Poland ready for 'solid' relations with Russia - January, 2011

Brothers separated by circumstances of history are beginning to reach out to each other. Russian Federation President Demitry Medvedev was again in Poland recently. Historically tense and at times violent, recent relations between Poland and Russia could not be warmer. This warming of relations is due in part to the rational realizations in Poland that unlike a distant Washington, the Russian Federation is the massive superpower at their very doorstep, and it is also due in part to Europe's growing energy dependence. Simply put, Europe needs Russia more than Russia needs Europe. Whatever the reasons may be, however, Moscow is certainly wasting no time in exploiting them. Although there will be many attempts to undermine it, relations between Moscow and one of Europe's most pivotal nations is on a fast pace to normalcy.

I have also posted two Wikileaks related articles from Britain's The Guardian. The articles in question more-or-less reveals that a post-Soviet Moscow was being expected by the West to drastically reduce the number of its forces stationed in Eastern Europe - as NATO was actually increasing its ability to wage war against Russia under the pretext of protecting Poland and Baltic states from an imaginary Russian aggression.

Arevordi
January, 2011

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Poland ready for 'solid' relations with Russia - Tusk



Mending Fences: Medvedev in Poland puts past, recent tragedies to rest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_M9tYWtIjg&feature=player_embedded

Medvedev on Kaczynski plane crash, Katyn crime and 2012 vote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knsAGAtGqVE&feature=related

Warsaw values the initiatives proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday on the development of Russian-Polish relations, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. "This is an ideal moment to speak openly about concrete issues," Tusk told Medvedev, who is on an official visit to Warsaw. "We accept and highly value your initiatives and are ready for an open, and if necessary, solid, but still friendly relationship and dialogue." "We are very grateful for your willingness for open dialogue," Tusk added. "I hope that we will continue to share common economic interests."

Medvedev and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski signed a number of agreements in Warsaw on Monday, including a declaration of cooperation in economic modernization. The two sides agreed to cooperate in the research and development of innovative and environmentally-friendly technologies and recognized that Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will promote cooperation between Russia and the EU. Medvedev called his visit to Poland a "significant milestone in the history of Russian-Polish relations" and said Russia and Poland should strive to overcome the most complicated aspects of their bilateral relations.

Ties between Russia and Poland, which were hampered for decades over a range of historical disputes, have been slowly improving since the two sides were drawn together in grief after the April 10 plane crash in western Russia that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Russia's lower house of parliament recognized in late November the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish officers as a crime committed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's regime. Poland welcomed the move.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/world/20101206/161657262.html

Russia, Poland reach turning point in relations - Medvedev



Russian and Poland are ready to breach discussion of the most difficult aspects of their shared history, President Dmitry Medvedev said during his visit to Warsaw on Monday. Russia and Poland have begun to listen to each other and we are ready "to discuss the most challenging and difficult aspects" of our shared history, the president said, adding that the spirit of their relations had changed. "Society has raised the signal for the states to be friends, for people to listen to each other, to remember their history, but also to look into the future instead of remaining under the influence of stereotypes," Medvedev said.

Medvedev and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski signed a number of agreements in Warsaw on Monday, including a declaration of cooperation in economic modernization. The two sides agreed to cooperate in the research and development of innovative and environmentally-friendly technologies and recognized that Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will promote cooperation between Russia and the EU. Medvedev called his visit to Poland a "significant milestone in the history of Russian-Polish relations" and said Russia and Poland should strive to overcome the most complicated aspects of their bilateral relations.

Ties between Russia and Poland, which were hampered for decades over a range of historical disputes, have been slowly improving since the two sides were drawn together in grief after the April 10 plane crash in western Russia that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Russia's lower house of parliament recognized in late November the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish officers as a crime committed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's regime. Poland welcomed the move.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20101206/161656315.html


Related news:


WikiLeaks' Nato revelations cause 'bewilderment' in Russia

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/12/7/1291728640418/Medvedev-in-Warsaw-006.jpg

Russian foreign ministry said today it was "bewildered" by revelations that the Nato military alliance had drawn up secret contingency plans for the defence of eastern Europe from Russian military aggression. Classified US diplomatic cables show that nine Nato divisions – US, British, German and Polish – have been identified for combat operations in the event of an attack on Poland or the three Baltic states. A source in Russia's foreign ministry said the information disclosed by WikiLeaks and detailed in the Guardian caused "a lot of questions and bewilderment with us".

The Nato-Russia summit in Lisbon last month had adopted a statement that "clearly says the security of Nato countries and Russia is intertwined, and the NRC [Nato Russia Council] member states will refrain from any use or threat of the use of force against each other," the source told Interfax. "Russia has repeatedly raised the question about the need to ensure that there is no military planning aimed against one another," the source added. "Obvious facts" demonstrated that "Russia is not building up its military presence near the borders of the countries mentioned in the release, but on the contrary it is coherently reducing heavy weaponry in the Kaliningrad region," the source said. Kaliningrad is the exclave bordering Poland and Latvia where Russia's Baltic Fleet is based.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, has just completed a visit to Warsaw and is due in Brussels – where Nato is headquartered – for an EU-Russia summit today. His meetings in Poland had suggested a repairing of relations between Moscow and the former Soviet satellite, which could now be damaged. The two countries have clashed repeatedly over US plans for a missile defence shield in eastern Europe. Meanwhile, a leading Russian MP called for Nato to clarify its position. Leonid Slutsky, the deputy chairman of the state duma's international affairs committee, said that Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to Nato, should establish "whether such plans have really been secretly nurtured, or whether they represent the individual preference of one or other of the Nato states, without reflecting the collective position of the alliance".

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Rogozin urged Nato to reject the defence plan outlined in the secret cables, saying it would "provoke serious public resonance" in Russia. But Alexei Fenenko, a security expert in Moscow, said: "I don't see anything sensational in this news that Russia is seen as a potential military threat to the Nato states. "These cables were leaked now as a provocation designed to undermine the recent tendency toward co-operation between Nato and Russia, and the improved relations between Poland and Russia over the last six months."

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/wikileaks-nato-russia-bewilderment


WikiLeaks cables reveal secret Nato plans to defend Baltics from Russia

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Washington and its western allies have for the first time since the end of the cold war drawn up classified military plans to defend the most vulnerable parts of eastern Europe against Russian threats, according to confidential US diplomatic cables. The US state department ordered an information blackout when the decision was taken earlier this year. Since January the blueprint has been refined. Nine Nato divisions – US, British, German, and Polish – have been identified for combat operations in the event of armed aggression against Poland or the three Baltic states. North Polish and German ports have been listed for the receipt of naval assault forces and British and US warships. The first Nato exercises under the plan are to take place in the Baltic next year, according to informed sources.

Following years of transatlantic dispute over the new policy, Nato leaders are understood to have quietly endorsed the strategy at a summit in Lisbon last month. Despite President Barack Obama's policy of "resetting" relations with Russia, which was boosted at the Nato summit attended by Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, the state department fears that the major policy shift could trigger "unnecessary tensions" with Moscow. The decision to draft contingency plans for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was taken secretly earlier this year at the urging of the US and Germany at Nato headquarters in Belgium, ending years of division at the heart of the western alliance over how to view Vladimir Putin's Russia.

The decision, according to a secret cable signed by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, marks the start of a major revamp of Nato defence planning in Europe. The strategy has not been made public, in line with Nato's customary refusal to divulge details of its "contingency planning" – blueprints for the defence of a Nato member state by the alliance as a whole. These are believed to be held in safes at Nato's planning headquarters in Mons, Belgium. According to a secret cable from the US mission to Nato in Brussels, US admiral James Stavridis, the alliance's top commander in Europe, proposed drawing up defence plans for the former Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The policy was put to top military officials from Nato's 28 states. "On January 22 Nato's military committee agreed … under a silence procedure", the cable notes, referring to a decision carried by consensus unless someone speaks up to object. Attempts by Stavridis's predecessor, General John Craddock, to push through defence planning for the Baltic were stymied by German-led opposition in western Europe, anxious to avoid upsetting the Kremlin.The policy shift was decided by senior military officials rather than Nato's top decision-taking body, the North Atlantic Council, in order to avoid repeating the splits and disputes on the issue over the past five years. The plan entails grouping the Baltic states with Poland in a new regional defence scheme that has been worked on in recent months and is codenamed Eagle Guardian. In parallel negotiations with Warsaw the US has also offered to beef up Polish security against Russia by deploying special naval forces to the Baltic ports of Gdansk and Gdynia, putting squadrons of F-16 fighter aircraft in Poland and rotating C-130 Hercules transport planes into Poland from US bases in Germany, according to the diplomatic cables, almost always classified secret.

Earlier this year the US started rotating US army Patriot missiles into Poland in a move that Warsaw celebrates publicly as boosting Polish air defences and demonstrating American commitment to Poland's security. But the secret cables expose the Patriots' value as purely symbolic. The Patriot battery, deployed on a rotating basis at Morag in north-eastern Poland, 40 miles from the border with Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, is purely for training purposes, and is neither operational nor armed with missiles. At one point Poland's then deputy defence minister privately complained bitterly that the Americans may as well supply "potted plants'.

Since joining Nato in 2004, the three Baltic states have complained they are treated as second-class members because their pleas for detailed defence planning under Nato's "all for one and one for all" article 5 have been being ignored. Article 5 is the heart of Nato's founding treaty, stipulating that the alliance will come to the rescue of any member state attacked. The only time it has been invoked was following 9/11 when the European allies and Canada rallied to support America. The Poles and the Baltic states have long argued that rhetorical declarations of commitment to article 5 are meaningless without concrete defence planning to back them up. The Baltic demands for hard security guarantees became much more desperate in the past three years. A cyber-attack on Estonia in 2007 was believed to have originated in Russia, and the Kremlin invaded Georgia a year later.

Nerves were further set on edge last year when the Russians staged exercises simulating an invasion of the Baltic states and a nuclear attack on Poland. The eastern European calls for hard security guarantees, however, were stymied by western Europe, led by Germany, which did not want to antagonise Russia. "We've found the way forward with Russia. The Baltic states have received strategic reassurance," said a well-placed source. "That's backed up with contingency planning that did not exist before. It's done now. We told them we'll give you your reassurance if you agree to the reset with Russia. That made it easier for the Germans."During intense – if discreet – diplomacy last year, the resistance was overcome by the Americans, and the new policy was tabled as a joint US-German move. "Most of the information on this is not in the public domain.

But the bottom line is that there is enough political will in Nato now to do defence plans for the Baltic states. The opposition has melted away over the past 18 months," said Tomas Valasek, defence analyst at the Centre for European Reform. He worked with Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, on drafting Nato's new "strategic concept" this year.In a meeting last December in Brussels with the Nato ambassadors from Poland, the three Baltic states and the Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, together with the US and German ambassadors, Ivo Daalder and Ulrich Brandenburg, secured agreement on the new policy. "Ambassador Daalder acknowledged in these meetings that Germany had initiated the proposal," says another secret cable .The east Europeans were delighted. Paul Teesalu, a senior Estonian diplomat, described the policy shift as "an early Christmas present" when told last December in Tallinn, according to a cable.

Another secret report from the US embassy in Riga says the Latvian foreign ministry's security policy chief "expressed his government's profound happiness." The Poles, although keen supporters of concrete Nato defence plans for the Baltic, were neverthless worried that the new policy could dilute alliance commitments to their defence, since a limited Polish contingency plan was being turned into an expanded regional blueprint for the four countries. Poland's late deputy defence minister, Stanislaw Komorowski, told US diplomats in Warsaw that he was "sceptical that a regional approach was the best way ahead. Komorowski said Warsaw would prefer a unique plan for Poland.". Komorowski, the Polish ambassador in London until 2004, was one of 98 people killed with the country's president, Lech Kaczynski, when their plane crashed at Smolensk, Russia, in April.

The Americans argued that adding defence planning for the Baltic states would reinforce rather than dilute Polish security. "After two years, contingency plans have been successfully prepared for Poland," Bogdan Klich, the Polish defence minister told Warsaw newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza last month. In January, after the decision was taken, the state department in Washington instructed US missions and embassies how to proceed, making clear that the drafting of defence blueprints for the Baltic was the beginning of a more ambitious overhaul of Nato's core military planning. "This is the first step in a multi-stage process to develop a complete set of appropriate contingency plans for the full range of possible threats – both regional and functional – as soon as possible," said the secret cable.

The diplomatic traffic seen by the Guardian is from US state department and US embassies worldwide, but not from Pentagon or CIA communications, meaning that the cables reveal the policy and political decision-making processes but contain little on the specifics of hard military planning. Details of the nine divisions earmarked for the plan and the prominence of the port of Swinoujscie, on Poland's Baltic coast, were leaked to Gazeta Wyborcza. It is clear that the defence plans for Poland and the Baltic are to be orchestrated from Nato's Shape planning headquarters at Mons in Belgium and from the Joint Forces Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands, the nerve centre for overseeing the crucial German theatre during the alliance's cold war heyday. The policy shift represents a sea change in Nato defence planning and in assessments of the threat posed by what a Polish official calls "a resurgent Russia."

Officially the US and Nato term Russia a "partner" and not an adversary, with the Germans, French, and Italians in particular tending to be deferential in dealings with Moscow. But the east Europeans, with their bitter experience of Moscow domination, argue that the Russians respect strength, despise and exploit weakness and division, and that Nato will enjoy better relations only if its most exposed and vulnerable members feel secure. "The whole point is not to paint Russia as a threat. It is about reassuring those countries that are seriously worried. The debate is primarily about Poland and the Baltic. Geography has a lot to do with it," said Valasek. Repeatedly calling for the Baltic military plans to be kept utterly secret, Clinton and other senior US officials acknowledge that the policy shift "would also likely lead to an unnecessary increase in Nato-Russia tensions … Washington strongly believes that the details of Nato's contingency plans should remain in confidential channels."

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/06/wikileaks-cables-nato-russia-baltics?intcmp=239

NATO Balanced Baltic and Russian Anxieties


When fighting broke out between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, a shudder passed through the former Soviet Baltic republics. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had painful memories of Soviet occupation and feared that a resurgent Russia might come after them next. They began lobbying NATO, which they had joined in 2004, for a formal defense plan. But the request was a delicate one for NATO, an alliance obligated by treaty to respond to an attack on one member as an attack on all. NATO leaders had repeatedly declared that post-Soviet Russia was not a threat, and the incoming Obama administration wanted to pursue what it called a “reset” of relations with Russia.

Cables obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to several news organizations chronicle the secret diplomacy that followed, culminating in a NATO decision in January to expand a defense plan for Poland to cover the three Baltic states. That expanded plan, called Eagle Guardian, is now in place, American officials say. The Russia-Georgia clash, with television images of Russian armor on the move and tough talk from Moscow, terrified the Baltic republics, which had been occupied by the Soviet Army in 1940 and achieved independence a half-century later. “Events in Georgia have dominated the news and discussion here like few other events in recent memory,” a cable from the American Embassy in Riga, Latvia, reported as the fighting raged in Georgia. Latvians, at least ethnic Latvians, it said, “look at Georgia and think that this could easily be them.”

The cable added that “so far, the U.S. willingness to take a tough line in opposition to Russian actions and in support of Georgia has been well received here, but some key figures are asking if the west is fully prepared to deal with a resurgent Russia.” The embassy reported that Latvians were gathering for candlelight vigils outside the Georgian Embassy, Georgian flags were on display around Riga, and sales of Georgian wine and mineral water were up.

With significant ethnic Russian minorities, all three Baltic states were alarmed by Russia’s public explanation that it had gone into Georgia to protect the rights of Russian citizens there. Some Latvian leaders said they needed to do more to integrate ethnic Russians into the local culture. Wealthy Latvian businessmen, worried about endangering lucrative deals with Russia, appealed for moderation in the criticism of their giant neighbor. By October 2009, a cable reported that “leaders in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are pressing hard for NATO Article 5 contingency planning for the Baltic states,” referring to the mutual defense provision of the NATO treaty. The cable noted that President Obama had expressed support for such planning.

But the cable, signed by the American ambassador to NATO, Ivo H. Daalder, noted the awkwardness of squaring Baltic worries with closer NATO-Russia ties. “The Baltic states clearly believe that the Russian Federation represents a future security risk and desire a contingency plan to address that risk. And therein lies the problem,” the cable said. “Post-Cold War NATO has consistently said that it no longer views Russia as a threat.” Indeed, during the Bush administration, NATO had accepted the former Soviet republics as members but had avoided including them in defense planning, which might have provoked Russia.

Now, Germany proposed expanding the Poland defense plan to the Baltic states, and NATO planners began their work. The Latvians expressed “profound happiness” at the decision, and an Estonian official called it an “early Christmas present,” according to two cables. But American officials urged Baltic officials to keep such talk secret. “A public discussion of contingency planning would also likely lead to an unnecessary increase in NATO-Russia tensions, something we should try to avoid as we work to improve practical cooperation in areas of common NATO-Russia interest,” a December cable told NATO member states.

In January, with the plan approved, a cable signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton advised NATO members to stonewall press inquiries about the details of Baltic defense. (Baltic news organizations have reported on the defense plans in recent months.) But the cable did suggest a talking point to reassure Russia. “NATO planning is an internal process designed to make the Alliance as prepared as possible for future contingencies,” the cable said. “It is not ‘aimed’ at any other country.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/world/europe/07wikileaks-nato.html?_r=1&ref=world

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