Attila Demkó: The Hour of the Poles – Warsaw’s importance grew even more because of the war.
In April, spring in Poland is two weeks behind Hungary. Winters are warmer than usual and climatic differences between the two countries are smaller than ever, while political differences are greater than ever.. On the streets of Warsaw, Ukrainian flags, collections and posters show what is happening in the neighborhood. This is also Poland’s war.
During our stay in Poland, there were intense days at the front, and the Poles followed these events more closely than in Hungary. Even in professional circles A discussion of the prospects for a Ukrainian offensive It was more a matter of emotion than cold analysis. Warsaw cheers – in the good and bad sense of the word.
We need to understand that Poland really cares. He is not an American puppet, nor does he have full faith in the Biden administration, and even less faith in a Republican president. Warsaw is ahead of Washington: it often tries to dictate rather than follow. But still Poland is not crazy, it sees a different future and different threats than Hungary. Logically, it is hard to believe that after Ukraine, Poland, a member of NATO, will be the next victim. For Russia, while the campaign in Ukraine would be an easy victory, attacking all of NATO would be suicidal. Nothing will come of it, even in the best case scenario, Russia will end this war – who knows – when weakened and with significant losses in its army.
But still Questioning Polish fears is like saying abroad that Hungary’s concern for Transcarpathian Hungarian citizens lies behind someone else – namely Moscow.
The Polish trauma towards Russia is very deep – our traumas are very deep. But the Poles don’t know, and even some experts dealing with security policy don’t know how the Transcarpathian Hungarians ended up in Ukraine. Warsaw is very important to understand. Poland is the only country in Europe that has positive relations with Hungary beyond selfishness. Although each state is primarily guided by its own interests, this importance should not be underestimated. However, sometimes, just occasionally, there is room for emotion.
On the day we arrived, Warsaw was celebrating its anniversary. The center of the city has been beautifully reconstructed from the ruins, including places without even walls, but now the building cannot be said to be 70 years old. At the Gothic Cathedral of St. Jana, the elite of Polish public life, this Sunday afternoon. Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and a major figure in Polish politics. They remembered his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, who died thirteen years ago, along with part of the Polish elite, on April 10, 2010, near Smolensk. We follow the mass from outside and thousands of people watch it on big screens.
A crowd like a man singing a hymn. Such a scenario would be unimaginable in many Western capitals, given their ignorance of their own anthem. Poland has a strength and dignity that many European countries lack.
Nearby is a flower-covered monument dedicated to victims of the tragedy and a monument to Lek Kaczynski. The broad square where German destruction was woven into the fabric of the city is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a statue of Józef Piszczydski, the founder of modern Poland.
This place is the heart of Warsaw, where we often encounter destruction and rebirthThis is characteristic of Polish history. Hungary was divided into three parts and then dismembered in 1920, but it was never wiped off the map like Poland was in 1795-1918 or 1939-1945. What the Third Reich and the Soviet Union did in the 20th century was a disaster on the scale of the Tatar invasion, which killed nearly six million Polish citizens, mostly civilians, nearly twenty percent of the population. Half of the victims were Jewish, and the ghetto is now mostly high-rise buildings. The big buildings are clearly visible from the square, but you can feel it only after reaching the place It was a beautiful city setting. Some of the Art Nouveau buildings may have been saved, but Stalin decided that the Palace of Culture and Science would be built there “as a gift from the Soviet Union”. The palace is not a gift, but a shame, even if modern skyscrapers are built to hide the palace – it is difficult to avoid seeing it in Warsaw. To this day, many locals still believe it Not only did Russia invade Poland, it wanted to dissolve the Polish nation.
There really isn’t a good Hungarian comparisonBut at Trianon Hungary is completely divided, Romania gets not only Transylvania, Banat and Bardium, but also Budapest, and in Arad, instead of one sacrifice, there are a dozen or more, and then in the middle of our capital we get a “gift” in the form of a 240-meter Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, under which All other buildings are dwarfed.
In Hungary there is Trianon syndrome, in Poland the memory of the Russo-German partition is alive.. These comparisons are simplistic, but they are the only way to understand why many Poles see the Russo-Ukrainian war in black and white terms.
For Poland, in many respects, Ukraine today is more important than last year the Ukrainian nation as a “brother” rather than an unrelated but beloved Hungarian “relative”.. Indeed, Hungary and Polish-Hungarian cooperation were, understandably, very low on the list. But still did not disappear. There is a common interest, there is sympathy, misunderstandings and even conflicts of interest can be eradicated. It is more of a Hungarian than a Polish interest.
Poland is a middle power in the region, and its importance has increased because of the war. Even before 2022, the relationship between the two countries was not an equal one, and it will be even less so after the end of the war. That is why Hungary must pursue its own path for its own good, but Warsaw must respect that it sees differently.
Attila Temko is a famous Hungarian international affairs analyst, publicist and commentator.
The article was published on the pages of the Hungarian portal mandiner.hu
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