Is the rag burning between the Poland and France? After a week of spades between Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, and immanuel macron, warsaw summoned the French ambassador on Friday after the French president’s statements. The latter accused the head of the Polish government of the Conservative Party of Law and Justice (PIS) of “extreme right-wing anti-Semitism, which prohibits LGBT people.” He also considered that he was “interfering in the French political campaign”, pointing to his closeness to Marine Le Pen, his far-right rival in the presidential.
Earlier this week, Mateusz Morawiecki criticized Emmanuel Macron, accusing him of continuing to argue with Vladimir Putin although the war in ukraine. President Macron, how many times has he negotiated with Putin, what has he achieved? We don’t debate, we don’t negotiate with criminals, we have to fight criminals,” he said.
“No one negotiated with Hitler. Would you negotiate with Hitler, with Stalin, with Pol Pot? ”, He launched he too, perhaps forgetting the Munich agreements in 1938. He also criticized Germany and its dependence on Russian raw materials,“ main obstacle to very strong sanctions ”.
Mateusz Morawiecki speaks “more to his conservative electorate”
Why such an outing addressed to the French president? According to Dorota Dakowska, a professor of political science at Sciences Po Aix and a specialist in Central and Eastern Europe, the Polish prime minister is addressing “more his conservative, even Europhobic, constituency than his European partners.” These statements are part of “the historical policy followed by the Law and Justice party: a public policy of history where, through education, research, museums, commemorations, we seek to enhance an image of Poles as a nation heroic woman who fights for her independence”. , against the Nazis, then against the Soviets,” says Valentin Behr, a researcher in political science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris.
The Pis has a traditional position of mistrust towards Russia. For example, “he sailed a lot in the Smolensk air disaster,” adds Dorota Dakowska. In April 2010, the plane of President Lech Kaczynski, the brother of the current Pis leader, crashed in Smolensk, Russia, as members of the government and military were attending commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. Several thousand Polish civilians and soldiers were killed there in 1940 by the Soviet political police. Against the backdrop of the memorial, “there is this idea of a kind of Katyn bis, with conspiratorial rhetoric stirred by the Pis: the Russians would have fomented a plot to assassinate the Polish president, details Valentin Behr. And Jaroslaw Kaczynski, brother of the late president, said it again this week. »
Lighting “a backfire”
Criticized for having approached far-right parties in Europe, closer to the Kremlin, and sometimes financed by Russia, such as the National Rally, the Polish Prime Minister wanted to light “a backfire”, estimates Valentin Behr. “It’s about responding by saying ‘Putin’s real allies in Europe are the Germans, who did the Nord Stream 2 pipelineor it is the French government, seeking to negotiate a compromise with a Putin who is ultimately a dictator, like Hitler or Stalin.
“Right now in Poland, each side is accusing the other of playing Putin’s game,” confirms Dorota Dakowska. For the centrist opposition, the government and the Law and Justice party share the line of the Russian president in his ultraconservative, homophobic positions, contrary to the right to abortion. For the government, the opposition is playing into Putin’s hands because he called for welcoming refugees in the context of tensions with Belarus at the end of 2021.
Viktor Orban’s problem
On the Polish scene, Mateusz Morawiecki also wants to “hide his closeness to Victor Orban and show other culprits. It tries to divert attention from its alliance with Hungary, its main ally in the European Union”, emphasizes Dorota Dakowska. Because the Hungarian position has created dissension in the alliance of pro-sovereignty and Eurosceptic parties. Orban, who remained close to Putin, distinguished himself by refusing to deliver weapons to Ukraine. He also did not condemn the boutcha massacre and said he was willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles, which other EU countries refused.
In addition, the weight of history obviously comes into play, in particular the WWII and Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. “There is this idea in Poland that Russia, especially under Putin, is a security threat,” explains Valentin Behr. Poland does not want to be marginalized: “Above all there is the fear of an agreement between the great European powers – France, Germany – and Russia, behind the backs of the Eastern European countries. A bit like that was the case – it is perceived that way in these countries – in Yalta at the end of World War II. The idea that by arguing with Russia, seeking a compromise, we sacrifice the small peripheral states of Eastern Europe, considering them to be part of a zone of Russian influence. »
The fear of an extension of the Ukrainian conflict is also very present, even if Poland is part of l’Otanlike Hungary. “Russia has also repeatedly threatened Poland in the speeches of its experts on state television,” recalls Dorota Dakowska. They suggested that the Ukraine should be totally pulverized and then why not Poland. There is a certain nervousness in all this, but also the conviction that we must not falter before Putin, that he only understands strength. »