Polish minority in Russia
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There are currently 73,000 Polish nationals living in the Russian Federation. This includes autochthonous Poles as well as those forcibly deported during and after World War II; the total number of Poles in what was the former Soviet Union is estimated at up to 3 million.
Many Poles were exiled to Siberia, starting with the 18th-century opponents of the Russian Empire's increasing influence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (most notably the members of the Bar Confederation). After the change in Russian penal law in 1847, exile and penal labor (katorga) became common penalties to the participants of national uprisings within the Russian Empire. This led to increasing number of Poles being sent to Siberia for katorga, they were known as Sybiraks. Some of them remained there, forming a Polish minority in Sibera. Most of them came from the participants and supporters of the 19th century November Uprising and January Uprising, the participants of the 1905-1907 unrest to the hundreds of thousands of people deported in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939.
Around the late 19th century there was also a limited number of Polish voluntary settlers, attracted by the economical development of the region. Polish migrants and exiles, many of whom were forbidden to move away from the region even after finishing serving their sentence, formed a vibrant Polish minority there. Hundreds of Poles took part in the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Notable Polish scholars studied Siberia, among them Aleksander Czekanowski, Jan Czerski, Benedykt Dybowski, Wiktor Godlewski, Sergiusz Jastrzebski, Edward Piekarski, Bronisław Piłsudski, Wacław Sieroszewski, Mikołaj Witkowski and others.
In the Soviet Union
Millions of Poles lived within the Russian Empire as the Russian Revolution of 1917 started followed by the Russian Civil War. While some Poles associated with the communist movement, the majority of the Polish population saw cooperation with Bolshevik forces as betrayal and treachery of Polish national interests. Marian Lutosławski and his brother Józef, the father of the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, were murdered in Moscow in 1918 as "counter-revolutionaries". Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz lived through the Russian Revolution in St. Petersburg, which had a profound effect on his works, many of which displayed themes of the horrors of social revolution. Famous revolutionaries with Polish origins include Konstantin Rokossovsky, Julian Marchlewski, Karol Świerczewski and Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka secret police which would later turn into the NKVD. However according to their ideology they did not identify as Poles or with Poland, and members of the communist party viewed themselves as Soviet citizens without any national sentiments. The Soviet Union also organized Polish units in the Red Army and a Polish Communist government-in-exile.
In modern Russia
There are currently 73,000 Polish nationals living in Russia. This includes autochthonous Poles as well as those forcibly deported during and after World War II; the total number of Poles in what was the former Soviet Union is estimated at up to 3 million.
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