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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire Russian gas trader hit with U.S. sanctions over his alleged ties with the Kremlin following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, said being singled out by Washington was a badge of honor.
But Timchenko, who sold his stake in oil trading firm Gunvor hours after the sanctions were announced, acknowledged that the sanctions were slightly inconveniencing his business interests because some European banks were reluctant to deal with him.
WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish prosecutors alleged on Wednesday that a local executive with U.S. firm Hewlett-Packard Co. paid bribes worth over $500,000 in exchange for help winning contracts to supply computer equipment to the Polish police headquarters.
Poland’s Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz said HP would make an announcement later on Wednesday acknowledging its Polish unit had been involved in “corrupt activities”. A spokeswoman for HP declined to comment.
WARSAW (Reuters) – In a rented public hall not far from Poland’s parliament, about 150 people gathered one afternoon late last year to hear speeches by a collection of far-right leaders from around Europe.
The event was organized by Ruch Narodowy, or National Movement, a Polish organization that opposes foreign influences, views homosexuality as an illness and believes Poland is threatened by a leftist revolution hatched in Brussels.
BATONYTERENYE, Hungary (Reuters) – Barring a major upset, Hungarians will enthusiastically re-elect Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party for another term in April. To outsiders who see an authoritarian troublemaker, the expected landslide looks odd.
Not to those who know what motivates him.
When Orban first became prime minister in 1998, aged 35, he stripped his office and replaced the fittings with items used by his pre-war predecessors, scavenged from elsewhere in the building, former spokesman Gabor Borokai told Reuters.