Polish-Russian Relations in an Eastern Dimension Context

Authors:

  • Unge Wilhelm
  • Zamarlik Monika
  • Maczka Marcin
  • Fudala Piotr
  • Tobiczyk Mateusz
  • Wojcieszak Lukasz

Publish date: 2006-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--2008--SE

Pages: 107

Written in: English

Abstract

Poland´s relations with Russia have to be analyzed in a European and geopolitical context. During its whole existence Poland´s security policy has been dimensioned by its geographical location between Russia and Germany. Poland´s NATO and EU membership are the most important events in Poland´s history ever. Only constructive engagement with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine can create lasting security for Poland in the East. However, the foundation for good and lasting Polish-Russian relations is the independence of the historically contested lands in between (Belarus and Ukraine). Bilaterally, Polish-Russian relations are asymmetrical and Warsaw can only exert its regional leadership and substantial leverage by working via Brussels (and NATO). However, not all EU and NATO partners are willing to endanger their relations with Russia for the sake of Poland (or Belarus or Ukraine). The relations are further burdened by history and other areas of mutual contacts are highly politicized. A recondciliation process is still badly needed. Cultural relations are the least problematic and could serve as a foundation for improved relations, as could trade, which, however, is highly asymmetrical in volume and structure. Poland´s energy dependence on Russia is heatledy debated and Poland´s energy strategy 2025 foresees a multifaceted approach including the development of nuclear power. Despite its ambition regional Polish-Russian cooperation within the Euroregion Baltic is very unlikely to improve relations on the state level. The politics of the new Polish government (2005) is counter-productive to realizing its goals of a common EU Eastern policy and energy policy. Whereas Russia under Putin is consolidating its society, strengthening its economy and position on the international arena, Poland is doing more or less the opposite; with the effect that Poland´s chances of playing the role of regional leader diminish.