“The case of Bartosz Kramek, following that of Lyudmyla Kozlovska, in which the Polish government utterly failed to convince others of its arguments, looks bad. I guess that his arrest will likely spur objections across the world. If Kramek and Kozlovska were playing with dirty money, they should be nailed by the authorities, but now no one believes this could be the case,” said Witold Jurasz, a diplomat and Onet.pl publicist in an interview with Salon 24.
Bartosz Kramek of the Open Dialogue Foundation has been detained. Government supporters argue that the prosecutor and special services have rightly assumed that we are dealing with substantial fraud. However, the Foundation’s authorities retort that it is just another instance of persecution on the part of the Polish authorities. What is your opinion on this?
Witold Jurasz: Unlike all those who, despite being unaware of the actual circumstances and documented evidence, claim to know the case, I am unable to express a conclusive opinion on the matter. That’s the first thing. Secondly, I am much impressed by the intellectual skills of those who are capable of expressing their opinions without a deep knowledge, such as government propagandists, among others. But seriously – as I have just mentioned – I have not seen any of the case documentation. However, based on the context of the case, I’d tend to remain cautious in my judgments.
In what sense?
Bartosz Kramek’s detention followed the affair surrounding Lyudmyla Kozlovska, his wife. The Law and Justice government and its supporters mentioned her alleged links with the Russian special services. As a matter of fact, no compelling evidence of such links has ever been shown. Bearing in mind the fact that this “evidence” was disregarded by Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and other European states, it must have been worthless. Obviously, the authorities immediately resorted to the argument that “the Germans are spitting in our faces”. However, if our apparently compelling evidence in Kozlovska’s case has been deemed worthless by the Britons too, we either need to acknowledge that they too are “spitting in our faces”, or that we have had no dirt on Kozlovska. The last thing we can suspect the Britons of is disregarding the Russian secret services.
That is true, but the Polish authorities tried to warn others against Kozlovska and even entered an alert on her in the Schengen system. So that must have been done for a reason, right?
According to the Polish courts, all those actions have been unfounded. We also know that Lyudmyla Kozlovska has been granted a permanent residence permit by the Belgian authorities. If you are granted a permanent resident status in Belgium, you are also provided with access to all formal documents pertaining to your case. So Ms Kozlovska received a copy of a declassified encrypted report from the meeting of the Belgian ambassador in Warsaw and the incumbent Vice-Minister Andrzej Papierz. After the meeting, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that they provided the Belgian party with all documents. However, according to the Belgian ambassador’s report, the Polish representatives did not dispose of any documents and based their knowledge on mass media coverage only. A similar situation occurred when our Embassy in Berlin asked the MFA about some background of the case to be shared with the Germans. The Ministry notified the Embassy that they should base their response on what could be found on the Internet. All in all, Kozlovska was accused of conducting unspecified pro-Russian operations, which allegations were difficult to prove, as Kozlovska was, in fact, anti-Russian. She was not even engaged in any pro-Russian propaganda. Obviously, one might say that she was so openly anti-Russian in order to create a misleading image, but this would have to be cleverly demonstrated.
There was that report issued by the Moldavian Parliament.
That is true, the Moldavian Parliament’s report was used against Kozlovska. The thing is that this Parliament was dominated by pro-Russian politicians, and the report was largely targeted at Maia Sandu, the incumbent West-oriented President of Moldova, who was invited to Warsaw just a couple of days ago by President Andrzej Duda.
But her alleged cooperation with an oligarch, Mukhtar Ablyazov, is a more serious issue, isn’t it?
There are no conservative Catholics, dutiful taxpayers and respectful followers of law and order among post-soviet oligarchs. There are no saints among them. At the same time, they represent a very heterogeneous group, as some of them have even dared to oppose such figures as Putin or Nazarbayev, which was what Mr Ablyazov did. Generally speaking, the authorities have not managed to present compelling evidence of Kozlovska’s links with Russia, so the whole affair is just a big flop. Yet, our right-wing politicians seem to be unable to see it clearly. According to their propaganda, everyone including MI-5 must be wrong, and only the Polish government managed to come up with the right evidence. The problem is that Bartosz Kramek’s case follows that of Kozlovska, in which the Polish authorities utterly failed to convince others of its arguments. I guess that his arrest will likely spur objections across the world. If Kramek and Kozlovska were really playing with dirty money, they should be nailed by the authorities, but now no one believes this could be the case.