From BBC News.
One line that won’t be crossed is Poland. The US would fully commit to protecting Poland from incursion.
I noticed a token move with the UN re-classifying Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from Eastern European countries to the states of Northern Europe. It seems more a statement than anything else, I suppose.
Russia deploys anti-aircraft missile systems around Moscow to protect the capital from attack in latest sign Putin is preparing for war.
In November, IHS Jane’s reported NATO concerns that Russia was turning the Baltic enclave into a “fortress” capable of paralysing allied operations or defensive moves in the region. Ahead of this latest Su-30SM deployment, Russia had already been busy boosting its air, land, sea capabilities in Kaliningrad. This included stationing the latest S-400 and Iskander ground-based air defence systems in the territory, which sits between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast.
The build up in Kaliningrad is what rightfully sparked concerns in the neighborhood. Well that, and the Ukraine invasion.
Poland… again. Just like in World War II. I believe that with God’s help, the necessary balance will be met.
Of course, any U.S. troops in Poland could just add “ski” to their names and pretend to be Poles, just as the Russian military occupying eastern Ukraine are pretending to be Ukrainians.
Preparing for war or engaging in a standard fare military exercise? Russia and every other major military force in the world conducts exercises to test the readiness of their forces on a regular basis. Media seems to want to stir the pot as much as possible prior to Trump taking office.
I remember watching the movie The Sum of All Fears (Morgan Freeman, Ben Affleck) and after the nuke goes off in Baltimore then Russia declares their highest state of military readiness. In the movie the U.S. command leadership sees that as an act of preparation for war from Russia, you know what? EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY ON EARTH WOULD LIKELY DO THE SAME THING. The U.S. would do the same if a nuclear detonation (nudet) occurred in a major foreign city on the planet.
Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian occupiers made sure that children were not taught their native language in schools in the Ukraine. After the early 1990s, Ukrainians demanded that Ukrainian be taught in schools and demanded their own currency, During World War II, some Ukrainians joined the Waffen SS. The Bolsheviks were a bigger threat.
Now the Russian Federation is trying again to gain Soviet bloc-style States. A firm no to that. The Russian population is aging. Their birth rate is low, which is why proposals have been put forth to put some restrictions on abortions, or ban it.
Since I am a Pole, I know there are many Poles without “ski” as part of their last names.
Some years ago, I knew a fellow whose father had been in the Ukrainian Waffen SS, motivated by sheer hatred of what the Soviets had done to Ukrainians. Even though the man I knew was born here after his parents immigrated, his hatred of the Soviets knew no bounds. I remember him telling me Khruschev was really Ukrainian and his real name was (I think) just “Krusch”, to which he added the “ev” to sound more Russian. “People here in America don’t think he was so bad” he told me, “but he was an Eichmann”. And, indeed, he was when Stalin had him enforcing famine in Ukraine.
I realize not all Poles have “ski” or “ska” (the feminine form) at the end of their names. I was joking, really. But a point of possible interest. I read that the addition of “ski” or “ska” denotes gentry, but that virtually every Pole can reasonably claim to be gentry because of the Polish rules regarding nobility.
Mine as well, but Ridge’s point taken.
I know of no such rules in Poland. Kraków, not Warsaw, was once the Polish capital. Both of my Polish parents were farmers. And Poland, like some parts of England today, have varying customs that live on. Most American born Poles have never seen a map of Poland pre-1970, or know what a województwo is. I have a friend whose father was a Górale, and ski was part of his last name.
Kind of off topic, but one of the most enjoyable books I ever read was Michener’s “Poland”. That’s where I got the idea (I think) that “ski” denotes gentry.
Any person of Polish descent who has not read that book should get it immediately and read it. It taught me a lot of things I did not know, including that (according to Michener at least) “Polishness” has two elements. One of them is “Romanitas”, a sort of combination of adherence to Latin Catholicism and a certain affinity for (of all things) Mediterranean cultural elements. And there’s something to that. If one looks at older Polish architecture, it’s very Mediterranean. Caught between the Germans and the Russians, Poles looked elsewhere for additions to their culture.
The other element of “Polishness” is that of being the 'savior nation", and so they have been. From the Mongols to the Tatars to the Russians, they have been the barrier between the East and the West, but with no natural barriers to aid them in that role. But while there is a pride to it, there are tragedies in it, because Poland has suffered for its role. And so, like Christ, Poland has died at times, but it has also saved others in the course of it.
Truly neat. One can’t read the lyrics of “Boze cos Polske” without appreciation. I like this version because (while it’s rushed) the history of Poland is displayed on the screen. Every frame depicts important events in Polish history. youtube.com/watch?v=9bUAXLKMRa8
I had the wonderful experience once of actually getting a choral group to sing “Lulaj-ze Jezuniu” at Christmas. A local parish has a lot of people of Polish extraction and the parish priest is from Poland. Anyway, I sent it to the choir director and suggested that perhaps the choir might learn it. She despaired of that, because learning Polish words is not so easy for English-speakers. But she and another lady (both of Polish extraction) found a lady who came from Poland as a young girl and could get the pronunciation right for them. They sang it together at Christmas Mass. The priest thanked them profusely afterward, in what I thought was a choked voice. When the women started the hymn, I could hear a voice here and there in the congregation saying “It’s Polish. It’s Polish”.
It happened that the lady who instructed them was one of a family of displaced slave laborers who were trapped in Germany when WWII ended, that my own parents had sponsored to come here.
Wonderful. The lyrics are peasant lyrics and the tune is simple. But I read that Chopin incorporated it into one of his Christmas sonatas. If you have never read them, you should. It will bring tears to your eyes. Here they are.
To those who are of Polish descent who aren’t familiar with those things, I trust you will find them enjoyable.
Another tidbit to consider is that I read somewhere (can’t recall where), that parts of Polish last names can be traced with other ethnic ‘influence’.
For example, last names ending with “inski” have a Lithuanian influence whereas last names ending with “owski” have a Ukrainian influence.
Certainly I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Wish I could find the reference, but I don’t have the time right now.
I knew nothing about Gorals until this moment. But I do realize Poland isn’t exactly homogenous, from a distant ethnic standpoint. Two quick things, then I’ll quit.
First, I remember talking to a Polish priest and I mentioned that his accent was different from that of another Polish priest I knew. “Oh, him”, the priest said in mock derision. “He’s from Silesia, and they’re really Germans. That’s the German influence you’re hearing.”
And he was right, the first priest’s accent sounded almost Russian, while the one from Silesia’s accent had a sort of throatiness to it; almost guttural.
Second tale. I recall reading a study done by a well-respected addiction clinic that there really is a physical, even inherited ethnic basis for alcoholism among certain groups. Without going into detail what the physical trait is, alcoholism is problematic in all Celtic parts of the world. Interestingly the prefix “Gal” is often appended to those geographical regions, as “Gauls” was one of the ancient tribal names for Celts. So, for example, alcoholism is particularly prevalent in Galicia in Poland, Galicia in Spain, Galatea in Turkey (of all places. Yes, the Galatians of St. Paul’s epistle)
And apparently in the region of Poland (and not just Poland) called Galicia, the people really are of ancient Celtic origin notwithstanding their admixture with Slavs and adoption of a Slavic language. I remember Pope John Paul II in one of his trips to Poland going on about excessive drinking there. Maybe he felt it was a problem in all of Poland, but I wondered whether he was speaking specifically of the region called Galicia.
Interesting. That’s probably not at all peculiar to Poland, though. My own last name is “Norman Irish” (Scandinavian in distant origin). My forbears of that name came from Ireland. There are lots of Scandinavian-based names in Ireland; all the “Fitz” names, for example.
I apologize, by the way, for going so far off topic.
Getting back on so as not to get sanctioned, I say we give the Poles as many main battle tanks as they can find drivers for them.
One of the problems with determining Polish nobility and genealogy, however, is that the majority of Poles didn’t use surnames until the mid-19th Century, (or so I have read) at which point most of them picked a name. Hence, there are a whole lot of Sobieskis.