Was Poland Ever Allies With Russia?

Alexander Rekeda

Alexander Rekeda

If you are interested in history, you may be curious whether Poland and Russia were allies. It is true that during the XVIIIth century, there were trade relations between the two countries, but there was also a disproportion between Warsaw and Moscow. In the end, these two countries never indeed became allies.

During World War Two

Poland was a vital ally of the Soviet Union during World War Two. A communist faction formed the Polish Committee of National Liberation. In January 1945, this group was installed in Warsaw as the provisional government. It later became the legal authority in liberated territory.

The Soviet Union began a sixteen-month campaign of repression against Poles in the USSR. Approximately 111,000 Poles were killed. This campaign constituted one of modern European history’s deadliest periods of repression.

In 1941, the Soviet Union moved 1.5 million Poles into labour camps. They were to be replaced by settlers from Germany.

Stalin needed these Poles for propaganda purposes and military defence. He also wanted them to resist the Nazis. Eventually, the Soviets absorbed the eastern regions of Poland.

On September 17, 1941, the Soviets invaded Poland. The Germans had about a million soldiers at this time, while the Soviets had about two million. While the Wehrmacht held the northern front, the Soviets occupied the southern front.

Trade relations in the XVIIIth century

During the eighteenth century, the Russian Empire acquired the Baltic shore, a region long regarded as an unruly backwater. The resulting commercial opportunities became a boon to the state. Ports in the Baltic provinces were the source of much of the state’s income. However, the Russian Empire’s ability to control its borders wasn’t flawless. Several attempts were made to control encroachment on its inland territories.

For instance, private leasing of customs was attempted in Riga before the Russians got around to doing it themselves. There was also the apparent problem of smuggling, but the Russians seemed to have overlooked that particular problem.

Nevertheless, one might be surprised to discover that trade relations between Poland and Russia in the XVIIIth century were not bad. They were quite a bit better than some of their European rivals.

One of the most important factors was the degree of cooperation between the two nations. Russia was able to wrangle a naval victory against Sweden, which allowed it to assert its dominance over the Baltic. It could also use its naval power to reclaim old East Baltic ports.

The disproportion between Warsaw and Moscow

Historically strained relations between Warsaw and Moscow hit a new low when Russia invaded Ukraine. In the ensuing conflict, Poland stepped up the demolition of monuments to Soviet soldiers.

The war between Poland and Ukraine, also known as the Polish-Ukrainian War, lasted several months. As part of this conflict, Russian bombs struck Ukrainian cities near the Polish border. Many Ukrainians fled to Poland.

The Red Army occupied Warsaw. Despite this, the city did not fall. Instead, the Soviet army counter-attacked. It pushed Polish forces westward to Warsaw.

A political goal was needed for the uprising to be successful. Poland wanted to regain control of Lwow, Ukraine’s political and cultural capital. This political goal was contingent upon the independence of the Ukrainian people.

In response to the uprising, the  were not opposed to it in principle. But they recognized the logistical difficulties. Several US aircraft could not make the trip to Warsaw because of bad weather.