AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
Upward of 100,000 people took to the streets in Warsaw on Thursday, January 11, just hours after Poland’s top constitutional court prohibited the country’s new prime minister, Donald Tusk from arresting and prosecuting Poland’s central bank governor. These shocking developments come amid a move by the new Polish government to arrest opposition leaders – a scene that bears alarming resemblance to the tyrannical behavior of Polish communists government forty years ago when the country was under occupation by the Soviet Union’s Red Army.
The drama began on January 9, when, in an action unprecedented in the post-Cold War democratic era, the new left-wing government appeared to violate the country’s constitution by sending police under its control into the presidential palace to arrest two members of the opposition party.
The two officials arrested were former Polish Home Affairs Minister Mariusz Kamiński and his deputy, Maciej Wąsik, who were waiting for President Andrzej Duda to return from a meeting with the Belarus opposition leader. Kamiński and Wąsik are members of the Polish Parliament and Duda’s conservative Law and Justice Party and, until recently, were senior officials in the government.
But recent parliamentary elections radically shifted the composition of power in Poland after eight years of a center-right majority coalition. Because executive authority in Poland is divided between the president and the prime minister, it is possible that the Presidency and Prime Minister can be from different political parties and have dramatically different domestic and foreign policies. While President Duda is a staunch conservative who favors strong borders and Polish independence, the new leftist coalition is led by Prime Minister Tusk – a former president of the European Council – who is a liberal who favors mass migration and far greater submission to the authority of the European Union
Grażyna Ignaczak-Bandych, Duda’s chief of staff, said that when Duda learned about what was happening, he attempted to return to the palace, but “a Warsaw public transport bus blocked his presidential motorcade.”
Hours later in a post on X, the president of Warsaw’s city council mocked President Duda for not being able to return to the palace, further suggesting that Duda was intentionally delayed. Other sources also revealed that the Tusk government jammed Duda’s communication lines to prevent him from contacting the former ministers.
After the arrests, Duda conveyed his anger at the brazen violation of the law, emphasizing that he was “deeply shocked that people who are honest and who have always fought for a free Poland have been arrested.”
Indeed, Kamiński was a key figure in freeing Poland from Soviet rule and has always been a strong advocate for Polish sovereignty from the European Union and other globalist powers – which surely explains the new government’s hostility toward him.
These recent events in Warsaw bring to the fore the competing claims of a thirty-year struggle to define Poland’s identity in the post-Cold War European order, as represented by lives and views of Kamiński and Tusk.
Kamiński grew up in a family that cultivated the deepest patriotism and religious values and traditions. Born in 1965, he believed, as many fellow Poles did, that his country would one day be free from Soviet rule.
After the Berlin Wall collapsed, many Poles believed that by cutting ties with Moscow and exposing the Polish collaborators with the Communist-era secret police, Poland would raise morale and strengthen its institutions. However, the first government that tried this strategy was forcibly dismissed by political groups that wanted to ignore the past and sacrifice Poland’s sovereignty and identity by subsuming the country within European Union. They refused to pursue justice for the victims of communist oppression.
The communists and their collaborators in Poland saw in Brussels an opportunity to escape accountability for more than forty years of exploiting Poland on behalf of their rulers in the Soviet Union.
Kamiński opposed such a vision, fearing that failure to punish and remove communists would lead to malaise, corruption, and the collapse of public morale.
Most of the massive corruption in Poland in the early post-Cold War era was perpetrated by former senior members of the Communist Party, who acquired signficant wealth. Until the early 2000s, Poland regularly ranked high on the list of the most corrupt countries because the habit of bribery had developed deep roots during the decades of socialist rule.
While the West misread this corruption as the “free market,” Kamiński co-founded an anti-communist group, the Republican League, to expose the involvement of top communists and secret police functionaries in the financial scandals, the source of the nation’s disgrace. Kamiński, with his colleagues from the Republican League, then established the Central Anticorruption Bureau. Only after the bureau exposed embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power for private enrichment in the political and business spheres that led to many court convictions did Poland regain its honor.
However, Donald Tusk and his allies fiercely opposed Kamiński’s vision. When Kamiński launched anti-regime protests and taught his young peers patriotic traditions, Tusk opposed them. Tusk criticized the past aggressive fight against corruption, suggesting that it would scare off potential investors.
In an essay published in 1987, Tusk expressed his preference for being seen not as a “Pole” but as “a man,” while replacing God, Honor, and Country with vague notions of “culture, civilization, and money.”
Concurrently, at the time when the Solidarity movement and Pope John Paul II tried to revive and rekindle the best of the Polish traditions that encouraged freedom by cultivating Christian culture and a healthy family, Tusk offered an entirely different perspective. For him, the Polish fight for liberty, in the spirit of “For Our Freedom and Yours,” was senseless. Instead, his vision of Polish life was about “building, loving and dying.”
Tusk is now focused on aligning Poland with the European Union while distancing it from the United States, since he has more faith in the German bureaucracy than the representative government by the Polish people. He is ready to sacrifice as much of Poland’s identity and interests as European countries demand. In this context, he once even said “Polishness is abnormality.”
Tusk abhors “America First” and Donald Trump, whose foreign policy he called “unprofessional and chaotic.” He does not believe in the legal, cultural, religious, and even economic traditions that differentiate Poland in Europe and block it from moving with the rest of the E.U. toward more radical progressivism.
Tusk’s new Polish government, which most of the worldwide mainstream media uncritically cheers, wants to portray the case of Kamiński and Wąsik being arrested as a restoration of the rule of law.
But nothing is further from the truth.
As President Duda reminded the Tusk government, three courts and the Constitutional Tribunal had already confirmed the legality of his previous presidential pardon for both ministers back in 2015 – the last time they came under legal attack by left-wing elements inside Poland.
Instead, the new fabricated court case against Kamiński and Wąsik by Tusk’s coalition is yet another attempt to weaken and isolate the Law and Justice Party and the patriotic groups that represent a “Poland First” political approach. Tusk wishes to give up Poland’s economic sovereignty by adopting the Euro currency while aligning the country’s foreign policy with Franco-German interests, and he views Duda’s party as a threat to that. The prosecutions of Kamiński and Wąsik are a warning to others to stay in line.
During the demonstrations on Thursday, Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned that Poland has not faced such a grave threat since 1992, the year of its first free elections after the end of the Cold War.
Kaczynski cautioned that Tusk and his allies intend to destroy the independence of the Polish state’s institutions, including the office of the President. Moreover, they plan to deprive Poland of its sovereign foreign and economic policy by consenting to the new Constitution of the European Union, which has European Union institutions superseding the powers of member state government regarding financial, defense, and foreign policies. “The final goal is to turn Poland into a region less attractive for investors than Germany,” Kaczynski said.
He added that Tusk represents not Poland’s view but the view of elites in Berlin and Paris. “It is a German plan and also a French plan. It is a plan against us,” Kaczynski stressed.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.