There are two neighbors, two Slavic nations with the common roots, cultures, traditions and closely bound fortunes. There are Poland and Ukraine, whose history is inseparable, but it has had also such events which are causing tension on both sides of border nowadays. Today it’s time to accept mutually advantageous compromise in the decision on contradictory political, economic and historical issues between two countries.
Last years the strategic partnership between Poland and Ukraine was not so fruitful as it’s wished and the activity of relations between two countries has recently been slowing down. There were enough oppositional leaders in Ukraine and in Poland which political convictions and actions did not promote intergovernmental dialogue.
It could be so paradoxical but the issues which cause the most tensions are the historical events of the old past. There were military conflicts in 1918-1919 and tragic events in 30s-50s the past century. To the Polish party the Polish military cemetery in Lvov as well as military operation in Volhynia and East Galicia, conducted by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist and the Ukrainian Rebel Army as a part of this organization, became the symbols of tragic pages of common history. To Ukrainians the "Vistula" operation and resettlement of Ukrainian people from southeast in northern and western parts of Poland became such tragic pages.
It is necessary to notice that considerable worsening of relations between both countries has just begun the time when Ukrainian "orange" politicians were in power. Former Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko has made the disputable decision on conferment “the Hero of Ukraine” to Roman Shuhevich and, the leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist and the Ukrainian Rebel Army. According to political analysts just this step has turn down certain emotionality in relations between Poland and Ukraine.
Although the historical reconciliation between Poles and Ukrainians is going not so simply, nevertheless the people of both countries have reached considerable successes. One of them is work on restoration and creation of new monuments to victims of conflicts between Poland and Ukraine in the 20th century. This process is slowly and occasionally becomes a reason of tension strengthening in society. But the dialog between both countries has been continuing due to supporters of cooperation on both sides of border and as a result a number of contradictions were excepted.
In order to ease historical negativism it’s necessary to continue incessant dialogue between Polish and Ukrainian historians to introduce coordinated changes to history textbooks and to finish complicated process of memorials foundation.
In addition people shouldn’t take negative patterns because it would be the time bomb for future international relations. It is obvious that there will be a huge work for both governments and scientific elite in the future and taking into account the current progress no doubts all issues finally will be settled.
Nowadays, when in both countries pragmatic leaders are in power, relations between neighbors should be based not on “historical events” or “sentimentality”, but on actual economic cooperation. According to the words of the Ukrainian President Victor Janukovich all contradictions existed in different times of our common history, should remain in the past. New generation must go forward, move and unite.
Poland is a key political and economic partner of Ukraine in Europe, and also it is the basic promoter of Ukrainian interests in dialogue with the European Union. In its turn, Ukraine could become the reliable bridge on the East for Poland and the European Union and form the platform for effective cooperation with former USSR countries. In their creative work Ukraine and Poland would set up the integration process rate in development of Central-East Europe and form the region with stability and welfare.
One of the brightest examples of political and economic potential’s use of both countries has been successful carrying out of the European football championship “EURO-2012”, which has made essential impact on their international image.
In spite of a few western politicians doubted result of the enterprise has surpassed even the most courageous expectations. The countries have presented themselves to the international community from the best part, opening thereby the great possibility to mutually advantageous cooperation in international sports, tourism and in strengthening of cultural contacts.
Considering the abovementioned issues’ list of Polish-Ukrainian relations is certainly not so complete and demands prompt decisions. Both nations should not look back in the past but look ahead to cope with new challenges of the modern world together. Today it’s the most important not only to retain headway but also to expand and to strengthen the Polish-Ukrainian relations in interests of maintenance of welfare of both countries.
The Ukrainian President Janukovich said that he was convinced the strategic partnership between Ukraine and Poland had no alternative. “Our states and our people will develop a good-neighborhood in the consent and respect. Together we will build our general European house”, he added. “We go together the way conducting to the general Europe, which is being integrated. We wish to build strategic Polish-Ukrainian partnership”, Bronislav Komorovsky has the similar point of view.
Mateusz Sienkiewicz, expert of Institute for Eastern Studies.