The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.
By the way, it was in Kazakhstan where Polish Armed Forces in the East were created. After German invasion on Soviet Union, Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations were re-established and in the end an agreement was reached on 17th August 1941 – some of the c. 1.5 mln Polish citizens (including c. 200,000 POWs) were to be granted „amnesty” so that they could enlist in the Polish Armed Forces in the East and fight alongside the Allies. The Polish Armed Forces in the East are known also as „Anders' Army” because general Władysław Sikorski nominated general Anders - released from prison in Moscow on 4th August 1941 – to become leader of the army. Yes, it's the same guy who was later fighting in Italy in 1943-1945 and who captured Monte Cassino and yes, the same officers who were defending Poland during Soviet invasion in 1939 were enlisted in the Anders' Army.wikipedia said:At least 250,000 Poles from the Polish autonomous regions of the
Ukrainian SSR were deported to the Kazakh in 1930; among those, as many as 100,000 did not survive the first winter in the country
[size=+1]SYBIRACY – POLES IN SIBERIA (PART 1)[/size]
What you can see here is a painting by Witold Pruszkowski called “Na zesłaniu w Sybir” (1893) which in English roughly means “During deportation to Siberia”. You can see the exiles escorted by guards slowly making their way through the desolate gloomy wasteland, a dominion of ice and death. On the right you can see crosses, graves of those not strong enough to reach their destination – a forced labor camp somewhere in taiga. On the left you can see landmark with insignia of Russian Empire, a silent reminder of the punishment for which exiles the were condemned to by the authorities – katorga.
[size=+1]Katorga and exile[/size]
In general, “katorga” (Russian term; from Greek “katergon” - galley) was a system of penal labor established in 17th century which survived until the end of the tsardom and later was transformed into infamous GULag (Glavnoye Upravleniye ispravitelno-trudovyh Lagerey – or in English "Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps”). Some may even argue that this system functions to this day because „corrective labor colony” are still used in Russia today and thousands of inmates are forced to work. But we're not going to talk about Russian Federation nor Soviet Union – instead we shall focus on the very beginning of the katorga system.
Siberia – prison without walls
The motives for introducing “katorga” to the Muscovite/Russian penal system were as follows:
1. Incapacitation – sending people away from their home made it very hard for them to continue undesired behavior, whether it was escaping the villages of their lords in case of peasants or theft, forgery or desertion in case of general population. Later (18th century) the political, social, national and religious motives were more and more important. After all, it's hard to cause trouble after deportation from, say, Warsaw to Irkutsk.
2. Deterrence – hard work in harsh conditions caused many to think twice before breaking the law.
3. Retribution – those sentenced to “katorga” surely suffered, forced to live and live far away from their home, family or country.
Other important factor was also desire to populate the Russian Far East – while “katorga” was a punishment in form of a penal labor, it was always accompanied by exile. These two instrument were separate, so even when period of “katorga” - for example, 20 years in gold mine somewhere in northern Siberia – was finally over, the sentenced was still forbidden from coming back. He was free to move within “gubernia” (Russian administrative division) and although his freedom was still limited (especially in case of political prisoners, who couldn't for instance work as lawyers, doctors or clerks) he was no longer a slave forced to work hard every day and subjected to beating. But since the exile was often a life sentence, the rest of his life was spent on trying to survive in harsh conditions of Russian frontier.
The most cruel thing about the whole system was that – despite handful of cases – there really was no escaping from Siberia. In instances of the most remote mines or lumber mills, the sentenced was hundreds of kilometers of frozen wilderness from civilization. To leave the camp meant death of starvation or exposure. Oh, and vast majority of prisoners were forced to reach their destination on foot, walking 20-40 km every day in chains with 1 day of rest every 2 days. It's not surprising that going on foot and in chains from, for instance, Kiev or Warsaw or even Moscow, to Irkutsk – basically walking through half of Asia – was sufficient to break spirit in most of the prisoners by forcing them to realize how desperately alone and far from home they were.
Zsyłka & katorga before 1649
First case of “katorga” and “zsyłka” (Polish for “exile” but mainly in context of Siberia) I know about comes from the very end of 16th century when the whole population of small town Uglicz (I don't know what's the name of it in English) was sentenced to “katorga” because allegedly few of the city dwellers had something in common with assassination of tsarevich Dmitry, son of tsar Ivan the Terrible. There is also a known case of some members of Romanov family – yes, the Romanov family – sentenced to Siberia in 1602. What's most interesting for us is what happened in 1617, when for the first time prisoners of war were sentenced to “katorga” and exile – and guess what, they happened to be Poles and Lithuanians. In general, during 1593-1645 period c. 1500 people were sent to Siberia, including more or less 600 POWs, mostly citizens of the Commonwealth but also Swedes and members of other nationalities.
Zsyłka & katorga in 1649-1822 period
In year 1649 “katorga” was introduced as a penalty for peasantry for escaping from their village. It was also extended to include those sentenced for crimes like murder, theft, robbery and so on. In general, death penalty was becoming slowly substituted by “katorga”. What's important is that in this period the punishment became an important element of political oppression. Revolting Cossacks from today's Ukraine from lands taken by Russia in 1654, bojars (Russian nobles) who were opposing empress Anna Ioannovna Romanov, members of the Old Believers movement – tens thousands of people were sentenced to Siberia in this period. But it got worse.
Zsyłka & katorga in 1822-1917 period
In 1822 there was a reform of the prison system in Russia which made the conditions slightly better for prisoners but on the other hand allowed to accommodate much more of them. In total, between years 1807-1870 more than 460 thousand people were sentenced to “katorga” or “zsyłka”. It got much worse after the revolution of course but we won't delve into details – after all, EU4 ends in year 1820.
“Sybirak” (plural: “sybiracy”) is a Polish term for resettled to Siberia or – to be more precise – a term used when talking about Poles exiled or imprisoned in Siberia, mostly in 19th and 20th century. To this day vast majority of Poles have very negative connotations with the word “Siberia” alone, not to mention “katorga” - there is even expression “katorżnica praca” (work performed by those sentenced to katorga) which means more or less “exhausting, unpleasant, very hard work”. I mention this because for many people it's not only a history but a very vivid memory – there are still thousands of Poles or their children who live in former Soviet republics who were deported there from Poland after 1939. There is even a state decoration called Siberian Exiles Cross awarded by president of Poland to “recognize and commemorate the suffering of Polish citizens deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan and Northern Russia in 1939-1956 and their devotion to the ideal of freedom and independence”. Hell, where I live (Warsaw) there is even Sybirak Roundabout more or less in the city centre.
Of course Poles were not the only victims of “katorga”. Among those sentenced to Siberia were such famous convicts like Fyodor Dostoyevski or Józef Piłsudski, but also i infamous ones likeFelix Dzerzhinsky or even Joseph Stalin himself. But all were changed by this experience one way or another. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in “The Gulag Archipelago”:
“Prison causes the profound rebirth of a human being... profound pondering over his own ‘I’... Here all the trivia and fuss have decreased. I have experienced a turning point. Here you harken to that voice deep inside you, which amid the surfeit and vanity used to be stifled by the roar from outside... Your soul, which formerly was dry, now ripens from suffering...”
I digressed a lot but I hope you'll forgive me – it's hard to remain completely impartial when we touch the subject like this. I'm the first one to admit that as a Pole I'm obviously biased while describing “katorga”. But don't worry, this was just an introduction – next time we shall take a closer look at what convicts from Commonwealth/Poland actually did in the Russian Far East during exile. Apart from being used as a free labor in mines and lumber mills, that is.
Heh, you're in a good situation.Oh no, those borders... more war is needed. I'm loving the history lessons and becoming more and more disappointed in my American history lessons. I've taken classes that were suppose to focus on world history; the only thing I learned about Poland was that Germany curbstomped the Poles during WWII (not an exaggeration, that is how my teacher worded it).
It's the same everywhere. You don't learn much about different countries everywhere. I only learned about the Bill of Rights and the Magna Charta in my English classes. Learned nothing about our Polish neighbours or anything about non-western realms besides Russia. It's even hard to find books about history not taking plase in Western Europe, Russia, the US or China - just try finding a book about Japanese history in Germany, for example! I found exactly two of them.Heh, you're in a good situation.
Here in Israel all I get to learn about is Jews, Jews, Jews and some more Jews. And of course some lessons about nationalism, which leads to Zionism and more Jews.
With internet and Paradox on my side through, I get to learn some other history.
And for the chapter, it's great! The PLC shall defeat its enemies!
Wow. I have no idea it's that bad. Nothing about Czechy? Defenestration, White Mountain, hussites, 1968? Nothing at all? And we (Europeans) make jokes about how little USA citizens know about the worldThe Swiss never got mentioned, nor did the Netherlands/Belgium, Denmark (beside 1863) or the Czech. And that is a real shame.
Well I never heard of the Commonwealth in History classes. We must see a blob in East Europe on the map to show how France was in 1600, and then nothingWow. I have no idea it's that bad. Nothing about Czechy? Defenestration, White Mountain, hussites, 1968? Nothing at all? And we (Europeans) make jokes about how little USA citizens know about the world
Forgotten Countries.Most of the things I know of Poland-Lithuania come from your AAR and one(!) book I own about Forgotten Countries.
Yeah, this is unforunately very widespread attitude. A great shame, really. In any case, I see that I'll have to spend more time than I thought flashing out history of the PLCBut I guess it's a question of supply and demand. There are two subjects people are proud to know nothing of - History and Math.
Saint Markos would be proud!Btw, thanks to you every time my history teacher insults the Romans for treating the Jews roughly I have to ressist the urge to call her heretic
I think many countries have this.And I can confirm that US history classes are frequently "murica murica". It's why you sometimes see a backlash of assuming America is at fault for everything bad in history, too.