Post-communist truth-revelation procedures as a means of political legitimation and de-legitimation: the case of Lech Wałęsa in Poland

Szczerbiak, Aleks (2017) Post-communist truth-revelation procedures as a means of political legitimation and de-legitimation: the case of Lech Wałęsa in Poland. Working Paper. Sussex European Institute, Brighton.

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Abstract

Allegations that Lech Wałęsa was a paid informant of the communist security services surfaced on a number of occasions in post-communist Poland and appeared to be confirmed unequivocally following the discovery of the so-called Kiszczak files. Mr Wałęsa’s supporters attempted to relativise his actions: locating them within a broader historical context and arguing that he compensated for them by his subsequent actions. Mr Wałęsa’s critics argued that his collaboration lasted several years when he was an ardent informer rewarded financially for betraying fellow workers, that fear of being blackmailed explained his behaviour during the democratic transition and early post-communist period, and that he used his powers as head of state to cover up his involvement. The ‘Bolek’ affair was used to legitimate and de-legitimate the post-communist state’s genesis and foundational myths, specific political actors and formations, and the transitional justice process itself. While the discovery of the Kiszczak files appeared to convince most Poles that Mr Wałęsa was indeed a communist security service collaborator, it did not change their broadly positive view of his contribution to the country’s recent history.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: Poland, lustration, transitional justice, Lech Wałęsa, Agent Bolek
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN6750 Poland
Depositing User: Aleks Szczerbiak
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 09:31
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2017 09:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70920

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