Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first non-communist prime minister of Poland, passed away today at the age of 86.
He was active in the Solidarity movement, and represented the movement in the Polish Round Table Talks that led to Poland’s first partially free elections in 1989. These were won in a landslide by Solidarity-backed candidates, leading Mazowiecki to be selected as the first non-communist prime minister not just in Poland but in Central and Eastern Europe.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first non-communist prime minister of Poland, passed away today at the age of 86.

He was active in the Solidarity movement, and represented the movement in the Polish Round Table Talks that led to Poland’s first partially free elections in 1989. These were won in a landslide by Solidarity-backed candidates, leading Mazowiecki to be selected as the first non-communist prime minister not just in Poland but in Central and Eastern Europe.

Donald Tusk Wins Civic Platform Primary Campaign

Donald Tusk, Polish prime minister and leader of the Civic Platform party, has beaten his conservative rival and former Minister of Justice Jarosław Gowin in an internal party primary.

Tusk received 79.58% of the votes, to Gowin’s 20.42%. This was the first primary for party leader of the Civic Platform, and all registered party members were eligible to vote on the Internet or by mail-in ballot. Turnout was 51.12%.

While most commentators were in agreement that Gowin’s chances of winning the primary were small, he waged an active media campaign directed against Tusk. Some prominent Civic Party members criticized Gowin for turning an internal party contest into a national media event, highlighting division in the party among a small conservative faction.

The National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland has been chosen as the site for the final of UEFA’s Europa League in 2015. The Europa League is the second most prestigious European club football tournament, and the awarding of the final to be played out at the site of many Euro 2012 matches is seen as a great success for the Polish Football Association.

The National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland has been chosen as the site for the final of UEFA’s Europa League in 2015. The Europa League is the second most prestigious European club football tournament, and the awarding of the final to be played out at the site of many Euro 2012 matches is seen as a great success for the Polish Football Association.

A Tough Week of Polls for Poland’s Civic Platform

Poland’s Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) political party, currently governing in a coalition with the Polish Peasant’s Party, has been in a political malaise for the past few months. In 2009, prime minister and Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk stood before a map of Europe and proudly proclaimed Poland a green island of economic growth in a sea of red as the economic recession engulfed Europe’s economies causing GDP contraction across virtually every country in the European Union.

Now in 2013, with the the luster of Poland and Ukraine’s hosting of the Euro 2012 football championships faded and road building and other infrastructure investments having slowed to a crawl many voters are beginning to wonder what next for the ruling party. Donald Tusk and his ruling ministers have been in the news more for internal fighting among conservative and socially liberal factions, questionable spending decisions by sports minister Joanna Mucha and expensive watches lent to transport minister Sławomir Nowak by colleagues in the construction industry.

LOT Polish Airlines Excepts Dreamliner Flights by Summer

Poland’s troubled flag carrier, LOT Polish Airlines, has announced that it expects to resume flights with its two in service Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft as early as this summer.

As a result of the grounding of the new aircraft, and delayed delivery of already ordered planes from Boeing until problems with the lithium-ion batteries are resolved, LOT has been forced to extend the lease on its Boeing 767 aircraft that were due to be replaced by the new planes this March.

On January 7th, the battery on a 787 operated by Japan Airlines caught fire after landing at Boston’s Logan airport. There were no passengers on the plane at the time. Then on January 16th, a Japanese All Nippon Airways 787 was forced to land after on-board sensors reported smoke originating in the plane’s electrical compartment.

As a result of these incidents, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all Boeing 787 Dreamliners until Boeing engineers can identify and correct any problems with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries and electrical systems.

LOT Polish Airlines had just landed their inaugural commercial transatlantic Dreamliner flight from Warsaw Chopin Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport the same day. The plane did not make the return flight to Warsaw as a result, and the second in service LOT Dreamliner was grounded in Szczecin aircraft after the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered all 787 aircraft grounded as a result of the move by the FAA.

LOT was the first European airline to operate the new Boeing jet.

Poland’s Crooked Forest (Krzywy Las) is located some 30km south of the city of Szczecin, close to the Oder river.
Over the years, many rumors have swirled about the origin of the 90 degree bend in the 300 or so pine trees, planted around 1930 in territory then a part of Germany. The most commonly accepted theory is that the trees were bent on purpose for use in furniture or boat making.

Poland’s Crooked Forest (Krzywy Las) is located some 30km south of the city of Szczecin, close to the Oder river.

Over the years, many rumors have swirled about the origin of the 90 degree bend in the 300 or so pine trees, planted around 1930 in territory then a part of Germany. The most commonly accepted theory is that the trees were bent on purpose for use in furniture or boat making.

At a family picnic with children people are going to cheer: Hurrah! We’ve burned the witch on the pyre! From tomorrow on, children in the yard are going to start playing by burning a doll, cat or a friend from preschool.

Polish government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment Elżbieta Radziszewska, criticizing the planned reenactment of the execution by burning of Barbara Zdunk in the town of Reszel. Accused of witchcraft and arson, Zdunk is often cited as the last person to be burned at the stake in Europe.

Minister Radziszewska also cited the reenactment as being discriminatory towards women in a letter to the mayor of Reszel.

On August 6th, 2010, Bronisław Komorowski took the oath of office and began his five-year term as President of Poland. The official web-site of the Polish President has released a short film highlighting some moments from his first year in office, from Poland taking up the Presidency of the Council of the European Union Union to dealing with the wake of the Smolensk tragedy.

As the government we are very determined to quickly - and as I know not without pain - implement the recommendations from Miller’s commission.

Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister, commenting on the disbanding of the 36th Special Aviation Regiment and dismissal of 13 officers following the publication of the Polish report on the 2010 Polish Air Force crash that claimed the lives of then President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others. This regiment was responsible for the transport of political figures, as well as people within the ministry of defense and military command structures.

The commission that prepared the report was headed by Minister of the Interior and Administration Jerzy Miller.

Parliamentary Elections Announced for October 9th

Polish President Bronisław Komorowski announced today that the upcoming parliamentary elections would be held on October 9th, 2011. With his announcement, comes the official start of the campaign season.

These elections will see a few changes introduced by the passage of a new election law, including the ability for overseas voters to submit their ballots by mail. Previously, Polish voters living overseas were only able to vote at Polish consulates and embassies.

Disabled voters will also now be able to vote by proxy, through a person they legally-appoint to cast their ballot for them.

President Komorowski expressed disappointment that political efforts to make the election two-days long were unsuccessful. As is the norm for the Polish President, Komorowski made it clear that he will not play an active role in the election campaign.

The most important thing in the Smolensk catastrophe was that, the landing was attempted in weather conditions with no visibility, in which an attempt at landing should absolutely not have taken place. All other issues are secondary issues. They could have made the situation more difficult. But this is the primary reason and I would suggest not searching for some extraordinary explanations, because unfortunately in my opinion the issue is painfully straightforward.

Polish President Bronisław Komorowski commenting on the Smolensk catastrophe in his New Year’s address to the Polish people.

This event unarguably had the most impact in Polish public life and society in 2010, and among many in the opposition the matter of why the plane went down is still unsettled to their satisfaction.

The end of 2010 was not a good time for passengers in Poland traveling by rail, as the above photo of the bathroom of a first class wagon on a Warsaw-bound train is prime evidence. Overcrowded wagons, delays sometimes reaching 10 hours or more and trains running without working heating in -20 degree celsius (-4 fahrenheit) were just some of the horrors travelers had to deal with. Many of the delays and problems were attributed to the introduction of a new poorly written and planned out timetable for Polish rail operators.
On December 30th, the board of Polish State Railways SA (Polskie Koleje Państwowe SA) made the decision to remove president Andrzej Wach from his post. Hopefully in 2011, riding the rails will be a little smoother for Polish travelers.
(The above photo was reblogged from troszkiewicz.)

The end of 2010 was not a good time for passengers in Poland traveling by rail, as the above photo of the bathroom of a first class wagon on a Warsaw-bound train is prime evidence. Overcrowded wagons, delays sometimes reaching 10 hours or more and trains running without working heating in -20 degree celsius (-4 fahrenheit) were just some of the horrors travelers had to deal with. Many of the delays and problems were attributed to the introduction of a new poorly written and planned out timetable for Polish rail operators.

On December 30th, the board of Polish State Railways SA (Polskie Koleje Państwowe SA) made the decision to remove president Andrzej Wach from his post. Hopefully in 2011, riding the rails will be a little smoother for Polish travelers.

(The above photo was reblogged from troszkiewicz.)

As of today, the National Museum in Warsaw (Muzeum Narodowe) as pictured above could become a thing of the past. The museum is sponsored by Polish mobile phone operator Polkomtel (which operates the Plus GSM network) and oil company PKN Orlen, and they would place their corporate logos on large advertising banners showcasing new exhibits. The companies have now agreed to the removal of the banners, which will allow visitors and those who live in Warsaw to see the facade of one of the few pre-war buildings that survived the war without obstruction.
Hopefully this move will be the start of a new trend in Warsaw, as many have questioned the aesthetics of the many large format banners that adorn the entire elevations of many downtown buildings.

As of today, the National Museum in Warsaw (Muzeum Narodowe) as pictured above could become a thing of the past. The museum is sponsored by Polish mobile phone operator Polkomtel (which operates the Plus GSM network) and oil company PKN Orlen, and they would place their corporate logos on large advertising banners showcasing new exhibits. The companies have now agreed to the removal of the banners, which will allow visitors and those who live in Warsaw to see the facade of one of the few pre-war buildings that survived the war without obstruction.

Hopefully this move will be the start of a new trend in Warsaw, as many have questioned the aesthetics of the many large format banners that adorn the entire elevations of many downtown buildings.

The visit to Poland clearly had a positive impact on our relations.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a post on his Twitter account following his state visit with Polish President Bronisław Komorowski on Monday, December 6th

Poland Awaits WikiLeaks Cables

Online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks went through with its pledge to release embassy cables from the United States and its diplomatic missions all over the world. The entire archive of cables totals over 250,000 documents, and span a time period from December 1966 until February 2010. The documents include cables from over 274 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.

Poland is one of the countries that may be affected in some way by the leak of these documents, but at present no details have been released by media organizations who received the cables in advance about any details concerning Poland or its diplomatic relationship with the United States. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that he believed no state secrets would be released as a result of the release of the cables.

Poland is tagged in a total of 1,175 documents, and a total of 970 documents originate from the United States Embassy in Warsaw. Based on classifications used within the diplomatic cables, 31 of the cables originating from Warsaw are secret, 565 are confidential and 374 are unclassified.

As of the time of this writing, the WikiLeaks Cable Viewer web-site tallies that only 220 out of a total 251,287 documents have been released thus far. None of the released documents at this time concern Poland or originate from U.S. diplomatic missions on the territory of Poland.