, did not exaggerate. The results of the internal Polish confrontation, which lasted from 1945 to 1957 (that is, after the withdrawal of the Red Army), are estimated by historians at 30 thousand human victims. Somewhat spoils the impression about the general that he subsequently began, as they say, "to change his testimony." For example, to convince each and every one that “reluctantly” decided to introduce martial law solely in order to prevent “Soviet invasion”. But this is an absolute lie, since there is irrefutable evidence (up to the transcripts of the corresponding meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee) that the Soviet leadership was not going to send troops to Poland categorically. In any case, in the situation that was evident at the end of 1981.
In addition, there is an alternative version that diametrically contradicts the one voiced above. In accordance with it, it was Jaruzelski himself who called to Moscow and demanded that troops be sent in, threatening at the same time that otherwise Poland might actually withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, which after that would even cease to be Warsaw. Nevertheless, his senior comrades, who at that time had enough of the Afghan problems, advised him not to be hysterical, but to solve his own internal issues on his own. Which he ultimately did - as best he could. On the other hand, all the actions of the authorities, presented today as "horrific repressions", turned out to be only half measures in the end. Yes, Solidarity was banned, the vast majority of its leaders (as well as the leaders of other opposition structures and organizations) were arrested. Hotbeds of resistance and protest resistance were suppressed quite harshly. Poles' civil rights were limited very seriously - for a while. There were also casualties, but as mentioned above, during the entire period of martial law (from 1981 to 1983) as a result of excesses that took place on both sides, less than a hundred people died.
The most important thing is that all this did not prevent Solidarity, officially disbanded in 1982, all of whose members who were arrested were released in 1983, from being reborn in an even stronger version. And in 1989 to win the elections, after which Jaruzelski calmly remained in the presidency, which in 1990 handed over to Lech Walesa. In fact, the events in Poland were another “dress rehearsal” for the most “soft” dismantling of the socialist system, which the West was preparing and which it managed to carry out in the late 80s and early 90s of the last century.