Medvedev to Take Reset to Poland

President Dmitry Medvedev will make more strides to build a “reset” in the country’s relationship with Poland when he begins a two-day official visit to Warsaw on Monday.

Talks with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk will aim at strengthening positive tendencies and set the prerequisites for further improving ties between Moscow and Warsaw, the Kremlin said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

During the visit, agreements on a host of issues will be signed, including sea transportation, pollution in the Baltic Sea and cooperation between both countries’ prosecutor’s offices, the statement said.

Talks will also focus on foreign and security policy as well as on energy and trade.

Poland imports two-thirds of its gas supplies from Russia, and the two countries completed an agreement in October that will increase deliveries by as much as 38 percent.

Trade between Russia and Poland has risen 40 percent in the first nine months of this year to $14.9 billion, the Kremlin said. Russian direct investment in Poland, mainly coming from the energy sector, currently stands at $1.85 billion, while Polish investment in Russia stands at $543 million.

The country’s relationship with Poland was one of the worst among European Union members but has markedly improved over the last two years.

A turning point happened at Katyn in April when Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk attended a historic ceremony at a memorial for 20,000 Polish officers slain by Soviet forces in 1941.

Three days later Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and other Polish officials died when their plane crashed at the nearby Smolensk airport.

The State Duma on Nov. 26 acknowledged for the first time that Stalin himself was to blame for the 1941 killings.

On Friday, the Prosecutor General’s Office handed over more documents formerly kept in secret Kremlin archives about the massacre, the Kremlin said in a separate statement.

In May, Medvedev handed 67 volumes to Komorowski in the Kremlin.

“It is the task of both sides to avoid artificial politicization of this sphere and to bring it onto a strictly scientific ground,” the Kremlin said Friday.

Analysts said Medvedev's trip to Poland is mainly symbolic but could give a positive impetus to Kremlin hopes to improve ties with the EU as a whole.

“The reset with Warsaw must be exemplary, especially for the Baltic states,” said Sergei Utkin of the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations.

Right after the talks in Warsaw, Medvedev will head for an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

But Marek Menkiszak, an analyst with the Polish Center for Eastern Studies, said the thaw in relations reflected a change in Moscow’s stance more than in Warsaw’s. “This was mostly decided in Moscow in line with the foreign policy strategy to present a new face to the West and draw investments for modernization,” he said by telephone from Warsaw.

Medvedev said in April that Russia must show “a smiling face” instead of “gnashing teeth” to the rest of the world.

In May, a leaked Foreign Ministry paper said the country should attract more foreign investment by establishing friendlier relations with many of its neighbors.

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