by Polish American Congress Vice President for American Affairs Anthony J. Bajdek
As we engage in legislative action alerts for passage of H. Res. 672 and S. Res. 375, the first of which promotes the national and political independence via energy security and infrastructure of the nations that constitute the Three Seas Initiative from Russian monopoly of energy resources, and the second of which commemorates the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, we are less than 5 months away from the realization of yet another existential threat, albeit symbolic initially, to the entire Three Seas Initiative’s regional members, namely, the Russian Federation’s planned 75th anniversary celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front of World War II, an event to which Vladimir Putin has invited President Trump, and which will involve a “Victory Day” Parade in Red Square.
You may recall that my power-point report that had augmented my written report to the Council of National Directors included reference to the fact of Putin’s invitation to Trump.
Trump’s reaction at the time had purportedly been that: “I was invited. I am thinking about it. It’s right in the middle of our campaign season, but I am thinking — I would certainly think about it. President Putin invited me… it’s a very big deal, celebrating the end of the war… I would love to go if I could.”
Wherein CNN, for one, reported that President George W. Bush attended the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in 2005, the Russian Federation had not then been the much-stronger multi-layered threat to our own American security interests that it would turn out to be fifteen years later in 2020.
What I stated in my closing power-point report on Saturday, November 15 remains true today:
“Vladimir Putin has invited Donald Trump to join him in Moscow’s Red Square in 2020 to view a ‘Victory Parade’ that ostensibly marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II on the eastern front. Germany’s defeat also led to the imposition of the Soviet Union’s ‘Iron Curtain’ that cut off East Germany, Poland and all the other ‘Captive Nations’ of Central and Eastern Europe from the West, and placed them under the often brutal totalitarian rule managed from the Kremlin. It would be disheartening indeed for the nations of the ‘Three Seas’ initiative to view an American President in company with his Russian host seated in the VIP reviewing stand at the foot of the Kremlin walls in Red Square and rising with Putin to salute and wave to the armed forces of the Russian Federation as they pass in review. In short, the Putin-planned ‘Victory Parade’ will not simply be a parade, neither in terms of optics nor in terms of substance. Since it will be designed to promote Moscow’s 21st century ascendancy, the challenge for the West and the United States will be to determine at what and whose cost,” among likely massive banners of Stalin, who signed the approval for the Katyń Massacre directive to be executed, and whose reputation Putin continues to extol today), hanging from Kremlin Walls.
As fate would have it, Katyń in 1940 and Smolensk in 2010 would be connected by the same linchpin, Russia.
Today, our national website includes the compelling letter from Tadeusz Antoniak, the chair of the Smolensk Disaster Commemoration Committee, that was directed to President Putin because of Putin’s “falsification of historical facts and defamation of Poland” relating to the Soviet Union and Germany-based origins of World War II.
What should be the response of our organization to President Trump’s potentially ill-considered participation in this year’s 75th anniversary of Victory Day in Moscow’s Red Square which runs against the grain of what the Polish American Congress has stood for since its founding in 1944? Time and timing of our response are of the essence.