WARSAW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) — Poland seeks to develop relations with Russia further, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski sad at the President's Palace on Wednesday evening during a meeting with the diplomatic corps.
“Poland has made efforts for normalizing relations and reconciliation with Russia,” he said. “We have seen and continue to see in this our contribution to the rapprochement of the peoples of Europe.” “My meeting with President Medvedev in December 2010 gave a chance to advance in this process. I believe that continued strong commitment of the parties to hold the dialogue, rapprochement between Europe and Russia is possible,” said Komorowski, adding that both within the framework of the EU policy and regarding the bilateral relations Poland “is interested in developing cooperation.”
Referring to relations with other countries east of the republic’s borders, the president pledged that Poland will continue to call for Europe’s openness to the neighbours. “The EU must remain open to its neighbours with the prospect for gradual enlargement,”- he stressed.
“We hope for quick progress in Ukraine’s rapprochement with the European Union and are confident that the barriers that complicate the signing of the already agreed upon Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU will disappear,” Komorowski said.
“As neighbours we are concerned over blocking the democratic and European aspirations of the Belarusian people,” he said. “We believe that in this country freedom will be refunded to those who were deprived of it for political reasons.”
In conclusion, Komorowski called for the preservation of family, allied relations with the United States, expansion of contacts with other countries outside the EU, in particular, China, and the continuation of active work of the country within various international organizations.
Poland–Russia relations have a long history, dating to the late Middle Ages, when the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Muscovy struggled over control of their borderlands. Over centuries, there have been several Polish-Russian wars, with Russians controlling much of Poland in the 19th century as well as in the 20th century. Polish-Russian relations have entered a new phase since the fall of communism in both countries around 1989-1993. Since then Polish-Russian relations have seen both improvement and deterioration, depending on various factors.
Modern Polish-Russian relations begin with the fall of communism –1989 in Poland (Solidarity and the Polish Round Table Agreement) and 1991 in Russia (dissolution of the Soviet Union). With a new democratic government after the 1989 elections, Poland regained full sovereignty, and what was the USSR became 15 newly independent states, including the Russian Federation.
Relations between modern Poland and Russia suffer from constant ups and downs. Among the constantly revisited issues is the fact that Poland is moving away from the Russian sphere of influence (joining NATO and the European Union) and pursuing an independent politic, including establishing a significant relations with post-Soviet states; for example, Polish support for the pro-democratic Orange Revolution in 2004 in Ukraine has resulted in a temporary crisis in the Polish-Russian relations. Occasionally, relations will worsen due to remembrance of uneasy historical events and anniversaries, such as when Polish politicians bring up the issue of Russia apologizing for the Katyn massacre.
In 2009, there had been controversy over the Russian government and state media publishing claims that Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan and the Second Polish Republic had allied or intended to ally against the Soviet Union before the Second World War. These claims were denounced by Polish politicians and diplomats as an attempt at historical revision.
Poland–Russia relations saw a dramatic worsening in the middle of the 2008 South Ossetia war·. Poland had taken a leading role in the international community’s response on the side of Georgia and against Russia. A bilateral agreement between Poland and the United States was announced which would allow the US to install and operate an interceptor missile defence shield, a move which Russia sees explicitly targeting it, prompting Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to state that it made Poland “a legitimate military target.”
The BBC reported that one of the main effects of the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash would be the impact it has on Russian-Polish relations. It is thought if the inquiry into the crash is not transparent, it will increase suspicions toward Russia in Poland.
The Wall Street Journal states that the result of the joint declaration by the Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk on Katyn on the verge of the crash, and the aftermath Russia’s response has united the two nations, and presents a unique opportunity for a fresh start, ending centuries long rivalry.