“We received nothing. Instead, a quarter of a million zlotys was given to Robert Bąkiewicz, a person of outstanding merit in helping Ukraine,” complained members of the Open Dialogue Foundation, which for years has been supporting Ukrainians and inhabitants of other countries of the former USSR.
The Open Dialogue Foundation has applied to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister for funding to help refugees. “We have been helping Ukrainians since the second day of the war. We run a hotline, through which we connect those who are looking for a shelter with those who offer it. In this way we have already helped approx. 6 thousand refugees who have found accommodation. We take care of the relocation of refugees to other EU countries. Our volunteers help refugees at the Warsaw East Railway Station and at the border. Several dozen people transport Ukrainians to their accommodation in their own cars,” says Marcin Mycielski from the Open Dialogue Foundation.
Robert Bąkiewicz and his National Guard with a government grant to help refugees
Soon the members of the Foundation intend to open a House for Independent Mothers from Ukraine. About a quarter of a million zlotys is needed for a year of operation of such a home. However, the Foundation has not received any subsidy from the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. Instead, 264 thousand zlotys were awarded to Robert Bąkiewicz’s association National Guard.
“The government announced that it would support organisations that help refugees over and above political divisions, which is why we submitted our application. The support of Robert Bąkiewicz’s organisation proves that these are political decisions after all,” says Mycielski.
And he adds, “This is a bizarre decision, taking into account that only six months earlier Bąkiewicz was slandering refugees. He organised patrols, fascist militias to guard the Polish-Belarusian border. Suddenly he changed his front and helped about 40 people. It is possible that he needed an excuse to get a government grant.”
Helping residents of the post-Soviet area
Mycielski emphasises that his organisation has for many years specialised in helping the inhabitants of the former Soviet Union countries. Its statutory aim is to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the post-Soviet area.
“We were one of the first organisations to help Ukrainians during Euromaidan in 2014. At Nowy Świat we created “Ukrainian World”, a place that became the centre of Ukrainian culture in Warsaw. We were counting on government support, because we finance our activities only with donations from private individuals,” adds Mycielski.
This is not the first time the government has supported organisations associated with Robert Bąkiewicz.The Institute for Legacy of Polish National Thought, named after Roman Dmowski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, set up by the Law and Justice party to “implement memory policy in the field of Polish history and heritage”, gave 3 million PLN to the associations Marsz Niepodległości (Independence March) and Straż Narodowa (National Guard).