The Russian Federation slowly regained its former strength under Vladimir Putin. Former Warsaw Pact nations inevitably returned to the fold. It was Viktor’s job to establish a Russian spy network in Wroclaw, Poland once more.
His handler had warned, “Watch out for the Poles. They’re surprising.”
Viktor scoffed at this. Russia conquered Poland easily before. Why should now be different?
On his second day in Wroclaw, he found a Polish hooker named Valentina who was beautiful and smart…and surprisingly cheap. In England he’d be suspicious, but in Poland overconfidence held sway.
In the morning, Viktor ordered coffee in Market Square. As he waited, he pounded his laptop in frustration. Where were the files?
The proprietor delivered the coffee and said, “Twenty Zlotny.”
“Twenty? That’s robbery!”
“Special price for Cossaks.”
Viktor groaned unhappily. “Valentina.”
He grinned malevolently. “Be happy we didn’t charge for your airplane tickets back to FSB Headquarters, Comrade!”
Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/08/19/wroclaw-poland/
The spy game is far more complex than I portrayed in this tiny missive. Viktor would likely have been turned and blackmailed into sending reports, authored by Polish Intelligence, back to the FSB.
When I was kid, Polish jokes were told by everyone. The theme was that Poles were dumb. I still don’t know what started that. But then Lech Walesa and his Solidarity Movement began fighting back against Soviet rule over Poland. This was completely unprecedented. The jokes stopped. Poles were seen as tough, bold, and smart. Despite Soviet efforts to crush Solidarity, they fought back doggedly. In 1989, Poland had its first true elections. Solidarity won 99 out of 100 seats. Revolts followed in other Warsaw Pact countries. In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. The Soviet Union collapsed soon after. From Wiki:
“Solidarity’s influence led to the intensification and spread of anti-communist ideals and movements throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc, weakening their communist governments. As a result of the Round Table Agreement between the Polish government and the Solidarity-led opposition, elections were held in Poland on 4 June 1989, in which the opposition were allowed to field candidates against the Communist Party—the first free elections in any Soviet bloc country. A new upper chamber (the Senate) was created in the Polish parliament and all of its 100 seats were contestable in the election, as well as one third of the seats in the more important lower chamber (the Sejm). Solidarity won 99 of the 100 Senate seats and all 161 contestable seats in the Sejm—a victory that also triggered a chain reaction across the Soviet Union’s satellite states, leading to almost entirely peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe known as the Revolutions of 1989 (Jesień Ludów or Wiosna Obywatelów), which ended in the overthrow of each Moscow-imposed regime, and ultimately to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.”
Zlotny is the basic monetary unit in Poland
What food costs in Poland: