Sunday, April 23, 2023

‘Prometheanism Showed that Joint Struggle for Independence is Possible,’ Libera Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 20 – The idea that the peoples under the rule of Moscow can work together to achieve independence is experiencing a renaissance, a development which makes the Promethean movement of inter-war Poland ever more important as that group showed that ‘a joint struggle for independence,” while never easy, is at least “possible,” Pavel Libera says.

            In an interview with the Kavkazr portal, the Polish historian notes that the Promethean movement of the 1920s and 1930s had as its goal, “the weakening of the Russian empire and then the USSR should the support of national resistance inside of the state” (

            He thus expands on the ideas being advanced by Georgian diplomat Geogry Mamulia who has argued that “the failure of the disintegration of the USSR to eliminate Russian imperialism and aggressiveness is leading ever more people to take seriously the arguments the Promethean movement advanced almost a century ago (

            Mamulia says that not only were the Promethean ideas “correct and rational” in their time, but that they remain important now and in the future. “If we want to democratize that territory which is called the former Russian Empire, the USSR or the Russian Federation, then we must make possible the independence of the regions.”

            “As soon as we achieve this, this will become a way out for the Russian people as well,” he continues. “Power must be in the regions” as “it is important to deprive the center of the chance to return to totalitarianism” because with every recentralization will come “authoritarianism and despotism.”

            He points out that history would have been very different if this had happened earlier.  “I remember when Putin came to power and began the Second Chechen War. If representatives of the Caucasian and Muslim republics of Russia then had spoken with one voice and said: ‘Either you stop this war or we will declare our independence,’ Putin might have been stopped.”

            But for that to have happened, Mamulia continues, would have required both courage and the willingness to cooperate with one another. The leaders in the Caucasus might have had both had they been in the possession of Promethean ideas. But the future can be different if they integrate those ideas into their thinking and also into the thinking of Western leaders.

            (Just how frightening Promethean ideas of cooperation among non-Russians are in Moscow helps explain Russian outrage about such comments and even more about efforts to promote them. See, for example,

            Prometheanism, an extremely complicated movement involving people speaking more than a dozen languages, awaits its English language chronicler. But there are already a number of good articles and books which shed light on that movement. As the ideas of Prometheanism come to inform a new generation, the following sources are especially useful:

Edmund Charaszkiewicz, Zbiór dokumentów ppłk. Edmunda Charaszkiewicza, (Biblioteka Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodległościowego, vol. 9 (Cracow, 2000)

Etienne Copeaux, Le mouvement prométhéen,”  Cahiers d'études sur la Méditerranée orientale et le monde turco-iranien, 16 (1993): 9–45.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (New Brunswick, NJ, 2012)

Sergiusz Mikulicz, Prometeizm w polityce II Rzeczypospolitej (Warsaw, 1971)

Zaur Gasimov, "Zwischen Freiheitstopoi und Antikommunismus: Ordnungsentwürfe für Europa im Spiegel der polnischen Zeitung Przymierze", Jahrbuch für Europäische Geschichte, 12 (2011): 207-222

Zaur Gasimov, "Der Antikommunismus in Polen im Spiegel der Vierteljahresschrift Wschód 1930–1939," Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung, 2011, 15–30.

Richardd Woytak, "The Promethean Movement in Interwar Poland," East European Quarterly, 18: 3 (September 1984): 273– 278


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