The BIG question people are asking this week: What’s with those Russian threats again?

5 02 2008

This is the first episode of our new, lighter, column ‘The BIG question people are asking this week’, in which we will not exactly translate the news like we do, but analyse and/or synthesise and/or explain and/or (most likely) comment the things people in Poland are getting excited about in the media, and generally.

The big question people are asking this week is

What’s with those Russian threats again?

Russia’s representative to NATO Dmitriy Rogozin warned Poland this week, saying he ‘would like to remind his Polish colleagues of their recent history, which proves that positioning Poland on the confrontation line have always brought tragedy to them’ and he continued saying ‘that’s how Poland lost one third of her population during the Second World War.’

That’s not exactly the kind of language you would expect from a diplomat, is it? But that’s Russia for you. Is this a suggestion they would attack Poland like they did on 17th September 1939 collaborating with Hitler?

Two days later the chairman of foreign affairs committee at the Russian Duma Konstantin Kosachov was kind enough to make such a statement, ‘certain American installations will be becoming an object of control, and, at worst, targets’.

Of course what they both are talking about is the anti-missile shield scheme, elements of which are planned to be installed in Poland, and which is thought to be able to shoot missiles down when they’re still in the air, and prevent them hitting America, and – maybe (this is not clear yet) – some other places as well.

Why would Russia oppose a DEFENSIVE system, anyone? Any ideas? Not to protect their own citizens, as this has always been the least worry there…

Frankly they’re not doing themselves a favour here – if they really don’t want the American anti-missile shield elements installed in Poland. Most people, including me, were not in favour of this anti-missile project. But hearing such threats from time to times makes me, and many other people, twice more cautious about Russia and twice more eager to tighten cooperation with Western allies, in case Russian enlightened leadership actually decided attack us militarily. Will Russia ever change? Will Russia ever become a normal, democratic, friendly country governed by the rule of law?


If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.

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The ‘disinterested’ opinions of Gerhard Schröder

9 09 2007

Source: gazeta.pl news portal
Author: PAP Polish Press Agency
Translation from Polish for this blog: MoPoPressReview

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The former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder criticised European Union last Saturday for “becoming a hostage of nationalistic, anti-Russia interests of individual EU member states”.

Schroeder then said more precisely that who he meant were “the authorities of Poland and leaders of several other EU member states”.

The former chancellor, who currently is the head of a German-Russian company constructing the Nord Stream pipeline (between Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea), was sharing his opinions in Moscow during a meeting presenting the Russian edition of his diaries ‘Decisions. My life in politics’.

The meeting took place in Moscow’s Hotel President, owned by the Chancellery of the President of Russia, and among the participants was Dmitry Medvedev, the first vice-prime minister of Russia, who is named as Vladimir Putin’s successor in the Kremlin.

Medvedev, who also is the chairman of Gazprom’s board of directors, is the author of the preface to Schroeder’s book.

“EU should reject primitive interests”

The former chancellor also said that the EU should reject those primitive nationalistic interests, as they are an obstacle in European integration and improving relations with Russia.

Mr. Schroeder also criticised the plan to place elements of US anti-missile shield in Central Europe: ‘It’s being presented as a matter between Poland, Czech Republic and USA, whereas it is a matter of the whole EU’.

According to the former head of German government, such perspective is as illogical, as saying that the problem of Polish meat export to Russia is somethinng on a European level.

Mr. Schroeder emphasised that some EU member states are using the EU to solving their own problems. ‘It is detrimental for the European integration. For the benefit of Europe, one should put individual countries’ interests aside’ – he pointed out.

The Russian media in their reviews of Schoder’s book note, that he warns about the danger that is in the ‘turn to nationalism, observd in Poland, which is unsteerable, which may cause harm to German-Russian relation, which would be disastrous for Europe’.

‘Emotions in the Baltic states and Poland need to be cooled down’ – reported the Russian media citing Mr. Schroeder.

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If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.





It’s not a joke, it’s the Kremlin

16 05 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily of May 16th, 2007 (page 2)
Author: Tomasz Bielecki in Moscow
Translation: Społem

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Russian public prosecutor’s office seeks revenge on lawyer Karinna Moskalenko. She has courage to represent Kremlin’s political enemies in courts.

Moscow investigators don’t bother themselves with keeping up appearances. They accuse the barrister of… not defending her client Michail Khodorkovski good enough. Khodorkowski was the owner of Yukos oil corporation, who in 2005 was sentenced to eight years in lager-prison for being a political competition to Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors for almost a month have been demanding for her to be debarred, which means she would lose the right to represent people in Russian courts of justice. – ‘When I heard of this for the first time I thought I thought this was a silly joke’ – Moskalenko told Gazeta yesterday. Prosecutor General accuses her, that she had abandoned Khodorkovski during his February hearings in a syberian town of Chika (near the lager, where Khodorkovski serves his sentence), that she “didn’t fulfil her duties as a barrister”.

Moskalenko explaines, that the imprisoned oligarch was accopanied then by three other lawyers, and that her departure from Chika was agreed upon with Khodorkovski. – ‘Suddenly the prosecutors, who have persecuted him from several years, start to pretend to care for his welfare. This is a material for a grotesque play’ – says the Russian lawyer.

Karinna Moskalenko is the president of Russian Institute for International Legal Defence. The Institute helps Russians facing political repression in fighting justice before international courts.

She defends not only Khodorkovski. She also leads cases of opposition activists, who are being dragged through courts for illegal demonstrations. She represents the families of the victims of Nord-Ost Theatre terrorist attack on Dubrovka, who want a fair trial for police forces involved. Their incompetence and urge to liquidate terrorists fast caused – as say the relatives of the victims – the death of many hostages.

What do the prosecutors venge for? For Khodorkovski? For Dubrovka? – ‘I’m not sure. Since the nineties I’ve been dealing with difficult cases, and apparently I got into their bad books big time. However I don’t feel anything threatens me, even though maybe I should’ – says Moskalenko.

The law lecturer, who at least once a month appears in Strasbourg to fight for the rights of Russians before the International Tribunal of Justice, believes that even in Russia you don’t have to be at the mercy of Kremlin.

Two months ago, to the surprise of of Russian opposition, a group of lawyers including Karinna Moskalenko, have won a case in Moscow against the Prosecutor General. Also a court has decided that the trial against Khodorkovski cannot proceed in siberian Chika, but in Moscow. Which is important, because the trial against Putin’s political enemy can be observed by journalists, and Kremlin’s authoritarian practices will once again make headlines around the world.

Russian public prosecutor’s office has already twice tried to debar Khodorkovski’s lawyers. However the Moscow Bar had strongly rejected its motions. Moskalenko hopes it will be the same this time.

Wouldn’t it be easier to defend thieves, thugs and hooligans? – ‘Few days ago a court fined Garri Kasparov for his participation in an “illegal demonstration”. I found out about this in Strasbourg, from where one can see better how far we are from Europe. In my country the rule of law cannot look like this. Once again I had this thought in my head, that I will not gibe up my fight’.

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If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.