CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, THE SOVIET UNION AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION (Zmiany podzialow administracyjnych w Cesarstwie Rosyjskim, w Zwiazku Sowieckim oraz w Federacji Rosyjskiej)
In the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia underwent a complex process of political, economic and social transformation which coincided with the presidency of Boris Yeltsin. The fast pace of ongoing changes and the FR movement towards democracy inclined Poland to redefine relations with Russia and to seek new opportunities for their development. The expression of these was the visit of President Walesa in Moscow and the signing of Polish-Russian Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation on 22 May 1992. Shortly, however, a number of problems in relations with Moscow emerged, e.g. historical occurrences (including Katyn Massacre), Soviet army withdrawal from Poland, compensations and financial settlements, and others, which impeded current relations, despite the fact that presidents Yeltsin and Walesa had made an attempt to open a new chapter in Polish-Russian relations. It soon became apparent that the strategic interests of both countries are completely inconsistent in relation to fundamental matters. Evidently, it revealed conflicting aspirations concerning the entry of Poland to NATO , which resulted in significant cooling in Polish-Russian relations in the years 1994 to 2000. The change of authorities in Kremlin on 31 December 1999, which marked an end of a certain period in Russian history, unexpectedly created favourable conditions for improvement in relations with Poland. It was reflected in President Putin-s visit in Poland in January 2002, which yielded a number of spectacular results. However, the two-year balance of 'detente' of 2002-2003 presented itself rather poorly. Once more, a substantial discrepancy of Polish and Russian interests was exposed during the events of 2004. Polish entry to the EU in May 2004 and the presidential election in Ukraine, where Poland and President A. Kwasniewski played a significant role in the victory of 'the orange revolution'. This resulted in further cooling of Polish-Russian relations. The following years did not provide any improvement. At the end of 2005 the issue of locating elements of American missile defence shield on Polish territory appeared which posed a new problem in Polish-Russian relations. As in the case of NATO enlargement, the Russians employed the method of intimidation to counteract this undertaking. In retaliation for the shield, a number of higher Russian officers and politicians announced that the latest Russian anti-missile systems would be located near Polish border and that mid-range missiles would be aimed at Poland. This best illustrates the significance of East-Central Europe for Moscow.
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