Poland could become the first country in the world to formalize expropriation in the constitution. Whether this will happen or not depends on the country’s parliament, which will have to decide in the near future the issue of introducing appropriate changes to the Basic Law of the Republic.
The Polish authorities have been nurturing the idea of reforming the Constitution for more than a month with the sole purpose of obtaining a legal opportunity to appropriate the assets of Russia and Russian citizens. The fact is that now there are restrictions for such actions related to the right of ownership. It is from them that it was proposed to refuse.
As the Polish Prime Minister said at a briefing on Wednesday, May 25 Mateusz Morawieckihe has already appealed to the parliamentary opposition to support the initiative of the country’s leadership and vote for constitutional amendments regarding confiscation.
“Poland is the property of Russian oligarchs. We have frozen this property. We also froze the property of the Russian Federation. They cannot use it. But this is not enough. I call on all opposition parties to support these constitutional changes,” the head of government said.
It would be a huge “shame”, as he put it, “if the representatives of the opposition decided to protect the property of the Russian oligarchs.”
So far, however, there is no consensus on this issue in the Polish Sejm. The main political opponent of the team spoke out against the amendments to the basic law bagpipes-Morawiecki – the largest opposition party “Civil Platform” Donald Tusk. And in order to amend the Constitution, it is necessary that at least two-thirds of parliamentarians vote for it.
In total, Warsaw froze Russian assets and property worth about 140 million zlotys ($33 million), according to a Polish cabinet report. In addition, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic compiled a list of 50 companies and people whose funds and resources in Poland were frozen for ties with Russia and Russian capital.
By the way, Poland is not the only one who wants to get their hands on Russian property frozen abroad, be it private or state. The entire Brussels European bureaucracy has recently been concerned about this task to no lesser extent.
Didier ReindersThe European Commissioner for Justice, reported the day before that the countries of the Union collectively froze the funds of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation alone in the amount of about 23 billion euros (24.5 billion dollars). Plus – the property and assets of individuals for almost 10 billion euros. Which, he says, is “negligible.”
Another thing is that even this “smallness” cannot yet be withdrawn and taken by Brussels. There is no legal basis for this. And the blow to the reputation of the West will be tangible: what kind of capitalism is this, which cannot protect its foundation – the sacred right of property.
However, Poland, with its habits of the hyena of Europe, has long had an empty reputation. Therefore, while in Brussels they come up with ingenious schemes of “democratic” robbery, they decided to go for broke and go down in history as the first country with a pirate Constitution.
To comment on the situation, “SP” asked Expert of the Russian International Affairs Council, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Theory of MGIMO Ivan Loshkarev:
– Unfortunately, now in Europe (not only in Poland) the political and ruling elites are losing strategic thinking and the ability to think for the future. At least for a few years ahead. Therefore, the Polish Sejm, and then the Senate, will most likely adopt the corresponding amendments to the Constitution.
This decision is made, of course, situationally – to seize specifically Russian property. But it really leads to a violation of the fundamental principle – the right to property. This right is enshrined in various documents of the Council of Europe, and in the Constitution of Poland itself, and in various acts of the European Union. How they will deal with it later is a huge question.
I think they are guided by the logic of short-term benefits and costs. Moreover, they want the costs to be Russian, and the benefits, respectively, theirs. But in the long run, of course, this will lead to huge costs for themselves.
Because the Russian side will then be able to seize some Polish property. Not only in Russia, but also in neighboring countries. And this risks turning into wars for assets, when certain property will be arrested through some foreign courts
I would like to recall the Swiss company Noga, which, during the “zero”, was very fond of arresting something Russian abroad, based on the fact that there were supposedly some debts to it from the Russian government.
That is, this endless mess will begin again. Because formally, our property was really just taken away from us. And any sane court in some third country (not European, for example) will certainly come to the conclusion that this is completely illegal.
Accordingly, the long-term consequences are very disturbing.
“SP”: – That is, we can say that they are now laying a “bomb” under the very foundation of capitalism – the “institution of property”?
— Well, in its purest form, it seems to me, capitalism is already disappearing. Not only because the right of ownership is leaving. But also because Poland, for example, is characterized by a significant redistribution of income.
Just Morawiecki’s government, it came up with the idea of the so-called “Polish mode” (or “Polish order”), which involved very serious social support for vulnerable segments of the population. But when you take too much from the rich and give to the poor, in general, this is a little contrary to capitalism. If only because there is an upper limit on the amount of money that they can earn.
In fact, a departure from capitalism has been planned for quite a long time throughout Europe. Therefore, these “games” with property, they seem to go in the general logic of the development of capitalism. Or, on the contrary, its decline. Which is also a phase of development.
“SP”: – Europeans have forgotten one truth. Bismarck also said that “Russians always go after their money. And when they come – do not rely on the Jesuit agreements you signed, supposedly justifying you. They are not worth the paper they are written on. Because it’s worth either playing fair with Russians, or not playing at all”…
– In general, the history of any international agreements, it is rather ironic. But do not think that this is just the beginning. For a long time there has been such a thing as “forum shopping”, when countries can choose international instances where to defend their interests, depending on which one is more profitable.
If, say, it is profitable in the WTO, then it is in the WTO. Or it could be some kind of supranational structure, like the EU or the EAC. Wherever it is profitable, they can go there.
So it was a long time ago. And, accordingly, there is a huge number of intersecting, mutually exclusive agreements. And at the moment, just one small “icing on the cake” is added to this.
In addition to the fact that there are many agreements, and they are mutually intersecting, there are, obviously, agreements that will now be signed with the initial intention not to fulfill them. And the number of such agreements will only grow.
Good or bad, I don’t know. On the one hand, it’s probably bad. I would like more predictability. And that the partners comply with what has already been agreed.
On the other hand, both we and other states will have more freedom of maneuver. That is, if in the changed circumstances the obligations will be unprofitable for us, we will be able to refuse them.
Sometimes it is beneficial for countries to give up some burdensome things. And we, it seems to me, need to take an inventory here – what is unprofitable for us, why we can refuse. Now, for example, everyone is talking about the Bologna system. And, it seems to me, it is worth thinking about the WTO.
“SP”: – European officials assure that the Russian assets, which they are now looking for a way to appropriate, will be directed to the restoration of Ukraine. Can they be trusted?
“Honestly, if they do this, this money will still not be enough. Yes, and within what borders this Ukraine will be, is an open question. Therefore, I see no reason for the EU to scatter such a volume of money in the context of a far-incomplete special military operation.
Can they direct these funds to some other purposes not related to Ukraine? So far, I think not.
But, perhaps, there will be some mechanisms of conditional “compensation” for high oil prices. And other energy sources.
So there is already talk about the so-called “quota” – the upper ceiling of the price. And if, for example, they have to buy energy resources from us above this “ceiling”, then they can, as it were, compensate themselves from this fund. This option, it seems to me, is a little more likely, given the general trends in the economies of the EU countries.
But so far it hasn’t gone beyond talk. And, most likely, at least a few more months it will be in limbo.