Poland’s former FM Sikorski: Putin Offered to Divide Ukraine With Poland in 2008
By Reuters | Newsweek | Oct. 20, 2014 |

Poland’s parliamentary speaker, Radoslaw Sikorski, has been quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Poland’s then leader in 2008 that they divide Ukraine between themselves.

Sikorski, who until September served as Poland’s foreign minister, was quoted telling U.S. website Politico that Putin made the proposal during Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s visit to Moscow in 2008 – although he later said some of the interview had been “overinterpreted”.

“He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine … This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow.”

Transcript: Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski Talks to Atlantic Council | Nov. 2008 |  

twitter Radosław Sikorski

An interview with Politico was not authorized, and some of my words have been over-inflated. I confirm that the PL does not take part in annexation.

Putin’s Coup: How the Russian leader used the Ukraine crisis to consolidate his dictatorship
By Ben Judah | Politico | Oct. 20, 2014 |

The war in Ukraine is no longer only about Ukraine. The conflict has transformed Russia. This increasingly is what European leaders and diplomats believe: that Vladimir Putin and his security establishment have used the fog of war in Ukraine to shroud the final establishment of his brittle imperialist dictatorship in Moscow.

Among those who believe that this is happening, and that Europe will be facing down a more menacing Russia for a long time to come, is Radek Sikorski, who was Poland’s foreign minister from 2007 until September.

“I think psychologically the regime has been transformed by the annexation of Crimea,” Sikorski told Politico Magazine. “This was the moment that finally convinced all doubters and turned all heads. This was Napoleon after Austerlitz. This was Hitler after the fall of Paris. This was the moment that finally centralized everything into the hands of Vladimir Putin.”

Sikorski is outspoken but not alone. Powerful officials inside Russia also see a darker cast to the regime, with the influence of the free-market economists and loyal oligarchs whom Putin once surrounded himself with significantly diminished. The liberals, relatively speaking, are out; the Russian president is reportedly now only working closely with security officials and the Defense Ministry. Some European diplomats even question whether Putin is still fully in charge, so beholden is he to the siloviki – the military and security establishment. “Every year the ruling circle shrinks smaller and smaller,” said one Kremlin source. “The only people that Putin is listening to are the military and the intelligence.”

Fear has returned to Moscow. Paranoia has gripped Russian officials and business elites.

Putin: “Ukraine is an artificial country.”

Continued below the fold …

Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love With Vladimir Putin by Ben Judah – review
By Luke Harding | The Guardian | June 27, 2013 |

Ben Judah is an intrepid reporter and classy political scientist. I first met him in 2008 during the Russian-Georgian war: we found ourselves together on a Russian military truck. The Russian army had crushed an attempt by Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili to seize back the province of South Ossetia; Valery Gergiev, a notable Putin fan, was conducting a victory concert in its capital Tskhinvali. Judah identifies this moment as the high point of Putinism. Putin enjoyed rock-star popularity and had humiliated Saakashvili’s patron George W Bush.

The mass consent Putin enjoyed during his first two presidential terms has now gone forever. Paradoxically, it is the middle-class beneficiaries of Russia’s economic boom who ripped it up. Judah likens Russia’s president not to Leonid Brezhnev – another Russian leader who hung on to power too long – but to Nicholas II. (The tsar, of course, survived the 1905 revolution only to be swept away in 1917.) Russians have fallen out of love with Putin but are thus far unpersuaded that the opposition can deliver anything better. Judah concludes that sooner or later an earthquake may bring down the fragile Kremlin. But then again, it might not happen at all.  

Putin: “Ukraine is an artificial country.”

I remember, too, that V. Putin spoke of Ukraine as of artificial agglomerate publicly, at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008.  

When lies and half-truths rule the Washington op-ed pages, danger lurks
Op-ed by Bryan MacDonald | Russia Today | Oct. 19, 2014 |

The halcyon days of the Washington Post are over and, in a hardly surprising move, that story didn’t get their, once famed, forensic coverage. One of its most prominent op-ed writers is Anne Applebaum, who writes on foreign affairs every fortnight. Her brief is global, but in Anne’s world, Russia seems to be, just about, the only foreign affair of interest.

People’s personal lives are usually not relevant here, but Anne is married to Radoslaw Sikorski, who was recently removed as Poland’s Foreign Minister, so it merits mention. Sikorski played a prominent role in stoking up this year’s coup in Ukraine and is, notoriously, hawkish on Russia. The Pole was affiliated with Washington’s American Enterprise Institute – a neocon citadel with close links to the former (George W.) Bush administration in the US. A British citizen for 19 years, until he renounced it, Sikorski is devoted to Poland but his world view was largely shaped on foreign fields.

I almost became the first lady of Poland | Slate | Applebaum |

Poland’s Defence Minister, Radek Sikorski, works for the CIA?

Polish intelligence sources report that Sikorski became a U.S. intelligence asset during the Reagan Cold War years. Sikorski was a Solidarity leader in the 1970s. He was visiting Britain in 1981 when martial law was declared in Poland. In 1984 Sikorski became a British citizen.

Sikorski operated under the cover of a journalist in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan during the mid 1980s and in Angola in the late 1980s where he liaised with pro-U.S. UNITA guerrillas backed by apartheid South Africa and noted GOP activists, including recently convicted Jack Abramoff as well as Karl Rove friend and adviser Grover Norquist.

In 2002, after Angola’s government killed UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi with the help of Kellogg, Brown & Root military advisers, Sikorski penned an anti-Savimbi screed in the neo-con Wall Street Journal, dismissing his old friend and the man Ronald Reagan called the “George Washington of Africa” as a pro-Mao closeted Leninist who practiced voodoo and believed in Kwame Nkrumah and Leopold Senghor-style black consciousness (“negritude”).

Savimbi’s Death Could Be Angola’s Gain | AEI/WSJ | Sikorski |  

NATO declaration – part about relations with Russia

  1. We recall that the NATO-Russia partnership was conceived as a strategic element in fostering security in the Euro-Atlantic area, based on core principles, values and commitments, including democracy, civil liberties and political pluralism.  Looking back at a history of more than a decade, we have developed a political dialogue as well as concrete projects in a broad range of international security issues where we have common goals and interests.  While we are concerned by recent Russian statements and actions on key security issues of mutual concern, such as the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), we stand ready to continue working with Russia as equal partners in areas of common concern, as envisaged by the Rome Declaration and the Founding Act.  We should continue our common efforts in the fight against terrorism and in the area of non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery.  We urge Russia to engage actively in important cooperative offers that have been extended.  We believe that United States-Russia bilateral discussions on missile defence and CFE, among other issues, can make an important contribution in this field.  We believe the potential of the NATO-Russia Council is not fully realised and we remain ready to identify and pursue opportunities for joint actions at 27, while recalling the principle of independence of decision-making and actions by NATO or Russia.  We reaffirm to Russia that NATO’s Open Door policy and current, as well as any future, NATO Missile Defence efforts are intended to better address the security challenges we all face, and reiterate that, far from posing a threat to our relationship, they offer opportunities to deepen levels of cooperation and stability.
  2. We note Russia’s ratification of the Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement, and hope that it will facilitate further practical cooperation.  We appreciate Russia’s readiness to support NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan by facilitating transit through Russian territory.  We would welcome deepened NATO-Russia cooperation in support of, and agreed by, the Government of Afghanistan, and look forward to building on the solid work already achieved in training Afghan and Central Asian counter-narcotics officers.  Our continued cooperation under our Cooperative Airspace Initiative and Russia’s support to Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean contribute to our common fight against terrorism.  We also welcome our cooperation on military interoperability, theatre missile defence, search and rescue at sea, and civil emergency planning.
  3. We reaffirm that NATO’s policy of outreach through partnerships, dialogue, and cooperation is an essential part of the Alliance’s purpose and tasks.  The Alliance’s partnerships across the globe have an enduring value, contributing to stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.  With this in mind, we welcome progress made since our last Summit in Riga in strengthening NATO’s policy of partnerships and cooperation, and reaffirm our commitment to undertake further efforts in this regard.
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