Anti-Russian protests in several cities, including Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has arrived in Poland for his first state visit, saying he wants to elevate relations to a “new level.” The two-day trip comes after an already dramatic improvement in ties this year in Russia’s long-antagonistic relations with Poland, Radio Free Europe reports. “It’s extremely important to leave behind a historical paradigm in relations between Russia and Poland formed a long time ago, and to try to separate whatever took place in history from daily life,” Medvedev told Polish media ahead of his two-day visit. “Otherwise we’ll always remain hostage to actions that took place before our time.”
Medvedev was scheduled to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski for talks on security and trade, which could result in new agreements on sea transportation, Baltic Sea pollution, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies.
But the broader aim will be to cement a change in relations, which began in early April, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joined Tusk at a ceremony marking the killing of more than 20,000 Poles by Soviet forces in Russia’s Katyn Forest in 1941. Three days later, former Polish President Lech Kaczynski, along with many other top officials, died when their plane crashed en route to another Katyn ceremony. Poland welcomed Russian cooperation and public sympathy at the time.
Not everyone was happy to see the arrival of the Russian president in Poland, however. A demonstration was being held outside Russia’s consulate in the western city of Poznan, with more protests scheduled in Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk, according to thenews.pl.
Members of the “Better World” Association and several other organizations protested against what they see as the violation of human rights in Russia, Russian imperialism and the occupation of Chechnya.
kremlin leader warns against new arms race
In an interview to Polish weekly ‘Wprost,’ Medvedev was quoted as saying that NATO must ensure that Russia is fully involved in the trans-Atlantic alliance’s plans for missile defence or risk triggering a new arms race, Radio Free Europe reported. Last month, NATO and Moscow agreed to cooperate on missile defence and other security issues in what they hailed as a “historic step” in setting aside past disputes.
In the interview, Medvedev also said he did not rule out running for a second term in office in 2012 elections.