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Poland and Ukraine – Two voices

One of the biggest stories in 2017 has been the growing tensions and challenges in Polish-Ukrainian relations. With both sides escalating rhetoric, it begs the question – how to break the impasse? Yet, before addressing the mending of relations, we present two voices which attempt to better describe how we got here in the first place – one supporting the Polish point of view and one supporting the Ukrainian point of view.

December 24, 2017 - New Eastern Europe - Articles and Commentary

Photo: President.gov.ua (CC) commons.wikimedia.org

Voice 1: Łuksasz Jasina – Poland and Ukraine: Time to get serious

“I am a historian focusing on Central and Eastern Europe and historians know all too well about what happened and that history is somewhat complex. I therefore value the calm debates, refraining from overusing big words as well as the ability maintain a distanced outlook. I have always avoided the myths which dominated the common debates and the simplified visions. Between Poles and Ukrainians a lot is changing for the better, but one thing continues to haunt us – the inclination to make generalisations. That is why, I would like to look at the reality.”

Voice 2: Taras Kuzio – The genocide myth and Poland’s victimisation complex

“One of the best examples of fake news in the post-communist world is the finger pointing by Russia and Poland towards Ukraine. Instead of looking in the mirror at the mainstreaming of nationalist discourse both countries point to “nationalists” in Ukraine. Yet, populists with nationalistic tendencies receive between 40 and 70 per cent support in Polish or Russian elections respectively, while in Ukraine they are unable to cross the four per cent threshold to enter parliament. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity party has never given its support to rallies of nationalists.”

  • Irakli Bokuchava

    Problem really exists.I think,load of the past is useless obstacle of modern epoch in relations between Poland and Ukraine!Time to overthrow everything bad and focus on realities of present times.Challenges are decisive for both countries and necessary to overcome them and continue further development!!!

  • Zavoyovnyk

    Both countries would be wise to heed the sage advice of leaders from other eras and other countries. Queen Elizabeth I of England maintained, “The past cannot be cured”. On a visit to Ukraine in 2012, the late Israeli president, Shimon Peres, said, “Too much attention to history can impede thinking about the future and prevent steps that are really important today”.

    It is often said that lessons from history should be heeded. Both countries have suffered in the past from Russian imperialism, and the black hand of the Kremlin is fomenting the tension that has surfaced recently. Poles need to revisit the “Giedroyc Doctrine” and Ukrainians should adopt a similar doctrine. Only Moscow benefits from discord between Ukraine and Poland.

  • Peter Shutak

    It’s time both countries moved on from the historical baggage of the past. One would have thought this would have happened by now, especially as the young generation have no recollection of those terrible events. Let’s be frank, shocking things happened and were instigated by both sides, and establishing who was responsible for which atrocity and whether this was the first one or whether it was in response to a previous grievance is nigh impossible now. The raking up of past grievances was what led to the terrible events in the Balkans in the 1990s. Milosevic and others played on these grievances to carry out ethnic cleansing. There is only one power which can possibly benefit from this. Instead of arguing about among themsleves, Poland and Ukraine should form a united front against Russia which will do whatever it takes to destabilize both countries.

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