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  • 17 December 2012

    On 3 December 2012, Moscow hosted another meeting of the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters. The sitting was also attended by council members from the Centres for Dialogue and Understanding, and MFA officials from both countries.

    The meeting was inaugurated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister S.A. Ryabkov, who noted the importance and role-model nature of Polish-Russian dialogue and the Group in helping to reduce tensions and creating new avenues for Russia’s cooperation with its neighbours. The Deputy Foreign Minister underscored that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has consistently supported the Group’s work.


    The Group’s co-chairmen provided information about the Group’s work and its members’ activities since the last meeting. They also presented their analysis of the internal political situation in Russia and Poland and how it affects bilateral relations.


    Special attention was paid to the visit in Poland by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Joint Message of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Polish Catholic Church to the Nations of Poland and Russia.


    The Group also discussed the erection near Smolensk of a monument to the victims of the 10 April 2010 plane crash and the return to Poland from Russia of the plane wreckage, noting that the lack of prompt decisions on these matters creates an unhealthy emotional climate  in bilateral relations.


    The meeting participants also noted that a joint English-language publication about the difficult Polish-Russian relations was completed. The co-chairmen underscored the need to promote this book among professionals in English-speaking countries. It was suggested that the monograph be presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, which will take place in April 2013 in the United States.


    The Group  approved the idea of the multi-volume edition of documents about Polish-Soviet relations having  separate parts, and appointed their editors. It was agreed to start parallel work on four volumes covering the years 1918-1945, and to examine the possibility of publishing further instalments devoted to the post-WWII period. Talks about detailed concepts of the first four volumes are to begin soon, and will be followed by a discussion at the editorial group’s working meeting in Warsaw in January 2013.


    Much attention was also devoted to the historical and archival project concerning Polish-Soviet relations during World War Two. The initiative is supported by the Centres for Dialogue and Understanding from both countries, the Federal Archival Agency in Russia and the Head Office of the State Archives in Poland. The project will produce a collection of documents about mutual relations between partisan and underground formations in Poland, Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and Lithuania. The authors intend  to demonstrate the whole range of political, social and military complexities existing behind the frontlines.


    With a view to the upcoming 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the parties  agreed to prepare a joint publication featuring Polish and Russian authors’ views on all aspects of Polish-Soviet relations between 1939 and 1945, including relations between the Home Army and the Red Army. The work will be modelled on previous books published under the Group’s auspices. The authors will draw on new documents and the Group’s methodological experiences in seeking compromise.


    The Group’s participants held an in-depth discussion  on two research reports to be completed by the spring of 2013. The first report deals with Polish-Russian dialogue in terms of building trust and security, and our two countries’ possible contribution to European stability. The second report will be a detailed analysis of legal and institutional possibilities for harmonizing different multilateral cooperation frameworks in the “common neighbourhood” of Russia and the European Union.


    The two co-chairmen said  they would make every effort to bring about the prompt signing of an agreement on mutual recognition of education documents between Poland and Russia.


    The directors of the Polish and Russian Centres for Dialogue and Understanding presented detailed reports on the Centres’ activities in 2012, as well as plans for 2013. The Group  fully approved  the plans, the list of books to be translated into Polish and Russian, and the distribution methods in Poland and Russia.


    The participants also noted that the Group and the Centres should address their activities to a wider public, including business leaders.


    The parties agreed that they would present the Group’s action plan for selected areas of bilateral relations during the December meeting of the Committee for Polish-Russian Cooperation Strategy.


    The next Group sitting is scheduled in the the spring of 2013. The date and venue will be agreed through working channels.




    MFA Press Office

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