Ahead of the annual NATO summit to be held in Lisbon on November 19 , the Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza has published information about NATO’s new plans for the defence of Poland and the Baltic States in the event of a Russian aggression. Nine divisions, of which four are Polish form part of the plan. In addition to these a further five divisions will be transported to Eastern Europe with British, American and German units by land and sea links. Observationsplatsen has more details.
The Economist writes in an editorial that thanks to Poland, the NATO alliance will defend the Baltics:
When the war in Georgia highlighted NATO’s wobbliness on Russia, Poland accelerated its push for a bilateral security relationship with America, including the stationing of Patriot anti-missile rockets on Polish soil in return for hosting a missile-defence base… the Baltic states will get their plans, probably approved by NATO’s military side rather than its political wing. They will be presented as an annex to existing plans regarding Poland, but with an added regional dimension. That leaves room for Sweden and Finland (not members of the alliance but increasingly close to it) to take a role in the planning too. A big bilateral American exercise already planned for the Baltic this summer is likely to widen to include other countries.
Hat tip: Marius
RFE/RL reports that most of the 200 asylum seekers from Chechnya, Georgia and Ingushetia who attempted to travel to Strasbourg by train but were detained at the Polish-German border yesterday are now returning to Poland, where they are being temporarily held at a refugee centre in Warsaw:
The protesters — who boarded the train without tickets — told RFE/RL they wanted to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to highlight their poor living conditions in Polish refugee centers and police abuse they said they have experienced.
The refugees have reportedly been refused political asylum in Poland.
Meanwhile, the pro-Moscow Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny today that the refugee protest in Poland is an “act of desperation.”
He said, “If these people return home, their rights will be protected better.”
Polish journalist Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, who writes about human rights in Chechnya, told RFE/RL that it is hard to obtain political asylum in Poland in general but the European Union law known as the Dublin Regulation does not allow refugees to leave Poland for another EU country if an asylum request is refused in Poland.
She said that creates difficulties for Polish officials, who do not know what to do with the refugees, and leaves the asylum-seekers with few options.
Anne Applebaum, on how a problem with her car in Warsaw was transformed by Polish, Estonian and then British media into an international incident.
Hat tip: Marius
According to the Sunday Times, the purpose of Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow last month was to hand the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists Israel believes is helping Iran to build a nuclear warhead.
Another report, from opinia.us, suggests there are signs that the US State Department and the White House may have been duped by Russian propaganda experts into making the announcement of the cancellation of the Bush shield plan — to build missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic — on September 17. September 17 was the date of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland at the beginning of WWII.
From the conclusion of an article about the role of the Soviet Union in the outbreak of the Second World War, and the anniversary of 1939, viewed from today’s Russia:
A society that suffers badly from complexes, has lost its basic moral guidelines over a period of a hundred years, and is excited by the drumming of imperial propaganda, wants Stalin. Not Stalin in person, but his radiant image. A government that has no other suggestions or other icons provides what is demanded. It scratches where the itching is. It’s simple, natural and – let’s admit it – even pleasant.
And another article, on the same subject. Interestingly, some of the comments by Polish readers are in English.
The recent Independent article by Norman Davies analyzing the real causes of World War II, which essentially sees the source of the actual conflict as the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939, ends with a listing of upcoming anniversaries on which the Medvedev/Putin government in Moscow is going to find it hard to maintain silence:
As the Russian government must realise, however, Poland will only be the start of a long, uncomfortable season. After Poland, it will be Finland’s turn, and the 70th anniversary of the Winter War. Stalin’s aggression against Finland in November 1939 was every bit as blatant as his actions against Poland. His German partner was not involved, and the despatch of a million troops into a neighbouring country to deport the entire population of the frontier area can hardly be described as the doings of a neutral well-wisher. It led to the expulsion of the USSR from the League of Nations. And after Finland, there will be Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. At every stage, there will be scenes of peace-loving tanks, of executions and deportations, and of weeping patriots.