Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
One of the reasons the West is so opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lawless invasion of Ukraine is that it tramples on international order and rules of conduct and sets the stage for numerous other wars where a powerful (or so we thought) neighbor decides it wants to run the affairs of a weaker neighbor. For years, Putin has styled himself as the defender of Russian minorities abroad, and if he succeeds in Ukraine, he will inevitably turn his eyes on the Baltic States. However, once the norms of international behavior are changed to accommodate Putin’s tantrums and demands, it opens the door to others.
On Friday, former commander of the Land Forces of the Polish Army General Waldemar Skrzypczak appeared on the television channel belonging to the tabloid Super Express to make an interesting proposal.
Retired general Skrzypczak of armed forces explains why #Warsaw should demand from #Russia 🇷🇺 the return of #Kaliningard that historically was never #Russian and is occupied since #WW2. Proper name of the city is #Królewiec or #Konigsberg. pic.twitter.com/lOO3Xwb8wt
— Grumpy Skipper (@_SkipperGrumpy) March 26, 2022
(Translation from Polish is by Google Translate)
Former commander of Poland’s ground forces, Waldemar Skrzypczak, said the Kaliningrad region was “under Russian occupation since 1945”.
According to him, this territory was never Russian but historically belonged to Prussia and Poland.
“Now it is worth remembering it. It is worth remembering the Kaliningrad region, which I think is part of Polish territory … We have the right to claim this territory, which is occupied by Russia,” Skrzypczak said on the Polish TV show “Super Express”.
f you aren’t familiar with it, the city of Kaliningrad (more accurately Koenigsberg as Kaliningrad is a made-up name created by the USSR) is Russian-occupied territory carved out of Germany at the Potsdam conference.
Kaliningrad is now mostly ethnic Russian only because, in best Communist fashion, the USSR deported the Germans who’d lived there for a millennia or so and replaced the population with Russians. The Soviets did the same thing in the Baltic States. When Soviet troops marched in as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, over 10% of the population was forcibly deported to Siberia or the Gulag system.
The only association I can find of Koenigsberg with Russia is the four years it was occupied by Russian troops during the Seven Years’ War… It was a major city in East Prussia. Poland’s claim, as far as I can tell, is pretty flimsy, but no less so than Putin claiming the authority to direct Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policy.
Now that we’ve moved past the silliness of fixed borders, there is no reason that Poland should not demand that Kaliningrad be handed over because it is territory that has no connection to Russia, and it was obtained by theft. Poland should demand that the subject of Kaliningrad be open to negotiation and international arbitration. I’m sure there are Russians in Kaliningrad who are sick and tired of Putin and living in a Third World sh**hole that is barely recognizable as a seaport; Poland should find them, fund them and fete them. There is no reason that Poland would even have to go to war over it. Just whip up a mass movement and march several hundred thousand Poles to the border as a rejuvenated Polish Army (thanks, Vlad, for creating the fear that caused Poland to double the size of her army) looks on. King Hassan II of Morrocco took possession of the Spanish Sahara by the same method in 1975.
For that matter, Ukraine should consider playing the same card in Transnistria, where Russians comprise a bare 30% of the population and Ukrainians and Belarussians are a huge majority. The model exists. All you have to do is create a fake ethnic insurgency, arm it, and encourage it. When the legitimate government starts to crack down, send in your troops, form a militia, and declare independence while howling “genocide.” If Ukraine really wants to go big, it should make a claim for the Kuban region of Russia which is majority Ukrainian. Maybe it could create some “separatist republics” there.
What can’t be allowed to happen is for Russia to walk away from Ukraine thinking that it has established a right for Russia to invade whoever the hell it wants to and be immune from geopolitical repercussions.
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