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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Rise And Fall Of Poland's Wojciech Jaruzelski

Published 25 May 2014

General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Soviet-era leader who memorably tried and failed to crush Poland's Solidarity movement, died on May 25 at the age of 90. After nearly a decade of clampdown that ended in negotiations with trade unionists, Jaruzelski eventually stepped down as Poland’s president in 1990, telling the nation that he should be held responsible for crimes committed. But for the most part, Jaruzelski escaped punishment, being deemed by the Polish courts as too ill for trial.


Jaruzelski in Warsaw in April 2004 to mark 15 years since the Polish Round Table Agreement that led to democratic elections there.


A portrait of military man Jaruzelski from 1968, the year that liberalizations in neighboring Czechoslovakia known as Prague Spring were crushed by a Warsaw Pact invasion.


A December 1969 meeting of the committee of defense ministers of the participating states of the Warsaw Treaty, including Polish National Defense Minister General Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (center).


An undated photograph shows Jaruzelski (left) talking with farmer Krzyszto Zoltaski in a photo op from the village of Krolewo.


A file photo made available on 25 May shows Jaruzelski announcing martial law in Poland on December 13, 1981. He cited purported evidence of the planning of a coup, including involving Solidarity leaders.


Polish Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski (left) and Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev at a welcoming ceremony for a Polish government delegation at Vnukovo Airport in March 1982


Jaruzelski cruising on the River Seine past the Eiffel Tower during an official visit to France in December 1985, where he'd gone to try to meet with President Francois Mitterand of France, one of the staunchest critics of Jaruzelski's decision to impose martial law in Poland.


Jaruzelski visits a memorial complex in 1990 at the Ukrainian Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War.


Jaruzelski, Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, and Solidarity adviser Bronislaw Geremek (front row, left-to-right) applaud during the first meeting in 50 years of Poland's parliament, the Diet, in Warsaw on July 4, 1989.


Both former leaders by the time, Jaruzelski and Mikhail Gorbachov meet in Warsaw during the 1995 Warsaw Pact meeting.


Jaruzelski (center) awaits the beginning of the court proceedings in Warsaw in May 2001 on charges that he ordered a massacre of protesting workers in 1970.


Former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa visited Jaruzelski in the latter's hospital bed in September 2011 in a memorable feat of forgiveness, offering a "get well" wish to his former oppressor.