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The Warsaw Voice » Society » February 27, 2015
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From the Editor
February 27, 2015   
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Relations between Poland and Russia have see-sawed over the years. When the Cold War ended, Gorbachev and Yeltsin gave people hope of normalized relations with Poland’s giant neighbor to the east. Over the years Poland has patched up its relations with Germany—today these are far better than anyone would have expected a few decades ago—so why shouldn’t we do the same with Russia?

NATO and EU membership strengthened Poland, and we followed our allies in “resetting” relations with Russia. Such was the policy of Poland’s liberal government at the time, while the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) opposition party took the opposite line. This is the sorry logic of competition between political parties.

Under Vladimir Putin, we are seeing an all-too-familiar nationalist Russia revealing itself, bristling with imperial ambition. This has culminated in the aggression against Ukraine. The hybrid war, the annexation of Crimea and the developments in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions suddenly take us back to the old imperialistic era, and the free world is facing the crucial question: can we stand up against military force without resorting to force ourselves? The question is vitally important because global stability and security depend on it. Confronted with Russia’s escalating political and military aggression, Poland’s relations with that country have changed. Warsaw’s efforts to support a free and democratic Ukraine, crucial for Poland’s national interest and security, have put us on a collision course with Moscow’s policies. The clouds gathering over Polish-Russian relations are getting darker, so dark we are on the brink of a new cold war. The future of our mutual relations will without a doubt depend on what happens in Ukraine next and on how Russia gets along with the West as a whole.

The situation has also exposed the logic of Polish party politics at its most absurd. The very people who previously alleged the government was subservient to Moscow are now criticizing the government for contesting Moscow’s policies too ostentatiously.
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