On a trip rich in symbolism, President Dmitry Medvedev promised to cooperate with Poland to investigate a plane crash in Russia that killed Poland's president in April. He also confirmed his readiness to work with NATO on missile defence.
"There are big energy projects in Poland with regard to privatisation that would be of interest to Russian entities," Medvedev told a joint news conference with Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski.
In his remarks, he singled out Poland's second-largest refiner Lotos as a potential target. The Polish government has put up for sale a controlling 53% stake in Lotos and will be awaiting offers until early 2011.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told reporters in Warsaw that a number of Russian companies had shown interest.
"Rosneft and Gazprom's oil arm Gazpromneft, among other Russian companies, are eyeing the possibility [of acquiring a stake in Lotos]," Shmatko said.
Although energy dominates trade, Moscow increasingly sees Poland, the only European Union member state to avoid recession last year, as a key trading partner in other areas as well.
Bilateral trade was $10 billion in the first six months of 2010, growing by up to 50% from same period in 2009.
Medvedev, the first Russian president to visit the Polish capital in eight years, said some Russian firms may be interested in listing on the Warsaw bourse, emphasising the role of small and medium-sized businesses.
Medvedev's visit to Warsaw comes amid a wider "reset" of relations between Russia and the West. Last month, he and NATO leaders, including from Poland, agreed to cooperate on missile defence, an issue long viewed by Moscow with deep distrust.
The NATO system will link existing European anti-missile systems to radars and interceptors the United States plans to deploy in the Mediterranean, Romania, Poland and maybe Turkey.
Addressing Komorowski, Medvedev said Russia was committed to full transparency in investigating the 10 April plane crash that killed 96 people, mostly top Polish officials.
"This is a very sad page [in our history]. We must do all we can so that no practical questions remain, so we agreed [with Komorowski] to continue to work in this direction under our joint patronage," Medvedev said.
Some, mainly from Poland's right-wing opposition Law and Justice party, have accused Moscow of trying to cover up the crash. A small group of protesters waved Polish flags and banners reading "We want the truth" near the presidential palace where Medvedev and Komorowski held their talks.
"I think Medvedev has a duty [...] to explain to the Polish people what happened there and why he and his master [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin have been lying since 10 April about what they did there," said one protester, Edward Mizikowski.
Russia won praise from Poland last month when its lower house of parliament backed a resolution that for the first time blamed Soviet dictator Josef Stalin for the 1940 massacre of 22,000 Polish officers in Katyn, now in western Russia.
"I think it is important that we can again hear each other and are ready to discuss the most difficult, the gloomiest [...] pages of our common history," Medvedev said.
The Kremlin leader also awarded a friendship medal to octogenarian Polish film director Andrzej Wajda, whose film "Katyn" was shown on Russian television earlier this year. Wajda's father was among those who perished at Katyn in 1940.
Also during the visit, Russian and Polish historians presented a joint history book covering sensitive episodes from their shared past. NATO-related issues were also on the agenda.
(EurActiv with Reuters.)