Some Polish media, the so-called "moral authorities on duty", and opposition politicians proclaim every day that democracy in Poland is threatened. What kind of threat do they worry about?
As you can see, we are dealing with a raging propaganda campaign on a massive scale, which is aimed at blocking any changes in Poland. Under the guise of defense of democracy, in fact the war in defense of corruption is being waged. Because what is proposed by PIS represents a great threat to powerful entrenched interests.
According to information from official documents of the European Commission and the World Bank, only last year Poland was defrauded on the VAT tax by approx. 53 billion zlotys. That much money is missing in the budget; that much money should be there but due to mafia-like practices does not end up in the budget.
That's not all, because according to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), every fourth tender for public contracts in Poland, which is financed with public money, is pre-determined. If on top of all this we add illegal trade in land whereby hundreds of thousands of hectares of Polish land are already in foreign hands, and in a moment there could be even millions of hectares sold to foreigners, then the seizure of power by PIS that results in frustrating these great plans and challenging powerful interests obviously results in the massive attack we witness.
There is no threat to democracy in Poland at all. Anti-government demonstrations take place on the streets and nobody bothers demonstrators, whereas under the rule of PO-PSL government demonstrators were beaten in Warsaw. Furthermore, in Jastrzebie they even shot the miners with smooth-bore weapons, and hundreds of people were detained during the March of Independence. So, it was then, when the Civic Platform government was in power, when democracy was truly threatened, not now. It is none other than the previous government, which disregarded the voice of the nation, did not listened to the people. Several million signatures demanding a referendum on the retirement age, or on the school age, or on the National Forests have been thrown into the trash. It was the Civic Platform that forced through the door at six in the morning in order to invade and arrest the Internet user, who presented dissident views against President Komorowski on AntyKomor website in the Internet. It was the Civic Platform that punished sport funs, who presented banners critical to the Civic Platform or Prime Minister Tusk. Many more examples of serious threats to democracy during the rule of PO - PSL government exist. Today, there is nothing that could indicate that the PiS government represses Poles.
Who should fear the new government in Poland? Should it be the average Joe?
Anyone who tries to express his views critical of the current government should not feel threatened. I honestly do not know who goes to these demonstrations under the banner “Committee for the Defense of Democracy.” I don’t know who those people are who can be drawn into this game. Probably some of them are doing it even in good faith, but they are actually used in the brutal political football. I repeat: what we observe on the streets today, it is not in defense of democracy, but in defense of corruption. Those who take to the streets even don’t realize that in fact they protest in favor of the old order, where for example public tenders were set in advance, value added tax was not collected, or the Polish land was illegally sold off into foreign hands. These protests are manipulated.
Did you expect that after taking power, the new PIS government will not even have the customary "100 days of tranquility"?
Actually, I had no doubt about it. But we should not worry about it, we have to do what needs to be done. I think that when PIS will introduce its flagship reforms, i.e. restore the retirement age, a very much needed PLN 500 per child, which is already close to implementation, if real not cosmetic reforms, as it was with the Civic Platform, will take place in the health services and grade school education - elimination of a middle school and return to an eight-year elementary school - if real reforms will be made in the judiciary under the leadership of Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the people will see who wants good changes, who wants to serve Poland, and who wants to defend the corrupt system.
We have a massive attack, and - what is really shameful - even the children are used to hold banners, bearing the picture of a shotgun pointed at the duck with an obvious hint that this gun is aimed at Chairman Jarosław Kaczynski. It's a very bad sign because let me remind you that as a result of a similar campaign of hatred my late colleague Marek Rosiak from PIS was killed by Richard Cyba in 2010. This crime was born out of public hatred campaing. Today once again we have to deal with such psychogenic atmosphere in which a second Cyba can be born, because the organizers of these demonstrations - as indeed we see – escalate their hateful rhetoric. That is the situation we have to deal with. Let me remind you that Kazimierz Kutz - the moral authority of a bygone camp of power – talked about Jarosław Kaczynski as "demon," "devil incarnate." Such methods and such words have been used by the Civic Platform. This is a dangerous phenomenon and must be countered in so far as it is possible.
Can it be prevented?
Of course it can. As I already mentioned, implementing a good program for the Polish people, a pro family program, which - I believe strongly – the Polish would people appreciate.
How is it that some people view what PIS does as repairing the state while others see it as destruction of the state?
It's like a pyromaniac fireman's syndrome; he first ignites the fire and then extinguishes fire with enthusiasm. The Civic Platform and the opposition camp behave similarly. After all, it was Civic Platform that first attacked the Constitutional Tribunal, rather than PiS. We were not enthusiastic about all the decisions of the Tribunal, but we did not have any plans to fight it. But for the Civic Platform it was not enough to have 9 of its judges there. So they decided that out of the total 15 judges they have to have 14 of their own.
And they did it at the last moment, actually already after losing the election, because they replaced in advance the judges whose term expired in November and December, already after the lost elections. It is good that their plans have been thwarted because President Andrzej Duda rose to the occasion and did not confirm persons elected in violation of the Constitution. The new parliament voided those appointment resolutions, elected new judges, the President made the swearing-in of new judges, and we now have a clear situation. The Tribunal can act. And the protesters can shout - not like it was during the reign of Civic Platform, they were immediately reaching for repressive means when faced with opposition.
What is this game about, then?
The game is about tens of billions of zlotys, which until now have been pumped out of the pocket of average Poles and were ending up in different, often very dirty hands. These are for example big interests of powerful consulting and advisory firms, which have attractive contracts signed with many government institutions. Today, they could be cut off and those concerned are screaming, because defend their dirty interests, using the people in their defense. People are going to the protests believing that indeed our democracy is under threat. This propaganda works, and hence we hear all the time if not about Hitler, then about various other negative connotations with PIS including the cannibals. We have to bite our teeth, withstand this attack, and do what needs to be done.
A daily newspaper "Gazeta Wyborcza" organized a campaign in support of the Constitutional Tribunal. The support could have been expressed by sending a postcard prepared by the Agora Company to Chairman Andrew Rzepliński.
Why did they make such a noise?
"Gazeta Wyborcza," as we see, goes above and beyond of its duty. I suspect that even if war was to brake out in Poland, "Gazeta Wyborcza" would devote less attention to it than to the Committees for Defense of Democracy, which in fact means Committees in Defense of Corruption. Besides, "Gazeta Wyborcza" was the largest beneficiary of the previous government and has just lost its privileged position. This newspaper was the recipient of the large government orders, in this paper state-owned companies and government institutions regularly published announcements, press releases, and advertisements, and paid for these services a lot of money. But it's over now and without this support the public will no longer favor this newspaper. I think they understand they are losing ground under their feet, and hence the panic and aggression aimed at the PiS government. As to the mentors of this Committees for Defense of Corruption, one of the flagship characters of these demonstrations is Jan Tomasz Gross who appeared with a distinctive plate on his chest with the inscription: "the worst sort a Pole." It happens that in his case it’s not a surprise to anyone.
What is the purpose of elevating the Polish matters to the international forum and how, beyond the statement by the President of the European Parliament, they are received in Brussels? It seems that media coverage is one-sided here.
I think it is a method that aims at increasing the effectiveness of this turmoil we are seeing in the country. Over the years, the people in power here attempted to convince the Poles that Europe has nothing else to do but to keep track of what is happening in our country. Such propaganda is still alive. That is why we hear that for example Germany talks badly of us now; they are sorry for a great misfortune that happened in Poland because of PIS assuming power. Meanwhile, I ask whether the Germans are worried what we the Poles are saying about them. After all, this is nonsense.
In fact, Europe is not especially concerned about what happens in individual Member States, especially when it comes to their internal affairs. For example, in Italy the constitutional crisis lasted for a year and only in the 32 ballot they were able to elect three judges to the Constitutional Tribunal, and no one in Europe really knew about what was happening in this matter. European Parliament President Martin Schulz somehow did not raise alarm that we were dealing with a coup d’état in Italy. However, for some reason the Polish case is presented on the international fora in a much exaggerated way. Therefore, don’t worry about it. Europe knows very well that what is happening in Poland is a normal situation, as in many other countries, and that we ourselves must solve these problems. Of course foreign media, mostly German, would not write about it, if not for the pressure from those inside Poland who fight this way the PiS government. I would like to reassure Germany, which has so worried about what is happening in Poland, that there is nothing on our part that would threaten them. Saying perversely - 1939 will not repeat itself, and Poland certainly does not intend to invade Germany.
Thank you for the conversation.