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Andrei Ryabov, a political scientist at the Carnegie Moscow Center, a think tank, said that while the outpouring of grief by average Russians for Poland’s tragedy was initially great, it has been long forgotten. He added that traditionally, relations with Russia’s Eastern European neighbors has not been a priority, but that is changing.

“There are real chances to make steps toward each other if [Eastern Europeans] recognize that not only Russians have to make these steps,” he said. “But what has been really positive in the past year is that there is real recognition in Moscow that better relations with our Eastern European neighbors will really contribute to progress in Russian-European relations.”

Poland, meanwhile, is divided politically between a progressive faction largely in favor of the European Union and improved relations with Russia, and a staunchly Catholic and nationalistic faction of conservatives who focus on the country’s history of being wedged between — and occupied by — two larger powers, Russia and Germany.

Manfred Sapper, editor of the Berlin-based journal Osteuropa (Eastern Europe), said that Russia is used as a bogeyman in Polish politics. That is why Poland has chosen a “decidedly America-friendly, transatlantic position,” he added.

Today, Polish leaders are working toward bringing the era of “self-marginalization” under Lech Kaczynski to a close and become a “first league player” in the EU, Mr. Lang said, adding that Poland could strengthen its position by improving its relations with its neighbor.

“Still, Poland is interested in a proactive U.S. policy in the post-Soviet space, and in a well-orchestrated transatlantic policy vis-a-vis Russia,” he said.

At the same time, U.S. relations with Poland continue to be closer than with other Eastern European countries. President Obama will visit Poland in May, which is likely to reassure Poles of their importance to the Americans and appease those who fear the United States has lowered the priority of Eastern European nations in its efforts to bolster relations with Russia, Mr. Lang said.

That was a concern expressed by Eastern Europeans after the signing of the START II Treaty in Prague last April by Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev.