After France and the European Parliament, Poland establishes an Investigation Commission on Russian Influence on Poland's Security
The Polish President, Mr. Andrzej Duda, announced this Monday, May 29, 2023 his intention to sign the law establishing an Investigation Commission on Russian Influence on Poland’s Security between 2007 and 2022.
Investigation Commission on Russian Influence
.The President has also decided to direct the text of the law to the Constitutional Court, which will decide on its constitutionality. In this way, he takes into consideration the objections of the opposition who believes that this commission will target in priority the members of the previous government and the present opposition.
Mr. Duda has indicated that such a commission is necessary in a country bordering with Russia which has started a war against a common neighbor. He highlighted the need for transparency in Polish public life and the need to identify the Russian networks of influence established over the period studied: „It is no secret that Russia has been trying for years to influence the politics of many countries and to develop economic ties that would make those countries dependent politically and economically.”
He added, still on the subject of Russia’s impact on the politics and economy of Poland and Europe: „Russian influence has contributed to the invasion of Ukraine and to the energy crisis currently affecting Europe. This is a reality that must be clarified with our fellow citizens”.
The opposition, for its part, believes that its main figure, the former Prime Minister and new candidate for this post, Mr. Donald Tusk, will be particularly targeted in order to put him in difficulty before the legislative elections of October 2023. Mr. Tusk was at the head of the government which signed numerous economic agreements with Russia in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He also for a long time denounced the „Russophobia” of the conservative party which was then in opposition and is now in power since 2015.
The Investigation Commission on Russian Influence, which will be composed of nine members chosen by the lower house, will be able to prevent suspected persons from being eligible for functions “related to public expenditure”, for example the post of a deputy.
Commissions in France and in the European Parliament
.France has set up a similar structure, entitled “Commission of Inquiry into Political, Economic and Financial Interference by Foreign Powers – States, Organizations, Companies, Interest Groups, Private Individuals – Aiming to Influence or Corrupt Relays of opinion, leaders or French political parties”. Its objective is „to establish whether there are foreign networks of influence that corrupt elected officials, public officials, managers of strategic companies or media relays with the aim of disseminating propaganda or obtaining decisions contrary to the national interest”. It will also work “on the responses to be provided to eliminate the interference it has identified, remove and punish those responsible, but also renovate our institutions so that they are able to prevent and deter such abuses”.
The French commission interviewed many high-ranking personalities, such as former Prime Ministers François Fillon and Jean-Pierre Chevènement, the former president of the National Rally Marine le Pen, or the editorial director of the media „Omerta”, Régis le Bedspring.
The European Parliament has also set up its own “special commission on foreign interference”. Its president, the French MEP Mr. Raphaël Glucksmann, declares: “Our democracies face permanent threats and attacks and we must defend them from increasingly massive and sophisticated foreign interference”.
Finally, the Polish Prime Minister, Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, wished that more countries set up commissions of inquiry into Russian influence: „The idea of verifying the Russian influence in detail and in a technical and professional way is a good one. I hope that many States and many institutions will seize the opportunity and that we can create such a commission at the level of the Council of the European Union”.
Protection against Russian imperialism
.In a text published in „Wszystko co Najwazniejsze”, the Polish President, Mr. Andrzej Duda, evokes the need for Central and Eastern Europe to protect itself from the return of Russian imperialism:
„It was not until the democratic transition, initiated in 1989 by the Polish Solidarity movement, created nine years earlier, that the Poles and the other nations of Central and Eastern Europe regained their own sovereign states. Most of them gradually became full members of NATO and the European Union.”
„However, the Russian imperialists have never accepted the independence of the countries of our region. After Russia recovered from the shock of losing its sphere of influence, it began to do everything to rebuild its former empire. We remember the 2008 military attack on Georgia. We also remember the brutal and repeated repressions of freedom movements in Belarus and Ukraine. We finally remember Russia’s hostile policy towards independent Ukraine, the forced annexation of Crimea and Donbass in 2014, and above all, the full-scale genocidal war against a sovereign Ukrainian state that began on February 24, 2022”.
“For the peoples of our region, far from forgetting the historical experiences symbolized by the date of September 17, 1939, there is no doubt that Russian imperialism is once again striving to expand. Russia wants to achieve the same as in 1939–1940, when it acted hand in hand with its ally – Nazi Germany – and in 1945–1991, when it had full control over our countries”. “Russia has always sought to dominate Central and Eastern Europe. But a free Poland, a free Ukraine and all the other independent states in our region will never accept it. For our nations, it is a matter of life and death, of preservation of identity and of survival. It is a question of the future, of security and of prosperity”.