The War with Poland

Kiev is in the Hands
of the Polish Gentry!

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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Under the cover of negotiations about peace, the government of the Polish gentry concentrated substantial forces on its front and, beginning on April 23, launched a broad offensive towards Kiev. Simultaneously, the commanders of two Galician brigades which, a few months ago, came over voluntarily to our side, raised, at a signal from the Polish command, the flag of counter-revolutionary mutiny. Thus, the Polish army’s first successes were prepared for by perfidy and treachery.

The Poles’ offensive developed on a broad front, from Ovruch [Ovruch is about 100km. south-south-west of Mozyr and 160km. north west of Kiev.] to the Dniester, and in two weeks the advance by numerically substantial Polish forces culminated in our abandonment of Kiev. Today the Polish gentry have put both feet on that table at which, a few days ago, the workers’ and Red Army men’s deputies were sitting.

The boastful and garrulous Polish gentry are now telling the whole world about the great valour of the Polish White-Guard force and their unprecedented victories. We, of course, know what this boasting is really worth. On the Kiev front the Poles were twice, if not three times, as strong numerically as we were. To this fact must be added the treason of the bribed Galician officers and the continual revolts by the bandit swine of whom there are so many in Right-Bank Ukraine. The forces of the Polish gentry had great success because they were faced only by scanty Red regiments. Our forces were absorbed for too long a time by the Eastern, Southern and Northern fronts. The Western defence-line long remained secondary for us. It is not surprising that the bandit ‘Excellencies’ enjoyed success at first. Kolchak, too, knew success: he almost reached the Volga.

Denikin, too, knew success: he even took Orel. But every such success by the counter-revolution multiplied our energy tenfold, brought tens and hundreds of workers and peasants to their feet, and led not merely to a rebuff for the enemy but to his merciless destruction. The Polish invasion will suffer a like fate.

Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, is today in the hands of the Polish landlords. Our workers’ and peasants’ country has suffered a hard blow. But this blow will not cause us to give up and lose heart. On the contrary, it will arouse a feeling of anger and a thirst for stern vengeance in the hearts of millions of Russian and Ukrainian workers and peasants.

Today, already, a wave of volunteering is sweeping over the country. Tomorrow it will rise twice and three times higher.

Soviet Kiev is again in the hands of the gentry, in the hands of foreigners! This news is arousing all the honourable working people of the united Soviet lands. Province will compete with province, uyezd with uyezd in bringing help to the Western front.

Kiev will be torn from the hands of the enslavers. The dishonourable Polish gentry, who oppress our brothers, the Polish workers and peasants, will be dealt a mortal blow. The working masses of Kiev and Moscow reach out a brotherly hand to the workers of Warsaw.

May 8, 1920, Moscow-Smolensk
En Route, No.110

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006