The IPN is co-organized an international conference on the crimes of Tsarist Russia and Soviet communism which was held on 23 February in the Sejm of the Republic of Poland.
The conference “Imperialism under the Sign of the Double-Headed Eagle and the Red Star. Victims of Soviet Communism and Russian Imperialism in the 20th Century” was held under the honorary patronage of the Marshal of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek and will be streamed online on iTV Sejm.
In conjunction with the upcoming first anniversary of Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is important to recall Russia's imperial traditions and repressions of genocidal nature carried out in the 20th century. Soviet imperialism integrated the traditions of Tsarist Russia with Bolshevism, extending its reach to half of Europe. This was accompanied by brutal terror and the extermination of the local population opposed to Soviet rule.
Contemporary Russian imperialism challenges the very foundations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states in our region. By recalling the tragedy of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, we honour the victims of Soviet and Russian imperialism.
The conference was attended by the IPN Deputy President Mateusz Szpytma who started his speech with the words “We Poles know Russia very well”. “This country has been a threat to our integrity for centuries,” he continued. The IPN Deputy Head pointed out the importance of the beginning of the 20th century in the history of troubled Polish-Russian relations when imperial Russia became Bolshevik Russia and a threat to the world.“Poland was one of the first countries attacked by this new state and was the country which saved the Western World from Bolshevik aggression. It happened thanks to the great effort of the Polish people, military commanders, political leaders, and we cannot forget about the support that the Ukrainian army with Symon Petliura gave us at that time,” said Mateusz Szpytma referring to the Polish-Soviet War.
The conference started at 10:00AM and consisted of two discussion panels. The first one included foreign guests from Latvia (Prof Ēriks Jēkabsons), Georgia (Prof. Mikheil Bakhtadze) and Ukrainie (Prof, Doctor of Sciences in History, Yuri Shapoval), as well as the IPN scholar Mirosław Szumiło, Ph.D.D.Sc. Its aim was to show the struggle of the peoples of our region against the expansion of Russia into other countries. For them, and for Poland, it has always been a question of survival and preserving their identity. Issues such as attempts to create a bloc of allied states between the Baltic and the Black Sea under the leadership of Poland in order to stop Russian expansionism will be addressed.
The second discussion panel featured Polish scholars and focused mainly on Soviet crimes. There was also no shortage of topics related to the crimes committed by the Soviet regime.
The murder at Katyń and many other crimes are part of the criminal logic and continuity of the imperial tradition, as tragically confirmed by the mass murders in Bucza and Izium, and the deportation of Ukrainians deep into Russia. It is our duty to keep reminding of this, as well as to restore the memory of the victims of the crimes and to bear witness to the truth.