- Wojciech Jaruzelski
name = Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski
imagesize = 200 px
caption = Wojciech Jaruzelski in 2006
President of the Republic of Poland
1st President of the Third Republic
December 31, 1989
December 21, 1990
predecessor = "(Was President of the People's Republic of Poland)"
order2 = President of the People's Republic of Poland
July 19, 1989
December 31, 1989
Mieczysław Rakowski, Czesław Kiszczak, Tadeusz Mazowiecki
predecessor2 = Council of State
successor2 = "(Became President of the Republic of Poland)"
order3 = 6th Chairman of the Council of State
November 6, 1985
July 19, 1989
Zbigniew Messner, Mieczysław Rakowski
successor3 = "(Became President of the People's Republic of Poland)"
order4 = 8th Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Poland
February 11, 1981
November 6, 1985
Henryk Jabłoński(Chairman of the Council of State)
order5 = 6th First Secretary of the Central Committe of the PUWP
October 18, 1981
July 29, 1989
order6 = 4th Minister of the National Defence of the People's Republic of Poland
term_start6 = 1969
term_end6 = 1985
Józef Cyrankiewicz, Piotr Jaroszewicz, Edward Babiuch, Józef Pińkowski, Wojciech Jaruzelski
General of the Army
term_start7 = 1981
term_end7 = 1991
birth_date = birth date and age|1923|07|6
Kurów, Second Polish Republic
Polish United Workers' Party
spouse = Barbara Jaruzelska
religion = Atheist
Virtuti Militari, Polonia Restituta, Cross of Valor
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (pronounced: from 1989 to 1990.
Jaruzelski was born into a family of Polish
gentry. He was raised on the family estate near Wysokie(in the vicinity of Białystok) and later in the Warsaw Catholicboarding school of Bielany.
After the signing of the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactwhen he was a teenager, his family fled to Lithuania. Later they were deported to the Asian part of the Soviet Union, where his father died at Biyskof lack of medical treatment. When the Sovietsbegan building up Polish army units, Jaruzelski was among the first to join. At the end of World War IIhe participated in the Battle of Berlin.
As an officer of the
Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, Jaruzelski was trained at the Polish Higher InfantrySchool and the General Staff Academy, and joined the Polish United Workers' Party(the former Polish Communist Party). In the first post-war years, he was among the military fighting the Polish anti-communist guerrillas(" cursed soldiers") in the Świętokrzyskieregion.
He quickly rose in the military and Party, becoming a member of the
Central Committeein 1964. In 1968, he was named the Minister of Defense. In the same year, he was heavily involved in the "cleansing" of the Polish army as part of Mieczysław Moczar's anti-semiticcampaign. (In fact, he had close links to Moczar; he was best manat Moczar's second wedding, which does not appear in Jaruzelski's autobiographicalworks).
In 1968, during the
Prague Spring, he led the Polish military participation in the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In 1970, he was involved in the plot against
Władysław Gomułka, which led to the appointment of Edward Gierekas Communist Party General Secretary. He took part in organizing the suppression of striking workers, which led to massacres in the coastal cities of Gdańsk, Gdynia, Elblągand Szczecin.
Leader of the Polish military government
Jaruzelski became the party's
General Secretaryand Prime Ministerin 1981, when Lech Wałęsa's Solidaritymovement was starting to gain popularity, both within Poland and abroad. On December 13 1981, Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland.
According to his explanation, this action was intended to prevent a threat of Soviet
invasion. Lawyers hold that the circumstances of the martial lawwere even in violation of the communist constitution. Most former opposition members argue that it was merely an action by the Polish communist regimeto retain power and strangle the newly born and developing civil society.
Moreover, historical evidence released under
Russian President Boris Yeltsinhas been brought to light indicating that the Soviet Union did not plan to invade Poland; in fact, the Soviets strictly rejected Jaruzelski's request for military help in 1981, leaving the Solidarity "problem" to be sorted out by the Polish government. This question, as well as many other facts about Poland in the years 1945-1989, are presently under the investigation of government historians at the Institute of National Remembrance ( Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, IPN), whose publications reveal facts from the communist-era archives.
Political reforms and presidency
The policies of
Mikhail Gorbachevalso stimulated political reformin Poland. By the close of the tenth plenary session in December 1988, the Communist Party was forced, after strikes, to approach leaders of Solidarity for talks.
February 6to April 15, 1989, talks of 13 working groups in 94 sessions, which became known as the Round-Table negotiations, radically altered the shape of the Polish government and society. The talks resulted in an agreement to vest political power in a newly created bicameral legislature and in a President who would be the chief executive. Solidarity was legalized. After the elections, the communists, who were guaranteed 65 percent of the seats in the Sejm (the lower house), did not win a majority, and Solidarity-backed candidates won 99 out of 100 freely contested seats in the Senate. Jaruzelski, whose name was the only one the Communist Party allowed on the ballot for the presidency, won by just one vote in the National Assembly.
Although Jaruzelski tried to persuade Solidarity to join the communists in a "grand
coalition," Wałęsa refused, saying that Solidarity's goal was to liberate Poland from Communist-Soviet oppression. Jaruzelski resigned as General Secretary of the Communist Party but found he was forced to come to terms with a government formed by Solidarity.
In 1990, Jaruzelski resigned as Poland's leader and was succeeded by Wałęsa in December. Subsequently, Jaruzelski faced charges for a number of actions such as
murderthat he committed while he was Defense Minister during the Communist period.
January 31, 1991, General Jaruzelski retired from the army service.
In May 2005, Russian President
Vladimir Putinawarded a medalcommemorating 60th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germanyto Jaruzelski. Other former leaders awarded the medal include Romania's former King Michael I. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmafp/is_200505/ai_n14749487 Putin gives medal to Poland's communist-era strongman] ] Czech President Václav Klauscriticized this step, claiming that Jaruzelski is a symbol of the Warsaw Pacttroops' invasion of Czechoslovakiain 1968. Jaruzelski said that he had apologised and that the decision on the August 1968 invasion had been a great "political and moral mistake". [ [http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/08/22/jaruzelski.shtml http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/08/22/jaruzelski.shtml] ]
March 28, 2006, Jaruzelski was awarded a Siberian Exiles Cross by Polish President Lech Kaczyński. However, after making this fact public Kaczyński claimed that this was a mistake and blamed the bureaucracyfor giving him a document containing 1293 names without notifying him of Jaruzelski's presence within it. After this statement Jaruzelski returned the cross.
March 31, 2006, the IPN charged him with committing Communist crimes, mainly the creation of a criminal military organisation with the aim of conducting crimes (mostly concerned with the illegal imprisonmentof people). The second charge involves the incitement of state ministers to commit acts beyond their competenceFact|date=March 2008. Jaruzelski has avoided most court appearances citing poor health.
Polish Ministry of Defenceis currently engaged in a process that would allow it to deny Jaruzelski any military pensionhe currently receives. [ [http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/1,53600,3346837.html MON pyta IPN o współpracę Jaruzelskiego z IW ] ]
History of Poland (1945-1989)
* [http://www.wojciech-jaruzelski.pl/ Jaruzelski's official website]
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