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Soviet Soft Power in PolandCulture and the Making of Stalin's New Empire, 1943-1957$
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Patryk Babiracki

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620893

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620893.001.0001

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From Sel’tsy to Siedlce

From Sel’tsy to Siedlce

(p.15) 1 From Sel’tsy to Siedlce
Soviet Soft Power in Poland

Patryk Babiracki

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the Polish communists' learning experiences on the Eastern front in 1943–45. With Stalin's support, they sought to create a center of power that would rival the political and military forces loyal to the Polish government in London. Stalin saw that a Soviet-sponsored Polish organization with its own military units as a potential asset in at least three ways. First, it would allow Stalin to speak on behalf of a visible, institutionalized Polish community in the Soviet Union during the inevitable negotiations with the other leaders of the great powers over the postwar order—and thus, it would help legitimize Soviet geopolitical interest as a Polish claim. Second, there was a functional advantage to having such an organized political community ready for a potential power contestation in Poland, whatever its exact nature might be. Third, the symbolic weight of associating the Polish left with the agents of victory on the Eastern Front and the liberating Red Army furnished the communists with a weapon against Polish skeptics.

Keywords:   Polish communists, Soviets, Stalin, Polish organization, Soviet Union

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