New Pro-Russian Party Emerges in Poland

EU | March 23, 2015, Monday // 15:05|  views

Russian woman takes picture of solar eclipse by her phone with portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, 20 March 2015. Photo: EPA

A new pro-Russian party called Zmiana, which means “change”, emerged on the political scene in Poland.

The party, which has a strong anti-US orientation, supports Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies and sees Russia as natural ally for both Poland and the EU, EUobserver reports.

Its leader Mateusz Piskorski denies Russian aggression against Ukraine, supports pro-Russian separatists and recognises Crimea's secession referendum as legal.

The party also criticises the Polish government's “confrontational” and “anti-Russian” policies and deems the Russian support for separatists as a “natural reaction”.

This shows the differing attitudes towards Russia in Polish society and opinion polls suggest that the party has potential support.

The emergence of the party coincides with the recent launch of Sputnik radio and news site, which purports to be presenting the Russian point of view.

Zmiana has been subject of investigation by the National Security Council, but so far no direct ties with Russia have been established.

There is a strong anti-Ukrainian sentiment among Polish society due to past events, such as the Volhynian massacre.

According to opinion polls, one third opposes Poland's support for Ukraine, while more than half of Poles believe that the help should not exceed the collective EU response.

Large majority of Poles – 75 % fear that the Ukrainian conflict poses a direct threat to Poland and it is expected that Zmiana will attempt to appeal to this electorate.

The party estimates that it could pass the electoral threshold of 5 % and garner as much as 12 % of the votes at the forthcoming elections in October.

Zmiana is not the only pro-Russian party in Poland, with similar sentiments being expressed within parties such as Civic Platform, Polish Peasants' Party and former communist SLD party.

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Tags: Poland, Russia, Zmiana, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, Crimea, EU, Mateusz Piskorski, separatists, Sputnik


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