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The Sarmatian Review Index

September 2004

Volume XXIV, No. 3

Museum of Communism in Warsaw

Name of the Warsaw mayor under whose leadership a Museum of Communism is to be assembled and located in a central-Warsaw building erected in Soviet-occupied Poland by Stalin’s orders: Lech Kaczyński.

Name of architect to whom the contract for renovation of the future museum area has been awarded: Czesław Bielecki.

Artifacts the Museum will display: photographs and posters of the Communist era, film footage of Stalin, clothes and tools from the Gulag concentration camps in which Poles were worked to death, chair used by the secret police in Soviet-occupied Poland to interrogate suspects, and other materials documenting Communist crimes.

Source: UPI (Warsaw), 1 March 2004.

Readership of newspapers in Poland in January 2004

German-owned broadsheet Fakt, 545,400 copies daily, an increase of 1.7 percent since December 2003; Gazeta Wyborcza, 398,600 copies, or 8.7 percent less than in January 2003; Super Express, 256,400 daily, or 8.6 percent less than in 2003; Rzeczpospolita, 181,200, or 1 percent less than in 2003; Trybuna (formerly the Communist Trybuna Ludu), 25,800 copies, or 13.7 percent less than in January 2003.

Source: Michał Jankowski in Donosy, no. 3689 (9 March 2003).

Russians vote on best leaders since the time of the tsars

Ranking by Muscovites of Russian leaders since 1917, as recorded by the ROMIR Monitoring Survey: Vladimir Putin, 37 percent of the vote; Josef Stalin, 19 percent; Leonid Brezhnev, 11 percent.

Source: UPI (Moscow), 8 March 2004.

New wave of nationalism in Russia

Percentage of Russians age 16-19 who described themselves as “nationalist” in a survey conducted by the Petesburg University’s social studies institute: 33 percent.

Percentage of Russians age 16-19 who said in the same survey that they would participate in “nationalistic pogroms” if paid to do so: 10 percent.

Source: Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1136 (2 April 2004).

Percentage of Russians who said in an Expertisa Institute poll that they do not like people from the Caucasus, China, and Vietnam: 60, 51, and 47 percent, respectively.

Percentage of Russians who said in another Expertisa Institute poll that Jews should be kept out of civil service: 42 percent.

The most famous racially motivated killing in St. Petersburg, February 2004: the stabbing to death of a ten year old Tajik girl and the beating of her father and cousin with chains by ten skinheads (the Tajik threesome were strolling in the street).

Source: UPI, 13 May 2004.

Social pathologies in Russia

Percentage of youngsters between 10-12 who are addicted to drugs and use them every day: 7.9 percent.

Percentage of college students addicted to drugs: 4.8 percent.

Source: Aleksandr Mikhailov, deputy director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service on 13 April 2004, as reported by UPI (Moscow) on the same day.

Number of social orphans in Russia as of 1 January 2003: 867,000, as compared to 496,300 in 1994.

Yearly number of children in Russia who run away from home and become drug addicts and/or participants in crime: 120,000.

Source: UPI, 13 May 2004.

New figures on AIDS in Russia

Estimated number of HIV/AIDS carriers in Russia in 2004: one in 100 adults.

Number of AIDS cases in Russia in 1994: 163.

Percentage of HIV/AIDS infections that is drug-related: 80 percent.

Source of drugs: cheap heroin from Afghanistan owing to contacts established during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Source: USA Today, 20 April 2004; UPI (Mytishchi, Russia), 20 April 2004; UN Report, February 2004.

Russian GDP growth/decline

Russian GDP in 2003: 79.4 percent of its 1990 level, or the highest point since 1993.

The lowest point of Russian GDP in postcommunism: 1998, when Russian GDP was only 57.5 percent against 1990 level.

Source: Government report “The Macroeconomic Situation in Russia for the 1999-2003 period “ as reported by UPI, 13 April 2004.

Population of Kraków and other European cities over the centuries

Number of people living in the center of Kraków in 1500 and 1960, respectively: 18,000 and 16,621.

Number of people living in the city of Kraków in 1500 and in 1960, respectively: 18,000 and 550,000.

Nineteenth-century population losses in city centers in London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Dresden: 108,000, 160,000, 160,000, 43,000, 26,000, and 20,600 inhabitants, respectively.

Name of this demographic phenomenon: depopulation of city centers in the industrial age.

The socioprofessional structure of Kraków’s population in the 1880s: 23 percent gentry, intellectuals, and upper middle class; 23 percent craftsmen, petty officials, elementary school teachers; 31 percent servants and shop assistants; 16 percent seasonal workers; 4 percent farmers.

Source: Kazimierz Sowa, “The Uniqueness of Kraków from the Social and Historical Perspective,” The Dekaban Lecture Series in Polish and Polish-American Studies, No. 2 (Detroit, MI: The Piast Foundation, 2003).

Wages of Communism in Bulgaria

Average annual income per person in Bulgaria in 2003: 2,700 dollars.

Source: Governor of Bulgaria’s central bank Ivan Iskrov, as reported by UPI (Sofia), 18 May 2004.

June 2004 elections to the European Parliament in Poland

Voter turnout: 20.87 percent; winner: Citizens’ Platform, a centrist party that received 24.1 percent of the vote.

Source: Donosy, no. 3756 (15 June 2004).

The Price of Unfreedom

Soviet forces in Poland, 1944-1993

Having occupied the country in 1944 during its march toward Berlin, the Soviet army did not withdraw from Poland even though Poland was on the Allied side during the Second World War. The Soviets set up 59 military garrisons located in 21 mostly northern and western voivodships. They appropriated 15 airfields, 1 naval base, 4,340 meters of sea coast, 11 ports, 24 railway centers, 6 poligons and about 3,800 buildings that nominally belonged to the Polish state, for a total of 70,000 hectars (140,000 acres) of land. The largest Russian Soviet bases were in Strachów, Górne Sulinowo, and Świętoszów. The largest Soviet energy storage center was in Świnoujście on the Polish-German border.

In 1993, 56,000 Russian-speaking soldiers left Poland with 599 tanks, 390 artillery pieces, 202 planes, and 20 rocket launchers. Five thousand two hundred and three loaded trains left Poland. The number of train carriages was 22,934 and the number of trucks 131. The contents of these carriages were not inspected by the Polish authorities.

In their wake, the Russian-speaking army left devastated buildings, destroyed utilities, and a polluted environment. Russian soldiers demolished or took away bathroom plumbing and equipment, central heating elements, floors, and electrical wires. Illegal trade developed around the former Soviet bases. The Russians sold various raw materials, gasoline, rifles, ammunition, airplane hangars, apartments, furniture, clocks, paintings. The damage to the environment was indescribable. The soil and underground water were polluted by lead, mercury, nickel, and chromium. In many places oil and gas were kept in shallow ditches without any concern for the Polish land and its inhabitants.

The Polish government’s estimate of the economic cost of this hostile occupation was 6.3 billion Polish zloties (1993 value), or approximately 2.9 billion dollars (1993 value). Unaccounted for is the value of the millions of wasted lives of Poles deprived of the freedom of movement, freedom of education, and freedom of economic advancement.

Compiled by the Sarmatian Review staff on the basis of data published by Rzeczpospolita, 28 April 2004.

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