The Polish journalist Adam Michnik has warned this Tuesday that the Government of his country, despite formally maintaining its support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, has “as a State model” that of “psychopath” Vladimir Putin and, although he opposes war, is “putinizing” Poland.
Michnik (Warsaw, 1946) made these statements at the press conference that he offered three days before receiving the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities in Oviedo for a career that has made him “a symbol of the freedom of expression and humanism, as well as an ethical example of resistance against authoritarian threats”.
For the founder and director of the most important newspaper in Poland, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, despite the will of the Polish government to liquidate justice and the independent media – “it is a paradox, they are anti-putin Putinists” – the political drift of his country is “very dangerous” despite the fact that, in the case of the invasion of Ukraine, “they speak with one voice” to reject the aggression.
“It is a conflict in which the future of Europe is at stake, Putin is acting with the logic that Hitler used in his day,” he stressed after stressing that the Russian president’s rhetoric “is a copy of Hitler’s ‘Anschluss’ in 1938”, the demand of the Nazi Government to annex Austria and other territories, and that it is necessary to affirm it in this way “even if it is brutal”.
Then, he recalled, the policy of appeasement of the Western democracies led to the Second World War since they refused to “clearly say no to Hitler”, something that, in his opinion, is happening in the case of the conflict in Ukraine and that, otherwise, Putin could continue to “loot and rape, and as long as he can, the world will not be a safe place.”
“Excited” with his visit to Asturias to receive a “magnificent” award, Michnik has pointed out that, despite being a country as polarized as the United States, there is a general consensus when it comes to judging the aggression of “the imperial Russia of Putin” against a sovereign country like Ukraine, with which all the rules have been broken and in which war “on truth and freedom” has been declared.
PUTIN, “AN IRRATIONAL PSYCHOPATH”
Michnik recalled that, when he met Putin, with whom he was able to speak on two or three occasions, he thought that he was a follower of Boris Yeltsin’s policies, but later he verified, with his actions, in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine, and his “war” against civil society “with which he began to destroy Russia” that he was “an irrational psychopath” from whom “all the worst” can be expected.
In addition, he has stressed that the Russian president was behind the interference in the United States elections, contributed to Brexit and has given his support to all the political forces that want to destroy the EU “regardless of whether they are extreme left or extreme right ” and that it is unpredictable to know “if tomorrow it will occur to him to occupy Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova or even Poland”.
In this way, he has warned, Russia has placed itself on the path of totalitarianism based on an absolutely totalitarian use of power that has left its public opinion “gagged” by preventing free and independent journalism, an activity “that is always in danger” and that, he recalled, does not exist in countries such as China and has practically disappeared in others such as Hungary.
With six years in prison behind him for his opposition to the communist regime that ruled Poland until 1986, Michnik constitutes “an ethical example of resistance against authoritarian threats”, in the opinion of the jury that awarded him the award that his compatriot obtained in 2003 Ryszard Kapu?ci?ski.