Culture Club

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November 13, 2017 by AK

The background in this photograph from last weekend’s nationalist march in Warsaw would not look out of place in Moscow. The “palace of culture and science” in Warsaw, a product of late Stalin-era Soviet architecture, resembles the seven Stalin towers in Moscow, especially the University building, and the unbuilt eighth tower in Zariadye. The skyscraper to the left vaguely resembles one of the high-rises in the so-called Moscow City district.

However, Russian nationalists have only been assigned uptown venues for their marches in the past eight years, and have never able to rally more than 25,000 people in Moscow – a modest number compared with the 60,000-strong gathering in Warsaw. Interestingly, CNN’s headline claims “Nationalist protesters disrupt Poland independence day events,” although there’s no indication of the official festivities getting interfered with in any way, unless being outnumbered by an unofficial event counts as a disruption. According to The Washington Post:

The official celebration of Poland’s 99th independence day proceeded innocuously, with ceremonies in the capital…

But for blocks and blocks and blocks beyond the central towers of Warsaw, a much larger crowd swelled beneath a cloud of red smoke…

…about 60,000 people chanted and marched through Warsaw in an annual gathering of Europe’s far-right movements, which have by now grown to dwarf the official version of Poland’s independence day…

By all accounts, the Nov. 11 rallies since then [the electoral victory of Law ] have been very large and fairly peaceful.

On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal also ran a dubious headline, “Polish Leaders Condemn Nationalist March.” As the piece under this title shows, only two radical groups were condemned. The PiS-controlled TV channel praised the marchers and the interior minister called the event a beautiful sight. The culture minister, Piotr Gliński, emphasized that the Polish nation should be defined by is culture, not in terms of “ethnicity,” and condemned the racist signs at the “beautiful national march.”


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