Poland’s defence minister has published parts of a classified document he says shows that when the current main opposition, Civic Platform (PO), was in power it planned to give up half the country if Russia invaded. By contrast, the currently ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party will defend every inch of Poland, he says.
Mariusz Błaszczak’s decision to release the file comes less than a month before parliamentary elections, and PO figures have accused him of threatening state security for the sake of party interests. They have called for Błaszczak to be tried for his “treasonous” actions.
— Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (@pisorgpl) September 17, 2023
On Sunday, in a video published by PiS but showing the defence ministry logo behind Błaszczak, the minister declared that “the government of [Donald] Tusk was ready to give up half of Poland in the event of war”. Tusk, who was prime minister from 2007-14, is the current leader of PO.
Błaszczak’s film was broadcast on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939 that came two weeks after Nazi Germany had invaded from the west, with the two countries dividing the country between them.
In the broadcast, the defence minister showed images of a file from 2011, marked as “top secret” and signed by the then PO defence minister Bogdan Klich, relating to the defence of Poland in the case of an invasion from the east.
“It assumed that the independent defence of the country would last a maximum of two weeks, and after seven days the enemy would reach the right [east] bank of the Vistula,” said Błaszczak, referring to the river that runs from south to north through Poland, dividing the country in half.
“The documents clearly show that Lublin, Rzeszów and Łomża could have been the Polish Bucha,” continued the minister, suggesting that three Polish cities east of the Vistula could have ended up seeing Russian war crimes of the type committed in Ukraine.
“PiS has changed this and will defend every piece of Poland,” concluded Błasczask, who has overseen an unprecedented military procurement spree with the aim of making Poland’s army the most powerful land force on the continent.
Poland’s army „will become the most powerful land force in Europe”, says the defence minister, after confirming a deal with South Korea that will see Poland acquire almost 1,000 tanks.
The government recently increased defence spending to 3% of GDP https://t.co/EVanuDXz5W
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 29, 2022
A number of military experts criticised the defence ministry’s decision to declassify a top secret document amid the ruling party’s election campaign.
“For Russian intelligence this is gold,” tweeted Maciej Korowaj, a defence analyst and lieutenant colonel in Poland’s military reserve. “Operational calculations can be recalibrated and doctrinal templates verified…Interesting who suggested this to the minister.”
“Please wake me up, I think I’m dreaming,” wrote Stanisław Koziej, a retired brigadier general who later stood as a PO election candidate and served as head of the National Security Bureau (BBN) under PO President Bronisław Komorowski.
“This is an open and conscious action against Poland’s security for party purposes,” continued Koziej, who called on voters to “save Poland from this government”.
Dla wywiadu rosyjskiego to „złoto”.
Można przeliczyć kalkulacje operacyjne i zweryfikować wzorce doktrynalne. A ja całe wojskowe życie musiałem się natrudzić i nakombinować, by z drugiej strony coś takiego zdobyć…, a i tak były to tylko ogryzki.
A tu danie na wynos :(… https://t.co/X8fm2HtGud
— ppłk rez. Maciej Korowaj (@Maciej_Korowaj) September 17, 2023
Current PO politicians also condemned PiS’s decision. “In every country, including ours, it has so far been a hard-and-fast rule that operational planning is not discussed publicly,” Klich, who is now a KO senator, told news website Wirtualna Polska.
Klich noted that the documents shown by Błaszczak were created on the basis of a national security strategy that was accepted by the late PiS president Lech Kaczyński at the request of the former PiS government led by Jarosław Kaczyński, who remains the leader of PiS.
PO spokesman Jan Grabiec told broadcaster Radio Zet that the party would apply for Błaszczak to be tried before the State Tribunal – a constitutional body responsible for holding public officials to account – for “declassifying top secret documents for electoral purposes”.
Both Grabiec and Marcin Kierwiński, PO’s secretary general, accused Błaszczak of “treason”. Kierwiński also told Polskie Radio that PiS’s claims are false: “Under the rule of PO, both past and future, every centimetre of land would be defended.”
Ci fanatycy nie mają żadnych hamulców. Dla propagandowej manipulacji opowiadają o jednym z wariantów obrony Polski przed Rosją.
— Radosław Sikorski MEP 🇵🇱🇪🇺 (@sikorskiradek) September 17, 2023
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Main image credit: Prawo i Sprawiedliwość/Twitter
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.