Why wasn't there a population exchange between Poland and the USSR after 1921?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,716
SoCal
#1
After the end of the 1921 Polish-Soviet War, there remained a lot of Ukrainians and Belarusians on the Polish side of the border and some Poles on the Soviet side of the border:





Thus, what I am wondering is this--why wasn't a population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union considered during this time?

I mean, Poland had the choice to get a bit more territory from the Soviet Union but chose not to in order to avoid jeopardizing its Polish majority. However, why not encourage ethnic Poles from the Soviet Union to move to Poland while encouraging ethnic Ukrainians and Belarusians to move out of Poland?

I mean, a population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union could have increased the number of Poles in Poland while also getting some Ukrainian nationalists off of Poland's back.

(For the record, I am not endorsing such a population exchange. Rather, I am simply asking why it wasn't done.)

Anyway, does anyone here have any thoughts as to why such a population exchange was not done during this time?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,930
Dispargum
#2
How many population exchanges were done elsewhere? It would seem to be an expensive proposition - buying out anyone and everyone who wanted to leave. Not the sort of thing governments would want to do - especially governments that were broke after many years of war.

I know the Inquiry proposed several population exchanges but I don't know that any actually occurred.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,716
SoCal
#3
How many population exchanges were done elsewhere? It would seem to be an expensive proposition - buying out anyone and everyone who wanted to leave. Not the sort of thing governments would want to do - especially governments that were broke after many years of war.

I know the Inquiry proposed several population exchanges but I don't know that any actually occurred.
The Greco-Turkish population exchanges actually occurred--as did the emigration of ethnic Germans from the Baltic states starting from 1939.

Indeed, one would think that living under Communist rule would be no more attractive to ethnic Poles than it was to Baltic Germans.
 
Nov 2015
1,752
Kyiv
#4
The Russian Red Army suffered a terrible defeat from the Poles in 1920 - see Miracle on the Vistula. According to the Treaty of Riga (1921) Russia lost a third of Ukrainian lands and half of Belarus it captured in 1918-1919.

A large number of Russian soldiers and commanders were captured by Polies. Stalin at this time was in the leadership of the army advancing on Lviv . And this defeat made him a real hater of the Poles.

After 1920 Russia made great efforts to destabilize Poland. And the relationship between Poland and the Land of Soviets in 1920-1930 was bad or very bad. And I do not know any correct communication between these countries at the international level after the Treaty of Riga was signed.

By the way, the husband of one of my relatives, an ethnic Pole, in 1920-1930 years often went across the border to the Polish territory of Ukraine with some secret tasks. His name was Józef.

Another reason why there was no exchange of people in those years - I think, is that Ukrainians and Belarusians on the Polish side could be viewed by the Moscow authorities as spoiled by Polish propaganda and so on. And they could arrive on the territory where the local Ukrainian and Belarusian population was not loyal enough to Russian Bolshevism even without influence of such migrants. So such exchange was undesirable for the Moscow authorities then.

As for the population itself, even the ethnic Russians who lived in the Baltic countries at that time were not at all eager to move to the Soviet Union. About this I read a couple of times in memoirs on iremember.ru. A very good site of war and pre-war memoirs of Soviet citizens.

"The exchange of population" in those territories Moscow took up later - when they were captured in 1939. Tens of thousands of local Poles were deported to Siberia or arrested by the NKVD.

And the real exchange began in 1945. The Poles carried out Operation Vistula. Mass deportation of ethnic Ukrainians from the territory of Poland. Sometimes - very tough. This operation was carried out by Poland after a detailed agreement with Moscow. A large number of Poles from Galicia and Volhynia were deported to Poland then.
 
Last edited:
Aug 2016
947
moscow, russia.
#5
one would think that living under Communist rule would be no more attractive to ethnic Poles than it was to Baltic Germans.
because 'Communist rule' was considered progressive at the moment, and Baltic Germans left due to a completely different reason, that is a risk of possible ethnic cleansing or persecution. Communism had remained attractive enough until the destruction of CCCP, when its begun to get backlash & demonisation.
 
Nov 2015
1,752
Kyiv
#6
because 'Communist rule' was considered progressive at the moment, and Baltic Germans left due to a completely different reason, that is a risk of possible ethnic cleansing or persecution. Communism had remained attractive enough until the destruction of CCCP, when its begun to get backlash & demonisation.
Do you think that communism in its Russian format (it can be called Russian Bolshevism) needs additional demonization? It seems to me that its government has committed so many serious crimes against the civilian population that in order to demonize it, there is simply nothing to add beyond what it did on its own.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,930
Dispargum
#7
because 'Communist rule' was considered progressive at the moment, and Baltic Germans left due to a completely different reason, that is a risk of possible ethnic cleansing or persecution. Communism had remained attractive enough until the destruction of CCCP, when its begun to get backlash & demonisation.
Yes, in 1921 communism was promising a worker's paradise utopia. People had no way of knowing yet just how badly communism would fail to deliver.
 
Nov 2015
1,752
Kyiv
#10
obviously it does since western propaganda has put so much effort in this.
- western propaganda?

You can consider western propaganda the fact that both my grandfathers, peaceful apolitical persons, were arrested by the NKVD and got into Soviet camps for prisoners. One of them stayed there for 8 years and after that he was recruited into the Red army in 1941 and sent to fight for the same filthy power that he was convicted for nothing. And another grandfather year after his stay in the Gulag in a camp in Kazakhstan died of hunger and outrageous conditions.

One of them was an engineer on the railway, the other was the chairman of the kolkhoz in the south of Ukraine. This grandfather received 10 years of camps for refusing to take the last bread from the peasants of his village (Veliki Kopani) during the Holodomor action in Autumn 1932.

Near Kiev where I live in the late 1980s mass burials of victims of the terror of the Moscow occupation authorities were unearthed . There were shot or died during the torture in the NKVD citizens of Ukraine in 1937-1941, as well as Polish prisoners of war of 1939 shot by these authorities. At least 30,000 corpses.

The names of 14,191 of them were identified by the SBU according to archival documents.
 

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