In recent days, Poland has witnessed intense discussions and debates regarding the establishment of a Commission on Russian Influence. The topic has aroused much emotion and controversy, both among politicians and the public. The spokesman for the ruling Law and Justice party, Rafal Bochenek, has made it clear that the party will consistently push for the creation of this commission, which will aim to investigate Russian influence on Poland’s internal security between 2007 and 2022.
The Senate’s decision to reject the bill on the commission was welcomed by the Sejm’s Administration and Internal Affairs Committee. However, Rafał Bochenek announced that the matter would be brought back to the Sejm, where the Law and Justice party would continue its efforts to set up the commission. He also stressed that there was an urgent need for such a body and that the commission should function.
During an interview with Polish Radio Programme 3, the Law and Justice spokesman expressed the hope that the matter would still be resolved during the ongoing session of the Sejm and that a vote on the matter would be held by Friday. He also pointed to President Andrzej Duda’s full autonomy in deciding on the issue, adding that there is no information about his position – either unofficial or official.
In order for the bill to go to the president, it is necessary for the Sejm to reject the Senate’s position by a majority vote, with at least half of the MPs present. According to the timetable, a vote on this is expected to take place on Friday afternoon.
It is worth recalling that the law on the establishment of a State Commission to investigate Russian influence on the internal security of the Republic of Poland from 2007 to 2022 was passed by the Sejm in April. It was initiated by MPs of the Law and Justice party. However, the Senate rejected the bill, resulting in its return to the Sejm.
It is envisaged that the Commission on Russian Influence will consist of nine members, appointed and dismissed by the Sejm, and is to be headed by a chairman elected from among the commission members. MP clubs will have two weeks to submit their candidates to the commission once the legislation comes into force.
The main task of the commission will be to investigate cases of ‘public officials or senior executives who, under Russian influence, acted to the detriment of the interests of the Republic of Poland between 2007 and 2022’. The commission will analyse various aspects of the actions, such as sharing information with third parties, influencing the content of administrative decisions, entering into contracts or disposing of public funds or companies. It is envisaged that the commission will have the ability to take decisions such as revoking harmful administrative decisions, issuing a ban on performing functions related to the disposal of public funds for up to 10 years, and revoking and banning security clearance for 10 years.
In the face of growing Russian threats and influence, the establishment of a Commission on Russian Influence may be crucial to understanding and protecting Poland’s interests. However, the final decision on this issue now lies in the hands of politicians and President Andrzej Duda. Whether Poland will set up such a commission and what its further fate will be will become clear in the coming days. One thing is certain – the debate on this issue will continue and the consequences of the decision will have long-term implications for the country’s security.