Monday, February 19, 2007

The Pact

An in-depth report in Spiegel Online examines the real motive power behind the present Polish government, which is often accused of mismanagement, incoherence and demagoguery. These accusations, it seems, miss the point: the instability and division characteristic of modern Poland are a result of the very forces the present government, led by the Kaczynski brothers, is trying to defeat. For Poland, like a number of other East European post-Soviet democracies, is still in the grip of economic and political interests that go back to pre-1989 days, and the rule of the Communist party. In such a situation, friends and enemies are hard to tell apart.

In the spring of 1989, dissidents managed to negotiate a bloodless transfer of power with the communists. Some would say it was a political tour de force. After all, Soviet troops were still stationed in Poland and the Berlin Wall was still standing at the time.

But the Kaczynski brothers and the supporters of their cause say that the transition was not a coup. They argue that the communists quickly figured out how to regroup and, with the help of the country’s intelligence agencies, managed to place their favorites in key positions in the economy.

The twins hope to destroy this network of former party cadres, big business and the Mafia, thereby making good on one of their campaign promises. Not only do they have post-communist careerists in their sights, but also former members of the opposition, such as the group of intellectuals led by publisher Adam Michnik. In their view, Michnik’s newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, promoted a policy of deliberately glossing over the past for 18 years, thereby enabling the communists to return to positions of power. The term the twins use for the alliance that they believe dominated the Third Republic is “the pact.”

Elsewhere, EarthTimes news has an item on how Poland’s recently reformed Military Intelligence Service (WSI) significantly overstepped its jurisdiction by infiltrating political parties, the media and state-owned companies up for privatization.

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