Episode 67

POLAND: Pardon & more – 30th Jan 2024

Duda pardoning convicted MPs, legalization of abortion, switching from fossil fuels to green energy, International Holocaust Memorial Day, potential measles pandemic, and much more!

Thanks for tuning in!

Let us know what you think and what we can improve on by emailing us at poland@rorshok.com. You can also contact us on Twitter & Instagram @rorshokpoland or on Mastodon @poland@rorshok.social

Like what you hear? Subscribe, share, and tell your buds.

Ski competition


For more information about the eclipse vist http://rorshok.com/rorshokoba/ 

Wanna avoid ads and help us financially? Follow the link:



Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 30th of January twenty twenty-four A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s kick off with some updates on the two convicted MPs we talked about a few weeks ago. From the 9th until the 23rd of January, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik were in prison after a court sentenced them for abusing their power during their work in the Anti-Corruption Bureau in two thousand nine. However, on Tuesday, the 23rd, President Andrzej Duda pardoned the two Law and Justice MPs saying Kamiński and Wąsik were political prisoners. Julia Przyłębska, the president of the Constitutional Tribunal, supported the president’s move and said it was a loyal act. Meanwhile, the head of the prosecutor's office tried to convince the president not to exercise pardon, but to no avail.

Following the tension between the ruling party and the opposition, on Friday, the 26th, Jarosław Kaczyński, the Law and Justice Party opposition leader, announced his nationwide tour, where he will meet with citizens and express his dissatisfaction with the new government’s policies. Kaczyński also criticized Szymon Hołownia, the parliament speaker, for stripping Kamiński and Wąsik of their parliamentary immunity. Moreover, Hołownia ordered the parliamentary guards to prevent the former MPs from entering the parliament.

On Saturday, the 27th, the country commemorated the International Holocaust Memorial Day. This day honors the Red Army of the Soviet Union liberating Auschwitz, a Nazi-German concentration camp where Nazi Germans killed 1.1 million Jews, and people from Poland during World War II.

On the same day, Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commissioner, posted a video on Twitter to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust where she only mentioned the atrocities that happened in Auschwitz concentration camp and didn’t add that Nazi Germany was responsible for it. So it looked as if Poland were to blame for the Holocaust. Radosław Sikorski, the Foreign Minister of Poland, criticized the video and said that Nazi Germans established Auschwitz in the occupied Polish territory. He also condemned the EU Commissioner for giving misleading information. Meanwhile, Leyen shared another post in which she corrected herself and said that Nazi Germans were responsible for the camp and the Holocaust.

On a sad note, on Wednesday, the 24th, the government launched an investigation after four soldiers committed suicide. Three soldiers out of four were in a special army service unit in Mińsk Mazowiecki village. Some military officers anonymously told the media that several other fighters committed suicide earlier this year because of hard working conditions. The defense ministry established a helpline with free psychological help for soldiers.

Mental health is not the only health-related concern in the country. On Wednesday, the 24th, the European Center for Disease Prevention warned about a potential measles pandemic that can break out in the EU and Poland in the spring. Meanwhile, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate urged parents to vaccinate their children against the viral disease. Measles is very contagious, it can be transmitted through sneezing, coughing, and close contact with an infected person. The first dose of the vaccine has a 95% efficacy, with the second reaching 100%.

Speaking of pandemics, fundraiser the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has collected over twenty-five million dollars since the beginning of the year for the new medical equipment that will help treat lung diseases people developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fundraiser has collected over 500 million dollars in donations since its launch in nineteen ninety-two. The British, American, and Australian communities of the country also contributed to the fund this year. Moreover, Polish celebrities such as famous football player Robert Lewandowski and tennis ace Iga Świątek made donations.

One of the biggest disputes in Polish society has always been the legalization of abortion. During the Law and Justice party administration, women could only get an abortion if they got pregnant because they were raped or if the pregnancy threatened their lives. However, the Civic Platform, the party that won the parliamentary elections, promised to give women a choice. On Wednesday, the 24th, Donald Tusk, the prime minister, sent a proposal to the parliament to legalize abortion for pregnancies of up to thirteen weeks.

Similarly, Stanisław Gądecki, the president of the Episcopate, criticized the democratic system of the government, saying that if the majority of people support the legalization of abortion, it doesn’t mean that the majority is right. Gądecki said the MPs and president should not allow abortion, and save the lives of unborn children.

More on the reproductive rights topic, Prime Minister Tusk announced a draft amendment that will change the Pharmaceutical Law and allow women to buy morning-after pills without a prescription. Women have to be at least fifteen to get the pill. They will be able to buy pills from only one specific brand, ellaOne.

Moving on to foreign affairs, on Sunday, the 28th, terrorists attacked a church in Istanbul, Turkey, while Witold Leśniak, Polish Ambassador to Turkey, was present. Two terrorists from Tajikistan and Russia belonging to ISIS raided the Italian Santa Maria Church during the Sunday prayer and killed one Turkish citizen. Terrorists didn’t shoot anyone else because one of their guns jammed. The Polish Foreign Ministry said the Polish ambassador is okay and he will stay in Turkey.

The country has been switching from fossil fuels to green energy in recent years, and the new government is speeding up the process. On Friday, the 26th, the country established an energy alliance with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Germany to facilitate the transportation of environmentally friendly produced hydrogen. The alliance will make the countries independent from imported fossil fuels, especially those imported from Russia. The new government also promised to follow the EU's decarbonization policy.

In previous episodes, we mentioned that Zakopane is a famous winter holiday destination with its high Tatra Mountains stretching between Poland and Slovakia. On Monday, the 29th, the rescue team from Zakopane warned people not to climb Tatra Mountain because of the third-degree avalanche risk. A few days ago, four tourists got caught in an avalanche, and one of them died. Rescuers recommend using safe mountain trails on lower elevations instead of climbing and having proper equipment in case of an avalanche.

On that note about tourism, on Friday, the 26th, the government announced that it will give loans to tourism firms operating in the eastern part of the country. Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego will be responsible for the loans. The EU thinks Eastern Poland is less developed compared to the Western part and they decided to create a special fund called the European Funds for Eastern Poland to sponsor the project. Each enterprise can get a maximum of two loans with up to 250,000 dollars each for a very low interest, but firms younger than three years old can get additional funds. Companies should repay the loan in seven years. The installments for repayment will be divided among the seasons when the tourism industry is making money.

Similarly, on the 11th of February, a ski race will take place in Ustjanowa Górna village, the very southern-east part of the country. Skiing enthusiasts from all around the world can sign up to compete in the 37th edition of the race. The organizer announced that the race route would be ten kilometers for women and twenty kilometers for men. Especially for this year, six American F-16 pilots who recently arrived in Poland for a NATO mission will also attend the competition. To register, follow the link in the show notes!

Aaaaaand that's it for this week. So you listen to us, ideally almost every week, but we don't actually know each other. Here's a chance to fix that. On Monday the 8th of April there is a total eclipse of the sun in Dallas, Texas, in the US. There will be events organized the whole weekend before. So on the off chance you can get here, send us an email or check the show notes for more information.

Do zobaczenia!

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Rorshok Poland Update
Rorshok Poland Update

Support us

We don’t want to have ads in the updates, which means we currently make no money doing them.
If you enjoy listening and want to help us out financially, you can do so by leaving us a tip. If you can’t help us out financially but still want to support us, please hit the subscribe button in your preferred podcast platform and tell your friends about us.
Support Rorshok Poland Update
We haven’t had any Tips yet :( Maybe you could be the first!