Union of Polish Patriots
Union of Polish Patriots (Society of Polish Patriots, Polish: Związek Patriotów Polskich, ZPP, Russian: Союз Польских Патриотов, СПП) was a political body created by Polish communists and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union in 1943. The ZPP, unofficially controlled and directed by Stalin, became one of the founding structures of the Soviet-controlled communist government that eventually took power in the Polish People's Republic.
The ZPP was a mass organization with about 100,000 members (Polish citizens in the Soviet Union, mostly war refugees and Soviet deportees left after the departure of Anders' Army). It was dominated by activists from the Central Bureau of Polish Communists, which also operated in the Soviet Union, but included activists of many political orientations.
In January 1943, Wanda Wasilewska and Alfred Lampe petitioned the Soviet authorities for creation of a Polish center in the Soviet Union; it would function as a "counterweight for the reactionary (Polish) émigré elements". According to Wasilewska, the name of the organization was Stalin's idea. The significance of the ZPP's concept increased after the Soviet Union broke relations with the Polish government-in-exile in April 1943, following the discovery of the Katyn massacre.
In May 1943, the future ZPP activists were involved in the creation of the Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division, which gave rise to the Polish People's Army. It fought on the Eastern Front together with the Soviet Red Army. The Polish People's Army was placed under command of General Zygmunt Berling and later it merged with Armia Ludowa, the communist underground force in Poland.
The ZPP was officially established by its founding congress, which deliberated in Moscow on 9–10 June 1943. It was placed under the Directorate, which consisted of President Wanda Wasilewska and four members: Stanisław Skrzeszewski, Stefan Jędrychowski, Włodzimierz Sokorski, and Zygmunt Berling. The ZPP issued a declaration condemning the Polish government-in-exile led by Władysław Sikorski, as a body whose actions were damaging the "Anglo-Russo-American bloc".
The program of the ZPP, proclaimed at its congress, stressed the importance of alliance with the Soviet Union and postulated the creation of a democratic and socially just Poland. A new agrarian system was promised. The material, cultural and educational needs of Poles in the Soviet Union were to be satisfied. The ZPP relinquished the Polish claims to the disputed eastern borderlands (Kresy) as consisting of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Lithuanian territories, thus denouncing the borders implemented at the Peace of Riga in 1921.
The ZPP published its own weekly Wolna Polska ('The Free Poland'), edited from 1 March 1943 by Wasilewska. The organization provided extensive social and social welfare services and conducted educational activities for the Polish population in the Soviet Union, with children receiving particular attention (an estimated half of the children of Polish deportees went to Polish schools).
In 1944 the ZPP formally recognized the State National Council (Krajowa Rada Narodowa) established in Warsaw by the ZPP's rival communist institution, the Polish Workers' Party (PPR). Together with the PPR and the Soviets, the ZPP was responsible for the formation in July 1944 of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego), a nascent communist government.
In 1945–1946 the ZPP was involved in resettling Poles from the Soviet Union into Poland.