Ukraine - Poland. Reset?
In Ukrainian-Polish relations, there is a clear need of reset. But before it happens, the Polish establishment must spare of its colonial values
On November 11, Poland celebrates the most important national holiday - Independence Day. On this day in 1918, the Polish state revived on the ruins of three empires. 125 years before, Poland was divided between the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. The state that reappeared on the European map immediately declared the great imperial ambitions. As a result, conflicts flared up around the perimeter of "the Polish area." During the period of 1918 - 1920, the Poles had to fight with the Ukrainians, Czechs, Silesian Germans, Lithuanians, and the Red Army. The cause of these conflicts was the Polish expansion to the "disputed" territories. Poles quickly forgot that they had been the largest "divided" nation in Europe for more than a century. Striving to recreate the "Greater Poland," they refused to understand and comprehend the national feelings of the Ukrainians and Belarusians. The holiday was celebrated in Poland from 1918 to 1939 (The Second Rzeczpospolita [Rebublic]), and renewed on November 11, 1989 (The Third Rzeczpospolita - the modern Polish state) after the fall of the socialist system.
In New Poland during the 1990s, there was a range of successful economic reforms. For example, in terms of GDP ($546.6 billion) it is the 7th country in Europe, the foreign debt is "comfortable" 45.6% of GDP. Economic success revived expansionist Intermarium doctrine - a strategy of dominance in the region between the Baltic and Black seas.
What is Ukraine for Poland? This question should be considered through the prism of Russian-Polish relations. A large part of Polish society, the intelligentsia and the elite suffer painful reflections about their historical past. If this is translated into simple categories, Russia first rob them from Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, and later divided and abolished the Polish state itself. Some regions of Ukraine are still part of a "Greater Poland" in the minds of the Polish conservative-nationalist elites. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is typical for the Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna. I quote from his interview given in November 2014: "To talk about Ukraine without Poland - it's like that talking about Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco without Italy, France, and Spain respectively."
On October 25, 2015, elections to the Sejm took place, the party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski "Law and Justice" received the absolute majority of parliamentary seats. Its representatives recently publicly stated about territorial claims to Ukraine. For example, Jan Zharin, historian and senator from the "PiS", said in his interview: "The Ukrainian people are not capable of self-consciousness without the aid of the Poles. After all, the Ukrainians have to admit guilt for Volyn Massacre and recognize this tragedy as an act of genocide against the Polish people"; "There is no Polish people without Lviv - the city which has always been loyal to Poland. Today it is obvious"; "Personally, I am a supporter of the Intermarium doctrine through the Baltic-Black Sea-Adriatic region, but if we (Poles) are currently looking for strong allies, we must pay attention to those countries that are willing to put up with the historical truth, and not seek to erase the Second Rzeczpospolita from our hearts." I draw the reader's attention, this is the statement of the authoritative Polish historian. For many years, in the official "foreign policy rhetoric", Poland has positioned itself as an advocate of Ukraine in Europe. The term "advocate" very clearly shows the Polish perception of Ukraine as "the accused" in these relations.
One of the tools of expansion is "Karta Polaka" ["A Pole’s Card"] - a document confirming that the owner belongs to the Polish people, has certain privileges and rights in Poland. Formally, the purpose of introducing it is the support for relative, ethnic, and linguistic values of the Polish nation and involvement of culturally close migrant workers to the country. It should be noted, only the citizens of the former Soviet republics can get "Pole’s Card", granting it for residents of Western countries is not available. In Ukraine, according to the 2001 census, there were 144,000 Poles - about 0.3% of the total population. Offer to get "Polish Card" in the conditions of economic crisis and political instability provokes Polish consciousness among many of those who called themselves Ukrainians during the census. It is important to take into account that, according to unofficial data, the country can accommodate from 900 thousand up to 3 million Poles (that amount is a significant potential for the emergence of irredentism).
In Ukraine operates the Polish Embassy and six diplomatic consulates, employing excess staff of diplomats. As a rule, under the roof of diplomacy, a significant number of intelligence and special services personnel is working. Polish intelligence activities during the years of Ukrainian independence have always been in the field of our counterintelligence (here are some examples: in the 2000s, Ukrainian special services detained the Military Forces senior officer and his wife spying for Poland, exposed counterintelligence officer recruited by the Polish secret service). Throughout this year, there were reports in the Internet with copies of the Security Service's of Ukraine internal documents (the accuracy of them is not confirmed), in which the chief of SSU in the Lviv region reported to the "Center" on the rising activity of the Polish consulate in Lviv regarding the local ethnic Poles.
In relations between Ukraine and Poland, there is a need for reset. But before it happens, the Polish establishment must spare of its colonial values.
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