Donald Tusk, the leader of the largest opposition party in Poland, Civic Platform (PO), has decided to sue the public Polish television network TVP to keep his reputation alive in the face of a highly damaging “Our Man in Warsaw” documentary on his past relationship with Russia.
Along with TVP, Tusk is also suing Television Information Agency head Jarosław Olechowski and the director of the documentary, Marcin Tulicki.
The lawsuit claims that the film “represented an alternate reality” due to the “scale of manipulation and distortion.” Tusk is demanding an apology from TVP, the removal of the video from the network, and financial penalties for the defendants.
Meanwhile, the film is entirely based on well-documented facts, and the title, “Our Man in Warsaw,” is from a Russian Gazeta.ru article in 2008, which covered Donald Tusk’s visit to Moscow. Despite the factual basis of the documentary, the PO leader is demanding an interim injunction from the court that a text be broadcasted before the documentary in which TVP would be obliged to convey Tusk’s version of events.
Tusk’s effort to obfuscate the documentary is nothing other than an attempt to censor independent journalism. If the court were to provide the interim injunction enabling Tusk to mislead viewers about his pro-Russia policy, it would be a major blow to free press.
Marcin Tulicki’s film references facts from the time Donald Tusk was prime minister of a government that took a pro-Russian path, and no censorship can erase that. Tusk wanted to partner with Vladimir Putin and “Russia as it is,” as he stated in 2007.
Members of his government had a similar stance, and documents from 2008-2014 regarding the Polish-Russian cooperation provide ample evidence of this. There was practically no area unaffected by these activities: economy, energy, communication, and culture. Not only ministers of the government were involved in this cooperation, but also local government officials associated with Civic Platform.
This policy led to a long-term contract for Russian gas deliveries, which were only terminated following Civic Platform and the Polish People’s Party’s loss in the elections of 2015. If that had not happened, Poland would currently be in a dramatically different situation.
Polish oil company Lotos S.A. was also almost handed over to the Russians; when a civic project that opted for retaining the majority stake in the company was presented to the parliament, almost all MPs of PO and PSL voted against the plan. Now, Civic Platform produces myths, saying that it was Donald Tusk who decided that Lotos should remain in Polish hands. Marcin Tulicki’s film shows what Donald Tusk and his government’s policy on Russia really looked like.
Now, it turns out that reminding Poland of those initiatives is a crime, as is quoting public statements of the leader of Civic Platform regarding cooperation with Russia. At least, that is what the leader of the largest opposition party thought when he decided to file a lawsuit.
We do not know how this case will develop, but we do know that the past cannot be blurred or falsified in any way, even if this industrial-scale form of deceit involves mighty powers.