Germanization, Polonization, and Russification in the partitioned lands of Poland-Lithuania

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Two main myths constitute the founding basis of popular Polish ethnic nationalism. First, that Poland-Lithuania was an early Poland, and second, that the partitioning powers at all times unwaveringly pursued policies of Germanization and Russification. In the former case, the myth appropriates a common past today shared by Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. In the latter case, Polonization is written out of the picture entirely, as also are variations and changes in the polices of Germanization and Russification. Taken together, the two myths to a large degree obscure (and even falsify) the past, making comprehension of it difficult, if not impossible. This article seeks to disentangle the knots of anachronisms that underlie the Polish national master narrative, in order to present a clearer picture of the interplay between the policies of Germanization, Polonization and Russification as they unfolded in the lands of the partitioned Poland-Lithuania during the long 19th century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-838
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number5
Early online date15 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Germanization
  • Polonization
  • Russification
  • Partitioned Poland-Lithuania


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