Happy birthday Vladimir Vladimirowicz!

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For generations Poles have been wary of their big neighbour, while Russia has for long regarded Poland as a dangerously unreliable and a stepping stone for other nations who have ambitions to raid its lands and national resources. However, the old East vs. West paradigm is dangerously out-of date when it comes to making sense of the new world order. Today, America, China and Russia are battling for control of the world’s natural resources, while the international banking elite determines whether they play chess or Russian roulette. New circumstances demand new analyses and new alliances.

Hundreds of thousands of Poles perished in the Russian Gulag and tens of thousand were the victims of the Stalinist repressions. For their families the Russian bear will always be a dangerous neighbour to be kept at arms length. Millions of Poles died resisting the German invader, or perished in the Nazi concentration camps, or were killed fighting alongside the Allies. For their families the sacrifice of their loved ones will always be tainted by a sense of betrayal, when Churchill and Roosevelt handed over half of Poland to Stalin as a gift and consigned half of Europe to the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. In the final analysis neither Russia, nor the West, proved to be a good neighbour to Poland.

Given the lessons of history, it seems obvious that Poland should be maintaining good pragmatic relationships with both sides, entering into deals that are of mutual benefit with one neighbour, but doing nothing that would lock-out cooperation with the other. Seen from this perspective, the decision to provide the USA with a bit of Polish territory on an extra-territorial basis ostensibly for a ‘missile shield’ was a dangerous step which gained Poland no benefits and just confirmed Russia’s worst fears about its junior neighbour.

Thankfully, the missile shield is no more, no thanks to Polish diplomacy, but the result of a three way deal struck between Israel, the USA and Russia regarding the withholding of long-range missiles that Russia was actually in course of shipping to Iran. A welcome thaw in Polish-Russian relations seemed on the cards when Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation from Polish prime minister Donald Tusk to attend the commemoration of 70th anniversary of the start of WWII in Gdansk. Putin went further than any Russian leader before him in apologising the Russia’s actions in the years leading up to the war.

Therefore, one must admit that all the attempts to appease the Nazis undertaken between 1934 and 1939 by striking various agreements and pacts with them are inadmissible from the moral point of view and from the practical, political point of view are senseless, detrimental and dangerous. Therefore, one must admit that all the attempts to appease the Nazis undertaken between 1934 and 1939 by striking various agreements and pacts with them are inadmissible from the moral point of view and from the practical, political point of view are senseless, detrimental and dangerous.

In a clear sign that Putin wanted to discuss practical co-operation with the Poles he brought with him his Minister of Transport. But Poles had hoped that President Barack Obama, would attend ceremonies and were upset that the USA had only sent a junior delegation lead by National Security Adviser James Jones. Sadly the opportunity to do ‘business with Putin’ was missed, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, playing to a domestic audience, reminded Putin, On Sept. 17 … Poland received a stab in the back… This blow came from Bolshevik Russia. Given that Kaczynski had decided to use the opportunity to remind the world of some painful history, it is a little strange that he omitted to say that Poland received two more stabs in the back – this time from its allies – at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

In the end the Russian delegation went home without progressing any new Polish-Russian investment projects. Shortly afterwards, the Russian media began to publicise the ongoing project to construct a new broad gauge line from Moscow to Vienna, through the Ukraine and Slovakia. The line would bypass Poland and its own East-West Russian gauge line the LHS.

Today is Vladimir Vladimirowicz Putin’s 57th birthday. We would like to use the occasion to wish the president a Happy Birthday!

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