Christian's Feed
Jun 18, 2014

Poland’s squeaky clean image post-communism threatened by secret tape

WARSAW (Reuters) – The furor over a secretly recorded conversation between two senior Polish officials has so far focused on comments that call into question the independence of the central bank.

But businessman Zbigniew Jakubas says he is more upset about another part of the tape: a section in which, according to a transcript, Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and central bank governor Marek Belka discuss how they can pressure Jakubas’s company to charge less for the coins it was proposing to mint under a state contract.

May 30, 2014

Poland’s Walesa kneels in prayer at funeral mass for former foe Jaruzelski

WARSAW (Reuters) – Lech Walesa, head of the Solidarity movement that ended Communism in Poland, knelt in prayer on Friday at a Catholic funeral mass for General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist leader who for decades was his sworn enemy.

But not all Poles are ready to reconcile with Jaruzelski, who oversaw violent crackdowns on pro-democracy activists before the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. Protesters gatecrashed his burial ceremony, shouting “traitor!” and “Go back to Moscow!”

May 29, 2014

Poland’s Walesa to pay last respects to foe Jaruzelski

WARSAW (Reuters) – Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity movement that overthrew Communist rule in Poland, said on Thursday he will attend a funeral mass for General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist leader who had him thrown in jail.

Jaruzelski died on Sunday aged 90 and will be buried on Friday at a military cemetery in Warsaw. While in power, he declared martial law in Poland to put down a pro-democracy uprising before finally stepping aside to allow free elections.

May 28, 2014

Poland plans ‘modest’ funeral for last Communist leader

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s last Communist leader, Wojciech Jaruzelski, will be buried without the usual pomp and ceremony accorded a former head of state, the government said on Wednesday, in a nod to the many Poles who view him as a Kremlin stooge.

Jaruzelski’s death on Sunday aged 90 triggered a fierce debate about his role.

May 26, 2014

In death as in life, General Jaruzelski divides Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland was split on Monday over where to bury General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist leader who for years helped the Kremlin suppress dissent behind the Iron Curtain before finally allowing democratic rule.

Supporters of Jaruzelski, who died on Sunday aged 90, said he should be buried with full military honors befitting a former president who outsmarted his masters in the Soviet Union to deliver Poland to freedom without major bloodshed.

May 12, 2014

East-West crisis to overshadow EBRD meeting 25 years after Cold War

LONDON/WARSAW (Reuters) – A quarter century after the Cold War ended, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will cut its growth forecasts this week as a new East-West standoff over Ukraine hurts many post-communist economies.

The EBRD, created in 1991 originally to invest in the former Soviet bloc countries of eastern Europe, opens its annual meeting on Wednesday as shockwaves rock even economies far from the center of the crisis in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Apr 26, 2014

Ukraine’s separatist phantom comes out of the shadows

KIEV (Reuters) – For weeks, Ukraine’s intelligence services have been tracking a mysterious man with a pencil moustache who, they say, is Russia’s chief agent provocateur tasked with stirring up armed revolt in Ukraine.

The closest anyone had come to spotting him was a crude artist’s impression issued by Ukraine’s State Security Service. On Saturday, he – or at least someone answering to his name – came out of the shadows.

Apr 21, 2014

Putin playing the long game over Russian kin in Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s decision last week to sign a peace accord on Ukraine does not mean that the Kremlin is backing down, rather that President Vladimir Putin is prepared to be patient in pursuit of his ultimate objective.

That aim, his own reflections and those of people close to his way of thinking seem to indicate, is one day to re-unite Russian speaking peoples, including those living within the borders of Ukraine, within one common home.

Apr 16, 2014

Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis

GENEVA/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Foreign ministers from East and West will try to defuse the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in Geneva, once frequently the scene of Cold War negotiations, but will risk being upstaged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, prospects of significant progress at the four-way talks appear slim. By contrast, what Putin says during his annual “hotline” session with the Russian people may have far greater influence on events in Ukraine’s rebellious east.

Apr 14, 2014

The woman who could be Poland’s next prime minister

WARSAW (Reuters) – When Polish deputy prime minister Elzbieta Bienkowska applied to study at a prestigious university in Warsaw, she was rejected after one of the interview panel questioned how she could study and raise a family as well.

The next year, she applied again and was asked the same thing. She replied by inquiring if the panel would put that question to male applicants. She was accepted.