President Duda commemorates November Uprising outbreak anniversary

Andrzej Lange/PAP

Speaking at Sunday's commemorations President Duda said that today it is difficult for young people to understand what it truly means to have Polish authorities chosen by Polish people in free elections.

President Duda, addressing a meeting commemorating the 190th anniversary of the outbreak of the November Uprising against the Russian Empire, one of the three powers holding Poland under partition at the time, added that young people also have a hard time in understanding what it means to have a foreign imposed rule.

"Today, it is very difficult for our youth to understand this subtle, yet gigantic difference, that something only has a name, while something else is real, what it means to have Polish authorities chosen by Poles themselves in elections, what it means that we decide about ourselves, what it means that we have sovereignty and what it means to keep it, what it means not to have it when a stranger comes and imposes his will, his rights - what you have to think, say and do," said the president.

The November Uprising broke out on November 29, 1830, when a group of non-commissioned officers at Warsaw's Infantry Cadet School attacked the Belweder - the headquarters of the Polish Army's Russian leadership. In all, around 54,000 Polish soldiers fought against an 115,000-strong Russian Army for over a year. The uprising's fall in 1831 was followed by repressions against its participants and drastically reduced the autonomy of the Russian-controlled Kingdom of Poland.

Poland regained independence on November 11, 1918, after 123 years of partitions. The partitioning powers were the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Habsburg Austria, which progressively divided the country among themselves.