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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ukraine and Poland want to resurrect the anti-Russian geopolitical project


In Poland, revived the idea of “Intermarum” – a powerful anti-Russian bloc with its centre in Warsaw. In recent years, she even got a real content in the first place, military and gas, in addition, it began to lobby the country, previously afraid of “Intermarum” as a plague – Ukraine. Does it follow from this that the Polish dream have a chance someday to come true?

In recent years, Poland is clearly aspires to a dominant role in Eastern Europe. It is not only in the relatively successful economic development of a rather large country. The poles circling the head dreams about the past greatness of the Commonwealth – and many of them believe that it is time to return to glorious days. That is why it is actively discussing the project of “Intermarum”: hypothetical supranational enterprises of the actual Poland as well as Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Finland. To lead this Association means, of course, Warsaw.

The age-old dream

“We are talking about the beginning of the operation on connection of Ukraine to build gas pipeline network, which should improve the energy security of the Visegrad group”

The foundations of the idea of “Commonwealth 2.0” laid before the Second world war, one of the fathers of the current Polish state Jozef Pilsudski. He believed it necessary to create a huge Confederate States, which shall stretch from the Black sea and the Adriatic sea to the Baltic and would be a counterweight to the Soviet Union on the one hand and Germany on the other. Now something similar is built informally along the borders of the Russian Federation.

Poland and so connected by special relations with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia that are included with it in the so-called Visegrad four – the contrast to Western Europe within the EU (primarily on the issue of migration policy). But this proud lords considered insufficient. The current President of Poland Andrzej Duda even before taking office in August of 2015 I remembered about Intermarum, spoke in favor of “closer cooperation among the countries of the region – from the Baltic to the Adriatic and the black sea”. “These countries have a common experience that is associated with the second half of the XX century and today is often they experience common problems. I think it’s not only the security but also the economic situation,” he added.

However, the statements of the President were subjected to a double interpretation. As told the newspaper VIEW political analyst Stanislav Stremidlovsky, some Polish experts interpreted the words of Duda as a claim of Warsaw on the lead in a possible gas consortium from several countries, which stretched from Polish liquefied natural gas terminal in świnoujście to the Croatian island of Krk. “According to another interpretation, it is about the beginning of the operation on connection of Ukraine to build gas pipeline network, which should improve the energy security of the Visegrad group”. Adviser to the President on international Affairs Krzysztof Merski, in turn, is a longtime advocate of the project “Euro-Carpathians”, which should become the subject of a reference for Poland, but also Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Croatia – affecting both EU countries and accession”, – said Stremidlovsky.

“Yes, it can be war”

Poles hope that Washington and Brussels will support the project of Intermarum, if they manage to convince that this education will be to act as a “cordon Sanitaire” that separates Western Europe from “Russian aggression”. And until recently, the Polish gentry were able to impose their views on the regional situation – enough to provide quantitative indicators of the NATO forces, which the unit intends to place on a rotational basis in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria. This is 4.2 thousand troops and 250 armored vehicles: tanks, infantry fighting vehicles M2 Bradley and Paladin self-propelled howitzers (not counting an additional 1700 units of support equipment). Tactical data center forces will be in Warsaw.

Also worth mentioning is that in recent years, Poland has actively worked to create a joint Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian military brigade to participate “in peacekeeping operations and strengthening cooperation in the region.” For the first time this idea has arisen in 2007 and 17 Nov 2009 three countries had reached a specific agreement on this subject. Then it was assumed that the division will bring together 4500 soldiers and 1,5 thousand from each country (and the initiators do not exclude that subsequently the brigade can join soldiers from Belarus and Georgia). Recently this project reached the stage of actual realization.

Department that received “multiple” name LITPOLUKRBRIG (“Litpolukrbrig”), promise to use under the auspices of the UN and the EU, and its constituent parts are kept in places of their permanent deployment in Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, moving in obedience to the command of the brigade during exercises and missions. The headquarters brigade located in Lublin, there is already the Polish part of the command, consisting of fifty soldiers, which interact with several dozen officers from Ukraine and Lithuania. As expected, full ready brigade (in the final version it is provided that from Poland in its composition will include about two thousand troops from Ukraine – 545, from Lithuania – 350) will reach two years. It will be the Marines support team and repair, artillery, engineers and sappers, a platoon of radiation, chemical and biological protection, as well as other parts. Is expected prior to 2017, the brigade headquarters should be prepared for the assessment and certification exercise Common Challenge (the”General call”).

Participation of Kiev in the LITPOLUKRBRIG is not accidental. The concept of Intermarum has its followers in Ukraine, and even Belarus (as you may guess, among the Pro-Western opposition). They primarily emphasize the anti-Russian nature of this education, saying that “Intermarum will put a limit to the Imperial ambitions of Moscow”, “put an end to Russia” and “cut off from the EU market.” Here’s an example: “the more Russia will resist the emergence of Intermarum, the more chances he will have to take place. And the likelihood that due to the Intermarium Russia will disintegrate into several independent free powers that will forever bury its Imperial ambitions, suggests that the game is worth the candle.”

Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikov believes that the realization of Intermarum plan could help the former Soviet republics, which are unable to enter the EU, protecting them from the “expansionism” of Russia. But first, of course, need to overthrow “the dictatorial regime of Lukashenka”. This opinion he has expressed in September at the meeting in Warsaw of the OSCE conference. The program of the event, among other things, included the discussion “the Geopolitical situation in the Intermarum (Intermarium) and its impact on human rights in Belarus”. In its course, the former Minister of defence of Poland Romuald Sheremet’ev said: “the Concept of Intermarum is trying to build a space that will be strong enough. Because none of the people here is, has no potential to withstand the threats now come from Russia. Intermarum countries should act together to prevent changes to the international order. Because it could end badly. Yes, maybe the war…”.

The dough for pie

Stanislav Stremidlovsky quoted by the Polish Onet online reported that Kiev he tried to interest Warsaw the idea of Intermarum as a means of resolving the Ukrainian crisis. “Well, recent – of the Union “from sea to sea” in the Ukrainian newspaper “Mirror of week” said the German political scientist Andreas Umland’s article, “the Pact of Eastern Europe and Turkey against Russian neo-imperialism”. He took the concept of Intermarum, but the emphasis is on the military component. All of these interpretations of old ideas Pilsudski yet have one thing in common – they are practically unrealizable, since the “vertical axis”, the backbone of Intermarum, is extremely unstable and fragile. What should unite all these States, from the Black sea to the Baltic? Fear of Russia? Maybe he is present on the flanks (if we are talking about Poland and the Baltic States), but in the middle of the axis it is not. Therefore, to treat the project of Intermarum as something serious is quite difficult. This is a beautiful image, the dough for the pie is made with no stuffing”, – the expert believes.

In Russia there is an opinion that from-for plans of the Intermarium there is no need to worry because even if it comes to his incarnation, that is exhausted Poland. “In the case of the establishment of any enterprises of Ukraine and Poland in the latter will swing once several million Ukrainian workers. Among which will be many-armed “ATO veterans” from torn roofs, accustomed to unpunished violence. Poland need it? Poland will have to look for resources to align the standards of living in the new regions to srednevoljskogo (to reduce the flow of migrants). She is simply no such resources. And even if it were, then why do they spend, rather than developing their own regions?” – emphasizes the scientist Alexander Rogers.

In any case, now in the plans of the Polish elite intervened a powerful new factor, the long-term effect of which no one yet can not predict. His name is Donald trump. Stremidlovsky notes: “Warsaw while eyeing how Donald trump will build his administration, who would oversee foreign policy and what will be the role of Congress in this process. The Polish authorities caution in commenting on the results of the elections in the United States. The only who expressed the opinion that victory trump will make the Polish-American relations even better, was the Minister of defence Antony, Macierewicz. However, it is unclear what the basis of such optimism of the head of national defense.”

The expert pays attention that the Minister of foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski limited only hope that in the dialogue between Warsaw and Washington, nothing will change. “But interestingly, the emphasis in his comments Waszczykowski made to the decisions of the July NATO summit, according to which in Poland to 2017 will be located additional parts of the armed forces of the United States. It speaks to some concerns of the foreign Ministry on this issue. There are radical opinions, for example, some experts scared about the possibility of U.S. withdrawal from the region of Poland – the Baltic, from which the conclusions that Warsaw should urgently restore European unity and go to restore relations with Berlin and Paris. On the specific configuration of the Polish-American relationship, in my opinion, still too early to say. However, I want to remind you that during the “reset”, “overload”, which was during the presidential term of Dmitry Medvedev, the dialogue between the administrations in Moscow and Washington, Russian-Polish relations showed a warming trend. So we cannot exclude that after the visit of US President Donald trump to Russia after him to Moscow will be pulled, and guests from Poland”. And this will make the idea of Intermarum is even more elusive.

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