Polish Crash in Russia Creates Contrarian Bond

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Out of a Polish catastrophe on Russian soil, an opportunity has emerged for stronger ties between the two countries, whose relationship for centuries has been defined by enmity and strife.

Far from aggravating frictions in Russian-Polish relations, as initially feared, the plane crash that killed Poland’s president and a swath of the upper echelon of politicians and military leaders on Saturday appears to have achieved the opposite effect, encouraging kindness and understanding on both sides.

Whether the sympathy develops into an era of cooperation or evaporates with the first concrete dispute, it is a chance that politicians say must be seized.

“I don’t know whether there will be a political breakthrough, because we have many opposing interests with Russia,” Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, said Monday in an interview on a Polish radio station. “But we already have an emotional breakthrough. And that is already a great deal.”

In the aftermath of the crash, two countries defined by their differences found their commonalities instead. “I must emphasize that the Russian side is behaving with extraordinary openness,” Mr. Sikorski said. “And even more, with a Slavic openness and kindness.”...

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