Russian MPs condemn Polish Dep FM's words on Warsaw liberation

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Russian MPs on Friday reacted with indignation to Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski's claims that Warsaw's January 17 1945 liberation from the Germans by the Red Army spelt new enslavement for Poland.

Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian Sate Duma's (lower house) foreign affairs committee, described Jablonski's words as "russophobia, ingratitude and a historical lie," and accused the Polish authorities of "amnesia."

Slutski said the Red Army not only brought Poland freedom, but helped save the lives of future generations of Poles. He added that in the post-World War Two years the Soviets also helped rebuild Poland's war-ravaged economy.

Oleg Morozov from the Russian parliament's Federation Council (upper house) stated that the Polish economy was rebuilt after the war thanks to the Soviet Union, and called Jablonski's words "a historical lie, an attempt to rewrite history in line with the anti-Russian moods currently prevailing among the Polish elites."

State Duma deputy head Pyotr Tolstoi stated that recent statements by Polish politicians evoked surprise and indignation, and accused the Polish authorities of "russophobic hysteria and historical ignorance."

Earlier on Friday Jablonski told reporters after Warsaw commemorations devoted to Swedish Holocaust rescuer Raoul Wallenberg that the January 17 1945 liberation of Warsaw by the Soviets did not bring freedom but fresh enslavement. In this context he reminded that the Red Army had failed to help the Poles in their 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans, although it was stationed in close proximity to the fighting.

"On January 17 1945 the Red Army entered Warsaw, in ruins after the Warsaw Uprising, during which the Red Army watched the city's destruction from the opposite bank of the Vistula. This was not liberation, this was new, communist enslavement, and this is what we must remember," the Polish deputy minister said.

Later on Friday Russia's Ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev laid flowers under a Red Army memorial in Warsaw to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviets' liberation of Warsaw. Andreev was accompanied by the ambassadors of Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.