Duda the Dude in Estonia

President Duda

President Duda

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas published a picture on Twitter after Polish president Andrzej Duda visited Estonia and thanked him for wearing the yellow ribbon as a sign of support for Eston Kohver. “I want to thank Andrzej Duda for yesterday’s visit and yellow ribbon as a sign of support for Eston Kohver,” wrote Roivas. Duda, during his visit to Tallinn, wore the ribbon on his jacket, which is a sign of solidarity with Kohver, the Estonian security services officer, who was sentenced by the Russians. Kohver was kidnapped in September last year at a border area. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for espionage, illegal possession of arms and crossing the border. His trial lasted several days. Duda said: “In this situation we need wise diplomacy and within the framework of NATO we must take care of our security to assure our people that they are safe. I am convinced that, together with the President, we can lead this wise policy.
wprost.pl

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Russia Rules in Poland

Made in Russia

Made in Russia

A surprising effect of the Russian embargo is that Poland has never before imported so much food from Russia. After Russia imposed an embargo on various products from the West, including Polish food, export to Russia last year plummeted by almost 30% to a record low level of €880m. However, Poland spent €160.6m importing food from Russia, which is almost 79% more than in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Never before has Poland seen such a boom in Russian agri-food products. “This is the effect of the depreciation of the rouble,” explains Zbigniew Ekiert from the Trade and Investment Promotion Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Moscow. He continues, “last year the value of the rouble against the euro and dollar plummeted by almost 50%, which means that Russian products have become twice as cheap for foreign customers. Polish businesses have noticed this opportunity, and prefer to buy on the Russian market.” According to Ekiert this can be observed most clearly in the Kaliningrad Oblast. Today, it is less profitable for Russians to go to Poland to go shopping, but Poles, on the other hand, are buying food as well electronics on the Russian side.
tvn24bis.pl

Nikolai Kolada in Teatr Studio

Nikolai Kolada

Nikolai Kolada

For ten days, from 7 – 17 November, Teatr Studio hosted the Kolada Festival, a celebration of the work and accomplishments of the well-known Russian theatre director. The project was divided into two main parts. In the first, Nikolai Kolada (sometimes written ‘Kolyada’) cooperated with the Teatr Studio troupe in producing “The Government Inspector”, a play based on the comedy by Nikolai Gogol. The second was a retrospection of plays under the direction of Kolada. Not only could the audience enjoy work by Kolada directed in Poland like “Natasha’s Dream” from the Teatr Stefana Jaracza in Łódź and “The Mascarade” from Teatr Juliusza Słowackiego in Kraków, but also productions previously staged in the Yekaterinburg theatre, such as “Boris Godunov”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Hamlet” and Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”. Teatr Studio‘s crew presented the accomplishments that Kolada and his students have achieved within drama and dramaturgy. They arranged meetings with Kolada and organised readings of Ural playwright compositions adapted by Polish artists. Oleg Jagodin, the informal lead actor of the Yekaterinburg troupe, who portrayed the main characters in the above-mentioned shows, performed a concert at the festival. Additionally, the programme included acting master classes conducted by Kolada, as well as several film screenings. The whole project was supervised by Agnieszka Lubomira Piotrowska. Nikolai Kolada is one of Europe’s most interesting modern theatre directors, actors and playwrights. He is from Russia. He gained recognition producing plays like “Slingshot“ (popular even outside Europe) and “Merylin Mongoł”.
teatrstudio.pl

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New Polish Ambassador in Russia

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

“Poland and Russia should elevate their relations to a new level and all problems can be solved with mutual respect and pragmatism,” said Vladimir Putin, accepting the credentials from the ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, on 19 November. Pełczyńska-Nałęcz later told Polish correspondents in Moscow that her short conversation with Putin after the ceremony was pure courtesy. She also noted that the event took place at a time when there are difficult relations between Russia and the West. Consequently, the soured atmosphere between Russia and the European Union translates into strained Russian-Polish relations. “Problems between the West and Russia – as these are not our bilateral problems – are so profound that in order to solve them serious strategic dialogue is required from the West, the EU and Russia. Poland should participate in this dialogue and does so, making a contribution to the process,” said the ambassador. She expressed her hope that Poland and Russia would seek ways to conduct constructive dialogue. “Our particular concern in this challenging situation is to maintain as intensive contact as possible between the Polish and Russian people. That includes cultural contact,” she declared. Along with the Polish ambassador, new heads of diplomatic missions of 14 other countries, including John F. Tefft from the US, presented their credentials to Putin. The Russian president had a short conversation with each of them. Addressing the US ambassador, the Russian president said that Russia was ready to cooperate with the US on condition that such collaboration be based on mutual respect and a principle of non-interference in internal affairs. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Yuri Uskakov, the president’s foreign policy advisor, also participated in the ceremony, which was held in the Alexandrov Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace. Putin is not in the habit of receiving separately every ambassador that begin work in Russia. He usually accepts credentials from a dozen or so ambassadors at a time and such ceremonies are held once a few months. The previous took place on 27 June with 13 new ambassadors. Prior to assuming this post, Pełczyńska-Nałęcz was deputy minister of foreign affairs responsible for matters related to the Polish community abroad, development cooperation and eastern relations. Previously, she worked at the Centre for Eastern Studies as the head of the Russian department and deputy director. In 2009-2010 she sat on the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and in 2008-2012 was a member of the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters. She is the author of numerous publications, including ones on transformation in Russia.
tvn24.pl

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NATO is on Alert

Red Alert?

Red Alert?

The Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has been commenting on Russian air force operations over Europe and he claims that NATO is watchful and is engaging in appropriate measures. “Yesterday’s news shows that NATO is alert, our system is working and we have noted the intensification of activities. NATO will ask Russia for explanations as they exceeded all accepted norms for military activity,” said the Minister. The head of the Defence Ministry (MON) was present at a conference organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the military hospital on Szaserów Street in Warsaw. Jay Jasen, spokesman for the alliance said that NATO aircraft were scrambled several times because of the unprecedented scale of Russian air force operations within European airspace. “Four air formations consisting of Tu-95 strategic bombers, MiG-31 fighters and other Russian military aircraft were active in airspace over the Baltic, the North Sea and the Black Sea as well as the Atlantic,” according to the spokesman. Russian units did not give their flight schedule nor did they make radio contact with civil air traffic authorities. NATO scrambled Norwegian, UK, Portuguese, German and Turkish aircraft. No accidents were recorded. Relations between NATO and Russia have been tense since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March. According to the alliance only last week Russian aerial reconnaissance aircraft encroached on NATO airspace over Latvia.
wp.pl

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Poles Interested in Ukraine

Still of Interest

Still of Interest

The CBOS public opinion research centre has found that the majority of Polish people are interested in the Ukrainian crisis. According to a CBOS survey conducted in October, 83% of Polish people are still captivated by events unfolding in Ukraine. 58% share the opinion that new Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz is continuing the previous government’s policy in relation to Ukraine. 57% of respondents fear that Russia is not going to restrain its territorial claims on Ukraine and that Moscow is also going to evoke other conflicts in countries where there Russian minorities are present. This anxiety is growing. CBOS has noted an increase of 9% in this regard since May. 67% of respondents consider the situation in Ukraine as risky for the security of Poland. This is a 11% drop against the exceptionally high figures in August and September (78%). 83% of respondents were worried about the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the Polish economy; 74% of respondents said that the crisis could effect Polish energy security; 42% of respondents fear a foreign army might invade Polish territory. Only 4% believed Ukraine would regain its lost territory.
rp.pl

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Amber Concessions

Semi-Precious

Solid Gold?

Polish local authorities have found an opportunity to begin mining for amber once again. This new Polish mining boom is down to Russia not wanting to export the semi-precious gem. This has meant that the price of amber rocketed to its highest level in years. The problems of Polish jewellers began in late 2013 when the Russian state amber factory in Yantarny decided to stop exporting. It is estimated that the Russian Kaliningrad region (bordering Poland and Lithuania) holds more that 80% of all of the world’s amber deposits. It is the only place in the world where amber extraction is undertaken on an industrial scale, according to Nasz Dziennik. Assuming the moderate price of PLN 10,000 per kilogram, it has been estimated that Polish amber resources are worth PLN 7 billion, four times more than Poland’s entire GDP. The current extortionate prices of amber and its deficit mean that increasingly more local authorities are think of opening or re-opening mines.
wp.pl

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