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GAZETA WYBORCZA
Gazeta Wyborcza ("Election Gazette") is a leading daily newspaper in Poland, and the country's most popular news portal. Founded in 1989 by Adam Michnik and based in Warsaw, the paper is now owned by Agora SA, and is described as center-left.
A woman volunteer handles a weapon as civilian volunteers of the Obukhiv Civilian Protection force train together​
Society
Magdalena Środa

A War Against Putin, A Fight Against The Patriarchy

In Poland, the support for the war effort against Russia is linked not only to history but to an aggressive male-dominated narrative, tinged with tales of martyrdom and acceptance of sexual violence.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — In addition to all the terrible things we already know about it, the war in Ukraine also appears to be a time machine that takes us back to a very masculine world of heroes and beasts — where the former are worthy of glory, the latter inhuman and deserving of death.

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This way of seeing reality and all that it encompasses is as tragic and retrograde as war itself. We Poles have finally begun to learn such values as equality, rule of law, democracy, dialogue, tolerance, and diversity; and yet once again we are returning to the paradigm of the heroic martyr that is unfortunately firmly established in our history and morality.

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Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages
Geopolitics

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Newspapers in France and around the world are devoting their Monday front pages to Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French president.

Emmanuel Macron won a second term as president of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a wide 58.5-41.5% margin ... oui, mais.

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Wroclaw Postcard: What We Learn About Ourselves In A Wartime Train Station
Society
Jacek Harłukowicz

Wroclaw Postcard: What We Learn About Ourselves In A Wartime Train Station

The war in Ukraine has prompted a huge outpouring of compassion across the border in Poland. It is a positive reflection of the human condition, but also a reminder that we should care for others and outsiders even when there's no nearby conflict.

WROCLAW — Being born on the banks of the rivers Vistula and Odra that falls within the boundaries of Poland has never filled me with particular pride. People are more important to me than the Polish red-and-white flag.

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Ordinary human solidarity is more important to me than patriotism. And yet, something made my heart swell last weekend when I went to the aid stations springing up like mushrooms after the rain.

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Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages
Geopolitics

Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Tensions culminated this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, a move widely opposed by world leaders that made virtually every front page around the world.

"THIS IS WAR," reads the front page ofGazeta Wyborcza. Alongside the terse, all-caps headline, the Polish daily features a photo of Olena Kurilo, a teacher from Chuguev whose blood-covered face has become one of the striking images of the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

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A day after simultaneous attacks were launched from the south, east and north of the country, by land and by air, some press outlets chose to feature images of tanks, explosions, death and destruction that hit multiple cities across Ukraine, while others focused on the man behind the so-called "special military operation": Putin.

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“Five Years Of Hate” – Being LGBTQ In Poland Has Gotten Worse
Society
Paweł Kośmiński

“Five Years Of Hate” – Being LGBTQ In Poland Has Gotten Worse

With Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and the Catholic Church using gay rights to stir up a culture war, the country's LGBTQ community is feeling the effects. Depression and suicide are rising dramatically, and many now feel they have no choice but to leave.

WARSAW — Suicidal thoughts, violence and lack of support from state institutions. This is the grim reality faced by Polish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and asexual people outlined in the report "The Social Situation of LGBTQ Persons in Poland."

Gay rights have become a divisive issue in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has used the issue to galvanize supporters, declaring it "a great danger" and an "attack" on the family and children.

“The situation of LGBTQ people has not really improved, but rather gotten worse," says Mirosława Makuchowska, deputy director of the Campaign Against Homophobia. The organization – together with the association Lambda and the University of Warsaw's Centre for Research on Prejudice – published a report last week that describes the situation of non-heteronormative people in Poland in 2019-20.

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Photo of two funeral home workers carrying a deceased man in Wroclaw, Poland
Coronavirus
Justyna Sobolak

COVID, Nail In The Coffin Of Poland's Underground Funeral Industry

A total lack of regulation has meant that virtually anyone can sell funeral service, even people without refrigerated rooms, hearses or pandemic safety measures.

The law governing the funeral market in Poland is nearly 100 years old, and de facto the industry has long been unregulated. As the gray market has continued to grow through the pandemic, shocking practices multiply. “Companies keep corpses in garages or barns," says Robert Czyżak, president of the Polish Funeral Industry Board. "This is what has been happening in Poland."

It is very easy to organize funerals in Poland. Almost anyone can do it, without any certificate, training or official permission. All you need is an entry in the CRIBA (Center of Registration and Information on Business Activity). Even without any facilities other than an office where the families of the deceased will be received, you can offer funeral services.

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Photo of police forces standing behind barbed wire on the Poland-Belarus border.
Geopolitics
Monika Olejnik

The Train Wreck That Is Poland Right Now

Everything is collapsing: The zloty is sinking, a virus is spreading, diplomacy has disappeared, and so has the rule of law. And the government claims everything is going just fine.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Everywhere we look, there is a disaster.

The zloty is sinking because of inflation, which we owe to the head of Poland's central bank Adam Glapinski, a political ally of ruling PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski since the early 1990s when the pair demonstrated against then President Lech Wałęsa and joined in burning his effigy.

At the same time, we also have a COVID-19 catastrophe. As we've witnessed, 25,000 daily cases and hundreds of deaths are not enough for the government to introduce any kind of restrictions. The Prime Minister is afraid of demonstrations that could lead to deaths from COVID-19, while tens of thousands of people recently attended the National Stadium without masks and nobody checked whether anyone was vaccinated.

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Photo of a migrant woman in a sleeping bag, sitting in a forest in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.​
Migrant Lives
Wojciech Czuchnowski

The Other Scandal At The Poland-Belarus Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seem to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.

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Polexit Is Path To Dictatorship, A Cry To Keep Poland Free
Ideas
Marek Beylin

Polexit Is Path To Dictatorship, A Cry To Keep Poland Free

EU membership is not in line with Poland's values, say the current ruling party. Will that mean Poland's Exit (Polexit) from the European Union? Everything is riding on where the long-serving conservative government of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński will do as they run counter to popular opinion on the EU question.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — They left it to Julia Przyłębska, President of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal, to state where the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) stands: the country should no longer be in the European Union since EU values are contrary to the party's rule.

This was the decision reached by this pseudo-Constitutional Tribunal last week, while nearly 90% of the public wants to remain in the EU — according to a recent Ipsos poll for Gazeta Wyborcza and OKO.press. It means that on this fundamental issue in Poland, the PiS is looking to bypass the absolute majority of Poles.

According to the same Ipsos poll, more than half of us fear that the PiS is preparing a Polexit for us. After the decision of the pseudo-CT, this fear is likely to grow.

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Spiderman To Jewish Stars: Global Vaccine Protests Get Ugly
Society
Rozena Crossman

Spiderman To Jewish Stars: Global Vaccine Protests Get Ugly

More protests are bound to spread after President Biden announced that vaccinations will become mandatory for millions of U.S. workers in certain categories of employment, including those who work for the federal government and large corporations.

Vaccines used to be a quiet thing: someone getting a flu shot or UNICEF shipping off jabs to children in a faraway country. No longer. COVID-19 has put vaccinations at the center of both global health policy and national partisan politics — and plenty of noise has ensued.

After some initial demonstrations earlier this year critical of slow vaccination rollouts, protests are now firmly focused on local and national policies that require vaccines, including obligatory jabs for medical workers and the so-called "green pass" vaccine-required access to certain locations and activities. No doubt more protests are bound to spread in the United States after last week's announcement by U.S. President Joe Biden that vaccinations will become mandatory for millions of workers in certain categories of employment, including those who work for the federal government and large corporations.

Still, the protests have been nearly as global as the pandemic itself. Throughout much of the summer, France has had a weekly rendezvous on Saturday to protest against vaccine requirements. In Berlin, thousands took to the streets last month chanting, "Hands off our children!" In New York City, a smattering of nurses, doctors and other medical professionals protested compulsory vaccination, chanting "I am not a lab rat!"

Here are some of the typical and atypical ways the anti-required-vax protesters are being seen and heard:

CANADA: Upside down flags + stars of David + hazmat suits

World Wide Walkout Protest, Sept 1, 2021 — Photo: GoToVan

Canada has witnessed steady, and often offbeat or controversial, forms of protest against the vaccine requirements in provinces and cities for those who want to enter restaurants, theaters and workout classes. On Sept.1 a large crowd in the northwest city of Vancouver expressed their displeasure with vaccine requirements by marching on City Hall carrying their nation flag upside down, which according to the Canadian government, is a "signal of distress in instances of extreme danger to life," the Vancouver Sun reports.

Meanwhile in Montreal, protesters compared governmental health rules to the Holocaust by wearing yellow Jewish Star of David patches; while in Toronto, Fairwiew Mall regulars would have spotted protesters in hazmat suits and white masks entering the premises. They carried a loudspeaker that blurted out a deep voice uttering eerie slogans: "Questioning masks is murder," "Big business is essential," and "Everyone loves pharmaceutical companies."

FRANCE: ‘Spiderman" scales office tower

Alain Robert and others climbers scaling up a tower in Paris — Photo: Midi Libre

As much of France was returning to work after summer vacation, one of the nation's tallest office skyscrapers was the sight of an unexpected protest against the country's stringent vaccine requirements. Alain Robert, dubbed the "French Spiderman" for his free solo climbing of urban landmarks, led the way up the 187-meter (614 foot) headquarters of energy giant TotalEnergies to protest the health passports currently required to enter bars and restaurants. "It's an attack on fundamental liberties," said the 60-year-old, who was subsequently arrested for endangering the lives of others.

ITALY: Anti-vaxxers arrested

Police car in Rome — Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"If they find out what I have at home, they'll arrest me for terrorism," an Italian man named Stefano boasted on Telegram, the encrypted instant messaging platform. He was one of about 200 Italian anti-vaxxers preparing for a violent demonstration in Rome, where they were talking about using Molotov cocktails against TV trucks and attacking parliament with a drone.

Police not only found what Stefano packed at home — a katana sword, several pepper sprays and a nightstick among other things — but also what the others allegedly hoarded: brass knuckles, guns, as well as smaller weapons, such as razor blades to be hidden between fingers. ("They're not visible, but cut throats open," a Telegram user said.)

Alas, Stefano was right: he and seven other anti-vaxxers were arrested on Sept. 9, La Stampa reported.

POLAND: Anti-vax terrorism attack at vaccine point

Photo: notesfrompoland.com

An Aug. 2 arson attack on a COVID vaccine point in the Polish city of Zamość, which follows other acts of aggression by opponents of vaccination in Poland, has been condemned by the health minister, Adam Niedzielski, as an "act of terror." During the night, both a mobile vaccination point in the central square of Zamość, a city of 65,000 in southeast Poland, as well as the local headquarters of the health authorities, which are responsible for enforcing coronavirus restrictions, were set alight.

Marek Nowak, a sociologist at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, told Gazeta Wyborcza that the pandemic has "intensified the formation of radical movements" and led "anti-vaccination movements to use terror to convince others to share their views."

U.S.: Pro-Trump group piggybacks COVID protests

Proud Boys confrontation — Photo: Flickr

A growing number of mask and vaccine mandates in some U.S. states are being met with protests, which have occasionally turned violent. This is in part due to the reappearance of some far-right groups behind the Capitol Hill insurrection in January like the Proud Boys gang, who after lying low for a few months have begun attending rallies, according to USA Today.

Some of the starkest scenes were observed in Los Angeles in August: Proud Boys members and other agitators attacked counter-protesters and journalists, sending a veteran reporter to the hospital. But some non gang-affiliated civilians are also responsible for the violence: in northern California, a parent fuming after seeing his daughter come out of school with a mask barged into the building and assaulted a teacher.

NEW ZEALAND: Down Under, one is the loneliest number

Plenty of sheep show up in New Zealand

Photo: Pixabay

Other nations have seen anti-vaccine protesters gather by the thousands, and the police in Auckland, New Zealand were ready when posts on social media alerted them about a potential gathering. They successfully managed to engage in talks with the protesters and shut down the demonstration — or, rather, the protester, as only one person showed up.

Crowds gather in Warsaw, Poland to protest against a near-total ban on abortion
GAZETA WYBORCZA
Anna Mierzyńska

Poland, A Case Study In Modern Political Tribalism

Poles are divided into hostile tribes. Radicalization is on the rise, and institutions do little to support those trying to tame it.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — If you're not with us, you're against us. The enemy must be destroyed. He has no rights or dignity. This way of thinking is, unfortunately, becoming more and more popular in Poland. It justifies hate speech and violence. And even though we know that polarization and radicalization is a growing problem, almost no one is working to slow down the process. Those who are trying to confront the issue get little support in Poland.

On April 12, the Facebook page of the Anti-Polonism Monitoring Center (AMC) — a foundation created by Dariusz Matecki, the head of the right-wing, Catholic and nationalistic party United Poland in Western Pomerania and an associate of the party leader Zbigniew Ziobro — published a photo of a young girl "jumping on the graves of Polish soldiers."

In reality, she was standing on a gravestone cross. And yet, after receiving the photo from an unknown source (most likely before the girl posted it online) the AMC decided to notify the prosecutor's office.

"This time, the case is about desecrating a resting place. It is likely that a minor posted a picture on social media of her jumping on the graves of Polish soldiers killed on August 18, 1920, during the Battle of Brodnica Polish victory against the Soviets." The AMC also reported that the girl faces up to two years in prison for doing so.

Among the words use to describe the 12-year-old girl were: monster, imbecile, idiot, retard...

The fact that the girl in the photo wasn't actually jumping didn't stop numerous media outlets, most of them right-wing, from echoing the "jumping on the graves of Polish soldiers' refrain while hyping up the so-called "scandal at the cemetery." The police investigated the case and identified the perpetrator, who turned out to be a 12-year-old girl from Brodnica. The Anti-Polonism Monitoring Center announced on Facebook that her case will be taken to the juvenile court.

The AMC's posts themselves aroused strong reactions: at least several dozen comments appeared under each entry, and more than 800 under the first one. The most popular was a call for the restoration of caning. Its author, Rita, explained her proposal this way: "I think a hundred lashes on the ass will cure her of her affliction."

Other comments included:

Andrzej — "Her parents should be publicly flogged." Krzysztof — "It's the product of a laxist education and Jurek Owsiak's popular song Do Whatever You Want!" Agnieszka — "She needs a good beating!" Zosia — "I would beat this one so bad that she couldn't walk straight." Zenon — "She is one of those degenerate left-wing individuals." Ryszard — "This is the rainbow anointed youth of the women's rights activist Mrs. Lempart."

Among the words use to describe the 12-year-old girl were: monster, imbecile, idiot, retard, dumbass, parasite, savage, jackass, mutt, moron, and test-tube embryo.

This was not the work of Russian or paid trolls. Behind the comments are Poles — ordinary ones, from all over the country, and with the obvious approval of the moderators of the AMC page, who do not react to such comments. They do not delete them, do not block those who call the girl names or wish her dead. The commentators dehumanize the 12-year-old because she is, in their eyes, a "leftist" or "a rainbow anointed youth of Mrs. Lempart." She belongs to the opposite tribe, towards whom hostility, violence and dehumanization are, from their perspective, justified.

Rising radicalization

This is how Poles get radicalized. And the Brodnica incident, sadly, is just one of many examples of this process. Similar discussions in social media happen every day, and not only among supporters of the right wing.

The same mechanism was at work when the account of the Young Left called professor Leszek Balcerowicz, former chairman of the National Bank and deputy prime minister of Poland, the "Mengele of the Polish economy" and published a photo where he was represented blindfolded, in a post inviting to a debate with him. In that case, fortunately, the post was removed, and the youth group took action against its author. The comments under the AMC posts, in contrast, are still there for everyone to see.

Social polarization is a process that has been visible for several years in the Polish public debate, and one that gained a lot of momentum after the informal conservative political alliance United Right took power.

A pro-LGBT protester wearing the rainbow flag makes a gesture at a demonstration in Krakow, Poland — Photo: Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/ZUMA

"One of the consequences of polarization is radicalization, and in Poland, it happens mainly towards the right," says Stanislaw Czerczak of the Gorzow-based foundation CODEX, which works towards preventing radicalization. "I am convinced the boundary between polarization and radicalization has already been crossed: It happened when those in power together with some clergymen of the Catholic Church started to dehumanize LGBTQ people. Poland is a very radicalized country."

Although we have already begun to talk about the dangers of social divisions in Poland, there is still a lack of ideas and willingness to counteract this process. Those who try to discuss it are alone. For example, the Catholic magazine Więź, Polish for "believe," has been inviting people to discuss how to rebuild the community for the past months.

Activists working on the de-escalation of conflicts, such as the aforementioned CODEX foundation or the Institute for Social Security, are more and more often denied money for their projects. Although their leaders belong to the EU's Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN), which brings together European experts to prevent extremism, they have very limited opportunities for action in Poland.

Czerczak, founder and leader of CODEX and an extremist himself in the 1990s, when he belonged to a neo-Nazi group, used to his experience (as a warning) with students in school meetings. He participated in dozens of such gatherings, but the last one took place three years ago. It was decided that allowing outsiders into schools was controversial, and teachers stopped organizing such interventions.

"I was convinced that after the 2019 assassination of the progressive mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, which, in my opinion, was an act of politically motivated terror, professional steps would be taken to prevent radicalization," Czerczak says. "But so far not much has changed."

No easy fixes

In other European countries and in the United States, awareness of the negative effects of polarization has long prompted initiatives that teach how to resolve conflicts without violence, de-escalate social tensions (e.g., during street protests) and create a safe space for meetings between people with opposing views.

In the Netherlands, students created the "Dare To Be Gray" initiative, which addresses "people in the middle," namely those who have not yet succumbed to polarization. In 2016, it won an international competition in Washington D.C. for ideas on how to reduce extremism through social media.

In Ireland, an organization called the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation runs so-called dialogue circles, which are not about reaching an agreement, but about seeing people with different views as human beings, rather than enemies, monsters or people lacking brains. "The message is not that everyone should be "together," but that by creating new ways to understand each other, we can move forward and transcend the legacy of conflict," the activists explain.

I realized that harboring hatred for other people was most of all self-destructive.

There are also projects, including the international organization Woman Without Borders, aimed especially at mothers, since they can take the first depolarizing actions in their local communities or families. And in the United States, there are organizations such as the DC Peace Team that teach volunteers how to de-escalate conflicts in the streets. Activists trained by them minimized social tensions just recently, in the period between the attack on the Washington Capitol on Jan. 6 and the swearing-in of President Joe Biden.

Here in Europe, experts of the EU RAN network prepared a handbook four years ago on preventing polarization. It is a set of specific tips, addressed to teachers, local government officials, politicians and police officers, and it's available online in Polish. And yet, does anyone in Poland even know about it?

"In Western European countries, de-escalation had already been dealt with seriously, because of fears over Islamic terrorism," CODEX's Stanislaw Czerczak says. "This meant that they already had the tools to work on the problem of right-wing radicalization when it appeared. In our country, those kinds of tools don't exist. There are a few community organizations working on it, but it's always been on the margin. And for the last few years there has been no will to make even this scale of activity happen."

So what we can do right now to reduce divisions in Poland? The Czerczak is quick to admit that there are no simple recipes.

"We need many small activities, but on a mass scale — at schools, when working with young people, but also, for example, in the media," he says. "We need to talk about it as much as possible, to educate, to debunk the myth that there is no radicalism in Poland, to give testimonies of people who became radicalized and came out of it."

The other key, the activist explains, is to think about ways we, as individuals, can change our behavior on an everyday basis. "I remember what I used to do," Czerczak says. "And then I realized that harboring hatred for other people or just constantly judging them was above all self-destructive. So I decided to be kinder to people. And it worked."

* Anna Mierzynska is a social media analyst and public sector marketing specialist.

A protester in Warsaw holds a placard with an image of Jaroslaw Kaczynski
GAZETA WYBORCZA
Marek Beylin

The Cracks In Kaczyński's Grip On Poland Are Starting To Show

The right-wing leader is struggling to appease his coalition partners, raising the possibility of a realignment among the country's various political factions.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Polish leader Jarosław Kaczyński of the hard-right Law and Justice Party, the PiS, has long followed one simple rule: "I am Kaczyński and I can do anything I want."

He's taken a similar approach with regards to the Reconstruction Fund, as the EU's multi-billion-euro proposed recovery package is called. "We will take the money and do whatever we want with it."

These declarations no longer hold the same weight, though, now that Kaczyński's coalition partners are refusing to ratify the Fund. To get his way, in other words, the Polish leader will have to pact with the opposition, but he has no clue how.

Journalist Michał Karnowski recently suggested on the liberal news website Polityka.pl that a cross-party Monitoring Council should be set to work with the prime minister and oversee government spending with regards to the so-called National Reconstruction Plan (NRP).

Clearly this proposition came directly from the PiS headquarters. But it's a poor substitute to real negotiations with the opposition. And that's because it ignores the most important issue: the participation of the opposition and local governments in shaping the NRP.

Still, that such a proposition would even be aired shows that Kaczyński feels weaker and more and more cornered. Rightly so.

During a recent gathering of the conservative Agreement party, one of the PiS's coalition partners, party leader Jarosław Gowin presented a program that landed like a slap in Kaczyński's face: a strong middle class, warm relations with the EU, a friendly separation of Church and State. These are demands that clearly diverge from Kaczyński's program.

There's a growing awareness that Kaczyński can't cope with the crisis of power that he himself created.

"This is a further step away from PiS," said Rafał Chwedoruk, a political scientist sympathetic to the PiS party.

Gowin also made direct overtures to the more moderate Polish People's Party (PPP) and to conservatives from the Civic Platform party, claiming that they can all act together. Kaczyński's PiS, he said, is sinking and faces inextricable crisis. The time has come, in other words, for change.

Gowin's words coincided with shifts taking place within the opposition. Recently, Piotr Zgorzelski, deputy speaker of Poland's lower house of Parliament and a leading voice in the PPP, raised the idea of creating a new party, called the Polish Christian Democrats, to form a new parliamentary majority by bringing together conservative elements in the opposition, Gowin supporters, and sympathizers from the PiS. Likewise, Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki called on Kaczyński's opponents to take power and jointly develop a National Reconstruction Plan.

Not long ago, such calls would have sounded like the delusions of a madman. Today they are becoming an actual possibility.

During a protest against the PiS party and censorship in Warsaw in May 2020 — Photo: Aleksander Kalka/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

Kaczyński himself makes them even more likely, and that's because he can't abandon his principle of "I can do anything I want." A case in point is the recent ruckus over Adam Bodnar, Poland's human rights commissioner (ombudsman), who is being forced out — at the government's behest — by the supposedly independent Constitutional Tribunal, the country's highest court.

Why would that go to such lengths at a time when Kaczyński is dramatically losing ground and when this kind of scandal will only weaken him even further? It's precisely because Kaczyński is losing his grip. He wants to send the message — to his backers and opponents alike — that: "I can do anything I want."

The problem, though, is that within his camp, there's a growing awareness that Kaczyński can't cope with the crisis of power that he himself created. Recent comments by Józef Orzeł, a PiS loyalist and member of Kaczyński's inner circle, were telling in this regard.

"Bit by bit, the PiS party is repeating all the mistakes made by its predecessors, especially those committed by the Civic Platform from the end of its second term," he said. "It's only a matter of time before the opposition reaches its breaking point."

It's also a matter of time, it appears, before more PiS activists realize that the biggest obstacle to saving the ruling camp is Kaczyński himself. From there, more and more will leave PiS, and the leader's days will truly be numbered.