Poland Wants to Shape Different Format of Relationship with Russia
Valéry VRUBLEVSKY | 01.07.2015 | WORLD

Poland Wants to Shape Different Format of Relationship with Russia

Ukrainian ambassador to Poland and the former Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Deshitsa, said the Minsk agreements have failed to live up to expectations and will be abandoned soon. The West will need a new format of relations with Russia.

According to him, the United States and G7 should play a visible role in a coalition created to deter Russia and make the dialogue more effective. Poland is the country to make an important contribution into the process.

The ambassador is sure that it would not be proper to say that Europe faces the return of Cold War. There is a hot war that keeps on raging in Ukraine. Deshitsa believes that the Minsk agreements will be breached and combat actions will start again. He said the Crimea is «almost forgotten». According to him, the problem of Crimea is too complicated to be solved soon but it should be tackled on the basis of international law. According to the ambassador, Poland has an important role to play uniting the West on the issue of Ukraine and continuing the policy of collective pressure and sanctions.

All these remarks were made at the New Cold War in Europe? conference held on June 25 in Warsaw to address the role of Poland in the context of European security against the background of Ukraine’s crisis. Polish politicians and representatives of Poland in the EU structures took an active part in the work of the conference along with non-government organizations like «Fundacja Dyplomacja i Polityka» and «New Direction» (organizers), as well as German Marshall Fund, «Osrodek Analiz Strategicznych», «Osrodek Studiow Wschodnich», «Studium Europy Wschodniej» and other think tanks and organizations – all of them defending US and Polish interests in an effort to create a Washington-supported Polish zone of influence in the post-Soviet space.

Krzysztof Szczerski, an MP and President-elect Andrzej Duda’s advisor on international affairs, spoke right after the Ukraine’s ambassador. The very fact of his presence testifies to the intent of Polish government to expand its role in European decision making process. To reach its goal Poland is ready to torpedo the fulfilment of Minsk agreements with the help of Deshitsa and the likes and even deliver ultimatums to Berlin. It’s worth to note that the President-elect Andrzej Duda told Germany that he wanted Poland to become a party to the talks on Ukraine. 

According to Krzysztof Szczerski, Angela Merkel said she would always land in Warsaw for consultations on her way to Moscow. That’s what Poland wants the Polish-German dialogue to be like with Berlin taking into consideration the position of Polish government. Berlin has confirmed its readiness to treat Warsaw as a partner. It all goes to show that history repeats itself and Deshitsa and the likes of him never learn lessons. Vincent Severski, a now retired Polish counter-intelligence officer, writes in his book called Illegals that Poland looks back at history to shape its current eastern policy.

It’s not the first time a Poland-Germany rapprochement at the expense of Ukraine is taking place. Around 650 years ago Casimir III the Great (1333 to 1370), the last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty, promised to be friendly towards the German neighbors. In 1335, in the Treaty of Trentschin, Casimir relinquished «in perpetuity» his claims to Silesia to make it become part of the Bohemian kingdom. Polish Pomerania, as well as some other Polish lands, became German during his reign (Russia made those territories returned to Poland in 1945, more than 600 years after the country lost them). In return Germans gave Poles a carte blanche to seize the lands that nowadays make part of contemporary Ukraine. Poland went to the east. It also supported German colonization. Those days Lviv became Lemberg (captured by the Kingdom of Poland in 1339 and turning into regional capital of the Ruthenian Voivodeship, and later the Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, then known as Lemberg). 

The process of Europeanisation of former Kievan Rus started with the seizure of the principality of Galicia–Volhynia. It was a state in the regions of Galicia and Volhynia of present day Ukraine that was formed after the conquest of Galicia by the Prince of Volhynia Roman the Great with the help of Leszek the White of Poland. Roman the Great united the principalities of Halych (Galicia) and Volhynia into a state that existed from 1199 to 1349. Along with Novgorod and Vladimir-Suzdal, it was one of the three most important powers to emerge from the collapse of Kievan Rus. 

Centuries passed till the Volyn (Volhynia) massacre occurred there. Many thousands of Poles perished, including women and children, under the pretext of the need to counter the threat from the east. The conquest of Galicia and Volyn was the beginning of Drang nach Osten - «thrust toward the East» or «drive toward the East, a term coined in the 19th century to designate German expansion into Slavic lands. These events were described in the books of Henryk Sienkiewicz and Nikolai Gogol. It took the predecessors of contemporary Ukrainians 300 years to stop it.

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