Polish, Russian PMs discuss history, bilateral ties
www.chinaview.cn 2009-09-02 00:38:44   Print

    WARSAW, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his visiting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin declared on Tuesday their readiness to offer historians reciprocal access to Polish and Russian archives, local media reported.

    Tuesday marks the 70th anniversary of Germany's Sept. 1, 1939 invasion of Poland which started off the European wars of World War Two. Putin, among other world leaders, came to attend the World War Two commemorations held in Gdansk of Poland.

    At a joint press conference after their talks, Tusk said that two institutions would be set up in Poland and Russia with the task of a "careful research into the Katyn case" and "impartial clarification of other issues in the Polish-Russian history."

    In 1940, Soviet secret police massacred 22,000 Polish officers, intellectuals and others at Katyn forest in western Russia, a massacre Moscow for decades blamed on the Nazis.

    Tusk said that "the truth, even when it is painful, cannot humiliate anybody" and that "great and proud nations like the Poles and the Russians do not have to be afraid of the truth." Only truth can provide the foundation for a genuine agreement, Tusk added.

    Both prime ministers expressed satisfaction over improved relations between Warsaw and Moscow. Tusk said that the Polish-Russian historical relations, including dialogue between the two capitals, could not be worse than the Polish-German or Russian-German relations.

    Referring to the historical issues, Putin noted he could not say that both sides fully shared the same views, but they understood that problems should be seen in a wide spectrum of shades.

    "We in Russia see that attempts have been persistently made (abroad) to create an impression that WWII became possible only owing to the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact," he said.

    The Russian prime minister said that the August 1939 pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was just the last accord signed before the outbreak of WWII, but had been preceded by the 1934 Polish-German agreement, by Germany's non-aggression pacts with major European powers, and the Munich agreement of 1938.

    He emphasized that he did not come to Poland to pass opinions. "I have come at the invitation of Mr. Tusk to commemorate those who perished in WWII. However, if we speak of an impartial evaluation of history, we must bear in mind that history has more than one shade. It had very many shades and mistakes were committed by all sides. All those moves created, in this way or another, conditions for Nazi Germany aggression."

    Tusk said his opinion about the role of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact was "unequivocal." This pact "led to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on Sept. 1 and by Stalin's Russia two weeks later."

    However, Tusk added that "no one in Poland has forgotten or will ever forget the great amount of blood of Soviet soldiers that soaked the Polish soil when they liberated the country from Nazi occupation."

    Tusk said that he and Putin agreed they should make decisions in future that would "imbue" the Polish-Russian relations "with respect for the truth, for ourselves and with growing trust."

    "I believe that today's talks, not easy at all, are another step towards building honest foundations for a much better dialogue on history between the Poles and the Russians," Tusk said.

    "We want these bilateral relations, better now than even a few years ago, to improve still further and be based on full mutual respect and historical truth," Tusk declared, adding that this could not be achieved overnight.

    Putin said that "indeed, the tone and content of Russian-Polish relations changed for the better in the past two years." "Not only have we found a depoliticized and calm style of addressing the problems of history, but we can also pursue our mutual interests in the political and economic domains in a pragmatic manner and basing on mutual respect," Putin added.

    Both leaders underlined the importance of bilateral economic cooperation and the fact that bilateral trade increased despite the ongoing world financial and economic crisis.

    Two intergovernmental agreements were signed in the presence of both prime ministers, one concerning shipping in the Vistula Bay, the other on cooperation in disposing spent nuclear fuel from a Polish reactor. A protocol on cultural cooperation was also signed. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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