Aleksander Kwaśniewski

Polish politician and journalist

Aleksander Kwaśniewski (born 15 November 1954) is a Polish politician and journalist. He served as the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. Kwaśniewski was elected to the presidency in 1995, defeating the incumbent, Lech Wałęsa. He was re-elected to a second and final term as president in 2000 in a decisive first-round victory. Although he was praised for attempting to further integrate Poland into the European Union, he faced criticism for involving the country in the Iraq War. His term ended on 23 December 2005, when he handed over power to his elected successor, conservative Lech Kaczyński.

Aleksander Kwaśniewski in 2004

Quotes edit

  • Ukraine is not an ideal country, nor will it be one for a long time to come. But we have the opportunity to introduce it to our standards. If we don't do that, Kiev will follow the Russian and the Belarusian model. Ukraine was strongly under Russia's influence for centuries, and its people experienced a very brutal form of communism.
  • The Cold War walls have come down. They have set free the spirits of freedom and democracy, but also unleashed the demons of new threats to security. Among those threats are unconventional capabilities of the so-called "states of concern."
  • We have become aware of the responsibility for our attitude towards the dark pages in our history. We have understood that bad service is done to the nation by those who are impelling to renounce that past. Such attitude leads to a moral self-destruction.

Quotes about edit

  • Ex-communists frequently did well out of the ‘transition to the market’. This was a phenomenon common to several states in the region but not in Poland, the Czech Republic or the abolished German Democratic Republic, where communists were flung out of positions of influence. Nearly everywhere the communist parties adopted fresh names, new leaders and a programme of ideas close to social-democracy rather than communism. This was usually not enough to earn them popular trust. But they were not disgraced in elections and in 1995 the ex-communist Alexander Kwasniewski won the Polish presidency and served two full terms. This had been barely imaginable in the heady years of Solidarity’s supremacy. Yet capitalism had not been kind to many people in Poland and elsewhere in the 1990s. Mass unemployment, shoddy welfare facilities and a widening of the gap between rich and poor gave communists a second chance in politics. They had to adjust their appeal by wrapping themselves in the national flag, throwing Marxism to the winds and identifying themselves with the needs of downtrodden electors. Electoral victory did not come easily or often. Kwasniewski had done better than the candidates put up by communist parties in western Europe.
    • Robert Service, Comrades: A History of World Communism (2009)

External links edit

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