Łukasz Dryblak

List of articles

The national question in the Soviet Union was one of the main topics of discussion between Polish and Russian émigrés in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Polish and Russian émigré circles’ attitudes towards Promethean peoples, described by the Russians as separatist, were key to the political concepts promoted by these circles. Both émigré groups sought to win each other over to their point of view and vied with each other for influence with the political elite in the US. After the Second World War, the Russian side presented a number of collaboration proposals to Polish political circles, seeking to draw the Poles away from both the pursuit of the Intermarium idea and collaboration with subjugated nations. In my article, I argue that the dominant anti-imperialist stance in Polish politics and the growing support for Ukraine’s independence after the war influenced the thinking of Russian democrats. As a result, and also because of international developments, the Russians were forced to modify their political programmes. From 1918, Russian émigré circles moved from questioning the very existence of subjugated nations to recognising their cultural distinctiveness and (in the case of some socialists) acknowledging their right to determine their fate through plebiscites. The Poles’ promotion of the idea of freedom for “Promethean” peoples also undermined the one-dimensionality of the American (and not only American) view of the Russian problem, dominated as it was by the Russian narrative. Drawing on an analysis of the activities of the most influential Polish and Russian political circles, I answer several crucial questions: How did these two émigré groups influence American politics? Was the Polish side’s refusal to cooperate with the Russians relevant to the development of the cause of the subjugated nations? Finally, how did the Poles contribute to the spread among Russian émigrés of the idea of the independence of Promethean nations?