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Hegemony of the Soviet Union


'With the Soviet Union at the fore'
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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I have to say that the whole of society had a sense of full and complete dependence on the Soviet Union. Only a part of it, that part associated with the party, namely people who held similar views accepted this, others did not. Apart from anything else, we were simply being robbed. And this became clear when Gomułka came to power and one of the first points he had to put forward was that Poland should be paid for all the coal it hadn't been paid for. But this dependence was obvious everywhere. The structure of every administrative body, every social organisation was made to resemble those in the Soviet Union. Everyone already knew that we had no foreign policy of our own. But at the same time, propaganda seemed to overrun the press and even the slogans on every other street, which drove some people to distraction. There was a time when almost every sentence had to have added to it, 'with the Soviet Union at the fore'. Psychologically, this is unbearable. Those who were more resistant raged over this, while those who were less resistant accepted it as a natural part of the language.

O, trzeba powiedzieć, że właściwie całe społeczeństwo miało poczucie pełnej, zupełnej zależności od Związku Radzieckiego. Tylko jego część, ta część partyjna czy ludzie podobnych poglądów to akceptowali, inni tego nie akceptowali. Przede wszystkim nas po prostu okradano. I to się okazało, kiedy Gomułka... kiedy doszedł do władzy, jeden z pierwszych punktów jakie musiał stawiać, to jest to, żeby zapłacono Polsce za węgiel, za który nie płacono. Ale zależność ta była widoczna na każdym kroku. Strukturę wszelkich jednostek administracyjnych, wszelkich organizacji społecznych upodabniano do tego, co jest w Związku Sowieckim. No, że nie mamy własnej polityki zagranicznej, to oczywiście każdy wiedział. Ale jednocześnie propaganda w pewnym momencie ogarnęła całą prasę i nawet transparenty na co trzeciej ulicy, co doprowadzało niektórych po prostu do szału. Mianowicie był okres, kiedy prawie do każdego zdania trzeba było dodać „ze Związkiem Radzieckim na czele”. To jest psychicznie po prostu nie do wytrzymania. Bardziej odporni wpadali w szał wściekłości. Mniej odporni przyjmowali to jako naturalną część języka.

Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).

Listeners: Jacek Petrycki Marcel Łoziński

Cinematographer Jacek Petrycki was born in Poznań, Poland in 1948. He has worked extensively in Poland and throughout the world. His credits include, for Agniezka Holland, Provincial Actors (1979), Europe, Europe (1990), Shot in the Heart (2001) and Julie Walking Home (2002), for Krysztof Kieslowski numerous short films including Camera Buff (1980) and No End (1985). Other credits include Journey to the Sun (1998), directed by Jesim Ustaoglu, which won the Golden Camera 300 award at the International Film Camera Festival, Shooters (2000) and The Valley (1999), both directed by Dan Reed, Unforgiving (1993) and Betrayed (1995) by Clive Gordon both of which won the BAFTA for best factual photography. Jacek Petrycki is also a teacher and a filmmaker.

Film director Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris in 1940. He graduated from the Film Directing Department of the National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1971. In 1994, he was nominated for an American Academy Award and a European Film Academy Award for the documentary, 89 mm from Europe. Since 1995, he has been a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science awarding Oscars. He lectured at the FEMIS film school and the School of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. He ran documentary film workshops in Marseilles. Marcel Łoziński currently lectures at Andrzej Wajda’s Master School for Film Directors. He also runs the Dragon Forum, a European documentary film workshop.

Tags: Soviet Union, Władysław Gomułka

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011