Advisor to the Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland przemysław żurawski vel grajewski told whether the apparent success of reforms in Ukraine, why is the current policy of the West is not appeasing the Russian aggressor and what are the prospects of Georgia and Ukraine to join the EU and NATO.

Przemysław żurawski vel grajewski says the Russian authorities mafia / screenshot

*This material is published by UNIAN in cooperation with the project, the Georgian TV company “Starvision” in Russian “Border ZONA”. Project author: Egor kuroptev

As well-known in Poland about the challenges and the problems faced by Georgia?

In the circles dealing with international Affairs, I know very well! I want to say that Georgia is not the country that in Poland discovered a few years ago. The poles know Georgia for more than two centuries, since the times of the Russian Empire, when many poles were deported to the Caucasus soldiers. Since the 19th century, when there was an emigration diplomacy and the idea arose among Polish emigration, which is against Russian imperialism must be fought on all fronts. One such area was the expansion in the direction of the Caucasus. Here was the Polish envoys, the poles, who first told Europe about Georgia.

At the moment the main challenge for the Georgian war of 2008 and the continued occupation. These facts I know in Poland?

I think it is. All know about the visits of President Kaczynski in Tbilisi during the Russian aggression. Understand also that it was not only the moral side of the question, but almost political. After the successful experience of the policy of military aggression in one direction gives the Kremlin the motivation of its use in all other directions.

Against Poland?

Maybe not now. But they become bolder. It’s a terrible lesson for all. Any success of the aggressive policy will give the motivation to repeat it in other areas.

In Poland or other countries in the region there is a fear or the idea that there might be a direct confrontation with the Russian Federation?

I don’t think fear is a good word. But we remember. Everyone knows that in 2009, in 2013, in 2017, when Russian troops conducted military exercises “West 2009 2013 2017………”, in the scenario of these manoeuvres was the aggression against Poland, against the Baltic States, the Baltic sea Islands…

Policy, of which you say, Georgia, Ukraine, maneuvers, exercises… leads to increasing isolation of Russia and economic losses due to sanctions. Why, in your opinion, Vladimir Putin still continues an aggressive policy?

This is a very good question. First, the Russian state – a state with a mafia-like structure of the security forces, the KGB, and not national interests. So they go for the risks that are impossible for a normal state, which focuses on national interests.

You call the Russian government is a mafia?

Yes, the mafia. The goal is to have the power of the mafia was stable. Therefore, any success of neighbors in the direction of reforms (whether in Georgia or Ukraine), the success of which would demonstrate to Russian citizens that it is possible to live differently, is a threat to the Russian KGB mafia.

You do a lot of Ukraine. We are talking about the success of the reforms. Ukraine is now visible success of the reforms? There is a lot of talk that the work on reforms is insufficient. Progress is being made?

There is, but not such as would all. And that’s fine. Obviously, expectations are high. This is a question with what to compare. With the standard of living in Russia? In what part of Russia? What hope for the future?

I think that the dynamics of this process will be the deciding factor. It’s not a question of territories. Russia is the biggest country. She doesn’t need chunks of territories of Georgia or Ukraine. But the Putin regime, the Russian regime cannot exist in the conditions for successful reform of the neighbouring countries, which the Russian society is considered part of the Orthodox or so-called Russian world. Because it would destroy the Imperial myth that this type of civilizations required such a rigid authoritarian government.

In Ukraine now the elections and we see that Poroshenko is not the only leader of the presidential race. Many speak of controversial reforms. You can see that Ukraine all these years really is moving into NATO and the EU, and the reform process going?

Goes, but it’s a big country, where more than 40 million citizens, and there is a war that is a factor of destruction of the economy. Reform against the oligarchs not very successful…

I think that Ukraine has carried out a successful reform of the armed forces as possible. Level 2014 it’s a very different army. Success was the Association with the EU. Success has become a visa-free regime…

Big problem – migration. Such demographic conditions lead to a decrease in potential of Ukraine. But on the other hand, is opening the doors for exchange of opinions and ideas, and understanding by citizens of Ukraine of the realities of the West. The experience of Poland in this respect is very interesting, because the 70-ies and 80-ies, even under communism, freedom of movement, travel to the West, was very great. And this experience was very important for mental development.

Clear. We are located in Georgia. Since the war in 2008, how would you assess Georgia’s development?

The level of development in 90-ies was terrible. War was. I think that now it’s a different country.

If we look at the Baltic countries, which did not have such dramatic events is, of course, impossible to compare. But if you compare Georgia 90s and is currently in development obviously.

Przemysław żurawski vel grajewski believes that Russia wants to be an enemy of the West / photo

You can now say that Georgia is a country which is close to NATO and Europe?

The European Union is a very complex structure, NATO is not that difficult, so it’s easier to talk about integration with NATO. In this issue Georgia fulfills all the conditions. It is more than 2% of GDP on defense, and more than 20% of this budget goes to modernize the army. This is a very active participation of Georgia in NATO operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan, European operations in Africa… In the scale that is possible in conditions of Georgia, is a very big contribution.

All Georgia had to do on the way to NATO, it did. The adoption of Georgia into the Alliance is a question of political decisions of the countries of the Alliance, not a question of readiness of Georgia.

What do you think, for Georgia or Ukraine, which would help countries to join the Alliance? What to do to it was a political decision?

If I knew the answer to this question, I’d be a Nobel prize winner.

But some steps can bring such a decision?

It’s not the steps of Ukraine or Georgia are able to decide something. Only a General change of the situation within NATO. In 2008-m to year, in Bucharest, the US position on the adoption of Georgia into the Alliance was not strong enough to address this issue in terms of the resistance of Germany and France. It was a new experience, because in the conditions of the cold war, the U.S. decision was enough. Since 2008, we know that now it is not.

Many EU countries is not very “in” Georgia’s accession to NATO. While 78% of Georgians. It is the United States should insist in the Alliance, so the decision was made?

The unity of NATO was built on a common understanding of the Soviet threat. A common understanding of the Russian threat does not exist. The perception of the Russian threat to the Eastern flank of NATO is very different from the perception of the Western flank of NATO. It’s not a misperception. This perception is based on the assessment of the situation of each country separately. You have to understand that this is all a democratic country, so any policy must have the support of the citizens. This is a very difficult political process to convince not only experts or the military but to make such a decision, and then to win elections in the country.

In your opinion, Russia’s policy will continue to move in the direction of aggression to, as you said, to protect the regime in Russia? And, if so, what should the West?

Russia’s policy will continue to be aggressive. Russia wants to be the enemy of the West. Russian elites need it, so they stop where they stop. They will not stop.

Stop what? Sanctions do not stop.

I will say, as a pole, who remembers military rule in Poland. Then, in response to American sanctions against this military rule, a high official of the Polish Communist government said that “food is for the authorities will always be enough”…

…That is, there are no new instruments?

What the officer said so doesn’t mean it is. To support such a regime, need a lot of officials, police, military. And they need funds.

Do you think that sanctions work?

Yes, they work. They reduce the potential of Russia. They create tension in the country. It is not only the material factor. In March 2014, when the upper house of the Russian Parliament discussed the introduction of Russian troops in Ukraine, one of the participants asked the question: “…and what will be the reaction of the West?”. And the answer was: “make Some noise and stop”…

…The example of Georgia.

Yes, the example of Georgia. Therefore, the experience of care from the policy of “business as usual” was a step to counter the next aggression. Therefore, sanctions are not only in the material plane, but also politically. Such steps of Russia, we must not allow.

You say that the sanctions are working, and at the same time that the aggressive policy will continue. What purpose, in your opinion, does the President of Russia?

I’ll answer. I am a historian. History shows us that the rational approach is not always dominated even in the most serious States. Many of the most serious leaders often made big mistakes. A rational approach should be to channel all of Russia’s resources for domestic needs. One of the Ukrainian professors said that if Imperial Russia used all of those teachers whom she has sent to Poland to obrusit poles in Russia itself, there would be no Bolshevik revolution. Everyone would be educated and would be able to read and write. But Russia used all its resources for expansion, to make slaves of other Nations. With a terrible effect for Russia itself.

Thank you for the interview.

Thank you very much!

Egor Kuroptev

“Border ZONA”

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Egor kuroptev – Russian media Manager and journalist, since 2012, lives in Georgia and covers topics related to the Georgian-Russian war. In 2017 on the basis of TV channel “Starvision” launched the independent author’s project in Georgia in Russian “Border ZONA”. The aim of the project is the promotion of Euro-Atlantic integration of the country, countering the propaganda and spread the truth for Russian-speaking audience in Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and other countries on the 2008 war, occupation, war in Syria, the annexation of Crimea and war in Eastern Ukraine.