Elections in Belarus 2015

Should Russian envoy be expelled after ‘inaccuracy’ in blaming Poland for World War II?


In an interview with TV channel TVN24 Sergei Andreyev, the Russian ambassador to Poland, alleged that Warsaw was partly to blame for World War II, which prompted a wave of uproar in the country.

It was the policy of Poland that led to the sadly remembered events in September 1939, Andreyev said. According to him, Poland repeatedly blocked establishing of the anti-Hitler coalition in 1930s.

In her turn, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz replied: “Even children in Poland know that neither Ribbentrop nor Molotov were Polish.”

The ambassador was summoned by the Polish Foreign Ministry.

Ambassador Andreyev was told that the diplomat’s role is to build trust and to work for the development of relations with the country of accreditation. In Warsaw’s view, Andreyev’s recent remarks do not serve these goals, Radio Poland reports.

“I explained to them that the interpretation had been wrong. I did not mean that Poland was responsible for the beginning of the Second World War. I meant that it was the policy of the Polish government in the 1930s that resulted in the ‘catastrophe of the Second Polish Republic’. I was not accurate enough in my interview,” Andreyev said.

Is withdrawal a well-judged action?

“There is no denying that Russia aims at provoking a political battle in Poland – or, even better, emotional overreaction of “Law and Justice” [Polish Conservatives]. But this seems to be only a small fragment of some great game. There are many facts proving that the Kremlin is negotiating with the West: in return for assistance in defeating the Islamic state and consequently, taking control of the migrant situation Moscow will receive at least the recognition of the annexation of Crimea and, perhaps, seized areas in Donbas,” Witold Jurasz, a former diplomat, said in its article for the Center for Strategic Analysis.

The author believes believes that Russia might be aggravating relations with Poland intentionally – in order to discredit the Poles in the eyes of NATO and the EU and cast them as Russophobes.

In his opinion, boycotting ambassador Andreyev would be the best way out. In such a case it would be necessary to reduce the level of contacts and send Moscow a message that it should recall the envoy itself, Witold Jurasz says.