Volodymyr viatrovych: such radical laws only support chauvinist movements and the increasing intolerance among the masses of Poland. / Photo: Gazeta.ua
The provisions of the new law on “the Institute of national remembrance in Poland” spelled out very clearly, both legally and from a historical point of view. A large number of obscure aspects may create an opportunity for very broad use and even abuse this law.
This commentary for Gazeta.ua said the historian, Director of the Institute of national remembrance of Ukraine Volodymyr Viatrovych.
It is not clear what Poland meant by the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists. So unfortunately, the situation when people will open criminal cases for some statements in Ukraine, can become a reality. Moreover, the act prescribed norm provides for its application not only in respect of citizens of Poland and not only about crimes committed on its territory. Polish politicians say that the law contains exceptions in the field of art and science. But they only apply to that portion of law which deals with crimes of poles during the Second world war. The so-called crimes of Ukrainian nationalists they have nothing to do. Therefore, the possibility of prosecution and for scientific research or artwork.
The law forbids to speak about Polish concentration camps of the Second world? It will really allow you to punish even those who survived the Holocaust, for their testimony?
– The law stipulates a provision prohibiting the use of the term “Polish death camps”. These camps really were not Polish, they were German, just located on the territory of Poland. But if this law is to provide for the punishment of victims of the Holocaust, it would be totally unacceptable. As well as the punishment of those who will speak to a private or documentary evidence of the participation of the Polish population including the crimes of the Holocaust. In all territories where there was a genocide of Jews it was involved in varying degrees by the local population. This law puts a direct ban on this information.
Why poles take it? Do will the courts and the actual timing?
– I am afraid that the courts, and the timing is a very real possibility, given the political situation, which is now in Poland. The growth of xenophobia, even a certain chauvinism. Unfortunately, the adoption of this law can add inspiration to the participants of the various chauvinistic movements and actions. After all, Poland still has been no investigation on them. Such radical laws only support chauvinist movements and the increasing intolerance among the masses of Poland.
What are the implications of this for Poland? Possible EU sanctions?
– The worst consequence of this law is the fact that it can be the beginning of the attack on freedom of speech and the collapse of democracy in Poland. The European Union now considers the question of sanctions. But they are impossible because of the lack of consensus within the EU.
Ukrainians who respect the UPA, should not now travel to Poland?
– You should see a version of this law is finally accepted. But the option that is now, creates opportunities for different kind of persecution. Moreover, even in the explanatory note to this law, one of the motives for its adoption indicated that in Poland there are a large number of Ukrainian labor migrants. And they like, can be carriers of dangerous Bandera ideology.
Can now be arrested in Poland, for example, Oksana Zabuzhko for her novel about the UPA “the Museum of abandoned secrets”?
It is hard to say, but apparently, Yes. The law spelled out strange, and it is difficult to tell what mechanism it will use. However, if desired, and such a political climate, which now is in Poland, the probability that they will announce verdicts and to open cases against non-citizens of Poland, whose position is not enough, big enough.
How Ukraine should respond to the adoption of such a law? State? Public?
– So far we have only the reaction of the Ministry of foreign Affairs. It is quite strict, but there must be also a reaction of the Ukrainian Parliament. Appeal to their Polish colleagues about the inadmissibility of such laws. It shall then be the conversion of Peter Poroshenko to the President of Poland. It is impossible to sign such a law, because it will negatively affect the Ukrainian-Polish relations.
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How will this affect the relations between Poland and Ukraine? On the internal Polish political situation?
– Despite all the last years, efforts continue reasonable dialogue between Ukraine and Poland to clarify historical questions. In the case of adoption of a new law on the Institute of national remembrance of Poland, such a dialogue will be impossible. Finally approved by the political dictates of the ruling Polish party with respect to estimates of the Polish-Ukrainian conflict and accusations of the people of Ukraine. Will continue to swell anti-Ukrainian sentiments that are at a high level in Polish society. It can use different kinds of radical forces to justify their xenophobic antics.
Such solutions are popular among the majority of poles?
About half of the Polish population support the policy of the ruling party. Half indicated their attitude. But in this case, the indifference of the second part of the steps of the current government could lead to a further reduction of democratic rights and freedoms of the Polish population.
The Polish Senate on January 31, considered the new edition of the law about “national memory Institute”. Previously, on 26 January, the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament adopted a new version of the law, which significantly expands the powers of agencies in the investigation of “crimes committed against the Polish nation and its good name”.
This law imposes a fine or imprisonment of up to three years for “denial of the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists” and forbidden to speak about the crimes of the Polish population during the Second world war.