Poland and the ghosts of "Prometeismo"

(To Andrea Gaspardo)

It is often said that those who do not understand history are hopelessly destined to repeat it, especially with regard to the mistakes made by their predecessors. Today's Poland seems hopelessly condemned to follow this path but, to understand it, it is necessarily necessary
to step back.

In the period between the First and Second World Wars, the foreign policy of the so-called Second Polish Republic was based around two strategic concepts: the "Prometeismo" and the so-called "Intermarum". The second advocated the creation of a federation of Polish-led states that was to extend from the North Cape to the Mediterranean in a sort of "European Central European Union". The former stated that, as the Soviet Union (heir to the Russian Empire) was perceived as an existential threat by the authorities of the revived independent Poland, the efforts of the Polish state should have gone in the direction of supporting in every possible way all those nationalist and independence movements of "non-Russian" peoples existing within or on the borders of the Empire with the ultimate aim of causing their definitive fragmentation.

The historical parable of the Second Polish Republic in the '20,' 30 and 40 years of the twentieth century has decreed the failure of both strategic designs, however over the last few years and with the winds of the "New Cold War" that have returned to blow, it seems that many want to pull out the figure again Prometheus from the attic. This is the case of Janusz Bugajski, a geopolitical analyst with numerous contacts in Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States, who in a recent publication entitled: "Managing Russia's dissolution", has substantially advocated the same theses posed by his ancestors updating them to the new Millennium .

Among the various concepts expressed by the author is the suggestion that the countries of the West enter into direct negotiations with the various subjects belonging to the Russian Federation in order to favor a peaceful transition towards independence, while other territories should be annexed by the countries neighboring countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China or Japan.

Although the temptation to compare the situation of the Russian Federation today with that of the Soviet Union in the 80 years of the last century is strong, we should try to resist this forced simplification. The disintegration of the Soviet Union in the 1991 was favored by the coexistence of a long series of factors and events (some were of an opportunistic nature while others had progressively evolved over the decades) which are difficult to replicate in today's situation. The same concept of the "ethnic fragmentation" of the great state does not test the facts since, although 85 subjects that make up the Russian Federation well 27 are centered on an "ethnic-national" basis, the percentage of Russians on the total population of the country it is around 80,9% while the second largest ethnic group, the Tatari, does not exceed 3,9%. To make a parallel, it should be remembered that, in the 1989, ethnic Russians represented the 51,4% of the total population of the Soviet Union. Lastly, while in the course of Soviet history the various subjects that made up the Empire presented remarkable divergences from the point of view of total fertility rates (a symptom of a never hidden political-social-national restlessness) in today's Russian Federation Total fertility among the various peoples and territories are essentially the same or they tend to converge rapidly (even in the ever untamable Chechnya!).

Instead of proposing improbable and unrealistic disintegration temptations, Warsaw strategists should indeed take advantage of the new central role of Poland as an ideal bridge between the West and the East and not as "Antemurale Christianitatis Contra Barbarorum".

Photo: US Army