THE EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN MOSCOW IN 1936-1939. WORK CONDITIONS IN STALINIST REALITY
The authoress gives a brief presentation of the living conditions and tasks fulfilled by Polish diplomats accredited to the USSR in 1936-1939, when the Polish Embassy in Moscow was headed by Wacław Grzybowski, responsible also for the activity of Polish consulates. His work attached special importance to sources of reliable information about the domestic situation and foreign policy of the Soviet Union in the highly 'specific' conditions of Stalinist reality, in which Soviet authorities conducted a policy aimed at isolating all members of the diplomatic corps in Moscow. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw found it more than surprising that in 1937 the Soviet authorities demanded the closure of two Polish consulates (in Tbilisi and Kharkov). This request was a fragment of a wide campaign consisting of a drastic reduction of the number of foreign consulate posts across the whole USSR. In the opinion of Grzybowski, the year 1937 marked the beginning of a road towards a total isolation of the USSR from the capitalist world of Western Europe. Literature on the subject usually omits the wide game of harassment applied by the Soviet authorities towards workers of the Polish Embassy and consulates. These steps affected not only the diplomatic staff and the consuls, but also the auxiliary staff, and their intensity usually totally paralysed the work performed by these outposts. The campaign conducted by the Soviet authorities was so irksome that in the summer of 1938 the Polish side was forced to to apply retortion in relation to Soviet diplomats accredited in Warsaw, by resorting to methods analogous to those used in the USSR towards Polish diplomats. The whole campaign ended on 22 August 1938 , after the talks held in Moscow by Grzybowski and V. Potiomkin, deputy people's commissar for foreign affairs. It did not, however, produce the anticipated results . The work conditions for Polish diplomats in the Soviet Union differed considerably from the situation prevalent in Polish diplomatic posts elsewhere. On the other hand, Soviet treatment of Polish diplomats was by no means an exception, and similar problems were tackled by the majority of the diplomatic corps in Moscow. The question merely outlined in the presented article deserves to be discussed in greater detail.
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