Radosław Sikorski

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Radosław Sikorski
Sikorski konferencja 2.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
16 November 2007
Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Preceded by Anna Fotyga
Minister of National Defence
In office
31 October 2005 – 7 February 2007
Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Jarosław Kaczyński
Preceded by Jerzy Szmajdziński
Succeeded by Aleksander Szczygło
Personal details
Born Radosław Tomasz Sikorski
(1963-02-23) 23 February 1963 (age 51)
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Political party Civic Platform
Spouse(s) Anne Applebaum (1992–present)
Children Aleksander
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford
Religion Roman Catholicism
Radoslaw Sikorski meets Secretary Hillary Clinton

Radosław Tomasz "Radek" Sikorski ([raˈdɔswaf ɕiˈkɔrskʲi] ( ); born 23 February 1963) is a Polish politician and journalist. He has been Minister of Foreign Affairs in Donald Tusk's cabinet since 2007. He previously served as Deputy Minister of National Defence (1992) in Jan Olszewski's cabinet, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998–2001) in Jerzy Buzek's cabinet and Minister of National Defence (2005–2007) in Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Jarosław Kaczyński's cabinets.

Early life and education[edit]

Sikorski was born in Bydgoszcz. He chaired the student strike committee in Bydgoszcz in March 1981 while studying at the I Liceum Ogólnokształcące (High School).[1] In June 1981 he travelled to the United Kingdom to study English. After martial law was declared in December 1981, he was granted political asylum in Britain in 1982.[2] He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, where Zbigniew Pełczyński was one of his tutors.[3]

During his time at Oxford, Sikorski was head of the Standing Committee of the debating society, the Oxford Union (where he organised debates on martial law)[citation needed], president of the Oxford University Polish Society[citation needed], member of the Canning Club[citation needed],[4] and was elected to the Bullingdon Club, a dining society that counted among its members the current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.[5]

In 1987, Sikorski was awarded British citizenship, which he renounced in 2006 on becoming Minister of Defence of Poland.[6]


In the mid-1980s, Sikorski worked as a freelance journalist for publications such as The Spectator and The Observer. In 1986, he travelled to Afghanistan as a war correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph. He won the World Press Photo award in 1987 for a photograph of a family killed in a bombing by the Afghan Air Force.[7] In 1989, he became the chief foreign correspondent for the American magazine National Review, writing from Afghanistan and Angola. In 1990–91 he was the Sunday Telegraph's Warsaw correspondent.

From 1988 to 1992 he advised Rupert Murdoch on investing in Poland.

Deputy minister in Olszewski and Buzek governments[edit]

Sikorski returned to Poland in August 1989. He briefly served as deputy defence minister in the Jan Olszewski government in 1992.

From 1998 to 2001 Sikorski served as deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Jerzy Buzek government. He oversaw the consular service and issues surrounding Polish citizens abroad. He was also responsible for Asia, Africa and Latin America and was Honorary Chairman of the Foundation for Assistance to Poles in the East.[8] In 1999 he protested publicly against Ted Turner's use of a joke demeaning Poles during a speech in Washington; Turner subsequently apologized.[9] Sikorski's appeal to Polish nationals with dual citizenship to use the passport of the country they were visiting caused some controversy among the Polish expatriate community.[10]

In the United States[edit]

From 2002 to 2005 he was a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative.[11] He was editor of the analytical publication European Outlook, and organised international conferences. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the American Committees on Foreign Relations.[12]


Following this stint in the USA, Sikorski returned to Poland and was elected senator from his home town of Bydgoszcz in 2005.[13] He joined Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz's government as Minister of National Defence the same year. He resigned on 5 February 2007 largely in protest against the activities of the chief of military intelligence, Antoni Macierewicz.[14] Though never a member of the Law and Justice party, he served out the parliamentary term in the Law and Justice Senatorial Club. In the early parliamentary elections of 2007, he was elected to the Lower House (Sejm) with 117,291 votes.[15]

Minister of Foreign Affairs[edit]

Sikorski, Donald Tusk and Lech Kaczynski in 2008

He was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Donald Tusk's government on 16 November 2007.[16] He joined the Civic Platform party and became a member of its national board in 2008.[17]

Sikorski visited Moscow in 2009 to enhance Polish-Russian cooperation; in 2010, President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, both visited Warsaw.[18] On 20 August 2008 Sikorski signed a missile defence agreement with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, over the objections of Russia.[19] The agreement came less than two weeks after the outbreak of the 2008 South Ossetian war in Georgia.[20] However the Obama administration later (on Sept. 17, 2009) cancelled plans for a larger missile defence shield.

In March 2010, Sikorski took part in the Civic Platform Presidential primaries against the then Parliamentary Speaker, Bronisław Komorowski, who went on to be elected President. Sikorski enjoys some of the highest approval and trust ratings among Polish politicians.[21]

There was the Polish press speculation that Sikorski may be considered as a candidate for the position of the secretary general of NATO, which was held by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer until July 2009.[22] In the event, NATO named the Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, despite previous Turkish objections.[23]

At the depth of the European sovereign debt crisis in November 2011 Sikorski went to Berlin to "beg for German action", in commentator Barry Wood's later words. Europe, Wood paraphrased, stood at a precipice. "The greatest threat to Poland," Sikorski said per Wood, came not from Russia, but from "a collapse of the euro zone," of which Poland was not then yet a member. Sikorski labelled Germany as Europe’s "indispensable nation" and said it must lead in saving the euro. Wood, writing ten months later in October 2012, with the European currency at US$1.30 up from a low of US$1.20, saw Sikorski's 2011 trip and words as, in the time frame, a turning point. The German chancellor Angela Merkel was visiting Greece when the column was published and, despite Athens protests to the visit, the "visit would have been unthinkable a year ago". He gave credit for the change in thinking partially and implicitly to Sikorski.[24]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Sikorski in Washington, DC

Sikorski was involved in the events of the winter 2014 Ukraine Euromaidan protests at the international level. For example, he signed on 21 February along with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders Vitaly Klitchko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Oleg Tyagnibok as well as the Foreign Ministers of Russia, France and Germany a memorandum of understanding to promote peaceful changes in Ukrainian power. Sikorski then sent out the following message on Twitter: "Good compromise for Ukraine. Gives peace a chance. Opens the way to reform and to Europe. Poland and EU support it."[25] The next day Yanukovich was forced to flee Kiev.[26]

Sikorski labeled pro-Russian separatists as "terrorists".[27] He also said: "Remember that on that Russian-Ukrainian border, people’s identities are not as strong as we are used to in Europe. ... They reflect Ukraine’s failure over the last 20 years and Ukraine’s stagnant standards of living. You know, when you are a Ukrainian miner or soldier, and you earn half or a third of what your colleagues just across the border in Russia earn, that questions your identity."[28] According to Spiegel Online: "... [Sikorski] hopes that NATO and the EU will finally take off the kid gloves in their dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He wants to see the West stand up to Moscow and, if necessary, threaten the Russians militarily."[29]

His activities in the Polish MFA are harshy criticized by many Polish politicians. Prof. Szczerski, leading Polish expert on foreign relations and member of Polish parliament said that there is no visible effects of Sikorski's foreign policy either in the West or the East.[1].

Sikorski was reported to have said: "The Polish-American alliance isn’t worth anything. It is even harmful because it creates a false sense of security for Poland".[30]


Sikorski was accused by photographer Piotr Blawicki of violating photography copyrights.[31] The Polish Government Accountability Office (NIK) accused Sikorski of overpaid purchase of luxury furniture from MFA.[32] Polish press have reported that he illegally used Polish Secret Service (BOR) agents to bring him a pizza to his private residence. The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and government spokeswoman spoke publicly about this incident.[2]. On May 6, 2014 the head of BOR, Colonel Krzysztof Klimek, have decided to open an internal investigation on this incident.[33]

In June 2014, Radoslaw Sikorski was recorded criticising British Prime Minister David Cameron and his handling of the EU to appease Eurosceptics in very derogatory terms in a secretly taped conversation with the former Polish finance minister Jacek Rostowski. [34]

Books published[edit]

Dust of the Saints, 1989 (the Polish translation, Prochy Świętych, was first published in 1990)

The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland, 1998 (the American edition is titled Full Circle: A Homecoming to Free Poland)

Strefa Zdekomunizowana [Commie-free Zone], 2007

Awards and recognition[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Sikorski is married to the American journalist and historian Anne Applebaum. They have two children, Aleksander and Tadeusz. Sikorski rebuilt a manor in Chobielin, where he and his family now live. During his time in Britain, Sikorski dated for four years the acclaimed actress Olivia Williams, who played Ruth Lang in Roman Polański's The Ghost Writer.[42]


  1. ^ Radek Sikorski personal website 
  2. ^ Blair, David (25 January 2009). "Nato has 'no will' to admit Georgia or Ukraine". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ "Report". Rhodes House. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.zyleta.net16.net/Zyla_Rados%C5%82aw_Sikorskions.php[dead link]
  5. ^ Thornhill, John; Cienski, Jan (23 May 2014). "Radoslaw Sikorski in the hot seat". ft.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sikorski proves he renounced British citizenship". 
  7. ^ 1987, Radek Sikorski, 1st prize, Spot News
  8. ^ Radek Sikorski English CV
  9. ^ BBC, Ted Turner Says Sorry
  10. ^ Rzeczpospolita, Spór o wizy i paszporty, 19 November 2003
  11. ^ New Atlantic Initiative 
  12. ^ "The American Committees on Foreign Relations: Board of Advisors". 
  13. ^ "Election results". 
  14. ^ "Sikorski: Macierewicz the reason for my departure". 
  15. ^ "Election results". 
  16. ^ "Tusk government sworn in". 
  17. ^ "New Members of the National Board". 
  18. ^ "Poland and Russian Presidents hail improvement in bilateral relations". 
  19. ^ "US and Poland seal missile deal". BBC News. 20 August 2008. 
  20. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (21 August 2008). "Eyeing Georgia, Poland Expresses Worry". New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
  21. ^ "TNS OBOP: Sikorski ahead of Tusk". 
  22. ^ Castle, Stephen (26 December 2008). "NATO awaits new leadership". International Herald Tribune. 
  23. ^ "Strasbourg summit: Rasmussen named next NATO secretary general". Welt Online English News (Die Welt). 4 April 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009. "NATO named Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as its next leader on Saturday after overcoming Turkish resistance to his appointment. The deadlock in the decision process, brought on by Turkey's protests, had threatened the image of unity NATO wanted to display on its 60th anniversary." 
  24. ^ Wood, Barry, "Battered but intact, the euro mounts a comeback", MarketWatch, 9 October 2012. Wood is the international economics correspondent for RTHK in Hong Kong. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  25. ^ "Ukraine crisis: deal signed in effort to end Kiev standoff". The Guardian. February 21, 2014
  26. ^ rt.com: "Russia has no intention to send troops into Ukraine – Lavrov" 29 Mar 2014
  27. ^ "Sikorsky: Foreign subversion of Ukraine leads to tragedy". Kyiv Post. May 3, 2014.
  28. ^ "Talking with Poland’s foreign minister about the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s next moves". The Washington Post. April 18, 2014
  29. ^ "Mr. Perfect from Warsaw: The Rise of Poland's Foreign Minister". Spiegel Online. May 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ Gera, Vanessa; Scislowska, Monika (23 June 2014). "Report: Polish minister calls U.S. ties worthless". www.militarytimes.com (The Associated Press). Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  31. ^ Sikora, Kamil. "Radosław Sikorski nie zapłacił za zdjęcie Natalii Siwiec. Kolejne kontrowersje wokół Twittera szefa MSZ". na:temat. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Kontrowersje wokół mebli Sikorskiego.". interia.pl. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  33. ^ "Szef BOR-u wszczął wewnętrzną kontrolę ws. pizzy dla Radosława Sikorskiego". onet.wiadomosci. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  34. ^ Oltermann, Philip and Traynor, I., Watt, N. (June 2014). “Polish MPs ridicule Cameron's 'stupid propaganda' aimed at Eurosceptics”, The Guardian, 23 June 2014, Accessed 26 June 2014
  35. ^ "Minister of Defence Radosław Sikorski named 'Person of the Year' by Gazeta Polska". 
  36. ^ "Sikorski, Rubik and Lis winners at the Wiktor 2006 awards". 
  37. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski". 
  38. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, visits Lithuania". 
  39. ^ "Appointments to the National Order of Merit". 
  40. ^ "President of the Union of Poles in Lithuania Michal Mackiewicz Visits Poland". 
  41. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Radosław Sikorski – Biography". 
  42. ^ "Will Radosław Sikorski go to the cinema today?". Onet.pl. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jerzy Szmajdziński
Minister of National Defence
Succeeded by
Aleksander Szczygło
Preceded by
Anna Fotyga
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
János Martonyi
President of the Council of the European Union
Succeeded by
Villy Søvndal