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Offside!

Published on May 15, 2012 by: in: Politics

The Prime Minister said that it was an own goal. This is how he described Jaroslaw’s Kaczynski’s calling for boycotting the Ukrainian part of Euro 2012.

photo: Sean MacEntee

The Prime Minister has an incomparably greater knowledge of the principles of “kicking the ball” than the chairman of the Law and Justice party does. Yet the difference doesn’t really matter here as the whole issue is not about football. It is about the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is now imprisoned in a penal colony in Kharkov.

The Chairman may be accused of many things, but not of being unable to do politics. He can’t be  accused of acting on impulses either. The time of calling for boycott was brilliantly calculated. Chapeau bas for the Law and Justice intelligence in Brussels…The chairman had called for boycott and all the European Commissioners followed him a few hours later.

Of course, Kaczyński’s calling for boycott is as cynical as Tusk saying that boycotting is a mistake. But leaving the cynicism of the national policy aside, it is the chairman who is right. Morally and politically…

I won’t dwell on the moral aspect – it is obvious. The winner – Viktor Yanukovych – uses the age-old Eastern method to eliminate the defeated. I am not saying that Yulia Tymoshenko is a goody two-shoes, but punishing her for the gas deal with Russia, which she signed while being under pressure from EU countries (including Poland), is seeing the justice from a Monty Python distance. It would happen anywhere and in any legal system. It would be extremely funny if it was not really happening.

Politically speaking, the reaction of the European Commissioners, Germany, Austria and some other countries came too late. Tymoshenko wasn’t put into jail yesterday and her tragicomic trial took place a long time ago. Poland, as a co-host of Euro 2012, is in a very difficult position. But if you start business with people like Mr. Surkis and you do it on his conditions, you can’t expect that you will play children’s games. Whatever you think, it is better to remember that our life is not finished when Euro 2012 is finished and we’d better off doing something that is commonly called foreign policy.

Radosław Sikorski has underestimated the importance of the post-Soviet countries since he took up his office. Staying faithful to the Piast concept, he can see only Russia (without spectacular successes as the latest concepts of Russian generals showed) and Germany (which, colloquially speaking, double-crossed him over the Ukraine-related issue). The Party of Regions, the ruling party in Ukraine, always has and always will be pro-Russian and no wooing of our government will change this. All the support the persecuted opposition gets is from Germany, and Poland…

You can impute double standards to everybody – to the European Commission for suddenly finding Yanukovych repulsive without noticing Putin’s crimes in Chechnya or Georgia; to Merkel for her hypocrisy that Chinese policy in Tibet does not bother her. You can do this. But does it really matter? Does it justify Polish indifference to what is going on with Yulia Tymoshenko?

Ukraine is our neighbor, whether we want it or not, and more important for us is what is happening over there than the election of Hollande for the President of France. By the way – the way Tusk treated this candidate during his visit in Poland was another “success” of the ruling party.

We were together with the Ukrainians at the time of the “Orange Revolution”. It seemed to be the time when we could all forget about the evil curse of our twentieth-century neighbourhood. As a society, we supported Ukraine on its way to Europe and on a governmental level – until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken over by “the Piast” under the leadership of Sikorski.

Opinion polls show that Yanukovych’s Party of Regions gets 23% of the votes. The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Front for Change have 27% of the votes. These are the two forces that can win the next parliamentary elections in Ukraine and dictate the direction of its policy. Sikorski, Tusk, Euro 2012 are the reasons that none of these options may be helpful for Poland. One way or another – we are in an offside position.

 Translation: Adam Intrys

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About Marcin Celinski

Enterpreneur, manager. He was the first leader of the Liberal Forum.

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