“We should have listened to the voices coming from Poland, the Baltic states and the whole of Central and Eastern Europe,” said the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her address to the European Parliament on Wednesday. “For years they have been saying that Putin would not stop.”
One of the politicians she may have been referring to was Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), but when Kaczyński warned that the West was ignoring Russia’s neo-imperialist policies, and highlighted the fact that relations of some countries in the EU with Russia were governed purely by economic considerations, the leaders of the then-ruling Civic Platform (PO) said that he was acting against Poland’s interests and being paranoid.
Kaczyński, back in September 2010, pointed to how Russia was falsifying history and belittling Poland’s role in World War II. He believed that to overlook this was a gift to states that do not respect democratic and human rights. “They may seem to be attractive partners from a business point of view, but they will never maintain standards and values that are dominant in the Euroatlantic political space,” argued Kaczyński.
Kaczyński, in response to Barack Obama’s “reset” with Russia also argued for Central Europe to be treated more like partners by Washington. He felt that major European powers were too ready to overlook Russia’s emerging neo-imperialism and were failing to counter such actions.
Those Kaczyński remarks were heavily criticized by leaders of the Civic Platform. According to the chief aid of then Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, these comments were contrary to Poland’s interests. The Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski went further, contemptuously dismissing Kaczyński’s remarks saying that he wondered if the PiS leader was once again on tranquilizers. Sikorski was referencing the fact that, following the trauma of the Smolensk air disaster in which Jarosław Kaczyński’s brother Lech and many close associates died, the PiS leader took medication to help him cope.