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Friday, March 23, 2018

Tadeusz Iwinski: Poland easier to come to terms with Russia than with Ukraine

“History divides us. We are concerned about the cult of Bandera, the OUN-UPA. It was one of the reasons why Mr Komorowski two years ago, lost the presidential election. Many people still argue the question, was or was not genocide committed on the territory of Volyn”, – said the newspaper VIEW, the Polish political scientist Tadeusz Iwinski, commenting on the campaign of Ukrainian nationalists, who hung out a portrait of Bandera at the Polish Embassy in Kiev.

Polish-Ukrainian relations experienced on the eve of another scandal. Activists of the “Black Committee” in Kiev posted on the fence of the Embassy of Poland, the portrait of Stepan Bandera. Using Facebook, activists said that the answer to “openly anti-Ukrainian statements of top officials of Poland.” Earlier, the President Andrzej Duda and head of the ruling party “law and justice” Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the categorical form has demanded from Ukraine to give up the glorification of Bandera and UPA*.

“Poland has for several years served as the main support of Ukraine in the European Union. And now our role has been reduced and the place occupied Germany”

In a statement, “the coordinator of the “Black Committee” Bogdan Tytsky attacks Warsaw leaders called the “stab in the back” Ukraine, which “in heavy fighting pulled out from under the influence of the Russian Empire.” Reproach Warsaw set and the glorification of such public figures, “in particular Pilsudski”, who conducted “openly anti-Ukrainian policy”.

Earlier, Kaczynski said bluntly that “Bandera” Ukrainians “in Europe will not work”, that the attitude towards Ukraine will depend on the interpretation of Kiev the role of the UPA who committed “horrific crimes against the poles.” At the same time Kiev from Bandera to give in no hurry.

How strong is today the contradictions in the triangle of Kiev – Warsaw – Moscow, the VZGLYAD newspaper said the former Chairman of the international Committee of the Sejm, Professor of political science at Olsztyn University social Democrat Tadeusz Iwinski.

VIEW: Mr. Iwinski, recently your Moravicki Minister of Finance announced that Poland has had more than 1.3 million refugees from Ukraine. This number corresponds to reality?

Tadeusz Iwinski: Without a doubt, more than a million Ukrainians often come and go. We don’t need a visa, coming to Ukraine, but Ukrainians are obliged to have our visa. But refugees are a completely different category. And the Ukrainians come to Poland to work. We do not have enough manpower. In recent years, 2.5 million poles left for the West. It is believed that at least 950 of thousands of poles working in the UK. Here in place of the poles and come first of all Ukrainians.

Xenophobia towards Ukrainians there. By the way, in Poland there is an interesting group of 30 thousand Vietnamese. For several years they are very well integrated. Nobody has anything against them. And the poles and Ukrainians even more in common than poles and Russians. Ukrainians have a reputation as a hard worker. Unfortunately, the elements of xenophobia in Poland is. Primarily against Muslims.

OPINION: Activists, calling themselves representatives of the organization “Black Board”, hung a portrait of Stepan Bandera on the fence of the Polish Embassy in Kiev. Recently, Moskovsky prospect Kiev was renamed in Bandera Avenue. Many in Russia Angers the cult of the OUN-UPA. But ordinary poles concerned with this aspect of Ukrainian politics?

T. I.: This is a serious problem. History divides us. We are concerned about the cult of Bandera, the OUN-UPA… It was one of the reasons why Mr Komorowski two years ago, lost the presidential election. The last foreign visit in the rank of head of state he made in Kiev. Spoke a good speech in Parliament that Poland should achieve historical reconciliation with Ukraine, Germany and Russia. Poland once was the first to recognize the independence of Ukraine. However, in the same day after the speech, Komorowski, the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the law on that if someone criticizes the shape and activities of Bandera, he should be punished. Komorowski did not respond. But many still argue the question, was or was not genocide committed on the territory of Volyn.

This story sets us apart. There is a good French proverb: to understand is to forgive. But while Poland has reconciled with Germany only. As regards reconciliation with Ukraine and Russia is much more complicated. In my opinion, Poland is easier to come to terms with Russia than with Ukraine.

OPINION: Can we say that the Polish and the Ukrainian government brings only hostility to Russia?

T. I.: I wouldn’t say that. Yes, the relationship of Poland and Ukraine now, so to speak, “bitter” for various reasons. History is only the first reason. Second – Poland for several years served as the main support of Ukraine in the European Union. And now our role has been reduced and the place occupied Germany. It turned out that Normandy format does not cover Poland.

Inside the EU, Poland is often required to maintain anti-Russian sanctions until the Crimea is returned to Ukraine and Minsk agreements are implemented. It brings Kiev and Warsaw. But I would not say that this is the main reason for cooperation. No. We have a large common border, long-standing historical ties. Here the same problem of migration. So we have a lot in common!

OPINION: grow Stronger in Poland votes in favor of lifting sanctions?

T. I.: This is in Slovakia, where talking about this at the government level, or in France, where it say Francois Fillon, and the national front, in Poland there is no. But more people in Poland come to the conclusion that almost anywhere in the world sanctions have not led to the solution of problems… Personally I was against the decision of Warsaw to freeze visa-free border traffic with the Kaliningrad region. It was an absolute political mistake. But now even trump said that while Russia will not return Crimea, the sanctions will remain. The European Union has extended sanctions for six months, and then, well, hard to say. Now everything will depend on the election results in Holland, France and Germany.

OPINION: Poland has greatly increased in recent years, military spending. In Warsaw are seriously afraid of a Russian attack?

T. I.: well, there Probably is such a reason. But, by the way, trump has always stressed that it is necessary to increase the percentage of defense spending. And there’s only five NATO countries, where more than two percent of GDP is spent on defense. Among them USA, UK, Greece, Estonia and Poland. Already there are calls to raise this figure to three percent. I think there are problems with pensioners, with an increase in the minimum wage. We need to spend more budget money on health.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”


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