22 Feb 2019 17:29

Polish radicals' plans to hold another 'cursed soldiers' march provocation - Belarusian Foreign Ministry

MINSK. Feb 22 (Interfax) - The so-called "cursed soldiers" march of Polish right-wing radicals, slated for February 23 in Hajnowka, where a majority of residents are of Belarusian origins, is aimed at sowing discord, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.

The figure whom the participants in the march want to honor is the leader of one of the "cursed soldiers" armed gangs, Romuald Rajs, nicknamed "Bury."

Minsk considers him a war criminal.

"The march of February 23 in the town [of Hajnowka], where there is a high concentration of ethnic Belarusians, including the descendants of those who were killed because of Bury, is a provocation aimed at creating tensions and ethnically, religiously, and historically motivated conflicts between Belarusians and Poles," the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's information and digital diplomacy department head and spokesperson Anatoly Glaz said in a statement.

The armed gang headed by Rajs, whom nationalists plan to honor during the so-called "cursed soldiers" march, carried out a bloody raid in Podlachia, burning down five villages and as a result killing 79 civilians, in 1946, he said.

"Such criminals cannot be equated with the fight for Poland's independence; their activity has the characteristics of genocide. This is why we have opposed and are opposing the glorification and the perpetuation of the memory of Romuald Rajs and his soldiers," Glaz said.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said he hopes that "representatives of the authorities and citizens of Poland would be able to give such actions due assessment, oppose their being held and prevent such events in the future by banning them at a legislative level."

The "cursed soldiers" is a term applied to various anti-Soviet and anti-Communist clandestine organizations formed in Poland during the latter stages of the Second World War and after its end.

These secret organizations, created by certain members of the Polish Underground State, continued their armed struggle against the communist government of Poland until the late 1950s.