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On Tuesday, June 22, the Institute of Legacy of Polish National Thought announced the first recipients of grants from its newly-established Patriotic Fund. The institute itself was set up by the Ministry of Culture in February 2020 and is headed by Prof. Jan Żaryn, a former Law and Justice senator, one of the key minds behind the ruling party’s "historical policy", and an avid supporter of the far-right National Radical Camp.

Nationalist organizations and public money

Members of the ruling camp spoke of introducing the Patriotic Fund for a long time. The Prime Minister himself promised to establish such a fund during last year’s presidential election campaign. Its stated goal is to "implement memory politics in the field of Polish history and heritage, including the achievements of Polish socio-political thought, with particular emphasis on national, Catholic, and conservative values".

The list of grantees was first reported on by oko.press. Top recipients include two nationalist organizations associated with Robert Bąkiewicz- former leader of the far-right Nationalist Radical Camp often described as "fascist". The most generous grant, PLN 1.7 million, will go to the National Guard Association for its project "Security and professionalism during the organization and course of patriotic and religious events - a necessary condition for the consolidation of cultural identity". The other top recipient is the March of Independence Association. It will receive PLN 1.3 million from the Patriotic Fund for a project called "March of Independence - modernity and tradition".

The All-Polish Youth is also in line to receive a financial boost from the taxpayers’ pocket. The fascist organization responsible for hanging pictures of MEPs on mock-gallows will receive PLN 100.000 for the "Development of the history of All-Polish Youth in connection with the organization’s 100th anniversary".

More public funds for nationalists

The project submitted by another organization associated with Robert Bąkiewicz - the Rota Independence March Association ("rota" being an archaic word for a small military unit) - is on the first place of the reserve list. It will receive the money if funds become available.

Earlier this year, Mr Bąkiewicz’s organizations have already received over 1.5 million from the National Freedom Institute (created at the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister).

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