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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 7, 2014
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Round Table commemorations amid controversy
February 7, 2014   
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February 6 marked the 25 anniversary of the launch of 'Round Table Talks' – one of the most important events in Poland’s contemporary history, which paved way to a peaceful transition from the communist to a democratic system in the country.

Held on February 6 - April 4, 1989 between Solidarity activists and the Communist party the talks led to Poland's first democratic elections in over fifty years.

Meanwhile, the Polish radio reported that a conservative opposition party is attempting to block a 25th anniversary resolution that “glorifies” the historic Round Table Talks.

On Wednesday MP Patryk Jaki from minority conservative party United Poland said that “we do not agree to the glorification of the Round Table Talks -we want to tell the truth about what happened 25 years ago.”

“Today, on the 25th anniversary of the start of the Round Table Talks, the Polish Parliament appreciates the will to find a bloodless solution to Polish affairs, but also remembers that the Round Table Talks contributed to theft-like privatization, the impunity of communist criminals, the unsettled grievances of their victims, and the lack of decommunization and lustration [vetting].

“It has led to social exclusion, unemployment, poverty, the emigration of millions of Poles and caused other social and economic problems that last until today,” United Poland’s amendment to the resolution read.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, alongside history professors and political writers, took part in a debate on the importance of the 1989 Round Table talks for Polish modern history held in the Presidential Palace Thursday.

"Both sides, i.e. the then ruling authorities and the Solidarity camp, came to the Round Table because they were extremely tired, exhausted, without chances for winning a quick victory on their own terms." Each side had its own goals and its own understanding of success in the talks, Komorowski said during the debate.

"In my opinion (the Round Table talks and their results) are rightly described as compromise struck by the elites of the day, i.e. the (communist) power elite and the Solidarity elite," the president noted.

It is hard to imagine the process of Poland's regaining freedom without the Round Table talks, but "in reality the process was decided by the nation in the June 4, 1989 elections," Komorowski said.
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