The Warsaw Network
The fiction of European solidarity, or what a Ukrainian with a Russian passport can teach the Germans about the Polish and Hungarian democracies
04.10.2018

For a large part of Polish public opinion, the case of Ludmiła Kozłowska is a symbol of how fictitious the so-called European solidarity is and that there are double standards in the Union – different for the “good” countries, others for the “bad” ones.

 

Kozłowska, a Ukrainian citizen with a Russian passport, was invited to the German parliament – Bundestag, where she talked about the violation of democracy and the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. Only a few days earlier, at the request of the Polish authorities, she was deported from Belgium to Ukraine and was banned from entering the European Union.

Polish authorities that requested the ban be put in place and deportation are investigating, inter alia, the financing of her Open Dialogue Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog), her links to the oligarchs from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and the alleged arms trade.

“Due to statutory restrictions, as well as an ongoing fiscal control, as of now detailed information on this matter must not be passed on to the public,” said the spokesman of the Polish minister responsible for the Polish investigative services.

Regardless of whether the suspicions will be confirmed or not, for the time being according to the European Treaty, Kozłowska is entered into the Schengen Information System and marked with the highest alert. EU member states have no right to admit her onto their territory.

However, as it turns out, German politicians and their investigative services sometimes respect the European treaties and sometimes they choose not to. German authorities declared that her arrival was desirable for “security reasons”, so Kozłowska – a Ukrainian with a Russian passport – shared in the Bundestag her reflections on the situation in Poland and Hungary.

Kozłowska has a Polish husband, lives in Poland, conducts political activities and runs businesses in Poland, and the Internal Security Agency of the Polish republic, after more than a year of investigations, decided to take appropriate action towards her. Apparently, the Polish services cannot compare with the German ones, because after a few days from announcing the ban on entry into the EU for Kozłowska, they recognised that it is an impeccable person and of good repute.

What did Kozłowska say to the Germans that they decided to violate some of the provisions of the Schengen Treaty for her? Well, the Ukrainian is the head of the Open Dialogue Foundation and together with her husband Bartosz Kramek, they are one of the most active non-parliamentarian opposition activists and one of the organisers of the greatest protests in Poland. This is enough to get the support of Eurocrats and “progressive” politicians. Any action that may lead to the removal of the “anti-democratic” and “anti-European” Law and Justice administration (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS for short) from power is welcome and deserves support.

Kozłowska became famous when, with the support of the foundation, of which she is the head, her husband Bartosz Kramek published instructions to organise protests in Poland in the shape of those that took place in Kiev at EuroMaidan. We all know how those protests ended in Ukraine: hundreds of people died on the Maidan, the Russians took over and annexed Crimea, the civil war still continues in the east, and Ukrainians are emigrating to Poland.

The manual provides, among others, for arranging “hunts” for PiS politicians close to their homes, places of work, and in public places. Similar methods, pickets under houses, persecution in public places, banning them from public places etc., would also affect family members of PiS politicians, as well as their neighbours (sic!).

Bringing the Polish state to a complete paralysis through strikes organised by union headquarters. Citizens would completely stop paying taxes. The administrative services of the cities where the authorities oppose the PiS government would become the opposition’s “militia”. State officials would be called to cease their activities.

The seats of courts should be seized and citizens and municipal services should protect them. The judges, who would occupy the buildings, would carry out “trials” against officials obeying the authorities, as well as announce the non-binding of laws introduced by the PiS-dominated parliament. Similarly, the authorities of individual cities should declare the actions of the PiS government unconstitutional and direct their services to protect mass protests.

Under the headquarters of state institutions, such as the Sejm, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Presidential Palace, but also under the PiS headquarters and the home of its leader Jarosław Kaczyński, tent camps should be established leading the “siege” of these places. The activities of physically blocked institutions would be completely paralysed. To the places of mass protests, European politicians should also be brought in order to prevent the possible operation of Polish law enforcement services.

In a nutshell, Kramek, his wife Kozłowska, and their Foundation published an instruction to trigger a civil war.

After this publication, part of the Polish public opinion began to demand the immediate closure of the Open Dialog Foundation and the expulsion of Ludmiła Kozłowska from the country. New facts about the foundation, headed by Kozłowska, would come to light. The founder turned out to be a Ukrainian, Igor Sherstiuk, who is serving in Ukraine a prison sentence for assassination orders.

Money for the Foundation ‘s operations comes from a whole range of companies that are constantly changing names, including some appearing in the Panama Papers scandal, others are registered in tax havens – for example, on the Seychelles, or companies that participated in the transfer of 1 billion dollars from the Moldovan banking system.

Money to the Foundation went through a whole spectrum of various entities, including those belonging to the Moldovan banker Ilan Shor, who having been extradited from Ukraine was sentenced in Moldova to 7.5 years in prison for laundering dirty money from Russia and transferring them illegally, among others, to countries within the EU.

Kozłowska’s and her Open Dialog Foundation’s dossier is huge. What is known “officially” comes from the investigations conducted by journalists who scrutinised the companies and from the information by the Polish authorities, which in the case of Kozłowska cooperate, among others, with Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian investigative authorities. All these many ambiguities, strange connections, criminals cooperating with Kozłowska seem to be a sufficient reason to grant her special “treatment”. However, it turns out that it is not enough. The immediate political interest and the possibility of taking a swing at the PiS government are much more important than the Schengen Treaty or the investigation of the services of several European countries. It is worth sacrificing European solidarity and mutual obligations for a spectacle in the Bundestag.

Frank Schwabe, SPD politician and member of the Bundestag, who organised Kozłowska’s visit in the German parliament managed to make things even worse. In an interview for a website operating in Poland, owned by the German publisher Axel Springer, he stated that Poles would not dictate to Germans who should come to them and who should not. This statement triggered another wave of criticism in Poland towards German politicians who for three years have been trying to force Poland to accept immigrants, whom Chancellor Merkel admitted to Germany.

The vast majority of the Polish public is of the opinion that Kozłowska’s case shows that European solidarity is fiction. Poles are convinced that there are double standards, and the European elite are leading the Union towards a disaster. The very support for the Union is still at a very high level – 85%. However, European politicians themselves, whether German or from Brussels, have a terrible reputation. At the same time, amongst the most popular politicians, one can find Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán or the Italian Deputy Prime Minister Salvini who openly contest Brussels and the order it tries to bring about.

The support for PiS administration in Poland is also at a record high, which concerns German politicians and Eurocrats such as Guy Verhofstadt, who defends Kozłowska in the European Parliament. Thus, PiS owes its support to the very politicians who are fighting against it.

Author: Dariusz Matuszak