Russia’s denials about genocide are reminiscent of its behavior over Katyn and other Soviet crimes. They seem incapable of admitting to crimes committed by their forces outside of Russia.
These are terrible crimes, but worse still is the timidity of the West towards Putin. The war may be revealing the demoralization of Russian troops, but it is also exposing the demoralization of the West. The European Parliament still continues to debate the rule of law in Poland, stabbing it in the back as it faces an unprecedented refugee and security crisis on its borders.
The sanctions that have been imposed are not enough. This is because the West seems unable to make economic sacrifices or to re-examine the EU project from being dominated by the Germans.
The problem with the West is that apart from material well-being, it seems to have no other goals. This means morale is low and, as Jarosław Kaczyński argues, the West is timid. But the West continues to drag its feet on sanctions on oil and gas, just as it was unwilling to heed Poland’s warnings on the rebirth of Russian imperialism.
Moreover, the Russians are goading the West to impose more sanctions with their atrocities and genocide. Public opinion is crying out for more sanctions. Ursula von der Leyen is going to Kiev, but this is two weeks after this was done by the prime ministers of Poland, Czechia and Slovenia. Behind the curve yet again.
Russia does not seem very concerned about sanctions, which it is often able to evade. This discredits Western politicians. The classic example of this is President Macron, who has spent hours talking to Putin, as has Chancellor Scholz. In such a situation, it is Poland which seems to be leading from the front, with the EU reluctantly following.
Macron and Scholtz are continuing to be apologists for Russia. An example of that is their rhetoric that Putin does not know what is happening on the ground with his forces. This is meant to give room for negotiations.
Poland’s goals are different. It wants to see Russia isolated and stripped of its superpower status, so that it has to seek succor with China and India. It does not want Russia in Europe and wants to block the West’s attempts to re-establish cooperation with the country. The West wants the war to end as soon as possible for that to happen.
Therefore, its not just moral arguments but also interests which are at play here when Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declares that talking to Putin makes no sense and that you cannot work with criminals. The message being sent is for the West to stop its outreach to Russia and instead talk to Poland, which will be the focal point for the east flank of Europe.
Russia has erred badly in starting this war. It has helped in raising Poland’s profile in world affairs and given public opinion arguments to put pressure on their elites to take action against Russia. Berlin has been compromised by events such as the pro-Russian car rally. Putin perceives Scholz to be a weak politician that he can force his will on.
Poland, in the meantime, steadfastly opposes Moscow and exposes the war crimes of the Putin regime. Poland has been proven right on Russian imperialism, whereas the West has been proven wrong.
Poland has also been proven right that Europe cannot be managed as an empire. The results of the Hungarian election confirm this. The German model of EU management has failed.