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The Open Dialogue Foundation has applied to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister for funding to help Ukrainian war refugees. - We have been supporting Ukrainians since the second day of the Russian invasion. We’ve set up a hotline connecting people in need of housing with those who can offer them accommodation. In this way, we’ve already helped some 6.000 war refugees find a temporary home. We also take care of the relocation process of Ukrainian refugees to other EU countries. Our volunteers are there to help refugees at the Warsaw East Railway Station and at the border with Ukraine. Several dozen people use their own cars to get Ukrainians to their places of accommodation- says Marcin Mycielski, activist and Vice President of the Open Dialogue Foundation.

"A purely political decision"  

The Foundation intends to open a Home for Independent Ukrainian Mothers. To function successfully, the housing project will require about a quarter of million zlotys annually. Yet, the Foundation has not received any subsidy from the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. Instead, PLN 264.000 was granted to the National Guard Association headed by Robert Bąkiewicz.

- The government announced the creation of a fund dedicated to NGOs helping Ukrainian war refugees. That’s why we submitted our application. The fact that Robert Bąkiewicz's organization received a grant only proves that the decision was purely political - Mr. Mycielski says.

- It’s a bizarre decision, considering the fact that only six months earlier Mr. Bąkiewicz had been protesting against Poland taking in refugees. He organized patrols, fascist militias, to "secure" the Polish-Belarusian border. All of a sudden he changed his tune and decided to help some 40 people. It is entirely possible that he needed an excuse to get public money- he adds.

The Polish government continues to feed nationalists with public money

Mr. Mycielski points out that his organization has specialized in helping the residents of former USSR countries for many years. Its statutory goal is to protect human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet region.

- We were one of the first organizations to help Ukrainians during the Maidan Revolution in 2014. We’ve created Ukraiński Świat (the Ukrainian World), a place that became the center of Ukrainian culture in Warsaw. We were counting on government support because our only source of money are donations from private individuals- Mr. Mycielski adds.

It is not the first time that the Polish government is using public money to fund nationalist organizations associated with Robert Bąkiewicz. Last year, the Roman Dmowski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski Institute for the Legacy of Polish National Thought, established by the ruling Law and Justice party to "promote a policy of remembrance with regard to Polish history and heritage", gave the March of Independence and National Guard associations a total of PLN 3 million in grants.


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