The greatest 20th century beneficiary of popular mythology has been the cad Churchill
Published 03/09/2009 | 00:00
IT was mildly entertaining to hear a spokesman for the Russian government declare on the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War that the peoples of Russia of Poland had at that time stood together against the evils of the Third Reich. The good burgers of Warsaw must have choked on their vodka when they heard that one.
For what the Poles know of Russia in 1939 was its complicity in the destruction of their country, followed by the murder of over 20,000 of its army officers by NKVD executioners, on general warrants signed by the Soviet foreign minister, the Russian VM Molotov.
To be sure, the Russian people themselves were not consulted on any of this, and cannot be held responsible for what their Soviet masters did, but the official Russian statement, about the essential historical brotherhood of the Russian and Polish peoples, is now probably part of the emerging mythology of Russian nationhood.