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How was the Polish Victory Parade in Kiev, or Who helped Pilsudski to occupy Ukraine in 1920
How was the Polish Victory Parade in Kiev, or Who helped Pilsudski to occupy Ukraine in 1920

In the spring of 1920, the Polish army carried out the "Kiev operation" on Russian territory. The Polish army, striking at the right moment, defeated the red South-Western Front. On May 6, the Poles freely entered Kiev, crossing on the shoulders of the retreating Red Army soldiers to the left Dnieper bank. On May 9, Pilsudski deliberately solemnly hosted the Polish "Victory Parade", but in June everything changed.

Results of the Civil War

Pilsudski and Petliura

After the winter of 1920, Soviet Russia seemingly coped with all the main opponents. All major confrontations were won, most of the White Guards were destroyed. There remained only the Crimean army of Wrangel, which by that time was no longer considered a great threat, the insignificant connections of the Petliurists near Kamenets-Podolsky and the Kappelevites with the Semyonovites in Transbaikalia. Finnish attempts to seize Karelia were also defeated. To eliminate the residual anti-Bolshevik outbreaks, it was enough to concentrate forces one-time and extinguish the hotbeds of unrest. True, the peasant war blazing inside the country did not play into the hands, but this issue was already related to the restoration of order and legality after the war devastation.

Poles' hostility

The entry of the Poles into Kiev

After Poland revived in 1918, disagreements arose among the local elite regarding the restoration of just borders. Commander-in-Chief Piłsudski was inclined to resolve this issue independently, and in his opinion, it would be appropriate to create political entities independent of the Russian state. In his plans for the revival of Poland, he was clearly guided by the position of the borders at the time of 1772, when the Poles occupied the territory of Right-Bank Ukraine in the east, adjacent to Kiev. As soon as the Polish Republic was proclaimed on November 7, 1918, the government of the restored country took an unequivocally aggressive position towards Soviet Russia.

At the very beginning of 1919, the loyal RSFSR recognized Poland, expressing its readiness to normalize interstate relations with it. Warsaw, on the other hand, was determined only to expand and consolidate its own borders. Pilsudski, like many other politicians, intended to take advantage of the internal Russian confusion. The longer chaos reigned in Russia, the larger territories Poland could potentially subjugate. Pilsudski did not abandon the bold idea of ​​creating several national states within the Russian borders, which would be ruled from outside by Warsaw. This, in his immodest opinion, would have made Poland a great power, which would later be able to replace Russia in Eastern Europe.

Polish advantage and Ukrainian betrayal

Parade on Khreshchatyk

Considering military scenarios, Pilsudski measuredly waited for the most convenient moment for the rapid offensive of his own army. Poland was properly preparing for this operation, having acted with the forces of a powerful, well-armed army with the backbone of experienced soldiers of the World War. With the active support of the Entente, in particular the French, the strongest cavalry was formed. The Polish army received from strategic allies over one and a half thousand pieces of guns, up to 3000 machine guns, tens of thousands of rifles, hundreds of aircraft, armored cars, trucks, uniforms and ammunition.French officers also trained the Polish military. They organized an extraordinary mobilization, replenishing the army with new volunteers, including from abroad. As a result, the number of the united Polish Army was brought to 700 thousand people.

Pilsudski relied on a victorious war, while strengthening himself in the rank of "leader of the nation" and distracting his own people from internal problems. Warsaw was convinced that despite the victory of the Bolsheviks and the liquidation of the White movement, Soviet Russia emerged from the vicissitudes of the civil war weakened and bled. And in the rear of the Red Army (White and Small Russia) peasant riots broke out. On the territory of Ukraine, the idea was to create a pro-Polish buffer state, in fact, a raw material appendage and a sales market for “Greater Poland”. The Ukrainian regime, completely dependent on Warsaw's grace, could not exist without the help of its neighbors, the Poles, and, by design, would oppose Soviet Russia. Vassal Petliura promised Pilsudski to form a large anti-Russian army in Ukraine. Poland planned to involve Romania and Latvia in the war with Russia, but the latter decided to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Captured Kiev and Russian counteroffensive

Retreating, the Poles blew up the Nikolaev chain bridge

At the time of the Polish offensive, the Red Army was inferior in almost everything. The number of Soviet troops in Ukraine was three times less compared to the Poles. The Red Army also lost in the number of guns and armored vehicles. In addition to the main one, the Reds were weakened by rear uprisings, but such dispersal of the Poles only helped.

In April 1920, the troops of the revived Polish state unexpectedly attacked Soviet positions along the entire line of the Ukrainian border. The Red Army Front collapsed immediately. With the first blows, the Soviet troops began to retreat almost without any resistance. The units thrown far apart from each other lost control and communication, needing to regroup after the withdrawal. So the victorious march of Poland went through Russian territory.

According to the developed "Kiev operation" of the Polish Army, the purpose of the advance was to capture the city by May. Indeed, on May 6, the first division of Polish intelligence officers freely entered Kiev on a city tram. The Reds left without a fight. The main Polish units, with the support of the Petliurites, entered the city limits the next day. Developing a swift offensive, the Poles immediately crossed the Dnieper and on May 8 already controlled a solid bridgehead on the left bank. On May 9, Pilsudski held a pompous victory parade in the center of Kiev, effectively capturing the Right-Bank Ukraine.

Russia was not going to surrender, using every minute for recovery and castling. On June 5, after the victorious Belarusian maneuvers of Tukhachevsky, the Budennovists broke through the Polish defense, threatening the Polish units with encirclement in Kiev. By June 10, the Polish army was forced to leave the city and retreat to the east with battles. Taking advantage of the withdrawal of troops, on June 12, Knyagnitsky's rifle division, in cooperation with the landing of the Dnieper flotilla, entered Kiev.

Now there is no confrontation between Russia and Poland for a long time, so you can study the history of this country with interest. AND her anomalies, for example, a village where only girls are born.

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