Tomasz Kamusella. The Russian Okrainy and the Polish Kresy: objectivity and historiography

The Russian term okrainy and the Polish concept of kresy tend to refer to the same spatial area, or the non-Russian and non-Polish nation-states that after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union extend between the Russian Federation and Poland. From the late 19th century through the interwar period, both terms okrainy and kresy underwrote the Russian and Polish territorial expansion and mission civilisatrice in these areas, most visibly exemplified by the policies of Russification and Polonization, respectively. Frequently, Russification was compounded with the state-supported spread of Orthodox Christianity, while in Polonization’s case with that of Roman Catholicism. These two terms, okrainy and kresy, fell out from official use during the communist period, but resurfaced in Russia and Poland for a variety of ideologized ends by the turn of the 21st century, with little respect for the countries and nations concerned.