It will be hard, more so, for the older ones, of Poland, to like Russia, for what she did to Poland in the WWII war. If Poland did not need Russia's oil, I think they would tell them to go and pound sand.
It will be hard, more so, for the older ones, of Poland, to like Russia, for what she did to Poland in the WWII war. If Poland did not need Russia's oil, I think they would tell them to go and pound sand.
yeah, i agree.. seems Putin is trying to do a bit of appeasement right now, but I don't buy it.. Russia should never be trusted. NEVER!
President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine and his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczy ski took part in the ceremony of unveiling a monument in Warsaw to commemorate victims of the 1932–1933 Holodomor. The two heads of state laid flowers and honored the memory of the dead by a minute of silence. The memorial sign was blessed by Metropolitan Savva, primate of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
"I am convinced it is a significant event for our fraternal — Ukrainian and Polish — peoples. Organized by the criminal Stalinist regime, the Holodomor was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humankind. It claimed the lives of 10 million of our compatriots, " Yushchenko said. He also noted that the world community had marked the Holodomor's 75th anniversary last year, when the entire world, including Poland, saw the Inextinguishable Candle action under the slogan "Ukraine Remembers, the World Recognizes."
Yushchenko also said he was proud that Ukraine and Poland are a model for this kind of attitude to difficult common history. "We have gone down the road of national reconciliation, and we regard the pain of the other people as our own," he said. In his words, the reopening of a Ukrainian necropolis in downtown Warsaw is an important indication of Ukrainian-Polish friendship and mutual respect.
During his two-day visit to Poland, Yushchenko pointed out the importance of Polish support for Ukraine's European integration course. Addressing the Polish people, Yushchenko said he is certain that Poland should continue to play an active role in shaping European policies in view of its colossal potential.
In his turn, Kaczy ski emphasized that Ukraine and Poland are undoubtedly fraternal countries bound together with strategic partnership. He especially stressed the important need to further develop the two countries' political cooperation, in particular in the context of Ukraine's European integration course. Kaczy ski said he is certain that Europe should be "a Europe of cooperation, not domination," and rest on the principles of partnership. In this framework Polish-Ukrainian relations are "very important and subject to expansion and reinforcement. "
In the course of Yushchenko's official visit, the Ukrainian and Polish heads of state signed a road map of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation in 2009—2010. Yushchenko and Kaczy ski also signed a joint statement on cooperation in the field of energy.
History weighs heavy in Russia's ties with Eastern Europe eubusiness.com 01 November 2009
(MOSCOW) - Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, relations remain tense between Russia and the former Eastern bloc countries, as Moscow blames the European Union for blocking a rapprochement.
"These relations are tainted with memories on both sides that can't be smoothed over so quickly," said Maria Lipman, an expert at the Carnegie Centre in Moscow.
"Eastern European countries are building up their new identity by insisting on their return to Europe after Communist subjection. Russia, on the other hand, is going through the loss of its status as a superpower," Lipman said.
Russian society hasn't made an "effort of memory" to come to terms with its Soviet past, said Denis Volkov, a sociologist at the independent Levada centre.
This may explain why Russia rejects any alternative historical interpretations of World War II and refuses to investigate the massacre of Polish officers on Stalin's orders at Katyn in 1940.
These resentments weigh heavy on bilateral relations and make it harder for Moscow to achieve a rapprochement with the European Union, whose members include most of the other former Communist countries in Eastern Europe.
Important negotiations between Russia and the European Union on a partnership agreement have been blocked for two years over Russia's ban on imports of Polish meat.
New geopolitical choices such as Eastern European countries entering NATO, and Poland and the Czech Republic consenting to host elements of a US missile shield have exasperated Moscow, which blames the influence of Washington.
Poland and the Baltic States are also at the forefront of opposition to the Nord Stream, the gas pipeline that would connect Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, seeing this as a way for Moscow to bypass them.
Furthermore, these countries support the pro-Western regimes in Ukraine and Georgia, which Moscow still considers more or less a region where it should hold sway.
"Russia doesn't believe in the independence of the former satellites of the Soviet Union, considering that if they don't depend on us any more, then they depend on others," Volkov said.
This hostility towards "traitors" and hirelings of Washington is also promoted by Russia's state-controlled television and shared by the public, which is used to anti-American slogans of the Soviet era, Volkov added.
Vladimir Kumachyov, an expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences, defended this world view.
"In order to serve the United States, the new Europe is entering a confrontation with Russia," he said. "Washington doesn't want to see Russia grow closer to the European Union, since this would make Europe more independent from America."
"Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic sabotage energy projects and oppose the entry of Russian business into their countries, to the detriment of enterprises that the Russians could have saved," he complained.
As for the more friendly countries, such as Serbia, analysts explain increasing contacts as the results of pragmatic mutual interests in the energy sector.
The conflict in Georgia has shown that "Russia has no allies," Lipman said. Even Belarus, the former Soviet republic that is closest to Russia, has failed to recognize the independence of the two separatist regions in Georgia, she said.
Visiting Washington this week, Poland's foreign minister spoke with FP about the Russian reset, his country's interests in Afghanistan, the legacy of 1989, and how better communication could have prevented the missile defense debacle. BY RADOSLAW SIKORSKI Foreign Policy NOVEMBER 2, 2009
Foreign Policy: Shortly after the Obama administration' s reversal on the missile defense system in Central Europe, you were quoted as saying that you hoped this would disabuse Polish leaders of the "dream of basing everything on a bilateral alliance with the United States." Do you still feel that way?
Radoslaw Sikorski: The administration has now explained its position more thoroughly, and we are now satisfied and want to go where the U.S. is leading, toward a more adaptive and more proven system. [The new system] will take longer to construct, but will create fewer tensions in our region. I think we're now on the same page with the U.S., and we are ready to address the details and the amendments to the agreements I signed with the previous administration.
FP: What was the reason for your initial dissatisfaction with the change?
RS: The news management and the decision-making management could have been better, but it was not unanticipated. We knew when signing the agreement with the previous administration that the new one would take a fresh look at it. So, that's been done and we now think that missile defense will be a fruitful but not exclusive part of the U.S.-Polish relationship. If the new system gets built, we like it more than the previous one.
FP: There had been reports of a probable change in strategy for months. How much of a surprise was the announcement on Sept. 17?
RS: We were not surprised by the content of it, but we were surprised by the timing. I spoke to senior administration officials on the first of September, and we agreed on a timetable for reaching the decision. It included a pre-decision consultation. We expected to jointly handle the news management of it. That did not come to pass.
FP: The announcement came on a very sensitive date for Poland, the anniversary of the Soviet invasion in World War II. Do you think the administration is committed enough to researching and understanding your region?
RS: We had a visit by the vice president since then, a good visit. We have a rich calendar of contacts over the next few weeks. Now that the administration has found its feet and listened to our concerns, I have every confidence that we will be working with this administration as we have with every previous administration.
FP: Are there differences in the tone or approach of the Obama team, as opposed to the last administraion?
RS: One thing I would say is that in the previous administrations, there were more people who knew and had served in our region for part of their career and knew our region from firsthand experience. But there is plenty of time to correct that.
FP: What's on the agenda for your meeting with Secretary Clinton this week?
RS: We have issues to discuss having to do with our region. President Obama has invited our prime minister to a disarmament conference in April. We think that should deal with not only intercontinental ballistic missiles, but also tactical. I hope to persuade Hillary Clinton to come to Poland next year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Community of Democracies, which was a program of support for democracy launched by our predecessors. We need this program even more than we did 10 years ago. Ten years ago it looked like history had a direction toward more democracy; today the trends are much more ambiguous.
Of course, we are also partners in Afghanistan. Poland has 2,000 troops. We are responsible for Ghazni province -- 1.1 million Afghans. And this is, I understand, a crucial decision-making time for what we are going to do in Afghanistan. I have some personal perspective because I've been involved with Afghanistan for 25 years. I wrote my first book in Afghanistan. I spent six weeks in Tora Bora. I brought out the first pictures of stinger missiles from Afghanistan. So I'll be giving her a piece of my mind.
FP: So what is it you're going to recommend?
RS: If you'll allow me, I'll tell her first.
FP: From what I understand, there's growing opposition in Poland to the mission in Afghanistan. What, in your view, is Poland's strategic interest in keeping troops there?
RS: I haven't met any enthusiasts for the war in Afghanistan in the United States either! It is, like all missions, expensive and risky, and the public doesn't usually like it. In Poland, the opposition is quite wide, but not very deep. That's because our interest in Afghanistan is really our interest in NATO succeeding. We invoked Article 5 in defense of our ally, the United States, and so we want NATO to succeed so as to maintain conviction for future challenges. When NATO goes to war, NATO wins. We have no selfish national interests in Afghanistan. Just a general Western interest in keeping terrorists far from our borders.
We also feel some solidarity with Afghanistan. They defied the Soviet Union in the 1980s at the same time we defied the Soviet Union, but we've been more lucky. We would like them to be able to benefit from democracy and a free market economy, just as we have. But we have to take a fresh look at this mission because our resources are not limitless.
FP: Do you think that Obama administration' s "reset" with Russia is worthwhile? Are there enough common interests for it to work?
RS: I've heard that the prisoner's dilemma has been solved with supercomputers, and apparently, the most rational behavior is to do one good thing for your partner and then to do exactly what he does. I see the Obama administration doing the rational thing: making a positive step toward its difficult partners -- not just Russia, but Iran, Cuba, and North Korea -- and then seeing how the other side responds.
I would only advise that the more you talk to Russia, the more you should talk to Russia's neighbors, who sometimes feel vulnerable, particularly after what Russia did in Georgia a year ago. We would like relations between Russia and the U.S. to be better than they are. We don't want to be a front-line state. Russia is our second largest trading partner. If there were a return to confrontation, we would be much more adversely affected than the United States. The trick is to persuade Russia that she can be a significant partner without using 19th- or 20th-century instruments that have been tried with such tragic consequences.
FP: Have you seen signs that Moscow is reciprocating these gestures?
RS: We've improved our relations with Russia over the last two years. I've been to Moscow several times. Both the Russian prime minister and foreignmMinister have been to Poland. We've signed several agreements that couldn't have been signed before.
I find Russia's internal discussion about its own history extremely important and interesting. What President Medvedev has said in the last few days about the crimes of Stalinism is hugely important. With a Russia that recognizes its own history, we can have much better relations than with a Russia that builds on neo-Stalinist interpretations of history. Agreeing on facts is crucial in international relations. Look at France's relationship with Germany. Trust and friendship is possible only on the basis of facts.
FP: Do you think Prime Minister Putin also agrees on these facts? As I remember, there was some controversy over his statements about World War II during his last visit to Poland?
RS: He came to Poland on the first of September, which we regarded as a positive gesture. In Stalin's time, that wasn't regarded as the beginning of the Second World War. Only when Germany attacked its erstwhile ally did it become the Soviet war. So that's a gesture in the direction of the European mainstream. But we feel that it's a conversation that Russia needs to have more.
FP: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism in Europe. How close is Poland today to what you would have imagined in 1989?
RS: Well, we are speaking on the second of November. I'd like to remind you that 20 years ago, the Berlin Wall was still standing and nobody expected it to fall anytime soon, while Poland already had a non-communist government.
We had gone ahead and created an atmosphere in which things became possible. I have some personal reminiscences from [that November]. I drove from Warsaw to Berlin with an American journalist to cover the fall of the wall as it happened, and we've been happily married for 17 years now!
To answer your question, I think we've done rather well. If you look at the map of GDP growth, Poland is a green island in the map of Europe. So we must have done something right. On Jan. 1, 1990, we passed 13 laws that introduced capitalism in Poland. It was a very bold move, but it meant that our recession was the shallowest and lasted the briefest time. Today our economy is the 18th in the world. And we are still growing despite the recession. So we feel we have something to offer other countries in terms of a successful economic and political transformation.
FP: Where do you see Poland positioned in Europe 20 years from now?
RS: We want to be for the east of Europe, what Spain is for the south: a country that gives a good example, that can speak up for the interests of its region and draws our neighbors toward the benefits of full integration. We want to have Western neighbors on both sides, and that includes Russia, by the way.
FP: Do you still think it's fair to call Poland a "post-communist state"?
RS: Well it depends how you define it. Poland used to have a communist government, that was imposed on us by the Yalta powers. And we will never escape that. After all, many people in the United States are still obsessed with the Civil War. But we have overcome that horrible legacy in more ways than one. Of course we still have some catching up to do. Infrastructure and highways, for instance. But just look at cell phone coverage: In Warsaw I get 3G everywhere. Here ... [shrugs].
============================================== Poll: generation gap in Eastern Europe on politics By DESMOND BUTLER (AP) 11/2/09
WASHINGTON — Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a sharp generational schism has formed in how people in Europe's former communist countries view the shift to democracy and capitalism, a survey has found.
People in nine Eastern European countries polled, who were born shortly before or after the Berlin Wall disappeared, were markedly more approving of the move to a multiparty political system and a market economy than older generations.
The survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project mirrored one carried out in 1991. The new poll revealed an overall slip in approval of democracy and capitalism among most countries surveyed, with those polled in some countries like Bulgaria and Ukraine expressing sharp drops.
Despite the slip in approval, many more people surveyed in the latest poll expressed satisfaction with their lives than those asked in 1991. In Poland, for instance, 44 percent said they were satisfied this year, compared with 12 percent in 1991. In other countries the change was less marked. In Bulgaria and Hungary, only 15 percent of people polled this year said they were satisfied, compared to 4 percent and 8 percent respectively in 1991.
Paradoxically, a majority of respondents in many countries that reflected this boost in satisfaction also said that people were worse off than under communism. In Ukraine 62 percent of those polled judged their people worse off. In Russia, 45 percent said people were worse off versus 33 percent who said they were better. Only in the Czech Republic and Poland did a majority of respondents say the people were better off since the transition from communism.
The survey found a divergence among the nine countries in how respondents view democratic principals. For instance, nearly two-thirds of Hungarians said freedom of speech was very important versus 37 percent of Russians. More than 60 percent of Bulgarians said honest elections were important, but only 39 percent of Lithuanians.
The polls appear to illustrate a rise in nationalism in Russia. While only 26 percent of respondents in 1991 said that Russia should be for Russians, 54 percent said the same in the recent poll. The two polls also saw a 10 percentage point rise to 47 percent of respondents who said that it is natural for Russia to have an empire. Fifty-eight percent of Russians in the new poll agreed that it is a great misfortune that the Soviet Union no longer exists.
In other former communist countries, views on Russia's current influence varied. Forty-six percent of Ukrainians and 45 percent of Bulgarians viewed Russian influence as good, compared with 18 percent in Poland and 15 percent in Hungary.
Most of the countries polled revealed small differences in 1991 between generations in respondents' satisfaction with life. For instance 13 percent of Poles aged 18-29 in 1991 said they were satisfied with life versus 15 percent of those over 65. By 2009, polls of most countries showed a split between the generations. Half of Poles in the new survey said they were satisfied, versus only 29 percent of those over 65.
A similar generational gap was reflected in attitudes toward the shift from communism to capitalism and democracy. For instance, more than 60 percent of Russians aged 18-29 said they approved of the change to a multiparty system and to a market economy, while only 27 percent of those older than 60 approved of the shifts. A generational gap was reflected in all eight other countries polled.
The new survey was conducted Aug. 27 to Sept. 24 among 14,760 respondents in 14 countries, including Germany and 8 former communist countries in Europe. The margin of the polls conducted in local languages varied between plus or minus 3.5 and 5 percentage points.
The new survey re-examined many questions surveyed in the 1991 poll by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press, a forerunner of the Pew Center.
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Poll: Eastern Europeans hold negative view of Russia dpa 11/2/09
Washington - Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of communism, a poll of Eastern European countries released Monday shows a majority hold a negative view of continued Russian influence. In Poland, 59 per cent of those questioned said Russian influence was bad, while only 18 per cent viewed it as favourable. Poles expressed the highest level of concern about Moscow's influence than any other country in the Pew Global Attitudes survey published in Washington.
The poll was released one week ahead of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which will be marked on November 9 with celebrations in Germany.
While the collapse of communism and crumbling of the Soviet Union marked an end to Russian control over the Warsaw Pact countries, Moscow has sought to reassert itself in its traditional sphere of influence in recent years.
In the Czech Republic (44 per cent), Hungary (42 per cent) and Lithuania (39 per cent), pluralities viewed Russian influence as a bad thing. Only Ukraine (46 per cent) and Bulgaria (45 per cent) saw a Russian role as positive. Slovakia was evenly divided.
In Western Europe, 46 per cent of Germans said Russian influence was bad, compared to the 40 percent who viewed it as good. In the former East Germany, 41 per cent compared to 40 per cent saw Russian influence as good.
Fifty-seven per cent of French viewed Russian influence as bad.
The survey of 14 nations included interviews with 14,760 adults and was taken from August 27 through September 24 by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project.
Russia criticizes Poland's call for US troops AP 11/5/09
MOSCOW — Russia's foreign minister said Thursday he was surprised by Poland's call for more U.S. troops on Polish soil in response to Moscow's assertiveness, a news agency reported.
RIA Novosti quoted minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that the request by his Polish counterpart, Radek Sikorski, contradicted Moscow's and Warsaw's understanding of security issues in Europe.
"If he did say that, it makes me deeply astonished," Lavrov said.
Sikorski said Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that "we need some strategic reassurance, " and that the U.S. could provide it by sending more than the six American troops it now has based in Poland. The minister said that need became clear when Russia and Belarus conducted a military exercise with hundreds of tanks near Poland's border last month.
Sikorski said that when Poland joined NATO 10 years ago, Russia was assured that no substantial NATO forces would be sent to the region. But, the minister said, the security situation has since changed.
Poland also raised concerns about its security when the Obama administration decided in September to scrap a plan to deploy long-range missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.
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Minister Sikorski wants more reassurances from the US and NATO Warsaw Business Journal 5th November 2009
Polish Foreign Minister Rados³aw Sikorski has said Central Europe needs “strategic reassurance” from Washington, and that NATO forces should be deployed in the region to highlight its importance to the alliance.
Mr Sikorski said he welcomed last month's visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Poland. It eased concerns over the missile shield plans, but military capabilities would have been more convincing than words, the minister said.
"If you can still afford it, we need some strategic reassurance, " Mr Sikorski said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Mr Sikorski said he remains to be convinced about the US's commitment to Polish security, and has asked for a greater presence of troops in the region, as currently there are only six US soldiers deployed in Poland. He also noted that Russia and Belarus had recently held war games extremely close to Polish borders.
"If you had on the one hand 900 tanks, and on the other six troops, would you be convinced?" he asked.
When Poland joined NATO a decade ago, Russia was promised that no substantial NATO forces would be sent to the region, Mr Sikorski added.
“But nobody imagined at this time that no forces would be put in whatsoever,” he added. “And so this is, I think, the job that is going to need to be done.”
============================================= Interfax apologizes to Foreign Minister
Russia's Interfax news agency has apologized to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski for improperly citing the politician regarding alleged "Russian aggression."
"It was a reporter's mistake," reads the Interfax statement, the incorrect citation "was the result of a reporter's poor work."
The mix-up began last Thursday when Interfax released a report that Sikorski, during his visit to Washington DC a few days earlier, called for US arms to be placed in Poland "to protect against Russian aggression."
Poland's Foreign Ministry immediately denied that Sikorski uttered the statement, calling the press release "intentional manipulation" and demanded a verification of facts. Sikorski's 'statement', as translated by Interfax, drew immediate backlash from commentators in Russian media.
"We are pleased that our intervention was effective and that Interfax has corrected a mistake by their reporter which has prompted such unnecessary reactions," said Piotr Paszkowski, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Monday afternoon after receiving Interfax's official apology.
We can't let the Russians think for us, or Poland, they only want what is best for them, no anyone else. Next the Germans will try and tell everyone what to do.
Poland, Lithuania eye military tie-up with Ukraine Tue Nov 17, 2009
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland and Lithuania want to forge military cooperation with Ukraine to try to bring the former Soviet republic closer to NATO, Polish officials said.
Under the plan, the three countries would form a brigade that could participate in international peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Union or NATO.
"This reflects our support for Ukraine. We want to tie Ukraine closer to Western structures, including military ones," Poland's Deputy Defence Minister Stanislaw Komorowski told reporters in Brussels after signing a letter of intent.
"This is also proof that Ukraine is taking seriously its desire for closer cooperation with members of the EU and NATO," he said.
Eventual membership for Ukraine in NATO is a key issue in difficult relations between the Western military alliance and Russia after NATO's pledge to admit the former Soviet republic, as well as Georgia, greatly angered Moscow.
The move by Poland and Lithuania, both of which are EU members, comes two days before an EU summit with Russia aimed at increasing cooperation with Moscow.
It also comes ahead of a visit in December to Moscow by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has made boosting ties with Russia a top priority since taking over the NATO helm in August.
While the latest move could further anger Russia, a NATO spokesman welcomed the Polish-Lithuanian plan, saying cooperation could build up trust and capabilities.
"There is absolutely no reason why cooperation between individual allies and Ukraine should not be stepped up. If extra capability was made available for NATO operations that can only be welcome by the alliance," James Appathurai said.
NATO and Russia resumed formal cooperation on broad security threats after ties were frozen as a result of Russia's military intervention last August in Georgia, another former Soviet republic Russia sees as part of its sphere of influence.
NATO critical of Russian war games near Poland BRUSSELS, Nov 18 (Reuters) - NATO countries voiced concern on Wednesday at Russian and Belarusian exercises held near the Polish border in September, saying they were at odds with improved relations with Moscow.
Ambassadors from the 28 NATO states meeting in Brussels expressed concerns about the large scale of the exercises and a scenario that envisioned an attack from the West, NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.
"There was the general sense that the political message of the exercise was incongruous with the general improvement in political relations and practical cooperation which is under way between NATO and Russia," Appathurai said.
He said there was also concern that NATO observers had not been invited to view the exercises.
In Washington this month Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski drew attention to the exercises near Poland's border and said NATO forces should be placed in central Europe to underscore its value to the alliance.
Russian and Belarusian officials said the exercises were aimed at drilling the two nations' armed forces to be able to rebuff an attack by an unnamed aggressor and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "deeply bewildered" Sikorski's comments.
East Europeans should stop behaving like children MRT Wednesday, 18 November 2009
East Europeans should stop behaving like small children, start to deal with their own problems by themselves and not go to the United States complaining about Russian aggressiveness, for instance, Zbigniew Brzezinski said in an interview with public Czech Television (CT) on Tuesday.
Brzezinski, former national security adviser to U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who is referred to as the "grey eminence" of U.S. politics, gave the interview on the day of the 20th anniversary of the events in Prague that resulted in the fall of the Communist regime.
He said he had predicted the disintegration of the Communist system in 1968, when Soviet troops invaded the then Czechoslovakia.
Brzezinski declared then this was the start of the final stage of the Communist system because its internal discords were clearly visible and devastating.
Turning to Czech fears of Russia 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, he said there are reasons for embarrassment of the country, of its attempts to resume its influence by means of economic instruments, by gaining control in strategic firms of the energy system, for instance.
"But people should not dramatise the problem and they should think of that it is mainly their responsibility to deal with it. They should not expect anyone to solve their problems for them", stressed Brzezinski.
He said the United States' relations with Poland and the Czech Republic do not differ from what they were two years ago in spite of the new U.S. government not to build a radar base in the Czech Republic and not to station interceptor missiles in Poland.
"Both the Czech Republic and Poland are NATO members and both have the opportunity to try and change NATO so that it be firmer, stronger, more resolute", added Brzezinski.
He stated it is a reality that the current U.S. policy has moved from Europe to the Pacific.
"The supremacy of the West over the whole world is declining, not because the West would be losing viability, but because Asia's viability is growing", underlined Brzezinski.
Yanukovich claims ‘Polish interference’ in Ukraine election planned 02.02.2010 11:27
Ukraine presidential candidate Victor Yanukovych vows that “fighters” from Poland, Lithuania and Georgia planning to disrupt the second round of the presidential elections will be repelled.
In an astonishing outburst in the week leading up to the second round of the Ukrainian presidential elections, Yanukovich was quoted by Interfax, Monday, as saying: “We have been informed that so-called election monitors from Poland and Lithuania are on their way to Ukraine. Several boats from Georgia are also coming to Odessa.”
Yanukovich, leader of the party of the Regions who won the first round of the presidential election on January 17, and is going head-to-head with Yulia Tymoshenko is the second round on Sunday, said that outside influences were trying to interfere with the ballot at the invitation of his rival.
“It’s obvious that these are fighters who are coming to Ukraine to help Tymoshenko,” said Yanukovych.
Yanukovich – who gains most of his support from Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country and is in favour of closer ties with Russia - added that the Ukrainian boarder guards, security service and Defence Ministry were informed about the alleged threat. Yanukovych warned that if the authorities do not act against the intruders, the Party of Regions will mobilize its forces to fight against them.
“We’re going to show them what it means to be Ukrainian,” said Yanukovych.
During the ballot on 17 January almost 2,000 Georgians came to eastern Ukraine and tried to register as election monitors. However, the Central Electoral Committee rejected their request. Yanukovych then accused Yulia Tymoshenko of hiring mercenaries sent by Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili to destabilize the country.
In the first round of the presidential elections, Victor Yanukovych received 35.32 percent of votes and Yulia Tymoshenko 25.05 percent. Over 3,000 people from countries other than Georgia participated in the first round of the Ukrainian elections as election monitors.
Yanukovich’s election as president in 2004 led to widespread street protests in what came to be known as the Orange Revolution, amid accusations of vote-rigging. The election was subsequently re-run and won by Viktor Yushchenko.
Poland to block Belarusians involved in repression 15.02.2010 18:23
Polish authorities have announced that they will not allow those who are responsible for violating rights of the Polish minority in Belarus into the country.
From midnight tonight, borders will close to those individuals involved in repressing Poles’ living in Belarus’ rights and visas will no longer be issued to those people, says Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski following a closed-door meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski Monday afternoon.
“The President has sent a letter to President Lukashenko asking for him to personally fix the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus,” said spokesperson Wladyslaw Stasiak.
Foreign Minister Sikorski added, following the meeting, that he presented Kaczynski with several dozen scenarios which could come up, should Belarusian authorities not react positively and show steps to repair relations with both the Union of Poles in Belarus and the Polish government.
While the Foreign Minister expressed hope that the Belarusian government will respond favourably, “the timer is ticking for the negative scenarios to play out.”
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke with head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andzelika Borys, by phone on Monday, to inform her of the work being done by both the Polish government and the European Union to ensure that the Polish minority groups’ rights are respected by Belarusian authorities.
Head of European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, announced, at a press conference in Warsaw, that the EP will pass a resolution on the situation in Belarus next week and will do everything possible to stop militia aggression against Poles in the country.
“Future relations between Belarus and the EU depend upon the manner with which opposition and national minority groups are treated by Belarusian authorities. It is our main barometer,” stated Buzek.
On Monday, Belarusian militia arrested a total of 40 Union of Poles in Belarus members who wanted to attend the court proceedings regarding the group’s Polish House in Ivyenets which was seized by authorities a week ago. Union head Andzelika Borys was fined 1 million Belarusian rubles (about 250 euro) by the court today as the Union is not officially recognized by authorities. Three other activists from the Union were sentenced to five days in jail for holding unsanctioned demonstrations in Grodna on 10 February. (
Comments: # 15.02.2010 18:56 Actually, Poland has been refusing entry visas to Belarusian Poles involved with the official Union of Poles in Belarus for a few years now.
These tough talk and provocations will only further push Belarus into Russia's sphere of influence - thank you very much! Mr. Sikorski can you issue similar statements for Ukraine, too? And don't forget about Lithuania where they don't allow Poles to spell their names in Polish. Alex # Veledar 15.02.2010 19:07 Sikorski starts his "running for president" campaign already.But what a cheap and ugly method to gain electoral popularity - organize a provocation in a peaceful neighboring state and then present yourself as a problem solver and defender of "oppressed", tough talk, tough walk. Only very ignorant people can buy into that.... Veledar # Vasyl 15.02.2010 19:13 Alex and Veledar, do something useful and stop the arrests instead of posting propaganda on this site. Vasyl # Alex 15.02.2010 20:13 Vasyl, can you ask Mr. Sikorski to stop playing a clown? Alex # anon 15.02.2010 20:18 if sikorski is a clown, is tusk, buzek, stasiak, kaczynski and the various other politicians involved in this issue? anon # Vasyl 15.02.2010 20:33 Can't do that. I'm not from Poland, but you work for the Russian government, so just get Putin to put pressure on Belarus to stop the arrests. Vasyl # Maciej Skiba 15.02.2010 21:11 Actually Alex, Poland many times brought up the situation with the Lithuanian government regarding the spelling of the names. But in end the situation will not escalate because both country's are in the EU and sticking together is needed to influence EU matters. In either case are you seriously taking a situation with Poles not being able to spell their names in Polish which occurs in Lithuania and comparing it to the systematic mistreatment of Poles in Belarus. In Belarus you have the closure of Polish language newspapers, harassment by authorities, jail terms for Poles speaking out, and just in general you have murder of journalists, censorship of the internet, assaults on critics of the government etc. Are you trying to say the situations are the same? Your basically comparing a needle prick to a knife wound.
Where are you priorities Alex? You should be defending the people who are having their rights trampled upon not the dictator. By the way Belarus is already in Russia's sphere of influence, its not like we can make things worse. Plus after the Russian Belarussion gas spat (that lead to the warming of EU-Belarus ties) Lukashenko knows better than to fly completely into the arms of Russia.
P.S the building belongs to the Union of Poles that democratically elected Andzelika, seeing as the Belarussion authorities replaced her with their own stooges doesn't mean the building now belongs to them. Maciej Skiba # Maciej Skiba 15.02.2010 21:15 Alex and if you think the official Union of Poles is still official after the democratically elected leader has been replaced, than I'm not surprised you said earlier that Russia strengthened democracy in Ukraine. Maciej Skiba # jarek Krupa 15.02.2010 23:21 @ Marciej Skiba
EP condemns Belarusian Polish minority crackdown 10.03.2010 16:24
The European Parliament has condemned the recent imprisonment of activists of a Polish minority organization in Belarus.
MEPs also demanded, Wednesday, that the closing down of independent internet news sites and forums be reversed by the authoritarian regime under President Aleksander Lukashenko, and leaders of the opposition movement, such as Andrei Bandarenko, Ivan Mikhailau and Aristyom Dubski be released from prison.
In February, Belarusian police arrested members of the independent Union of Poles in Belarus, including its leader Angelika Borys (pictured). President Lukashenko has continually accused the organization of being part of a “fifth column” which hostile countries have been using to try and develop an “Orange Revolution” style popular protest to bring down his regime.
Four years ago his government set up a rival union of Poles, which the government in Warsaw has refused to recognize.
Jacek Protoszewicz, one of the EU observers sent to Belarus to look into the allegations of harassment of the Union of Poles says that this merely confirms that human rights are deteriorating in the ex-Soviet state.
“The conditions in Belarus for civic activity, democratic opposition and independent media has worsened in the last year. This is mainly due to the elections to be held this year,” he told Polish Radio today.
Local elections are scheduled for April and Lukashenko will be seeking re-election for a third term in the autumn.
Lukashenko has been trying to being Belarus closer to the EU as he tries to when the country off its economic reliance on Russia. Brussels too has been trying to use economic incentives to encourage Minsk to improve its human rights record.
“The main recommendation [the EU observer team made] is to create a kind of road map to install conditionality on the further development of EU-Belarusian economic relations, which are of upmost importance to the [Minsk] authorities,” says Protoszewicz . “Simply speaking, if they want financial support, if they want money from European banks they need to make real progress in the fields of democracy, media freedom and human rights.”
The olive branch being offered by Brussels includes financial instruments such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), an extension of projects by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Russia shows solidarity with Poland after air crash 18.04.2010 11:00
Despite many world leaders cancelling their attendance at President Kaczynski’s funeral, due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud paralysing European air traffic, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev left Moscow by plane, Sunday morning, bound for Krakow.
His plane left from Moscow airport at 09.47, said a Kremlin spokesperson. This will be the first visit by a Russian head of state to Poland since the Boris Yeltsin presidency of the early 1990s.
Observers say that the death of Lech Kaczynski and 95 others last Saturday in Smolensk, western Russia - when they were on their way to a Katyn massacre anniversary ceremony - could signal a thaw in icy relations between Russia and Poland.
Last Wednesday, President Medvedev directly acknowledged Stalin’s role in the execution of over 20,000 Polish officers in the Katyn massacres of 1940 - the Kremlin’s most direct and unambiguous statement so far.
“Stalin and the people who worked under his direction, leaders of the then Soviet Union, carried out the crime. This is obvious,” he said.
Polish politicians have welcomed what they see as a new eagerness to bury the past and improve relations between the two countries. “It seems that this new awareness [of the feelings of Poles] shows a rapid transformation before our eyes,” said Robert Tyszkiewicz of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.
“The Russian authorities are now under pressure from the Russian public, which wants to know the truth about Katyn. […] I think that Medvedev feels that the denial of the truth about Katyn is no longer possible,” he added.
In an expression of sympathy with Poland, Russians have been sending in email and letters, mourning the deaths of the 96 on board the TU 154, reports the Ria Novosti news agency.
Alexander Szornikow from Kaliningrad, close to the border with Poland, wrote: "Passing on sincere condolences to the Polish nation, our neighbours and partners at work and a country that we know and like. In this difficult time we are with you." (
A WW2 victory parade in Moscow was attended by Polish soldiers for the first time. Earlier, Russians hadn`t invited Poles.
Russians and other nations of ex-Soviet Union
After them, Poles
Then, the Biritish
There were also French troops which was unfair because the French cooperated with Hitler and even fought against Americans and British in Africa. Only General de Gaulle and a few French units were on allied side. Shame!
Polish troops at VE Day celebrations, Moscow 09.05.2010 11:45
For the first time ever, Poland’s armed forces have joined those from the US, UK, France and Russia, in Red Square parades to mark Victory in Europe Day in Moscow.
Beginning at 08.00 CET, 159 units from 14 countries, 70 aircraft and helicopters and 11,500 troops paraded in commemoration of victory over Nazi forces in one of the most important holidays in the Russian calendar.
Leading the Polish delegation watching the parade marking the 65th anniversary was acting president Bronislaw Komorowski and war veteran and former head of communist Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski. They were joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, representative of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao, the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and others.
“The lesson of WW II is that […] only together can we meet today‘s challenges,” said Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
Though a historic occasion, Professor Wojciech Roszkowski told Polish Radio that VE Day anniversary is a complicated one from a Polish perspective, commemorating both the end of Nazi tyranny but also the beginning of repression by the Soviets.
"To us, this is a double event: of enslavement and liberation, with Russians celebrating triumph, but a triumph at our expense. Therefore, a person representing Poland in the parade must be aware of the duality of this event," Professor Roszkowski said.