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I am desperately looking for a logical explanation of Jarosław Kaczyński’s decision to sign a joint "declaration on the future of Europe" together with 15 mostly far-right Eurosceptic parties such as Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, the Italian League and neo-fascist Brothers, the Spanish Vox, and Victor Orban’s Fidesz. No more than two weeks ago, the leader of Poland’s ruling party, who also happens to serve as deputy prime minister responsible for national security, has blamed the Russian Federation for a cyberattack on the private mailbox belonging to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff. Last Friday, he announced that Law and Justice will be joining forces with EU’s openly pro-Putin parties in order to "reform Europe".

Perhaps all of this is just a spectacle meant to cover up a bitter defeat. For months, Kaczyński and his Eurosceptic cronies have been announcing the establishment of a new fraction inside the European Parliament, one that would include 'healthy' political forces opposing demoralized leftists responsible for corrupting the society. Their efforts, however, never went beyond lofty declarations.

All they have are a few pieces of paper with a couple of signatures to wipe away their tears, but it is enough for Kaczyński to turn the defeat into a success, and say that he is protecting the European Union from a neo-Bolshevik revolution and its citizens from certain enslavement.

The creation of a far-right Eurosceptic alliance has been discussed for over 20 years. Why did it not succeed? Because each of the European far-right leaders considers him/herself more important than all the others. Kaczyński is no exception either, but Le Pen, Salvini, and Orban beg to differ.

Kaczyński is cozying up to friends of Vladimir Putin

It’s not a secret that parties headed by Le Pen and Salvini received financial help from the Kremlin and benefitted from Russian trolls sowing disinformation as part of Moscow’s long-running hybrid war against the West. In return, Vladimir Putin can count on their unconditional support.

Le Pen said that "Russia need not be feared", while Salvini was photographed on Red Square wearing a T-shirt with the image of Putin's face. In Hungary, Orban’s Russian connections were critical in helping him build a corrupt system. The penetration of this country by Russian operatives runs so deep that Western intelligence services refuse to share classified information with their Hungarian counterparts.

Speaking in front of the parliament two weeks ago, Kaczyński warned of Moscow’s advanced plans to invade Poland. By joining the choir of Putin's aficionados, he is making Russia’s job much easier.

Meanwhile, Polish diplomats act like children in the woods

Poland’s diplomatic relations with the United States, its strategic partner, are so miserable that during the recent NATO summit President Biden only exchanged a few words with President Duda in the hallway. The German Chancellor, in turn, refused Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s offer to have bi-lateral consultations in Berlin. Recent CJEU rulings have been unfavorable to Poland as well.

To compensate for its diplomatic disasters in the West, Poland’s ruling party is ever more eagerly looking East.

During a recent visit to Ankara, President Duda complimented the Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Zbigniew Rau, the polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, praised his Chinese counterpart. What’s more, at a conference marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, an important member of the Law and Justice party, Marek Suski, praised Beijing's achievements, while the Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki recently told the Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanouska to go to Moscow.

If we add Kaczyński's alliance with Putin's supporters on top of that sad list, it becomes even scarier. To say that these actions are putting Poland at risk is to say nothing.

Maybe the answer is even more simple. What Putin and Kaczyński seem to have in common is their disdain for contemporary Europe and its diverse societies. They would like to turn back the time, put Europe on a tight leash, and restore a "traditional order". After all, nothing unites people like a common enemy.

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Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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