Episode 46

Russian Influence Commission & more – 5th Sep 2023

Appointment of Russian influence commission, ruling party’s MP candidates, opposition deploying 50,000 people to monitor the election, worsening relations with Germany, the spread of deadly bacteria, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 5th of September twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

On Wednesday, the 30th, the Russian Influence Commission got ready to operate. The parliament appointed nine members to the commission, which will pinpoint politicians who were under Russian influence from two thousand and seven to twenty twenty-two. Except for the nationalistic Confederation Party, the opposition parties did not join the candidate selection process as they were protesting against the law. Yet, reporters say that the Russian influence commission won’t be of use before the election because there is not enough time to conduct investigations. About the law, a government spokesman criticized the EU for its reaction against the commission and said that it wants to see a weak government in Poland so that it can implement policy ideas from Brussels in the country.

The session regarding the Russian influence commission was the last parliamentary session before the elections. The parliament will dissolute and, after the elections, there will be new MPs.

The last session was peaceful, contrary to expectations, as the session was about the law on Russian influence. The members of parliament said farewell to each other. MPs seemed intimate, and they took pictures with their fellow counterparts. This session was emotional for some MPs, as they will not be legislators in the new parliament.

Speaking of elections…

On Thursday, the 31st, the ruling party, Law and Justice, announced its candidates for parliament. Prime Minister Morawiecki will compete to represent Katowice, while Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of the party, will do so in the east-central city of Kielce. Piotr Gliński, a former deputy prime minister will try to be the MP representing the most important city, Warsaw. On the other hand, Gliński called Donald Tusk, the top candidate for Warsaw in the list of the Civic Platform, for a public debate.

Speaking of the main opposition…

On Monday, the 4th, the Civic Platform will deploy 50,000 people to monitor the upcoming elections. The opposition fears that the ruling party will sabotage the elections to stay in power for a third term. The main opposition party assured that at least one observer, a representative of the Civic Platform, would be present at each ballot box.

Let’s not forget to talk about security issues.

On Wednesday, the 29th, Stanisław Żaryn, Deputy Minister-Coordinator of Special Services, warned that Russian intelligence is working hard to recruit new members in Poland. This year, Poland dismantled a Russian spy network in the country. Amid the incident, Russian intelligence has weakened. Government officials said that Russia now looks for people willing to work for the intelligence service in the country in order to identify key Polish infrastructure, such as military units, railroads, and airports.

Amid the increasing efforts of intelligence services, President Duda signed a law to increase penalties for foreign intelligence activities. From now on, a spy will be charged with up to thirty years in prison instead of one to ten years.

In some cases, a spy can also get a life sentence. With the law, the country also prohibited ‘spreading false or misleading information’, which provoked criticism since citizens feared that the government could start using this law to control people. For example, the law might discourage citizens from sharing news and information opposing the ruling party.

Do you recall that last week an emergency call stopped a couple of trains, and the Russian anthem was heard through the speakers?

Well, on Thursday, the 31st, authorities detained two men and fired an officer suspected of stopping the trains in the northeastern city of Białystok. Two men will face an investigation for causing a threat to the lives or health of many people and a traffic disaster. Amid the incident, a railway expert criticized the state for not modernizing Poland’s system of emergency train stoppages in fifty years.

Last week we also talked about a deadly bacteria.

On Saturday, the 2nd, health authorities announced that the spread of the Legionella bacteria has slowed down. However, five more people died this week from the Legionella pneumophilia infection, which is spreading over the east part of the country. The infection is transmitted by inhaling contaminated aerosols from polluted water. So far, the total number of deaths reached nineteen.

Let’s move on to the heated foreign affairs debates.

We have three countries that Poland has problematic relations with: Russia, Belarus, and Germany.

Regarding Russia, on Monday, the 4th, Mariusz Błaszczak, the Polish defense minister, gave expressions during a ceremony to appoint new soldiers to the army. Błaszczak said "The best and only response to Russian threats is to strengthen the Polish army", leaving no space for diplomacy.

Speaking of the military…

On Saturday, the 2nd, government officials denied reports of a Polish incursion into Belarusian airspace. Belarusian media said that Polish helicopters crossed into Belarusian airspace on Friday. A Polish army spokesman said that "the information provided by Belarusian media is lies and a provocation".

And let’s not forget about Germany.

On Friday, the 1st, the Polish government stipulated World War two reparations for ‘normally functioning relations’ with Germany. Leaders, including the prime minister and the president, have attended ceremonies to commemorate the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. They blamed Nazi Germany, which attacked Poland hard during World War II, for trying to destroy the Polish nation. On the other hand, Germany does not intend to pay for any war reparation.

On the same day, Germany accepted the return of fifteen thousand pounds of waste from Poland. Last month, Poland made an official complaint to the EU against Germany for its illegal transportation of waste to Poland. After the complaints, both countries now seem to cooperate in the management of waste.

In the Poland-EU-Ukraine triangle…

On Sunday, the 3rd, Poland challenged the European Union's decision on the Ukrainian grain ban. Warsaw and four other EU members had already placed restrictions on Ukraine grain and urged for the second extension of the Ukrainian grain ban, which will end on the 15th of September. The agriculture minister stated that even though the EU will not extend the agreement, Poland will not allow Ukrainian grain on its market. Amid the decision, Ukraine is having a hard time exporting its agricultural products as Russia does not let Ukraine export through sea ports either.

On that note about Ukraine…

On Monday, the 4th, after reaching an agreement, Poland will deport Ukrainian men who avoided conscription. Poland is now sending back any Ukrainian men who issued illegal documents to show they are not eligible to fight so they could leave Ukraine and avoid fighting in the war. It is not clear yet who else Poland will send back to Ukraine. Reporters said that, in Poland, there are almost 80,000 Ukrainian men who are eligible to join the Ukrainian army.

In unrelated news…

On Monday, the 4th, reporters announced that drivers with penalty points could reduce them with extra training programs. If you previously received penalty points because you violated traffic rules, you can reduce them to zero. The regulation will come into effect on the 17th of September. Those who volunteer will take from six to eight hours of theoretical lectures and one-day-long driving practices, which will erase their violation history.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for joining us!

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