Cracks in the Visegrad Group over sanctions against Russia

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Visegrad Group that was founded in 1991 does not meet anymore the expectations of those that envisaged it as an anti-Russian military-political bloc. Instead of supporting the EU sanctions against Russia spearheading by Brussels and Warsaw Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia advocating a more moderate approach of settling the Ukrainian crisis.

Until recently, the Visegrád Group's balanced and cautious policy hasn't caused much problems within the alliance. However, recently, certain forces would like to transform the group into an anti-Russian propaganda tool.

Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in a long article criticized other members of the alliance for not unanimously condemning Russia, and not throwing their support behind Poland's fiercely anti-Russian stance. Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks have been accused of pursuing broad trade and economic relations with Russia and of being ambiguous on issues relating to the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

Apparently, Czech President Milos Zeman remarked at the NATO summit in Wales that he saw no "clear evidence of Russian intervention in Ukraine." Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico looks at the Ukrainian crisis as a geopolitical contest between the USA and Russia, of which better to stay out. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán prefers to talk about the crisis of liberal democracies in the western world rather than condemn Russia's role in the Ukrainian crisis.

According to sources, Warsaw has actually given an ultimatum to its Visegrad partners, either they give priority to military issues when dealing with Russia or Poland may leave the alliance. As a possible compromise a suggestion was made to expand the group with the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) that are pursuing traditionally anti-Russian foreign policies; this is to give permanent majority to Warsaw's anti-Russian stance within the group.

It seems that the majority of the people of Central-Europe are not overly enthusiastic about the anti-Russian policy of the west. Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán acknowledged that there were differences of opinion among the Central and Eastern Europe countries in the question of how to develop relations with Russia; in the meantime, he stressed that Poland and the Baltic states approach the problem from a security point of view, Hungary on the other hand considers Russia as a strong business partner, every other consideration is secondary.

(Oroszorszag Hangja –


0jr said...
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