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557 ARTEM V. MALGIN POLITICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN POLAND AND RUSSIA SINCE 1990 AN INVESTIGATION OF Russian-Polish relations during the existence of postsocialist Russia and Poland within the framework of a relatively short text requires a certain level of schematics. The author could take the liberty of outlining a straight-line methodological approach to analyzing these relations by expanding upon those items that fit within the general logic of this book. Despite the name of the book, the author supposes that the recent period of Russian-Polish relations stays fairly well within the conventional scenario of cooperation between two independent countries and has no “black spots.” The difficulties arising in modern Russian-Polish relations hardly fall into the category of the tragic or dramatic. They form a constituent part of the dynamic international processes of the two decades from 1990 to 2010 and are only partially a legacy of the past. The Formation of Post-Soviet Identity and Foreign Policy The formation of post-Soviet identity and new foreign policy priorities, as well as the formation of new national and international identities, started almost simultaneously in both Russia and Poland. In fact, the two-and-a-half-year period that passed between the June 1989 electoral victory of the noncommunist coalition led by Solidarity in Poland and the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union is insignificant from a historical point of view. In Poland, however, for almost ten years, the active formation of a new political class, new types of social relations, and civic institutions in the form of free trade unions and prototypes of modern political parties preceded the regime change. The preparatory period for post-Soviet Russia’s existence was much shorter and in fact started with the unexpected progression of independence 558 ARTEM V. MALGIN in conjunction with tremendous territorial and demographic losses in Russia ’s traditional areas of political, economic, and cultural existence. In other words, compared to Poland, Russia was faced with a much more difficult task: to create not just a new regime but an absolutely new national identity within newfound borders. It is obvious that such encumbrances intensely influenced both the path and the dynamic for Russia in foreign affairs, particularly in European policy. Along with changes in geopolitical frontiers during the 1990s, both Russia and Poland surprisingly got new common neighbors (Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania). Moreover, in the case of Poland, the new neighbors (almost at the moment they emerged) became a constituent part of the diversification of its foreign policy and provided additional room for international maneuvering , which consequently improved Polish performance in European affairs. For Moscow, on the other hand, the emerging neighbors caused an additional set of responsibilities and encumbrances across the broader range of issues related to legal succession from the former Soviet Union into the new independent republics. The post-Soviet era governing efforts consumed great amounts of staff time, as well as both diplomatic and other resources in Russia, during the first half of the 1990s. To a large extent this situation persists to the present day. During the era’s turning point, the Western orientation was undoubtedly chosen in both Russia and Poland to be the major direction for social, economic , and foreign political development. Following the global parameters of the Western experience, each party in its own way reformed all aspects of its own existence. During the period between 1991 and 1993, many people in Moscow thought that such a universal movement toward a single developmental paradigm would help to overcome all interstate and international conflicts. History now shows that such was not the case. National interests were still present, and they started to play a significant role as foreign policy developed for the new states. For the first time in modern history, Russia attempted to formulate its strategic international priorities within the Foreign Policy Concept of 1993. It clarifies that a European orientation and European institutions form an integral part of the system of foreign political values and objectives. Moscow (primarily the professional diplomatic community) took a range of principal steps, while struggling with a variety of tactical problems and objectives. These steps determined the vector of European policy we are still following. Russia actively participated in converting the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe into the full-scale Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: in 1993, Russia submitted an application to join the Council of Europe; expressed the intent to join the General Agreement on 559 POLITICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN...


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