“One Party, One Nation, One Poland” – Defence Minister Macierewicz Gives Speech at Militia Conference
Earlier this week, the Polish parliament – in which the government party Law and Justice (PiS) has an absolute majority – passed a bill for the creation of a new territorial army. The units, totaling around 50,000 personnel, would be separate from Poland’s military structures and under the sole command of Mr Macierewicz.
The minister described the creation of the Territorial Defence Force (WOT) as the cheapest way to increase Poland’s defences. He added that it was the best response to the dangers of hybrid war emanating from Russia.
Addressing the conference of volunteer soldiers in Warsaw on November 19, he repeated his earlier statement that WOT would be Poland’s “fifth force” – alongside the army, navy, air force and special forces.
He said: “Without you there would be no territorial defence as the fifth kind of armed forces; territorial defence would not, without you, have this shape… the best, the noblest, the most effective”.
Mr Macierewicz added: “You have one political party, one political commitment. This party is Poland, no other. This party is the nation, this party is Polish society, this party is the Polish men and the Polish women, who are to be at all times ready to stand up when their homeland is threatened with the greatest danger. This party is patriotic education. Nothing more”.
At the beginning of this month, plans for WOT were criticised by Tomasz Siemionak, opposition MP from Civic Platform (PO) and former defence minister. He said the money ploughed into the project could be better spent on strengthening Poland’s professional army.
And, following parliament’s approval of the law on WOT, defence analyst Marek Świerczyński told Politico.eu: “It’s too early to say what precisely the government intends to do with these units, but it’s not too early to say that it appears to be constructing a parallel army outside of established military structures”.