A curious clash of personalities has been unfolding in the past few months in Poland. It all came to a head today when the Minister of Defence (pictured right) Radosław Sikorski tendered his resignation. The reason? We haven’t yet been presented with all the facts (and we probably never will) but that hasn’t stopped the media coming to their own conclusions about the substance of the final few nails in Sikorski’s ministerial coffin.
Most so-called experts seem to think that this has been a resignation/dismissal in waiting ever since Antoni Macierewicz (pictured top left), a confidant of PM Jarosław Kaczyński, was appointed Deputy Minister of Defence and the man responsible for the dismantling of the Military Information Services (WSI). There are two important issues here that need clarification. Firstly, Macierewicz is notorious for his Enoch Powell-like nationalism and right-wing views and his appointment was immediately met with grave concern from a large part of the political elite – “how can a man with such extremist views,” they argued, “possible be held responsible for something as important as the future security of the army and therefore the country?”
Secondly, many people believe Macierewicz is not a master of military know-how nor is he well-skilled in the ins and outs of the intelligence services. He began his tenure ebulliently, promising to smash the allged secret network plaguing the Polish army and security forces. Many believe he is the man responsible for the on-going ‘leaks’ to the press of the names of alleged former double agents. This has given rise to an odd situation where Poland has become one of the only countries in the world that publishes the names of its ‘secret’ agents. Talk of security risk has been rife.
(Now former) Minister of Defence Sikorski was known to have been ‘extremely concerned’ when he was told by the PM that Macierewicz was to become Deputy Minister of Defence and the chief WSI ‘liquidator’. There were probably heated exchanges between the PM and the Minister of Defence regarding this new appointment. The writing was on the wall for Sikorski.
After months of tight-lipped fuming and word-swallowing Sikorski finally burst. Between the lines, all could see that he was unable to work with someone of Macierewicz’s ilk. Unofficial government sources are saying the resignation comes because the PM was unsatisfied with Sikorski’s work and in all probability would have dismissed him anyway. Sikorski, some believe, did the honourable thing. Whatever the reasons were, it seems the winner of this clash was most certainly Antoni Macierewicz.