Thursday, July 31, 2014


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Poland's Jaruzelski Laid To Rest, Amid Protests

Walesa Praises West For Helping Defeat Communism In Polandi
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May 29, 2014
Speaking to RFE/RL in Warsaw ahead of the 25th anniversary of elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland, former President Lech Walesa says the West played an instrumental role in bringing down communism in his country a quarter of a century ago. The former leader of the Solidarity trade union also reminisces about the challenges and hopes of Polish opposition leaders, the introduction of martial law in 1981, and the international support received by his movement. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

WATCH: Speaking to RFE/RL in Warsaw, former President Lech Walesa says the West played an instrumental role in bringing down communism in his country a quarter of a century ago. The former leader of the Solidarity trade union also reminisces about the challenges and hopes of Polish opposition leaders, the introduction of martial law in 1981, and the international support received by his movement. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

By RFE/RL
The ashes of Poland's former communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski have been laid to rest at a military cemetery in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Jaruzelski died on May 25 aged 90.

Earlier on May 30, three of Poland's post-1989 democratically elected presidents attended a funeral Mass at Warsaw's military cathedral.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, former President Aleksander Kwasniewski, and anticommunist icon and Jaruzelski's ideological foe, former President Lech Walesa, paid their respects.

Walesa, who led the Solidarity movement and was jailed for a year, visited Jaruzelski in the hospital in 2011 and at his home in 2012 -- part of a rapprochement between the two former enemies.

While in power, Jaruzelski declared martial law in 1981 to brutally stamp down a pro-democracy uprising before finally stepping aside to allow free elections.

Some 100 protesters on May 30 held pictures of the victims of the 1981 crackdown, captioned "Disgraceful," during a protest at Warsaw's Powazki cemetery, where Jaruzelski is buried.
 
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP


WATCH: Former President Aleksander Kwasniewski lauds Wojciech Jaruzelski for his role in negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy in the late 1980s. 
Kwasniewski: 'Jaruzelski Deserved Nobel Peace Prize'i
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May 29, 2014
Former President Aleksander Kwasniewski lauds the late Polish communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski for his role in negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy in the late 1980s. In an interview with RFE/RL ahead of the 25th anniversary of elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland, Kwasniewski also credits then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for his "positive role" in bringing democratic change to Eastern Europe. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

Speaking to RFE/RL's Russian Service ahead of the 25th  anniversary of the 1989 elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland, Walesa also gave his views on the current approaches of the United States and Russia on the world stage.

WATCH: Former Polish President Lech Walesa calls on Russia to change its policies regarding its neighbors.
Walesa: 'Russia Must Change Its Ways'i
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May 29, 2014
Former Polish President Lech Walesa has called on Russia to change its policies regarding its neighboring countries. The former leader of the Solidarity freedom movement made the comments in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL in Warsaw ahead of the 25th anniversary of elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

WATCH: Former Polish President Lech Walesa says he is "disappointed" with U.S. President Barack Obama's "lack of leadership" in world affairs, and that the United States has ceased to be the world's moral and political leader. 
Walesa Criticizes Obama For 'Lack Of Leadership'i
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May 29, 2014
Former Polish President Lech Walesa says he is "disappointed" with U.S. President Barack Obama's "lack of leadership" in world affairs. In an interview with RFE/RL in Warsaw ahead of the 25th anniversary of elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland, the former leader of the Solidarity trade union says the United States has ceased to be the world's moral and political leader. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)
With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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