“It’s not a question of faith, it’s a question of political goals. This is undoubtedly Putin’s goal and the goal of the Russian government to bring the situation from before the end of the Cold War as far as possible. They believe that it is a failure, that they have been defeated, pushed unfairly to the corner and it has to be turned around. .
When asked about Russia’s potential to rebuild its imperial position, the director of the Strategie 2050 institute said: There is a gigantic gap between goals set as imperial and geopolitical goals and the real potential of Russia. But maybe that is why Russia plays so high in these geopolitical matters, because it knows in other respects that it will not beat its global position. These are only armaments, it is only frightening and destabilizing Europe. This is the space where Russia can strengthen its position and make everyone in the West sit down with her and talk about her. This is also Putin’s goal.
It is not known whether the war will start or not, but the fact that I even say that it is not known is a very serious situation. This means that this is a scenario that cannot be ruled out. The Russians are threatening with almost plain text that they are ready to escalate militarily. It can happen – emphasized in RMF FM political scientist.
The former Polish ambassador to the Russian Federation emphasized that Russia is already de facto at war with Ukraine. What can happen is escalation. There is a readiness on the Russian side for this, although I believe that it is not a full-scale military operation, for the conquest of Ukraine – she added.
I am a supporter of such a policy that as many people as possible get vaccinated in reality. So if an obligation was introduced, and then this obligation would be as respected as now masks and distance, i.e. one law, and the other reality, it would be pointless, because it would undermine the credibility and agency of the state and disintegrate the society. I do not know if today such a hard coercion would not be the best way to do this. I’m afraid not – said Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz in the internet part of the Afternoon conversation at RMF FM.
The head of the Strategie 2050 institute, associated with the movement of Szymon Hołownia, was also asked about the solutions of the Polish Deal. I agree that the diagnosis at the beginning of the Polish Deal was correct when it comes to taxes. We have a tax system that is degressive at times, and there are high-income groups that pay less taxes than, say, middle-income or lower-income groups. This is a strange thing in comparison to Europe. And this diagnosis was correct. The fact that we did not quite manage to do it, and I would even say that most of it failed, is not only a result of the fact that it was soaked, but also the fact that it was done on the knees, very quickly, without consultation – said Pełczyńska-Nałęcz.
Marek Tejchman, RMF FM: Let’s start with what we heard a second ago, that is with the reports from eastern Ukraine. The lady was the Polish ambassador to Moscow for two years. Tell me, do you think the war is about to start?
Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz: It is not known whether the war will start or not, but the fact that I even say that it is not known is a very serious situation. This means that this is a scenario that cannot be ruled out. The Russians are threatening with almost plain text that they are ready to escalate militarily. It can happen.
And do you think the Russians are ready for war and the government of Vladimir Putin is ready for war?
Russia is already de facto at war with Ukraine. What can happen is escalation. There is a readiness on the Russian side for this, although I believe that it is not a full-scale military operation to conquer Ukraine. Russia is not preparing for this.
CNN television provides information – citing its source in the US government – indicating that the Americans believe that the Russians sent groups of people to eastern Ukraine, to the Donbas area, who may, pretending to be Ukrainian soldiers, provoke a conflict. Will it be like this?
Russia never attacks, it always defends itself. The other side is always responsible for a possible escalation, so if this escalation was really to occur, Russia would format the situation in such a way – also in propaganda – to accuse the other side of starting the escalation, and Russia is only defending itself.
The first of those wars the Russians made was the 2008 war with Georgia. The war that started on the day the games started. The war that was supposed to start with the Georgian invasion of North Ossetia, this is a conflict-building scenario in which the smaller partner attacks Russia, right?
The smaller country escalates, provokes and Russia defends itself. It defends the Russian or Russian-speaking population, it defends someone in oppression. After all, this was the scenario in Crimea too.
Today I watched a report from Moscow where a Bloomberg journalist was talking to ordinary Russians about what their plans were. The Russians now have a long winter vacation. There are crowds of children, mulled wine, a Christmas market … Are ordinary Russians, in your opinion, ready for this war?
The Russians easily succumb to such propaganda of the Russian imperial power. And very well – this has to be said with all honesty – they accepted the annexation of Crimea. It built support for Putin a lot, but at this point that has changed. Today, the Russians feel a decline in living standards, a very strong impact of Covid-19, a very high death rate from Covid-19 and this readiness to accept the next military adventure with approval is much smaller.
Or maybe the authorities want to distract from the problems?
It may be so, but what public opinion polls show – it will not be that simple. Russians today pay much more attention to their wallets than to the great imperial trips of their power.
And Vladimir Putin’s power is weak now? Weaker than she was or was it stronger?
She is both stronger and weaker. It is stronger in the sense that it is a much, much more oppressive regime than a few years ago, a few months ago. This oppression is growing incredibly fast and people are scared. This is a strong authority in this sense, and it is weak, because it is no longer a power based on popularity, on respect for Putin, but on fear.
This military operation, this state of threat to war, is in fact an element of the negotiations that are underway with the West – it cannot be said that with one entity, because we have a week of talks with NATO behind us, with the United States. At times, the Russians use shocking phrases. Their chief negotiator said that NATO should be packed and taken to where it was before 1997, the moment they welcomed us. Do the Russians really believe – and I am asking about the authorities now – that this post-Cold War order can be reversed?
It is not a question of faith, it is a question of political goals. This is undoubtedly Putin’s goal and the goal of the Russian government to bring the situation from before the end of the Cold War as far as possible. They think it is a failure, that they have been defeated, pushed unfairly into a corner, and the situation must be turned around.
But for 30 years this country has not developed as economically as it has potential. Demographically, it has huge problems. It has nuclear weapons and a huge armaments sector, but economically it is also increasingly dependent on relations with China and weaker. Do they have the potential to rebuild, at least partially, this imperial position?
There is a gigantic gap between goals set as imperial and geopolitical goals and the real potential of Russia. But maybe that is why Russia plays so high in these geopolitical matters, because it knows in other respects that it will not beat its global position. These are only armaments, it is only frightening and destabilizing Europe. This is the space where Russia can strengthen its position and make everyone in the West sit down with her and talk about her. This is also Putin’s goal.
Today, the topic of the day in Poland is the decision of 13 members of the Medical Council to the prime minister, who are leaving because the government does not listen to them. But the government listens to people, it is democratic and strong thanks to this, because it does not decide to introduce restrictions, and Poles accept that so many people die.
This could be taken as an explanation that in fact people want it and the government does it as people want. But let’s recall the first wave of the pandemic. Not a wave, actually. It was such a zero wave, it didn’t happen. And the government said then, and I do not blame anyone for that, because it was not known what was going on, that there was going to be a hard lockdown, that people were to stay at home, that they really have with great respect …
It was forbidden to enter the forest.
This is. This was just a total exaggeration. That they should respect the life and health of other fellow citizens. And it is the same society that has respected these regulations and has accepted these decisions and implemented them. So you can work together very differently with the same society.
But we don’t want to vaccinate. We slide the chin masks off. And if there are to be restrictions, they should apply to schools, not shopping centers.
I think this “we” is actually a very divided “we”. Such is the world we have today, very divided. And there are “us” people who definitely want to vaccinate, who observe distance, face masks and treat diseases and the death of their fellow citizens with great respect and anxiety. And there are people who think and see things differently. And it very much depends on the political leadership, which of these sensitivities becomes more important. And in political decisions and in social emotions.