The Brothers K

K and K
K and K (l-r Lech, Jarosław)

An interesting piece in Dziennik, a popular Polish daily, caught my eye. It claims that the Brothers Kaczyński, twins Lech and Jarosław, are growing apart. To a certain extent this supports my theory that contemporary Polish politics will be fashioned by the strength (or weakness) of the relationship between the twins.

Alike yet Different
It is common knowledge, among Poland’s journalists anyway, that President Lech Kaczyński has always been the more easier-going, likeable, friendly and more liberally-oriented of the Kaczyński twins. Jarosław, former PM and chairman of Law and Justice (PiS), has always been seen as more despotic, hard-hitting, conservative and quick to anger. It is also common knowledge that Lech has forever been the ‘weaker’ of the twins, easily swayed by and forever wary of his strong-willed brother Jarosław.

Different yet Weaker
As President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński’s job is to unite and act as negotiator between Poland’s opposition parties. With his brother leading the chief opposition party, there is nobody in Poland who truly believes in his unbiased approach to party politics. Kaczyński has been quoted as saying something along the lines of “there is no law against talking to my brother”. The fact that Jarosław often acts as Lech’s political conscience whispering sweet political nothings into the President’s eager ear is cause for concern.

Alike yet Stronger
Jarosław Kaczyński seems to be the more maverick of the two, more independent. Lech, on the other hand, is always keen to consult his brother in all matters, a greater level of dependence can be seen in him. He needs to consult and feel the strong guiding hand of brother Jarosław in all his decisions. But due to the fact that Jarosław has such a personality, he is also seen as uncompromising, inflexible and stubborn. Lech is open to compromise, more conciliatory and approachable.

Separating the Twins
The short-term future of Polish politics depends on the extent to which the twins share their political goals and the level at which Lech’s dependence on Jarosław continues.  Look at the picture above; whose body language looks more ‘presidential’? Civic Platform (PO) and Poland’s left-wing parties need to start spending more energy and time working with Lech. In practical terms, it means driving a wedge between the two. Already, there is talk of the twins having increasingly more ‘differences of opinion’. The start of a re-evaluation of the relationship?


6 thoughts on “The Brothers K

  1. “Lech Kaczyński has always been the more easier-going, likeable, friendly and more liberally-oriented of the Kaczyński twins.” <- um, relatively speaking, of course… (ignore potential pun)

    I see the difference between them in different terms; JK is more of a political operative, he has strategies, long-term goals, something closer to a coherent ideology (even if a nasty one), whereas LK is just a stirrer, a thrower of toys out of the sandpit, a petty man with no greater purpose than to upset whatever his opponents propose.

    Both of them dangerous and troublesome, of course, but in different ways. And worst of all, personally incorruptible (à la Robespierre), so no hope of a tabloid digging up any dirt on them… :]

  2. Great article, i never really thought about the relationship of the two brothers… on another note I like to talk about the PM and the President. Even though I support the Civic platform, I dont believe the twins should be so despised. I have the greatest respect for both the PM and the President because they bring 2 different things to the table. Tusk has a great working relationship with the western countries and he is good at diplomatic manuovering. Kaczynski on the other hand has a great working relationship with eastern countries (Russia excluded) and he knows how to fight and hold his ground. Lets be honest here, diplomacy doesn’t always work and thats when Kaczynski is perfect for the job, on the other hand fighting doesn’t always work either and thats when Tusk is perfect for the job. I think Poland has the best of both worlds. The PM is the carrot and the President is the stick (Yin and Yang). I just hope the politicians would realize how well they complement each other.

    For those that don’t realize or are unwilling to admit that the President does have his strengths are just ignorant and don’t understand the complexities of this world.

  3. Everyone has their strengths (and weakness), Maciej. Very true. I’m not so sure that Kaczynski has a ‘great working relationship with eastern countries’. Which countries? Are they important countries? Influential countries? LK does have his strengths but I’m not entirely sure the skills he so often uses are actually useful in international politics.

  4. Both twins have not much to say in current politics in Poland. Their rating is low, president’s power limited, oposition ratings also are low. No short term politics therefore depend on the two and both guys have ceremonial and media importance but no influence on decision making nor implementing any law.
    Sorry, if I bore those who take the above as obvious.

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