Polish PM scorns Russia's policy of history in La Stampa
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki in an interview with the Italian broadsheet La Stampa said that Russia invites to its historical debate only those who agree with the Kremlin's narrative, while Poland, a WWII victim, is being turned into the perpetrator.
The interview was published on Friday, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Russia has called off its official WWII ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Poland was not invited to take part anyway.
"Perhaps because on the 80th anniversary of the war's outbreak, September 1 last year, the Russians were not invited?" the daily asked the Polish prime minister.
"Excluding Poland from the ceremonies represents a condition made by Moscow, which means only one thing: to participate in the historical debate one should agree with the Russian narrative," Morawiecki said.
"But for Poland this would mean accepting a lie: we cannot let anyone replace the perpetrator with the victim," he added.
Responding to the interviewer's comment that Russia accuses Poland of lack of respect for Red Army soldiers who died in the fight against the Nazis, Morawiecki said that the Soviet army "stayed on Polish territories for nearly 50 years, imposing the introduction of a regime, communism, that an overwhelming majority of Poles would not accept."
"The Red Army's actions on our territories were not meant to restore our independence, on the contrary, (they were aimed to) take our sovereignty away again," he said.
The interviewer noted that many Soviet army monuments had been dismantled, but Morawiecki said that one should see a difference between dismantling or turning into museum exhibits "monuments that used to be a symbol of Poland's enslavement" and showing respect to the places of burial of Red Army soldiers. He added that the Polish government takes care of burial places of all the fallen, regardless of their nationality.
"I would like to see the same respect to be shown to the places of burial of Poles, victims of Soviet repression, in Russia," Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki also said that during WWII Poles had shown heroism on many fronts, recalling the Battle of Monte Cassino and the Polish pilots' participation in the Battle of Britain.
"Unfortunately, due to Europe's entanglement in the Cold War and Poland's coming under the Soviet influence, Polish heroes did not live to see their own rehabilitation.