The rally, organized by a group called the Free Speech Association and a network of regional groups linked to the conservative Gazeta Polska weekly, was held as Poles prepare to mark 81 years since the Soviet Union invaded their country in the opening phase of World War II.
Demonstrators sang patriotic songs, waved red-and-white national flags and carried banners seeking to alert the world to the risks of doing business with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Photo: Dariusz Adamski/Polish Radio
The co-organizer of the rally, Adam Borowski, head of the Warsaw chapter of the Gazeta Polska Clubs network, said the annual event aimed to ensure that the historical truth is remembered.
“We have told ourselves that as long as we are alive, we will be coming here and reminding those in power at the Kremlin that they are responsible for the outbreak of World War II,” he said.
He added: “For several years now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to rewrite history.”
Adam Borowski, a former anti-communist opposition activist, speaks during the Warsaw demonstration. Photo: Dariusz Adamski/Polish Radio.
Gazeta Polska editor-in-chief Tomasz Sakiewicz said the protest had a dual purpose because, on the one hand, it sought to mark the upcoming anniversary of the USSR's attack on Poland 81 years ago, and on the other, it aimed to condemn “the current actions of Russia.”
“Anyone who is aiding Moscow today in fact serves the genocidal regime and must be aware of that,” Sakiewicz said.
On September 17, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland following a secret agreement with the German Third Reich.
Poland was then caught between German Nazi forces advancing from the west and Soviet forces from the east.
Some 6 million Polish citizens lost their lives before World War II ended in 1945, according to historians.
The country emerged from the war destroyed and looted, and its economy lay in ruins.