Radosław Sikorski

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Radosław Sikorski
Msc 2008-Saturday, 11.00 - 13.00 Uhr-Dett 004 Sikorski.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland
11th Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Third Republic of Poland
Assumed office
16 November 2007
President Lech Kaczyński
Bronisław Komorowski
Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Preceded by Anna Fotyga
Minister of National Defense of Poland
10th Minister of National Defense of the Third Republic of Poland
In office
31 October 2005 – 7 February 2007
President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Lech Kaczyński
Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Jarosław Kaczyński
Preceded by Jerzy Szmajdziński
Succeeded by Aleksander Szczygło
Member of Senate
In office
19 October 2005 – 4 November 2007
Personal details
Born Radosław Tomasz Sikorski
(1963-02-23) 23 February 1963 (age 51)
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Political party Civic Platform (2007–)
Spouse(s) Anne Applebaum since 27 June 1992
Children Aleksander and Tadeusz
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholic
Radoslaw Sikorski meets Secretary Hillary Clinton

Radosław Tomasz 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 Pelczynski 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.

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 his campaign against the slander of Poland was boosted by the high-profile case of Ted Turner's public apology for a distasteful joke made during a speech in Washington.[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]

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] 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]

Under Sikorski, relations between Poland and Germany have significantly improved: the first foreign trip of Guido Westerwelle, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, was to Warsaw, and the two ministers pioneered the international response to the 2010 Belarusian presidential election.[18]

Relations with Russia have also improved: Sikorski visited Moscow in 2009 to enhance Polish-Russian cooperation; in 2010, President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, both visited Warsaw.[19] Sikorski has overseen a wide-ranging modernisation of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, transforming the internal organisational structure and infrastructure, introducing the use of new technologies, and carrying out a merger with Poland's European Integration Committee (UKIE).[20] On 20 August 2008, Sikorski signed a missile defence agreement with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, over the objections of Russia.[21] The agreement came less than two weeks after the outbreak of the 2008 South Ossetian war in Georgia.[22] "Parchments and treaties are all very well," Sikorski said, "but we have a history in Poland of fighting alone and being left to our own devices by our allies."[22] Although the Obama administration later cancelled plans for a larger missile defence shield, the Polish government successfully negotiated hosting a battery of Patriot missiles and the presence, for the first time in history, of American troops on Polish territory.[18]

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.[23]

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.[24] In the event, NATO named the Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, despite previous Turkish objections.[25]

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.[26]

Sikorski was deeply involved in the events of the winter 2014 Ukraine Euromaidan protests at the international level. For example, he signed on 21 February along with Viktor Yanukovich, 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. The next day Yanukovich fled Kiev.[27]

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.[35]


  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. ^ When Boris Met Dave, More 4, October 2009
  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. ^ a b Lucas, Edward (11 February 2010). "Sikorski for President? (blogpost incorporating Economist article)". 
  19. ^ "Poland and Russian Presidents hail improvement in bilateral relations". 
  20. ^ "Wiśniewski: Revolution at the MFA". 
  21. ^ "US and Poland seal missile deal". BBC News. 20 August 2008. 
  22. ^ a b Kulish, Nicholas (21 August 2008). "Eyeing Georgia, Poland Expresses Worry". New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
  23. ^ "TNS OBOP: Sikorski ahead of Tusk". 
  24. ^ Castle, Stephen (26 December 2008). "NATO awaits new leadership". International Herald Tribune. 
  25. ^ "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." 
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ rt.com: "Russia has no intention to send troops into Ukraine – Lavrov" 29 Mar 2014
  28. ^ "Minister of Defence Radosław Sikorski named 'Person of the Year' by Gazeta Polska". 
  29. ^ "Sikorski, Rubik and Lis winners at the Wiktor 2006 awards". 
  30. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski". 
  31. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, visits Lithuania". 
  32. ^ "Appointments to the National Order of Merit". 
  33. ^ "President of the Union of Poles in Lithuania Michal Mackiewicz Visits Poland". 
  34. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Radosław Sikorski – Biography". 
  35. ^ "Will Radosław Sikorski go to the cinema today?". Onet.pl. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
János Martonyi
President of the Council of the European Union
Succeeded by
Villy Søvndal