Thursday, July 11, 2013

Random News Generator- Poland

The news at the top of the Polish news feed concerns the unveiling of a memorial commemorating the Volyn massacre in World War 2 (Volyn is an oblast in Ukraine, their name for an administrative subdivision). The unveiling marks the 70th anniversary. The Volyn massacre, for anyone that needs a summary, took place in a period spanning 1943-1945, peaking when Ukrainian colonel Dmytro Klyachkivsky ordered the death of every male Pole between the ages of 16 and 60. The resulting massacre ignored the 'adult male' provision completely and just went after any Pole it could find, as well as any Ukrainian who tried to hide Poles or simply wasn't fast enough getting away from them. July 11, 1943- the anniversary marked- is thought to be the single worst day of the massacre, with some 10,000 Poles being killed on that day alone. Not only that, but the Ukranian forces also took measures to remove all traces of Polish presence from the land taken, burning villages and even orchards and abandoned settlements to the ground. The Poles eventually resisted after the massacre spread to the neighboring oblast of Galicia, where they had a stronger, more armed presence, with casualties increased because the Germans were arming both sides and setting them against each other as much as possible. The fighting slowed down and eventually petered out after Russian forces arrived and took the land for the Soviet Union; Klyachivsky was killed in action fighting them in 1945.

That's the 99-cent version, anyway. Accounts vary widely on how many people ultimately died, although the BBC's quoted number of 100,000 is a fairly representative figure on the Polish side. The Ukrainian dead are thought to number somewhere between 10-20,000.

Ever since Poland and Ukraine reconciled their differences, the main matter of discussion has been largely whether to call it ethnic cleansing or genocide. Pretty academic difference.

Meanwhile, in more modern concerns, oil companies have been eyeing Poland as a location where they can open up fracking operations. They have been, anyway. There have been two issues, though: the oil companies are complaining of red tape and regulations keeping them from operating the way they'd been hoping to, and the fracking wells they have been drilling have repeatedly come up dry to the point where they're about ready to give up and leave if they don't hit paydirt fast. Some, such as Exxon, Marathon and Talisman, already have.

Which would be just fine with a lot of Polish residents, who like most everyone else living near potential fracking sites aren't keen on the idea of oil companies drilling right under their house and making their tap water catch on fire. The consequences here are that they continue to get a lot of their oil from Russia, but that's a price they're willing to pay.

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