Main Problems in Polish-Russian Relations
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2018-09-30
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(3):9-34
Contemporary relations between the Republic of Poland and the Russian Federation have been shaped under the overwhelming influence of historical experiences. Poland utilizes primarily its negative experiences, memory of bloody wars, persecution of Poles during the partitions, Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920, armed attack of the USSR in September 1939 and repressions against the population of the occupied Eastern Borderlands, particularly the Katyń massacre, limitation of sovereignty in years 1945–1989. The above constitutes choosing from the collective memory only the martyrdom and heroic history of the Polish nation. Polish-Russian relations after 1989 were dominated by the disputes over history. The other fundamental disputable issue between Poland and Russia are different visions of European security; Poland, after joining the West, advocates basing the international security in Europe on US participation, enlargement of NATO and the European Union to the East, however, excluding Russia. On the other hand, Russia is demanding conclusion of a collective security agreement in Europe and, in the situation when the West rejects it, it prefers a superpower’s balance policy. The third major dispute between Poland and Russia is the issue of energy security, which Poland wants to ensure by liquidating the Russian monopoly as a supplier of energy resources. The author draws pessimistic conclusions from the analysis of the old and new problems in Polish-Russian relations, pointing to the lack of an unambiguous perspective for improving these relations in the future. He argues that these problems adversely affect the ability to pursue Polish interests in relations with other countries, including its allies and partners from the European Union.
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