New Polish Government Seeks Reconciliation with Moscow, More from U.S.

New Polish Government Seeks Reconciliation with Moscow, More from U.S.

Although Donald Tusk has only been Polish prime minister since early November, he has already made clear that reconciling with Russia is a key goal for his new government. He told a recent news conference that, "The improvement of relations between Moscow and Warsaw is a priority goal of current Polish foreign policy." The two sides have resolved some strains and begun addressing others. The key issue now facing the Polish government is the extent to which it can both satisfy Moscow and enhance its leverage with Washington without antagonizing either party.

Tusk, a former Solidarity activist and leader of the Liberal Tusk's Civic Platform party, won a surprise victory in Poland's Oct. 21 national elections. During the campaign he pledged to improve relations with Russia and the EU, both of which had deteriorated sharply during the two-year administration of Tusk's more conservative predecessor, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and his Law and Justice Party.

Lech Kaczynski, the current Polish President and twin brother of the defeated prime minister, has yet to travel to Moscow to meet with Putin or other Russian officials. Last September, he did visit the Russian forest of Katyn, where Soviet authorities executed 15,000 Polish officers captured when the U.S.S.R. forcibly annexed eastern Poland in 1940. The Soviets had wanted to eliminate potential opposition to their occupation plans. Although Kaczynski said he did not hold the present Russian government responsible for the massacre, he only met with the local Russian authorities and not with senior Kremlin representatives.

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