Polish Breivik and extremism in Poland

A Polish man was arrested for planning to detonate a four-ton bomb in front of the Parliament building in Warsaw. Polish PM Donald Tusk said the the suspect was discovered as investigators looked into Polish links to the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Questions:

1. Are there any indications that the Polish radical nationalist scene grows bigger in the past years?

2. In general, is it possible to tell how dangerous is this scene for the security of Poland?

Answers:

Rafal Pankowski, Professor of Sociology, Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas, Member of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association

1.The far right lost its own independent parliamentary representation in 2007 but it is increasingly active in the last months. It can be illustrated by the big 20,000-strong march organized by the National-Radical Camp (ONR) and the All-Polish Youth (MW) in Warsaw on 11.11.2012.

2. The nationalist far right is often active among football hooligans who are prone to violence (as we saw before the Poland-Russia match in June 2012). Hate speech and violence is mainly directed against leftists, Jews, and homosexuals. According to the ‘Brown Book’ published by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, 60 people were killed by the extreme right in Poland since 1990, it is a dangerous phenomenon, even though the extremist ideology is rejected by the majority of the Polish people.

Dominika Kasprowicz, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Pedagogical University of Krakow

1. To comment on the current situation I would like to start with the fact, that at the moment there is no evidence that, the person accused of planning the attack on the highest Polish officials is a member or is anyhow connected with the radical right/nationalist/extremist groupings operating in Poland or abroad. Also the psychological profile of the suspect has not been revealed, so at this point it would be to far to say, that this is the case of nationalist right-wing extremism.

I do not cover this particular area in my research, so it is impossible for me to estimate the exact numbers. As to other sources, they were no widely-spread information about the rapid growth of this type of organization lately. The recent press releases (at the time of the Independence Day Holiday, 11th Oct) have focused rather on the fact, that the existing groupings has not been an object of the public concern.

2. The radical nationalist scene after 1989 in Poland has been very diverse in terms of appeal and organisation, but there is no difference when compare it to the other countries of the region. Their views are frequently contradictory, however the cooperation between different entities also took place. We also observe the process of internationalization of this type of movements around Europe. The code of conduct (hate crimes in Poland) consist of different types of actions undertook by the soccer hooligans and paramilitary groupings as well as individuals, but is not considered as an evidence of systematic threat to the public security.

It is important to stress, that the both right and left wing radicals (paramilitary organizations) should be assessed separately and cannot be easy identify with other groups like associations and non-formal organizations, which, in spite of anti-establishment views do not undertake violent actions or commit hate crimes.

As to my knowledge, the “organized part” of the violent radical scene in Poland has been effectively infiltrated. The question is, to what extend the dispersed and based on idea of leaderless resistance groupings or individuals with radical views are possible to track down and handle by the secret services (Breivik case).

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