Poland recognizes the deportation of Ukrainians as justified; this is not a legal decision

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The prosecutor of the Institute of National Remembrance of Poland closed the investigation of the communist crime against humanity: the forced and unexpected deportation in spring 1947 of 150,000 Ukrainians, known as the Vistula operation.

This is not a legal decision, explains the Ukrainian Center for Research on the Liberation Movement and publishes a document with a historical and legal position

Its key points:

  • The Vistula action was of a coercive nature and concerned the displacement of population groups on a national basis from the areas in which they were lawfully living at that time. That is, it was deportation or forced displacement of the population.
  • The prosecutor de facto recognized the existence of an internal armed conflict on the territory of Poland between the government and the organized formations of the Ukrainian underground. Consequently, the adoption of decisions on the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to such a conflict, in accordance with the norms of international law, had signs of a war crime.
  • The prosecutor’s conclusions have little to do with conducting a comprehensive, objective, and independent investigation, but rather are caused by reasons of a political nature.
  • The attempt of the Institute’s prosecutor to “justify” the actions of the authorities of communist Poland against its citizens is not much different from the attempts of Russian propagandists to “justify” the repression of the Soviet totalitarian regime.

The results of the investigation contradict not only the documents published by both the Polish and Ukrainian sides in previous years, but also the conclusions of studies by Ukrainian and Polish historians, and political and legal assessments of Kyiv and Warsaw.

  • in 1990, the Senate of the Republic of Poland condemned the Vistula action and the application by the communist totalitarian regime of the principle of collective responsibility in a special resolution;
  • in 1997, the presidents of Ukraine and Poland called the action in their joint statement “a tragic page in history,” “striking the entire Ukrainian community of Poland”;
  • in the statement of the presidents of the two states from 2007, the actions of the communist regime were recognized as deportation, and it was stated that the operation Vistula “contradicts the basic human rights.”

More than a hundred Polish historians, intellectuals, and public and cultural figures published an open letter to the leadership of the Sejm and the Senate of Poland. The signatories called the decision scandalous and demanded a reaction from the highest authorities and an unambiguous assessment of the Vistula action as criminal.

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