“Meeting Colonel Kuklinski was a huge surprise. I remembered him as an extremely modest man. And he wanted to meet me for a very specific purpose. He wanted to pass on extremely important information so that it could be published, only not under his name. It was about the issue of the plan to liquidate Polish military units in the east of our country,” said Professor Adam Glapiński, President of the National Bank of Poland, in an interview with Tomasz Sakiewicz. An extensive interview with Professor Glapinski will be published on Tuesday, 2nd of May, in the latest issue of the weekly Gazeta Polska.
Tomasz Sakiewicz: Let us start with a historical thread, which turned out to be extremely topical today. In the 1990s, in the pages of “Gazeta Polska”, you warned that the then authorities were liquidating military units in eastern Poland. Where did you get this knowledge from?
Professor Adam Glapiński: After the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Olszewski, in the 1990s, I began to travel to the US to lecture at various universities – as a visiting professor. One time, I was unexpectedly introduced to Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski at a restaurant in Boulder (Colorado). I also met Vladimir Bukovsky there, among others.
The American services hid people there whom the Russians wanted to get at…
At the time, meeting Colonel Kuklinski was a huge surprise. I remembered him as an extremely humble man. And he wanted to meet me for a very specific purpose. He wanted to pass on extremely important information so that it could be published, only not under his name. It was about the issue of the plan to liquidate Polish military units in the east of our country. And about moving them to the west of Poland at the same time. This matter was first reported by “Gazeta Polska” on the basis of the information I provided after my conversations with Colonel Kuklinski.
This was the period of rule of the post-round-table agreement…
Kukliński was keen to alert Polish public opinion to what was going on. This made no impression on the liberal-post-communist politicians in power at the time. The colonel himself had this information from American military or civilian intelligence, or from some other source.
Perhaps the Americans themselves asked him to pass on this information via this route?
He certainly did not do so without the consent of the US services. At the same time, he was very concerned about this plan and its consequences, and to some extent even terrified.
The death penalty was still imposed on him. Did you know who you would meet?
I only knew that I would meet someone important. Before it became clear with whom I would meet, I had thought it might again be one of the important American congressmen, for example Senator Brown, who at the time was lobbying the US authorities quite strongly for Poland’s inclusion in NATO.
All this was happening under Walesa and the post-communist government.
In the USA, the fact that the first democratic government of Jan Olszewski was overthrown in 1992, the first time since World War II that it had been established in free elections, made a strong impression. The old forces, including the agents, especially the military, prevailed. And the process of withdrawing military units from the east of Poland could only mean one thing – that Poland was once again heading towards subordination to Russia. In any case, Kuklinski had this information very precise, written down in typescript. We sat over these documents for long hours.
The process of withdrawing our troops from the east of Poland was halted under Buzek, and partly under Miller. Tusk, on the other hand, completed the matter after 2007. One could even say that the level of liquidation of Polish troops in the east of our country increased then.
Yes, and the first media outlet to report this was Gazeta Polska. After the meeting with the Colonel, I felt an increased interest in the WSI (Military Information Services – ed.) in my person – in the form of suspicious vehicles or people who suddenly started to appear in my immediate surroundings. They were probably curious as to where I was getting this information from. They knew I was in the US. Certainly, all the ministers in Jan Olszewski’s government were being watched very closely by the services at the time.
Those who were disarming Poland in the East must have known what the danger was…
Colonel Kuklinski himself knew – he had a great sense of mission in passing this information on to me. He was terrified that Poland would fall into the hands of the Russians again. Military units in the west were not being liquidated – they were being liquidated in the east of Poland. At the same time, Kuklinski believed that some kind of Russian-German agreement was being prepared. I would say that he was saddened and horrified by this. But he also expressed the hope that since the Olszewski government had been formed – and it was a coincidence of many fortunate circumstances – perhaps a similar one would soon be formed, and public opinion in Poland would wake up. Unfortunately, we had to wait many years for that to happen.
The extensive interview with Prof. Adam Glapiński will be published in the latest issue of the weekly newspaper “Gazeta Polska”, exceptionally, on Tuesday, 2nd of May.