Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Caucasian Emigres Played Central Role in Promethee Movement, Mamuliya Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 19 – To the alarm of Russian officials, Prometheanism is making a comeback in the former Soviet space providing explicit inspiration to activists in Ukraine ( and attracting the attention of peoples in the Caucasus, North and South.

            One of the reasons for that, historian Georgy Mamuliya says, is the enormous role of emigres from those nations played in the creation and operation of the Promethee movement Poland organized and supported between 1926 and 1939 and the ability of the Caucasians to continue promoting the movement’s ideals even later (

            Prometheanism had its origin in the Polish understanding that “as long as they had common borders with the Bolshevik empire, there wouldn’t be peace,” the historian says. “Their strategy was to promote the independence of border states and thus create a kind of cordon sanitaire consisting of independent Belarus, Ukraine, the Caucasian countries and Turkestan.”

            Emigres from the Caucasus enthusiastically supported that idea and originally sought to have their own journal devoted only to them, but the Pilsudski government insisted that their efforts be combined with those of other non-Russians, something that gave rise to the journal Promethee in 1927 and thus the name of the movement.

            Initially, Mamuliya says, that journal positioned itself as “an organ for the defense of the independence of the peoples of the Caucasus and Ukraine.” But later Turkestani emigres joined them, and the mission of the journal was expanded. But the Caucasians continued to pursue their goals and in July 1934 called for the creation of a Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus.

            This drive reflected the awareness of emigres from the various Caucasus nationalities that they had been conquered by the Bolsheviks in 1918-1921 precisely because they failed to cooperate, something that allowed the Red Army to defeat them one by one, Mamuliya continues.

            Promethee and its journals continued until the Nazi-Soviet occupation of Poland in September 1939. (The Nazis had no more use for its members than did the Soviets, the historian points out.) But even this did not end the activities of the Caucasus emigres who had been involved with Promethee.

            They fled and cooperated first with the Polish government in exile in London during the war and then with the Western allies during the Cold War.


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