PIŁSUDSKI, KACZYŃSKI, DUDA IN GEORGIA
‘We are here to express our solidarity…’. The words of the late president of the Polish Republic Lech Kaczyński, said in the memorable summer of 2008 in Tbilisia, are still current – they summarize an important journey of the president of the Polish Republic Andrzej Duda to Georgia which took place on 29-31 May 2017.
The visit of the President of the Polish Republic with his spouse to the invitation of the president of Georgia Giorg Margwelaszwil took place in a friendly atmosphere. Arriving at the capital city from the airport, one could notice festively prepared places and streets where there were flags of the both befriended countries: Polish white-red and characteristic flags of Georgia, referring to the orthodox tradition. The ceremony of the official greeting of the presidential couple from Poland by the president of Georgia began on 30 May on the courtyard of the Presidential Palace, and then behind ‘the closed door’ there was a talk of both presidents ‘face to face’. There were also planned talks of the Polish-Georgian delegations. During the press conference the President of the Polish Republic was mentioning tragically deceased president Lech Kaczyński. – He was a great friend of Georgia, unlike any Polish politicians he perfectly understood how important independence, freedom and sovereignty of Georgia was to maintain the unity of Europe – said Andrzej Duda. – In critical moment, in summer 2008, when Georgia was invaded by Russia, president Lech Kaczyński did not hesitate to gather leaders of Central Europe and arrive here, at Tbilisia, in order to stand together and say ‘no’ to that hostile invasion, this aggression which had taken place at that time and was successfully prevented – president Duda continued and ended with the words: ‘Today this is also my, as a Pole, great satisfaction that I can be in independent Tbilisi and independent Georgia.
Referring to those historical events, one of the points of the presidential visit that day was a ceremony of depositing a wreath at the monument of Lech Kaczyński in Tbilisia, commemorating those events and the heroic attitude of the late president Kaczyński. The ceremony was attended by Polish families inhabiting the capital city of Georgia and the Salesians, and the Sisters of St. Elizabeth who run schools, nurseries and other educational institutions for the local people.
President Duda also met with the prime minister Giorgi Kwirikaszwili and the chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia Iraklim Kobachid. The talks were mainly focused on the fact that Georgia considers Poland as one of the most important European partners – President of Georgia thanked the President of the Polish Republic for strong support in the NATO and EU forum. As he said, Georgia feels that president Duda and Poland traditionally support aspirations of Georgia. – These aspirations are an entrance to the EU and NATO, and in Poland we have a great spokesman in this important strategic pursuit. Moreover, an extremely unusual and unofficial event was a spontaneous invitation of the Presidential Couple for a meeting with the Patriarch of Georgia Eliasz II.
The day of 31 May was begun by President with a meeting with the leaders of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and Polish soldiers, policemen and officers of the border guards taking part in this mission. At present 20 Poles are participating in it. Polish functionaries presented a situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Poles play a very important role in the leadership of this mission. Its task is monitoring the situation on the administrative line between Georgia and separatist provinces Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This aftermath of a few-day war between Russian and Georgia in August 2008 which led to separation of separatist regions from Georgia.
An important event of that day was participation of the Presidential Couple from Poland in an opening ceremony of the alley named Marshal Józef Piłsudski. A special memorable tablet for that occasion was placed there, on which there is a quotation from St. Grzegorz Perada – a professor of the Warsaw University, who had been killed in the German concentration camp Auschwitz: ‘Józef Piłsudski knew our country very well and loved it, which was full of beautiful legends and fights for freedom and independence of our beloved Caucasus. He, who became the subject of the legend through his heroic efforts, gained freedom thanks to his steadfast will and genius and created a big and powerful country from Poland torn away by the partitions. We should continue his ideas together with Poles, for the sake of the good and greatness of our common Homeland. St. Grzegorz Perada, the year 1935’.
Let’s recall that Piłsudski approved of the Polish Georgian alliance in the years 1917-21, considering Georgia as a part of his concept of Isthmus. The alliance was ended due to the Soviet interference in Georgia and creating the Caucasus Federation Socialistic Soviet Republic in 1922. Here it is also necessary to add that the time of the Polish-Georgian alliance is going to be investigated by a commission of historians appointed under the patronage of the presidents of Poland and Georgia – Andrzej Duda and Giorgio Margwelaszwil. The commission is to elaborate a canon of knowledge till the year 2021, about the breakthrough time for the Polish-Georgian relations from 100 years ago. An occasion to appoint the commission are the forthcoming celebrations of the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland and Georgia.
During his visit in Georgia, the President of the Polish Republic met with Polish archeologists who are carrying out investigations in the Gonio Fortress, near Batuma. He also talked with the chairperson of the government of the Autonomic Adjara Republic Zurab Patarada. Adjara is an autonomic region of Georgia with the capital city in Batuma. It is inhabited by the Adjaran, defined as the Muslim Georgians.
Let the words of Krzysztof Szczerski, a chief of the Polish President’s Office be a summary of the effective visit of president Andrzej Duda in Georgia: - We returned to intensive, dynamic Polish –Georgian relations. Today we have this moment again, in which Georgia considers Poland as one of its most important spokesmen in bringing Georgia closer to the western world (…), in which Poland is playing an essential role today.