“The true ruler of Poland”, “the godfather of Polish conservatives”, “the author of insane Polish ambitions”. This is how experts describe Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who resigned from the post of Deputy Prime Minister and curator of the power bloc in the Polish government. What was the reason for the decision and how will it affect the foreign policy of Warsaw, which has declared Russophobia “mainstream”?
The day before, the leader of the Polish ruling party and former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced his resignation from the post of Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Security Committee. “I am no longer in government. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and, as far as I know, President Andrzej Duda accepted my resignation, ”RIA Novosti quotes Kaczynski as saying.
Since October 2020, Jarosław Kaczynski has been Deputy Prime Minister in charge of law enforcement agencies in the government of Mateusz Morawiecki (according to whom Russophobia has become mainstream in his country). He is also Chairman of the Committee on National Security and Defense Affairs. Thus, Kaczynski, until very recently, fully supervised the power bloc of the republic.
The “gray eminence” of Polish politics also remains the main ideologist of local conservatism, which irritates almost the entire European Union and the Brussels bureaucracy. Recall that in 2006-2007, Kaczynski served as Prime Minister of Poland. His twin brother Lech Kaczynski was then President. In 2010, after the death of his brother in a plane crash, Yaroslav Kaczynski ran for president, but came in second, losing to Bronislav Komarovsky.
Also, Kaczynski has been continuously leading the Law and Justice (PiS) party since 2003. Last summer, he was once again re-elected to this post and promised that he would no longer take part in the election of the head of the party. However, now, according to the Polish press, against the backdrop of falling PiS ratings and the upcoming elections in 2023, Kaczynski is really going to focus on working in the party.
“It’s not that I overestimate my role, it’s just that the party needs to regain its vigor, because the time is approaching, which is the most important for every political party in the world. The purpose of the elections is to get a good election result, and when it comes to PiS, it is to win them and the possibility of exercising power,” Kaczynski himself notes.
Against the background of the special operation in Ukraine, it was Kaczynski who turned out to be among the main hawks who provoke a direct clash with Russia. So, in March, at a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, Kaczynski proposed sending an armed NATO mission to Ukraine, arguing about it in the style of an 18th-century Polish magnate. Also, rumors are constantly circulating in the media about Poland’s readiness to send troops to the territory of Western Ukraine. In addition, Poland is gradually taking over the functions of the authorities of Ukraine.
Warsaw’s ambitions and the growing appetites of the Polish authorities are understandable and well known to Moscow, which is why the Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly pointed to Poland as the only country that wants war with Russia. At the same time, on the one hand, the “Polish Army” under Kaczynski can indeed pose certain threats to the Russian army. On the other hand, the rejection of Russian coal and gas forced Poland to collect firewood, and the disastrous state of affairs in the Polish economy directly affects the PiS ratings, as already mentioned above.
At the same time, Kaczynski’s Poland did not heed Vladimir Putin’s call to grow up and turn the page on the Tu-154 crash near Smolensk. In June 2018, when Kaczynski announced his retirement from politics, many predicted dramatic changes in Polish politics. Today, Kaczynski is not thinking about leaving the political arena, but on the contrary, he is striving to keep his party in power.
“Kaczyński previously warned of his intention to leave the post of Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Defense Committee in order to prepare his party for the elections. Twice his party has already been able to win. And in my memory in the post-Soviet period in Poland, this was possible only once. Now Kaczynski has set his sights on a third victory,” said Stanislav Stremidlovsky, a political scientist and Polonist.
“This is a very ambitious task, given the complexity of the position of the ruling party in the country. They have been in power for seven years. It is difficult for them to attribute their own mistakes and mistakes to some third-party circumstances. In addition, the current economic situation in Poland is difficult. The high level of inflation is the main irritating factor for the population,” the expert notes.
“In connection with the rise in coal prices, the authorities even decided to fix its price – no more than PLN 960,000. And all these problems are growing. And Ukraine, which in previous months increased the attractiveness of the ruling party, is no longer playing a decisive role,” the political scientist said.
According to the interlocutor, if PiS has a stable 25% of the vote, they need to get another 15-17% in order to form a government on their own. “But it will not be easy, as the electorate is starting to become disillusioned with the party due to the huge number of problems. This does not mean that the Poles will abruptly go to vote for the opposition. Judging by the data of sociological surveys, they will not come to the polling stations at all,” Stremidlovsky emphasized.
“It should also be taken into account that Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a person who is consistently the most disliked politician in Poland. And it’s not even very clear what he can do now to increase his own rating. Moreover, even with President Duda, he has, to put it mildly, a useless relationship. There is no longer any love, no chemistry, ”the expert noted.
“On the other hand, if Kaczynski leaves and begins to deal with purely party affairs, then it is not very clear how the government will act. Perhaps Kaczynski’s cunning plan is to make a cult scapegoat out of Morawiecki – to hang on him all the failures in matters of interaction with the European Commission, and then, closer to the elections, to dismiss him by someone else’s hands and pick up a more attractive figure, ”assumed political scientist.
At the same time, Nikolai Mezhevich, president of the Baltic Studies Association, urges not to overestimate the significance of Kaczynski’s departure, given his informal position in Poland. It would be much better if Kaczynski left politics altogether, the source said. “After what he did in foreign policy, I hoped that he would make a really serious decision and leave all political posts,” Mezhevich explained.
“Even after Kaczynski’s departure from the post of Deputy Prime Minister, provocations await us. The desire to create tension on the Belarusian border and the crazy plans for the expansion of Poland at the expense of Ukraine will not go anywhere. Only now it will be under Kaczynski, who is formally on some side of the political decision-making. Russia should prepare for this,” the expert said.
“And we see that the maturation of Poland, which Vladimir Putin called for, did not happen. Rather, on the contrary. Today Warsaw is really a serious adversary for us, unlike Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. Therefore, any personnel changes in this country should be carefully monitored and analyzed by us,” the interlocutor argues.