Recently, Polish-Ukrainian relations have experienced a clear crisis. This is evidenced by official state enunciations and the tone of media commentary – in Poland far from sincere solidarity from the first period of “dignity revolution” and Russian aggression. Significantly, even in the right-wing circles, referring to the legacy of President Lech Kaczynski, one of the greatest advocates of strategic cooperation with Ukraine, the growing distrust and irritation of Kiev’s politics is noticed. Characteristic is the title of a recent article of Peter Cywiński published on the popular Internet website wPolityce.pl “The End of illusions. Time to make a strong reorientation in our policy towards Ukraine”.
History, which divides
Undoubtedly, the most important, though not the only factor that exacerbates Polish-Ukrainian relations, is historical memory, strongly linked – especially in case of Ukrainians – with historical policy. In the collective memory of Poles, there are few traumatic events that affect the imagination, marked by the symbolism of evil, as the Volhynian slaughter. The systematic nature of genocide and extreme, inhuman cruelty, including the atrocities against women and children, sacralised the tragedy of the Volhynian population, providing a unique place in the historical consciousness of the Poles.