Ukraine – Poland: realization of minority interests

УДК 327.7 Eugenia Vozniuk – candidate of political sciences, senior Lecturer of department of country studies and international relations, International relations faculty, Lesia Ukrainka Eastern European University

© Vozniuk Eugenia, 2013

The article examines the development of the Ukraine Poland cooperation in the late XX – early XXI century in the context of the interests of the Ukrainian minority in Poland and Polish one in Ukraine. The prospects for the future relations as well as socio-political interests of both countries in the sphere of national minorities are considered. The development factors of the Ukrainian minority in Poland and the Polish minority in Ukraine are studied.

Key words: Ukrainian minority in Poland, the Polish minority in Ukraine, Ukraine Poland cooperation, socio-political interests.

Вознюк Євгенія. Україна – Польща : реалізація інтересів національних меншин. У статті досліджується розвиток українсько-польської співпраці наприкінці ХХ – на початку ХХІ ст. у контексті реалізації інтересів української національної меншини в Польщі та польської – в Україні. Враховані перспективи розвитку цих стосунків у найближчому майбутньому та суспільно-політичні інтереси обох держав у сфері діяльності національних меншин. Проаналізовано чинники розвитку української меншини в Польщі та польської меншини на Україні.

Ключові слова: українська національна меншина в Польщі, польська національна меншина в Україні, українсько-польська співпраця, суспільно-політичні інтереси.

Вознюк Евгения. Украина – Польша: реализация интересов национальных меньшинств. В статье исследуется развитие украинского-польского сотрудничества в конце ХХ – начале ХХI в. в контексте реализации интересов украинского национального меньшинства в Польше и польского – в Украине. Учтены перспективы развития этих отношений в ближайшим будущем и общественно-политические интересы обу государств в области деятельности национальных меньшинств. Проанализированы факторы развития украинского меньшинства в Польше и польского меньшинства в Украине.

Ключевые слова: украинское национальное меньшинство в Польше, польский национальное меньшинство в Украине, украинский-польское сотрудничество, общественно-политические интересы.

The general theoretical outline of the problem and its importance. In the stream of historical transformations that are occurred at the turn of the 80 – 90 years of the last century – the transformation of the socio-political structure of Central and Eastern Europe, the disintegration of the USSR and the emergence in its territory of the newly independent states, turning to the democratization of international relations – generated new opportunities to meet the interests of national minorities for their performance and development.

The state of representation and satisfaction of the interests of national minorities in multi-ethnic states depends on internal factors such as political regime or form of administratively-territorial structure, foreign policy, namely relations of the country where they reside with their historical homeland. The fact of living in Ukraine the Polish national minority in Poland – Ukrainian actualizes the impact of the Ukrainian-Polish relations to meet their vested interests.

The aim of the paper. Thus, the article will try to explore how the Ukrainian-Polish cooperation affects the process of realizing the interests Ukrainian Poles in this country, and Polish Ukrainian in Poland.

First of all, it should be noted that the content and nature of national identity is highlighted in a number of publications, both domestic and foreign scholars. However, a unified approach to the definition of its essence is not formed. Analysis of existing ideas about the nature of national identity gives reason to believe that the most appropriate is the understanding by which generated additional research opportunities as every single social phenomenon of identity (ethnic and national) and their transitional varieties – national identity.

Research on the theory and study of the phenomenon of ethnic policy, of ethnic and national identities are devoted work of Varzar I., M. Vivcharyk, Z. Kartunova, O.Mayboroda, L.Nahornoyi, A. Nelha, M. Obushnyi, I. Onishchenko, J. Rymarenko, L. Shkliar, M. Shulga and other Ukrainian scientists. Theoretical formation of national identity became the subject of research of S. Arutyunov, J. Bromley, L. Drobizheva, M. Cheboksarovoyi. Some aspects of ethnic, national and other identities person reflected in publications of A. Zaremba, V. Evtukh, E. Kaminsky, G. Kasyanov, V. Kremen, I. Kresin, V. Kryzhanivskyi. In the writings of these and other domestic scholars reinterpreted the traditional understanding of the interpretation of a number of concepts of ethnopolitologic science, defining the place and role of ethnic and national political processes.

Of great interest are also the work of foreign scientists – M. Bras, F. Hekmana, R. John, E. Erikson, E. Smith and others, in which reveals the essence of national identity, analysis of its nature in the plane of sociological theory and proves the need to revise the dominant theories of political sociology that emerged in Western countries.

An important value in the context of clarifying the nature of the national minorities and establishing the limits of the differences between different types of ethnic groups have made works of Polish ethno analysts – G. Babinsky, J. Bychkovskyi, K. Kwasniewski, G. Halupchak, G. Janusz etc.

A detailed study of the situation of Ukrainian in Poland was in the work of M. Trukhaniv «Ukrainians in Poland (1944 – 1984 years)», in which a scientist gave a detailed analysis of the case of new frontiers, relocation, activities of UPA, action of «Visla» (Ukrainian was scattered all over Poland). Among the few publications on this issue should also be inaccessible solid scientific research of J. Makar, which examines the immediate problems of the Ukrainian community in Poland in the late XX century.

The development of Ukrainian-Polish relations in the context of the Polish minority in Ukraine highlights in the book «Poles in ethno-political processes in the lands of Ukraine in the XX Century» of A. Kalakura.

A lot of valuable information on the researched topic contains the collective work of Ukrainian scientists «Ukrainians in the world» (from the series «Ukraine through the Ages»), historical and ethnographic research «Lemko», «Holm and Podlasie», «Ukrainians in the foreign world», and others.

First of all, it should be noted that today’s ethnic policy of Ukraine and Poland based on the principles of cultural pluralism, ensuring equal rights and opportunities to meet the needs of national minorities. However, as you know, it was not always so.

In particular, the Polish minority, which had informed the linguistic, cultural, religious interests, the need for contact with their historical homeland, existed in the USSR, but the conditions of the Soviet period conditioned limited ability to implement them. Requirements in the preservation, study and use of the Polish language through access to programs of Polish Radio, Polish books or of the press was restricted. School of Polish education existed only in Lviv, and the ability to watch Polish television was just for the residents of the city Lviv and the border regions of Volyn. To some extent the language, but above all the religious needs, are met in a few Roman Catholic church. Implementation of needs in contact with the historic home was made possible through participation in the activities of NGOs, such as those existing in 1957 as the Society of Soviet-Polish friendship. In Poland in 1944 there was the Society of Polish-Soviet Friendship [1, p.28]. After the emergence of the Polish «Solidarity» contacts were intensified by commissioning party line [2, p. 110].

Thus, in the Soviet Ukraine opportunities to meet the educational, scientific or religious purposes of Poles were extremely limited.

In the summer of 1988 in Kiev, in the Society of Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries held its first meeting of the so-called «Polish section», which soon became the independent Polish Cultural and Educational Society [3, p. 255]. That it acted as a subject of articulation of socio-political interests of Poles in Ukraine, which fueled the need for creation and development of the legal framework for the existence of an organized form of Polish life, to prevent possible ethnic conflicts, creating an atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding, the existence of a democratic state within which could evolve polish ethnic group.

Launched in 1989 the process of changing of political life and break the communist regime in Poland led to the revival of socio-political and cultural revival of the Ukrainian national minority. For the parliamentary elections this year to draw attention to the situation of minorities has created conditions for election to the Sejm of Ukrainian V. Mokryi that had not happened in this country since the time before the war. On activation of the Ukrainian community while eloquently fact of a number of NGOs and the steady increase in the number of Ukrainian schools and students enrolled in their native language. Revived cultural and religious life of the church and Ukrainian minorities. In the borderlands of 80 – 90 years legalized Greek Catholic Church, forbidden in Poland after 1946 pseudo-Cathedral etc.

Simultaneously institutionalize the interests of national minorities, which was caused by domestic political factors, there were also significant changes in the foreign policy situation. At the highest party and state level in Moscow April 21, 1987 the leaders of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and of RP W. Jaruzelski signed a declaration of cooperation in the field of ideology, science and culture, and other documents.

It should be considered that the start of direct interstate Ukrainian-Polish relations should be dated to 1989 when a group of Polish parliamentarians took part in the first Congress of People’s Movement of Ukraine, which later led to the establishment of parliamentary deputies of RP group led by Bogdan Borusewicz, which had to aimed at establishing contacts between parliamentarians of both countries.

The Polish side has presented the Ukrainian government needs of Poles in Ukraine and its desire to support them: the matter of learning the Polish language, teacher training for its teaching, learning organization in Poland, in the direction of Ukraine for the needs of the church of Polish priests. It was also announced ordering problem of «Eaglets Cemetery» at the Lviv cemetery, restoration of monuments on the Polish cemetery in Zhytomyr, and so on. [2, p. 116]. Joint Declaration is a result of meeting May 4-5, 1990 in the town near Warsaw Yablonna group of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Polish politicians except needs of good neighborly relations between the two nations, focused on respect for the rights of national minorities [2, 120; 4, 394 ].

Since Ukraine’s independence active mediator in the development of bilateral relations between our country and the Republic of Poland raised its own Polish Ukrainian. Poland first on the 2 of December 1991 recognized the independence of our country and so for the first time in the modern history of Ukrainian state unambiguously supported the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people. It changed the image of Poland in the eyes of our society. Accordingly, the Poles in Ukraine began to be treated as a minority, which supporters of the Ukrainian people in the process of nation-building, which in turn created a Polish group for better conditions for the realization of their interests [5].

Branch, which began established most active Ukrainian-Polish cooperation – is education, science and culture. Since 28 June 1991 in Warsaw, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Higher Education of the USSR, the Ministry of Education of the Ukrainian SSR and the Ministry of National Education Republic of Poland for the period of 1991 – 1995. In 1992, signed a preliminary agreement between the governments of Ukraine and Poland on cultural and scientific cooperation. The bigger part of the article deals regulated co-educational and scientific institutions, provided the exchange of experience, training, assistance in spreading the knowledge of language, literature, history, geography, another country. The governments of Ukraine and Poland pledged to encourage mutual awareness of cultural heritage, modern cultural and scientific achievements, to address the cultural and religious needs of Poles in Ukraine and Ukrainian in Poland.

Continued and expanded this cooperation by agreement between the Ministry of Education of Ukraine and the Ministry of National Education in 1996 – 1998 years. It served as meeting the interests of the Polish community in Ukraine and Ukrainian – in neighboring Poland. In 1996, only the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine signed six documents on long-term cooperation with scientific institutions in Poland [2, p. 129], in 2004 – 2005 the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine funded 16 joint Ukrainian-Polish research projects, there were 87 direct agreements between 38 Ukrainian and 62 Polish research institutions [6]. 1300 Ukrainian students and teachers left for training and the postgraduate school of Polish university in 2007. And in 2008, in middle and Sunday schools in our country there were already 30 Polish teachers and 12 university teachers from neighboring Poland. Not decreased their number this year.

New opportunities for members of the Polish community in Ukraine opened in 2003 as the official representative of a number of higher education institutions in Poland, Ukraine became the Polish-Ukrainian program «OsvitaPOL» principal objective – the complex issues associated with the entry, training and accommodation Ukrainian students.

Appropriate to emphasize the importance and development of Ukrainian education in Poland and education in their native language, because it is not only a means of interpersonal communication, but also a prominent feature of national self-preservation. The best way of language education Ukrainian community in Poland is proving necessary knowledge of several languages in the rapid development of information technology, but especially family – Ukrainian and Polish.

It should be noted that the marked increase in the number of Ukrainian schools and points of learning Ukrainian is also observed in the late 80’s – early 90’s the time that almost situation became stable with the required number of educational institutions, staffing home school through the education of young teaching staff of the Ukrainian environment. However, a careful analysis of the Ukrainian education in Poland gives every reason to single out some of his problems. Chief among them now: lack of textbooks and fiction, the lack of methodological center and an enabling environment for the training of teachers in the country, endorsed by the imperfect mechanism for providing learning opportunities in Ukraine Ukrainian school graduates from Poland.

Reformed domestic law, including the stay of foreigners and their work has contributed not only to better meet the educational and cultural needs, but also religious. Thus, in the initial stage of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, and in some cases today, a significant percentage of Roman Catholic priests had Polish citizenship. In particular, Lutsk Diocese since 1996 until recently is headed by the Polish Markiyan Trofymiak, and in half of the 23 churches of Volyn service sent ksenzy – Polish citizens.

Thus, cooperation in the humanitarian sphere very much concerns how the Poles in Ukraine and Ukrainian in Poland encourages the development of education, culture and art, and thus significantly enhances the public attitude toward minority.

With the signing in December 1992 agreement on cooperation of border regions and provinces of Poland, Ukraine began establishing Ukrainian-Polish border and interregional cooperation. In May 1993, signed an intergovernmental agreement on interregional cooperation, the result of which was, in 1995, the international association «Euroregion «Bug».

One of the first countries to Poland in 1994 simplified the conditions for crossing the citizens of Ukraine, and in 1996 signed the Polish-Ukrainian agreement on visa-free movement. Although it should be noted that in 2003, at the request of the EU visa free regime was abolished.

It is clear that the implementation needs to maintain contact with their historical homeland is largely dependent on the availability of consular offices, the possibility of rapid long-term visa and border crossing procedures. Thus, the difficulty in obtaining a Polish visa was partially offset by building a network of Polish consular offices in Ukraine. Today Poland has the largest number of them among all EU countries Consulate of the Republic of Poland acting in Lutsk, Lviv, Odessa, Kharkov, Vinnitsa, and consular Section – in Kiev. Consulate General of Ukraine operates in three Polish cities – Gdansk, Krakow and Lublin.

Appropriate to state that the visa regime for residents of a cross border was considerably softened from 22 July 2009 – the date of entry into force of the Intergovernmental Agreement of 28. 03. 2008 was on local border traffic that has become particularly important for the most numerous Polish communities – inhabitants of Lviv and Volyn regions. Now the Ukrainian-Polish border operates 12 checkpoints (including 6 cars), including 2 in Volyn – in Yagodyn and Ustylug.

In June 2004 it signed a strategy of Ukrainian-Polish border and interregional cooperation. In 2008, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine at the regional level, there were about 430 partnerships between local governments of Ukraine and Poland. Today, more than 50 cities of Ukraine to support the economic, cultural and educational contacts with partners in Poland.

The base for the development of interstate Ukrainian-Polish relations must be considered «Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Poland on good neighborliness, friendly relations and cooperation» signed on 18-19 of May 1992, which was of great importance for the regulation of the Ukrainian-Polish relations on a new basis. Countries recognized when the right of members of national minorities, individually or jointly with other members of their group preservation, development and expression of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity. Treaty, in particular affirm the right of learning and teaching in their mother tongue, its free use, distribution, creation and maintenance of their own educational, cultural, religious organizations and societies, to profess their religion, to establish and maintain unimpeded contacts among themselves both within the country of residence, so and beyond, and others.

Through the agreement was made possible as a direct cooperation of numerous national minority organizations, religious congregations, amateur art groups, cultural groups, Sunday schools with governmental and non-governmental organizations, foundations, which are aimed at substantive and financial support of the Polish and Ukrainian living abroad.

Make good use of the cooperation, designed to meet their interests better able, in particular, members of the Polish community in Ukraine. They provide training and retraining of teachers of Polish participation in numerous courses at higher education institutions in Poland or non- organized units, retraining of journalists, training managers Polish amateur groups and heads of NGOs. This close collaboration helps orhanizovuvuty to learn about the cultural heritage of the Polish people visits the historic homeland of groups of children and young people.

Significant changes in the Ukrainian-Polish relations occur in 1994 – 1996 years. 25-26 June 1996 in Warsaw, President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma signed the «Joint Declaration of the President of Ukraine and the President of the Republic of Poland», which brought relations between the two countries at the level of strategic partnership under enhanced status of the Ukrainian minority in Poland and Polish – to Ukraine, enabled each of them successfully implement their social and political interests.

During the official visit of the President of Poland O.Kvasnyevskyi to Ukraine on May 21, 1997 a statement «By understanding and unity» was signed, which has become an important element of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. This document is allowed to bring on an interstate level problem often hushed painful event for both nations in the first half of the twentieth century. Which have been a source of mistrust and tension in Polish-Ukrainian relations and served as a subject of scientific battles for decades.

All Ukrainian and Polish historians who have studied and are studying Ukrainian-Polish political and armed conflict in the last century, each time trying to explain its reasons. But none of them have never been able to name a full range of historical, political, economic, religious, moral and other reasons that led to the bloody drama Call Ukrainian-Polish relations, 1939 – 1945, especially 1943 – 1944 and – only later – 1947. But this tragedy was one of the reasons (though not the main) the expulsion of the Polish population of the Western Ukrainian lands and Ukrainian – with the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. That is, most of the deportees, expelled, displaced or evacuated population and formed the basis of the combined minority in Ukraine and Poland.

Therefore, it is important is the fact that among the measures aimed at combining and reconciliation stands opening with the presidents of both countries in 2003, the monument to Poles who died at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists in the 1939 – 1945 years in the village Pavlivka Volyn region, signed in June 2005 Protocol on mutual perpetuation of the memory locations in more than 80 locations in Poland and Ukraine, opening in May 2006 in a village in Poland Pavlokoma memorial 366 Ukrainian who died at the hands of the Polish Army in March 1945.

Such practical implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on the combination and reconciliation significant impact on improving the atmosphere of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation, which certainly affects the opportunities to meet the interests of both Ukrainian and Polish minority.

In a further deepening and institutionalization of Ukrainian-Polish relations affected joint holding of the Football Championship «Euro – 2012».

Decisive point in this relationship over the past few decades have had the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in late 2004 – early 2005, in which Poland took an active part, and the management of the neighboring state has played a significant role. It was then Warsaw started active attempts to bring Ukraine into the EU, which at this time is clearly defined with its pro-European foreign policy. Poland is now considered a major advocate of Ukraine in the EU, the biggest lobbyist of our country on the path of European integration. Despite some temporary obstacles encountered it in the last months of 2013, Poles believe in the European future of Ukraine, Ukrainian sincerely sympathize with the aspirations for democracy, the expansion of civil rights and participation in politics, which constantly express their neighbours on the eastern border. After all, only the European course of the Ukrainian state is consistent with the interests of the Polish community in our country and the Ukrainian minority in Poland.

Perspectives of further investigations. In Soviet times, the interests of both Ukrainian and Polish minorities are met only partially, and only by changing external and internal factors in the late 80’s – early 90’s were the conditions for the realization of their interests in the field of language, education, religion and culture.

Ukrainian-Polish cooperation has started to develop a qualitatively new basis ranging from contacts Parliaments of both countries, established at the state level, governments and community groups.

As for the Ukrainian and Polish communities to have important cooperation of local governments, allowing them to better realize their own interests at the local level. Involvement of local ethno-cultural communities in this process raises the rank of NGOs and increase their prestige locally. And, most importantly, indirectly border and interregional cooperation strengthens the pro-European direction of Ukraine’s foreign policy, which, of course, is in the interests of the Polish community in Ukraine and Ukrainian – in Poland, there is a significant element in filling the real meaning of a strategic partnership between the two countries.

List of the used literature

1. Ішуніна Н. Роль громадських зв’язків в українсько-польських міждержавних взаєминах // Polska i Ukraina po II Wojnie Światowej. Włodzimierz Bonusiak. – Rzeszów. – 1998. – С. 27–40.

2. Бабак О. Політичні відносини України та Польщі у 1980 – 2005 рр. // Поляки на півдні України : Історія та сьогодення. У 2 т. – Т. 2. – Жешов ; Київ, Миколаїв : Видавництво МДГУ ім. П. Могили, 2008. – С. 108–151.

3. «Jak trudno być Polakiem»: Як важко бути поляком» / Авт. концепції Є.Шалацький. – К. : Головна спеціаліз. ред. літ. мовами нац. меншин України : Спілка поляків України, 1997. – 336 с.

4. Калакура О.Я. Поляки в етнополітичних процесах на землях України у ХХ столітті. – К. : Знання України, 2007. – 508 с.

5. Rudnytsky S. Factor of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation in the realization of the interests of the Polish minority in modern Ukraine / S. Rudnytsky // Political Science Journal. Coll-to science works. – K. : «INTAS», 2011. – Vol. 52. – S. 373.

6. Інформаційно-довідковий матеріал про стан і перспективи розвитку співпраці в галузі освіти і науки між Україною і Республікою Польща. Інформація підготовлена Міністерством освіти і науки України [Електронний ресурс] / Режим доступу:


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