This article examines the problem of contemporary bilateral relations between Poland and Russia. Its thesis largely attributes the rivalry of these two states in Eastern Europe to conceptions relating to the balancing and bandwagoning of power. This rivalry can be put down to the fact that Polish-Russian relations are being developed within broader global processes such as Russia’s relations with NATO, the USA and European Union. The greatest obstacle to the maintenance of mutually beneficial relations is the sensitive issue of security. In recent years Poland has consistently underlined its willingness to reinforce NATO’s mutual defense mechanisms by supporting the organization’s continued presence in Central-Eastern Europe. This issue has been compounded by Poland’s striving to bring the countries of Eastern Europe (especially Ukraine) into closer affiliation with Western institutions favoring European integration, which is evidently perceived as interference in what is regarded by Moscow to be a sphere of Russian influence. This has provoked a number of serious crises in bilateral relations between Poland and Russia since the Euro-Maidan Revolution in Ukraine. Russian plans to install new (Iskander) missile systems close to the Polish border and Poland’s effective attempts post-2014 to extend NATO presence within its own country testify to the scale of conflicts of interest between the two states and the lack of trust afforded by both sides. The issues highlighted in this paper are of great importance, since they not only enable the complexity of Central European issues to be more fully comprehended but also help to elucidate other global actors’ conceptions relating to cooperation with Europe.

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