Polish president calls for unity against Russian aggression


Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has warned that Vladimir Putin plans to re-create the Soviet Union, and appealed for Europe to stand united against Russia's war on Ukraine.

Duda made the rallying call in an article headlined "Solidarity in the face of Russian aggression" published in the weekend issue of the French newspaper L'Opinion.

"Putin's openly declared plan to reinstate – in one form or another – the 'prison of nations' that was the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence in the former Easter-bloc countries; to glorify communism and Stalin; to sow division amongst the European family of nations; to attempt to interfere in the democratic procedures of Nato and EU member states, is dangerous," Duda warned.

According to him, Europe's fate is being decided in Ukraine where "the unbelievably dramatic struggle is being waged for the safe future, freedom, identity and reputation of the entire continent."

"The time of talking is over. We now have to show solidarity and take firm action," Duda said.

In his article, Duda also referred to the declaration that he signed last year, in Warsaw, together with the presidents of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the 230th anniversary of Poland's adoption of the Constitution of May 3.

"We made it clear that a united Europe should remain open to all countries and nations that share its values and that, to all of us, the solidarity of nations is one of the cornerstones of peace, stability, development, prosperity and resilience," he wrote.

Poland's May 3 Constitution of 1791, passed by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, was Europe's first document of its kind, and predated the famous French Constitution and followed the American one by four years.

The constitution, however, was short lived, as only one year later Russia, Prussia and Austria annexed parts of Polish territory in what has been called the first partition of the country.

"Unfortunately, it came too late," said Duda "Three absolutist powers... joined forces to destroy the unique political and civilisational project of the multi-ethnic and multi-faith First Republic."

"Most ancestors of today's citizens of Central and Eastern European countries became the tsar's subjects. They were forced to contribute to the expansion of the Russian Empire with their blood, property and work," wrote the Polish president.

"The looting, persecution, destruction of cultural heritage and acts of genocide committed by Russia" and later by the Soviet Union against the region's countries is "a historical lesson" Duda said.

Duda's article was published as part of the worldwide media project called "Telling Poland to the World," a joint initiative by Poland's Institute for New Media, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the National Bank of Poland (NBP), the Foreign Ministry and the Polish Press Agency.