However, Poland won’t be left at the side of the common-European process of thaw and building a “dialog” paradigm with the official Minsk, since it wants to play the key role in the region.
President election in Poland ended with big surprise: last Sunday Andrzej Duda, a lawyer, candidate from the opposition conservative party “Right and justice”, a deputy of the European Parliament won the second tour with 52% of votes. The acting head of state Bronislaw Komorowski admitted his defeat the same day.
How will Belarusan-Polish relations change after the election of a new Poland President? Pavel Usau, doctor of political science, answers the questions of the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.
- How can we characterize Belarusan-Polish relations today? Though over the last few years there have been no particular worsening; at the same time, it is still a far way to go to their normalization.
- For now the relations between Belarus and Poland are persistently poor. Their normalization won’t happen while Belarus remains authoritarian and Poland keeps supporting democratic movement in Belarus and accusing the violations of human rights and freedoms. The latest crisis in relations happened in 2010 after the presidential election, when Poland supported the introduction of sanctions against Belarusan authorities. However, the last months witnessed certain thaw, although, as I’ve already said, the countries won’t become normal for a long time.
- Aliaksandr Lukashenka congratulatedAndrzej Duda with election on the post of the Poland President and affirmed his interest in development of full-fledged cooperation with Poland on basis of partnership and trust. What prevented the official Minsk from cooperation with Warsaw on basis of partnership and trust when Bronislaw Komorowski was in office?
- Let me note that it is not the President who determines foreign policy in Poland, but the government. Of course, the President can initiate something, criticize the government and suggest his own decisions; but the government still gets the last word. And as is known, it is the government formed by the “Civil platform” – and Bronislaw Komorowski is its representative – that introduced sanctions against Belarusan authorities after the suppression of the demonstration on December 19, 2010 in Minsk.
In its turn, the full-fledged cooperation between Poland and Belarus at the principles of “partnership and trust” is impossible in principle. He who trusts Belarusan authorities will always make a fool of himself. Andrzej Duda’s approach to Belarus can only change for the worst. New Poland President will hardly be the first to extend a helping hand to Lukashenka.
- Belarus and Poland have been having quite strained relations for long years. What prevents their normalization?
- Several factors serve as a catalyzer of strained relations between Belarus and Poland: the conflict around the “Union of Poles in Belarus”; violation of human rights and failure to carry out demands on releasing political prisoners in Belarus; authoritarian regime that cannot have normal relations with anyone by its definition.
- New Poland President is believed to be more anti-Kremlin than Bronislaw Komorowski’s. If Warsaw takes a tougher course in relation to Moscow, will it aggravate the relations with Moscow’s closest ally – Belarus?
- In general, Poland’s attitude towards Russia cannot be defined as good regardless of who is the president of the country. The only exception is the period when the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), based on the former members of Poland’s communist party ruled in the country. They are the supporters of good relations with Moscow.
There are numerous reasons for tension in relations between the countries; it is both a historical tradition, death of the Poland President in air disaster near Smolensk, aggression in Ukraine, and Crimea’s annexation. Poland has already outlined its stance towards Russia. I don’t think that a tougher stance will be elaborated while Duda is in office, with the only exception of supplying lethal arms to Ukraine.
The same applies to Belarus. However, we need to stress that Polish logic in relation to our country will be changed in relation with the changes of European approach to Belarus after the start of the war in Ukraine. We already witness certain thaw and building a “dialog” paradigm with the official Minsk, since it wants to play the key role in the region.