When describing the 1980s in Poland, we cannot ignore the role played by the fake opposition in the communist Polish People’s Republic. To define and describe this phenomenon, a new method of historical retrospection and “a new methodology” needs to be applied in place of the superficial assessment of facts.
Golitsyn quotes the operation “Trust” as a model for the Soviet concept of fictional dissident movements. It was a large-scale operation by Bolshevik intelligence, supervised by the Soviet Joint State Political Directorate, which replaced the well-known Cheka (OGPU). The operation involved over five thousand officers and agents. The Monarchist Union of Central Russia was established in 1921 in order to allegedly manage the anti-Bolshevik underground in the Soviet Union. The Union made contact with organizations ran by White Russians in the West, deliberately misinforming them that a revolt against the Red Power was about to break out. The “Trust” agents infiltrated emigrant organizations, managing to lure many of their activists into the Soviet Union on the pretense of fictional missions. This way the Bolsheviks were able to get hold and murder the most famous secret agents of the 1920s such as Boris Savinkov and a Briton, Sidney Reilly.
Another part of the operation “Trust” was to take control of a movement known as “Change of Road Signs,” which was then used by the Soviet intelligence to mislead emigration and European intellectualists. Those who supported the movement, inspired by OGPU, claimed that the Soviet regime was evolving from an ideological model to a traditional, national one and a capitalistic state. They argued that the White Russia emigration should not fight the Soviet regime, but work with it in order to encourage and preserve the evolution trends. The movement affected greatly those Russian emigrants and Western authorities who were in touch with fake dissidents. In effect, the communist regime gained sympathy and favor that helped them achieve their goals, i.e. a diplomatic recognition in the West, as well as an economic support. The movement was responsible for publications such as Change of Road Signs weekly in Paris and Prague, unofficially supported by both governments, as well as The Day before Today in Berlin. In 1922, the Soviet government allowed them to publish two magazines, Russia and New Russia, in Moscow and Leningrad. Their aim was to influence intellectual circles within the country in a similar way as abroad.
Golitsyn wrote: “Western theorists with similar aims and interests accept obliviously and naively the same disinformation, previously circulated by Change of Road Signs supporters: that the communist ideology is on decline, that communist regimes are closer to the Western model of government, and that there are further opportunities for those regimes to change dramatically, which would be desired and advantageous to Western interests and therefore should be supported and promoted.” As it turned out, the model of Soviet disinformation, elaborated by OGPU, remained unchanged over the following decades.
When analyzing Andrei Sakharov who is considered as the unofficial dissident leader, Golitsyn points out that in all his publications that appeared in the West without any problems, Sakharov predicted changes within the Soviet Union as well as in other socialist countries. Those changes were to include a “multi-party system here and there,” and ideological discussions between Stalinists and realists (Leninists). Sakharov predicted that realists (Leninists) would win, which would confirm the “politics of peaceful co-existence, reinforcement of democracy, and expansion of economic reforms.” Sakharov considered any future changes in the Soviet system to be a continuation of then present political events and economic reforms. Significantly, Sakharov indicated that the crucial times for the expansion of political democracy and economic reforms in socialist countries would take place between 1960s and 1980s. Next, between 1972 and 1985 changes in political and military structures of the U.S.A. would take place.
“In other words,” wrote Golitsyn, “the dates projected by Sakharov correspond with the implementation of the far-reaching political strategy of the Soviet Union in years 1958-1960 and its timetable, including the beginning of the final phase around 1980. It is not a coincidence, because Sakharov acted as an undercover spokesman for communist strategists, as well as a secret advocate of their far-reaching polices. That was his way of promoting Soviet trends in order to inject them into the Western mentality and consolidate them, in particular with reference to the idea of correspondence between his projections and the far-reaching political strategy. Sakharov’s projections, interpreted as disinformation and as such decoded, predict the obvious victory of the Soviet Union and its far-reaching political strategy, which will be willingly followed by the West, with only minimal resistance,” claimed Golitsyn.
Undoubtedly, the primary goal for the above strategy of fake dissidents was to promote the idea of merging, i.e. “convergence,” which assumes that two competing systems, with initially radically diverse ideologies and politics, will gradually grow similar as their contacts progress. Such assumption might have even been correct, if not for the fact that “convergence” was not symmetrical. It could not have been since the Soviet Union and the entire socialist camp were dominated by Marxist indoctrination, and the population, with few exceptions, was completely isolated from any non-Marxist ideas. In the meantime, the situation in the West was different. Thanks to legally operating and widely influential communist parties, Marxism easily paved its way into schools and universities, which caused a significant percentage of authoritative circles to be influenced by Marxist ideology. As a result, the “convergence” in the Soviet version led to the West becoming familiarized with communism and Western population being slowly intoxicated with Marxist indoctrination.
According to Golitsyn, the primary reasons for Soviet attacks on the concept of convergence spread by fake dissidents were: first the defense and internal affairs reasons, and second, shaping strategic goals of foreign policy. Thie convergence theory helped to build a trust in the West as a solid and effective weapon to challenge the communism. The communist strategists knew that openly criticizing convergence would have been interpreted by the West as a proof that they were concerned about the effectiveness and influence of the concept on their own governments, in particular on scientists. “Soviets criticizing Sakharov and the idea of convergence might be viewed in the West as Soviet efforts to make Sakharov and other similar individuals credible as honest opponents and martyrs of the present Soviet system, who truly rebel the regime. Therefore, by disguising their own concept of convergence and portraying it as a doctrine of the “opposition,” Soviets may achieve better results in their efforts to promote their concept of convergence, i.e. to achieve convergence on their own, Soviet terms.”
This experience of Soviet strategists has been implemented in the Polish People’s Republic without much alterations. As in the Soviet Union, the security apparatus was involved, and the construction of the national opposition began by engaging individuals who were intelligent and already tried and tested ideologically. Dissident groups were created immediately after the communists got rid of the authentic opposition, such as independent and armed underground, by physically exterminating them.
It is worth noting that the Soviet experience from the operation “Trust” was effectively implemented by communist security services in Poland in 1948 in order to exterminate the underground organization “Freedom and Independence” (WiN). The Fifth Command of WiN, codenamed “Museum,” was set up to recruit some of WiN and Home Army officers, as well as members of WiN who were simply unaware of the deception. The Fifth Command’s leader was an unidentified Home Army officer, codenamed “Kos.” The security services began their “intelligence game” with American and British intelligence services as well. Security services welcomed American and British agents, who travelled by sea or air, accepted from them dollars, a ton of gold, modern communication equipment (including 17 radio transmitters), in exchange for false information, and sent to America and Britain envoys, messengers, and individuals for intelligence and sabotage training.
The analogy to operation “Trust” is obvious and results from the presence of Soviet advisors and from the fact that the “Polish” communist security services represented from the beginning the firm and solid link in the giant system of intelligence services of the communist empire. Thus, following the logic of Moscow strategists, further disinformation operations were expected, including the formation of a “dissident” movement.
Despite interchanging terms “dissident” and “oppositionist,” it is worth noting that the etymology of the Latin word “dissdens,” “dissidentis,” deriving from “dissidēre,” translates as “sit on the opposite side,” or “disagree,” whereas the word “oppositio” (resistance) and “opponens,” or “opponentis,” derives from “opponere,” which means “oppose” or “imperil.” Therefore, a dissident means an “infidel,” “apostate,” or someone who goes against the ruling church dogma, whereas an oppositionist means an “opponent, someone who denies or defies” Such distinction is significant because when it comes to dissident movements inspired by communists, the dissidents always questioned, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the level of radicalization, the dogma of the communist party, while at the same time deriving their worldview from the Marxism ideology. Significantly, none of the dissidents, no matter how much disagreeing with the communist doctrine, had actually rejected this ideology, at least not the parts in line with their views.
An excellent essay by Jacek Bartyzel "When False History Becomes a Champion of False Apologetics," includes a comprehensive description of the phenomenon of the attitude of the Polish opposition towards the ruling party of the Polish People’s Republic. The author wrote:
“In order to understand the nature and meaning of this opposition, the entire history of Marxism, including the “secret” one, and the international communist movement, in particular after it swayed towards Stalinism and Trotskyism at the end of 1920s, needs to be considered. Also disagreements between fractional disagreements of this international movement on the territory of Poland, starting from such political movements as SDKPiL (Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania), The Communist Party of Poland (including Communist Party of Western Ukraine and Communist Party of Western Belarus), Central Bureau of Polish Communists, to Polish Workers’ Party, and Polish United Workers’ Party would have to be closely scrutinized.”
Defining a dissident of the so-called “opposition,” Bartyzel wrote:
“A dissident is an activist, usually expelled from their party for not conforming (it is interesting that even with respect to the sugarcoating biographies of “fathers of free Poland,” from Kuroń to Kołakowski, their expulsion from the Polish United Workers’ Party is viewed as injustice!), someone who is unlikely to act alone, who sees the socialist reality for what it is, and likes it less and less; who refuses to legitimize his previous comrades who are still in power; who eventually begins to doubt and criticize the dogma of “Diamat” and “Histmat,” who begins to wonder who, when and why made a doctrinal error, and, as a consequence, begins to re-interpret the doctrine in his own way. Then, the dissident seeks others with views similar to his own, or those ready to accept his vision. Then, he can start acting. However, no matter how far a dissident would go to revise the doctrine, no matter what he would question, he still has faith in the doctrine itself. Indeed, a dissident might distance himself from the doctrine, but its residue will stay within him, igniting his faith. A dissident might lose his faith in Stalin or Lenin, but will never lose his faith in Marx. He might doubt the “old Marx,” possessed by the evil spirit of Engels, but he will be delighted with the humanism of the “new Marx.” And even if he got bored with the “new Marx,” he would find the Neo-Marxism refreshing. He will stop talking about the class conflict, but his faith in the messianic role of the working class will never leave him completely. He will eventually reach a frightening conclusion that the dream of a collective paradise for free creators can never come true, but at least he will still have his faith in the socialistic project and its moral superiority to the egotistic private ownership and the atrocity of wild capitalism. This never-lost residue mentioned earlier limits a dissident, so that he never goes beyond the sentimental, humanitarian socialism in the Jaurès style. Just like in the once famous poem by Wiktor Woroszylski about the impossible intelligent gentlemen, considered by many dissidents to be a reflection of their state of mind, where “doctor Marx” is one of the angels of the humanity, just like doctor Schweitzer, who treated leprosy victims, with a difference that Marx’s medicine for humanity is his theory of added value.”
Where, then, should we seek within the Polish reality the origin of this phenomenon, and which moment in time should we define as a historical beginning of the fake dissident movements? Was there an environment, where all those elements were present and could be singled out?
“In my view, revolutions in Eastern Europe were planned far in advance by the KGB and a secret unit within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They were designed in accordance with the great strategy from the end of 1950s, devised by a committee of Soviet strategists under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev. The committee consisted of, among others, Nikolai Mironov, the General of KGB and an enthusiast of an ancient art of war by Sun Tzu. The reason for the strategy was a conviction that after Stalin’s death, the system would have to be heavily reformed in order to survive. Carefully prepared changes were to be implemented by the KGB intelligence, and one of the main points was to use a dissident movement acceptable for the West,” wrote Jeff Nyquist, who, just like Golitsyn, determined the 1950s as a period where the origin of the dissident movement lies.
Let’s examine a phenomenon named by the historian Andrzej Friszke “a bright light in the landscape of the Polish People’s Republic.” It was Friszke, who described the origin of a Club of the Crooked Wheel in a 149 issue of the Parisian Historical Journals in 2004 as follows: “It’s incredible that in the entire socialist camp, the legal forum of ideological and political debate was, in 1955, not only controlled, but also inspired by the security apparatus.”
When the Stalinist “thaw” began in Poland in 1955, individuals connected with the communist party apparatus, primarily Ewa and Grzegorz Garztecki and Stefan Król, established the Club of Crooked Wheel in order to exert control over groups of young intellectualists. Their ideas were consulted with authorities, they were given orders and reported back, while Jakub Berman gave blessing to the activity of the Club. Friszke claims that the documentation discovered at the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) support this argument. The Garzteccy were members of the communist party, and Garztecki worked for the Criminal Military Intelligence. Other founders of the Club were individuals connected with the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party. When the Club’s activities were winding down and Prof. Stefan Żółkiewski was invited to attend one of its events, he refused, saying: “I will not unite with the police, even for a righteous cause.” In his memoirs, Alexander Małachowski admitted that many people at the time claimed that “the political funder of the Club was the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party.”
The Club comprised of intellectual elites of the times. Subjects discussed concerned cultural, political, philosophical, artistic, and ideological issues. People attending Club meetings were significant for the so-called “democratic opposition,” and included such people like Jan Józef Lipski, Aleksander Małachowski, Witold Jedlicki, Stanisław Ossowski, Paweł Jasienica, Antoni Słonimski, Władysław Bartoszewski, Jan Olszewski, Leszek Kołakowski, Ludwik Hass, Aniela Steinsbergowa, Karol Modzelewski, Jan Strzelecki, Anna Rudzińska, Jacek Kuroń and Adama Michnik, but also Jerzy Urban, and this is not a complete list.
Why was it called the Club of Crooked Wheel? Not because it was “inspired” by security services and acted under the auspices of the Central Committee. The reason is much deeper. In the next part, I will try to prove my thesis, that the Club was almost a model example of the communist party activity, carried out as a part of the deception and disinformation strategy.
A statement of a less known member of the Club proves the connection between those distant times, the 1980s, and the Polish way to a “historical compromise.” In his article "The Fight for Solidarity Legend," Dr. Ryszard Sielezin, while describing conversations between the Gdańsk Shipyard workers and the government during the 1980 strike, noted: “Still, the party government was clearly pleased with MKS (Solidarity) experts, and already back then believed that appointing this group of advisors “creates prospects for agreement on terms mainly beneficial for the party.” In 1990, a government expert Antoni Rajkiewicz wrote: “The composition of the Strike Committee’s group of advisors tends to suggest that there will be room for compromise (...). People I knew from the Club of Crooked Wheel or the Experience and Future group might be on the other side of the fence.”
Source: bezdekretu.blogspot.com,(originally published in 2009)
Anatolij Golicyn – Nowe kłamstwa w miejsce starych” – pp.329-350
J.Bartyzel - http://www.polskiejutro.com/art.php?p=8689