Poland's history games and lessons for Ukraine

17:30, 20 February 2018
Politics
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Opinion
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Jews were also responsible for the Holocaust, and President of Israel Reuven Rivlin called these words "a new low". However, in my opinion, in this case, Mr. Morawiecki plays a game of rhetorics: he is a classic Pole but there is Jewish blood running through his veins on his grandmother's line. So he is a person who understands these things not only as an official but also as a member of the Jewish community.
In general, the Poles pursue a rather balanced foreign policy, which is ensured not only and not so much by the prime minister. Therefore, Polish politicians will block this all with other statements and neutralize it. After all, they have long faced a question from Israel at a very high level - both official and unofficial - from the Jewish lobby. So, I think, this will be settled with minimal losses for Warsaw in general and for the Polish PM in particular.

However, this is not very good for Ukraine, because when the world community begins to grasp these controversial historical issues, they will have to take a tougher line toward our country as well. After all, we have this bond now as a new Polish law on the Institute of National Remembrance mentions Ukraine among others. And it can hit us in the most unexpected and most unpleasant way...

However, this is not very good for Ukraine, because when the world community begins to grasp these controversial historical issues, they will have to take a tougher line toward our country as well

In general, Ukraine also needs to refrain from appealing at the level of statesmen and politicians to controversial historical topics, because they have different interpretations. Instead, these issues should be debated more by civil society and academics. That's because any speculation on these topics is dangerous for the country as we will have to go for concessions in absolutely practical things that relate to today's politics and national interests, under the slogan of some kind of "historical truth".

Why and for what reasons are the Poles ready to risk normal relations with other countries, raising those annoying historical questions? This is to a certain extent Polish state policy of today. Poles need to promote their state interests, they must declare themselves. In today's Europe, the one who is silent gets fewer benefits. Poland has grown accustomed to getting more – Poles receive aid from European funds. To this end, Poland is a unique country, because it receives more than it invests in these funds. This is their way of development – both at the state and individual level. Therefore, the Poles need to speak up.

Why and for what reasons are the Poles ready to risk normal relations with other countries, raising those annoying historical questions?

Now the Poles are already facing complaints by the European Commission. In particular, it attacks them on the issue of their attitude to migrants, but so far they've been doing it rather gently. And since the Poles are being attacked on these issues, they have to be counterattack in a different direction. That's what they are doing, in fact...

Pavlo Rudiakov is a director of Perspektiva information and political center

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