State National Council
Krajowa Rada Narodowa in Polish (translated as State National Council or Homeland National Council, abbreviated to KRN) was a parliament-like political body formed in the late stages of the Second World War in the Soviet Union, as part of the formation of a new Communist Polish government. The KRN was to a large extent subjugated and controlled by the Soviet Union.
The KRN was created on the night of 31 December 1943 on the initiative of Joseph Stalin and the newly recreated (after the destruction of Communist Party of Poland (KPP) in Stalin's pre-war Great Purge) Polish communist party, the Polish Workers' Party (PPR). It declared itself to be a "widely representative of anti-fascist democratic movements". From the very beginning, the KRN viewed the members of the pre-war Sanacja government and contemporary Polish government in exile as fascist and denied them representation in the KRN. They, in turn, declared the KRN an illegal body.
The KRN was dominated by pro-Soviet and pro-communist activists from various Polish pre-war parties. The KRN included some members of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), the Polish People's Party (PSL), the People's Party (SL), the Democratic Party (SD), the Labour Party (SP), non-aligned and Jewish politicians. Bolesław Bierut of the PPR, nominated by Stalin, became its chairman. The Vice-chairmen were Wincenty Witos (PSL), Stanisław Grabski (nonaligned) and Stanisław Szwalbe (PPS).
On 21 July 1944 the KRN together with the Union of Polish Patriots (ZPP) formed the new government, the Polish Committee of National Liberation (Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego, PKWN), which included some former members of the Polish-government-in-exile (like Stanisław Mikołajczyk) and represented a half-hearted attempt by communists to meet the Yalta conference requirements of forming a coalition government and carrying out free elections. On 31 December of that year the KRN transformed the PKWN into Provisional Government of Republic of Poland (Rząd Tymczasowy Republiki Polskiej, RTRP, both headed by Edward Osóbka-Morawski.
On 9 January 1944 the Polish government in exile created its own parliament, the Council of National Unity (Rada Jedności Narodowej, RJN).
Until the elections to parliament (Sejm), the KRN held both legislative and executive powers, and Bolesław Bierut was the head of state. In July 1945, the KRN had 273 members (97 from PPR, 77 from PPS, 56 from SL, 17 from SD, 26 non-aligned). In October 1946 it was expanded to 444 members (135 from PPR, 111 from PPS, 62 from SL, 57 from PSL, 37 from SD, 4 from SP, 3 Jewish representatives (1 each from the Bund, Communists and zionists), 26 non-aligned).
The Polish legislative elections, 1947 were rigged by the Communists, who knew from the Polish people's referendum, 1946 that they could not win any free elections (they had, at best, support from a third of the Polish population). This, combined with extensive repressions and persecution, forced most of the opposition to the Communists to leave the country. The new Sejm, which replaced the KRN, was totally dominated by Communists and their allies.
- Davies, Norman, 1982 and several reprints. God's Playground. 2 vols. New York: Columbia Univ. Press. ISBN 0-231-05353-3 and ISBN 0-231-05351-7
- Boris Shub and Bernard Quint, Since Stalin, a photo history of our time, anthology published by Swen Publications, New York, Manila, 1951, hardcover.