Wywiad z zastępcą redaktora naczelnego „Tygodnika Powszechnego” Krzysztofem Kozłowskim o wizycie wiceprezydenta Busha w Polsce (1987)

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The Voice of America (VOA) interview with Polish journalist Krzysztof Kozłowski was recorded in Poland in late September 1987 when he was deputy chief editor of the Polish Catholic weekly newspaper “Tygodnik Powszechny” (“Universal Weekly”). Tadeusz (Ted)Lipien, who at that time was the head of the VOA Polish Service, was asking Kozłowski questions about the just-concluded visit to Poland by U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush, during which Bush met with both communist leaders and leaders of the opposition Solidarity trade union movement, including Lech Wałęsa. The official media did not cover Bush’s meeting with Wałęsa and other Solidarity leaders and opposition advisors. The official media also did not cover Bush’s visit to the tomb of Polish Catholic priest Jerzy Popiełuszko who was brutally murdered by the communist secret police. Before the visit to Poland, Lipien interviewed Vice President Bush in Washington, DC. Lipien traveled with Bush as a VOA correspondent to Rome, Warsaw, and Kraków. He covered for VOA Bush’s visit to the tomb of Father Popiełuszko as well as his separate meetings with regime strongman General Wojciech Jaruzelski and with opposition leaders. Lipien also traveled to Gdańsk and interviewed Lech Wałęsa for the Voice of America.

The VOA report includes excerpts from the interview Vice President Bush had given to “Tygodnik Powszechny.” Bush’s visit to Poland in September 1987 marked the beginning of the peaceful transition from communist rule. The end of communism in Poland came after the partially democratic parliamentary elections in 1989, which Solidarity candidates won by a landslide.

Part of the interview for the Voice of America Polish Service dealt with how the regime of communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski still censored Polish media coverage of Vice President Bush’s visit and various sensitive issues in U.S.-Polish relations, particularly those dealing with human rights, political freedoms, and economic reforms.

Kozłowski took issue with some of the statements by the communist regime spokesman Jerzy Urban. Kozłowski also pointed out that while “Tygodnik Powszechny” was more willing to report on sensitive issues than the official media, it was still subject to censorship by the communist regime. Even with the media censorship being enforced, the communist authorities severely limited the number of copies of “Tygodnik Powszechny” that could be printed and sold. It was therefore important for VOA, which at that time had millions of radio listeners in Poland, to repeat what Vice President Bush had told journalists working for the Polish Catholic weekly newspaper.

According to Wikipedia, Krzysztof Jan Kozłowski (18 August 1931 – 26 March 2013) was a Polish journalist and politician. He served as Poland’s Minister of the Interior and Administration in the post-communist Cabinet of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki from 1990 until 1991. (The single ministry was split into two separate ministries in 2011). Kozłowski also served as the first Chief of the Urząd Ochrony Państwa (UOP) from 1990 to 1992 and was elected to the Senate of the Republic of Poland for four terms.

Kozłowski is credited with de-communizing the Polish security services, including changing the name of the citizens’ militia to police.

Photo Credit: Mariusz Kubik [CC BY 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

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