In 2016 through the involvement of Media Development Investment Fund, an American non-profit investment fund established by himself, a speculator bought his way into Agora Holding, the publishing company of Gazeta Wyborcza.
The new centre-left party Wiosna (Spring), adopting a liberal extremist agenda, has recently held its founding convention in Warsaw. The event also served as the inauguration of the party’s leader, Robert Biedroń (43), gay rights activist, the first openly gay deputy in the Polish parliament, whose political career started with the post-communist successor party, Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), and he later served as mayor of Słupsk in northern Poland. He entered the lower house during the 2011 parliamentary elections as a candidate of the former left-liberal Palikot Movement, which he left when he was elected mayor of a town of about 100,000 people in the Pomorskie district.
The millionaire is not going to rest, and the warning of the Polish rings true: “New masks – the same patron. Let’s not be fooled!” (Source: Facebook)
The extravagant event, in appearance resembling American campaign rallies, was attended by thousands of people. At the founding convention Biedroń criticized politics dominated and divided by political camps, and intends to change the scene of conflicting ideologies into a better system of strengthened self-governance in close collaboration with civil society and civic organizations. The agenda he outlined includes everything that the increasingly radical liberal canon has been drilling into us over the past decades. He wants to give women the unconditional right to terminate pregnancies up to the 12th week and to introduce government financed artificial insemination. He wishes to provide equal partnership rights to homosexual couples as to non-homosexuals, to make same-sex marriage possible, he promises a new family code including aid schemes similar to those applicable to heterosexuals, such as child-bearing and rearing, and he would provide child benefit also for one-child families. He also proposed severe accountability and impeachment processes for the politicians of the current ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), who, according to him, have exploited the rule of law.
And “of course”, as a true liberal, he had to say something about the church as well. He would ban the teaching of religion at public schools, impose much higher taxes on priests, and would make offertory collection (donations collected at Catholic mass) taxable. Furthermore, since the above steps conflict with various points of the 1993 Concordat with the Holy See, he proposed a renegotiation of the agreement regulating the relationship between state and church. “We are going to do what none of the political forces after 1989 have dared to do: we are not going to kneel before the bishops! We have not done so in the past and we are not going to do so in the future!” – concluded Biedroń. In connection with environment protection, he indicated that if he is elected, he is going to shut down all coal mines in Poland by 2035, complete the transition from non-renewable to renewable energy resources, stop timber harvesting and ban the utilitarian breeding of fur animals, and also prevent animals performing at circuses.
Interestingly, he only mentioned economy in relation to the expenses necessary to make good on his promises, which, according to calculations, would cost the budget 35 billion złoty, an amount that the public purse could effortlessly produce over the course of a parliamentary term, Biedroń believes. He did not address foreign policy either, except for his claim that he would, without question, join those chanting Brussels’ migration-mantra. Finally he announced: Spring will take part in the European Parliament elections in May in addition to the Polish parliamentary elections in autumn.
According to most recent polls, Biedroń’s party would gain seven to ten percent of the votes if the Polish parliamentary elections were held at this moment. According to EP-election polls, Spring stands to win approximately 6 percent of the vote. In both polls, the new party is the third most popular coalition after the current ruling PiS and the most influential opposition party, Civic Platform (PO). PiS would win 35%, PO 21%, while Spring seven (according to other polls, ten) percent. As a comparison: before the official launch of Biedroń’s party the more moderately liberal PO was polling at 26 percent. Now it is down five points. The post-communist SLD has lost a similar share, and has thus fallen below the five percent parliamentary threshold. Some left-wing coalitions with their insignificant one or two percent popularity – Adrian Zandberg’s Razem, Katarzyna Lubnauer’s Nowoczesna and Ryszard Petru’s Teraz – also suffered. Looking at the figures it is clear how many and from which groups Spring’s supporters have come.
And now let us look back on an event, the news of which reached us five days before the 3 February debut of Biedroń’s liberal extremist party. On 29 January, we heard that the Czech SFS Venture, financed by George Soros acquired a sixty percent majority shareholding stake in a Radio Zet, the second biggest commercial radio station of Poland with a 13-14 percent audience share. The remaining forty percent does not threaten the radio’s left-liberal character either, since it continues to be owned by Agora Rt, which is, at the same time, the publishing company of the leading political daily paper with a similar affiliation, Gazeta Wyborcza, epitomized by Adam Michnik. Soros holds a stake in the latter, too. He bought his way into the publishing company of Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora Holding in 2016, through Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), an American non-profit investment fund which he established and which is now one of his greatest beneficiaries. Adam Michnik’s fully affiliated left-liberal paper provides significant media support for the anti-PiS government civic movement called Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD), not only through print and electronic publication but also through the use of other media platforms owned by Agora Rt: the corporate giant operates several television and radio channels in the country. Nota bene, MDIF is present in Hungary as well: it has acquired a holding in the publishing company of 444, with a 100 million investment, among others. The fund has been present on the Hungarian media market for a while, and has been financing the publication of Magyar Narancs since 2012. During the 2014 elections, it provided funds to the Hungarian Magyar Jeti Zrt, and also to the following organizations: X Kommunikációs Központ (Communication Centre X), Költségvetési Felelősségi Intézet Budapest (The Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest), Függetlenül Egymással Közhasznú Egyesület (FÜGE), Magyar Helsinki Bizottság (The Hungarian Helsinki Committee), Political Capital and Transparency International Hungary.
As we know, the Polish government is considering the introduction of legislation that would limit the proportion of foreign capital in media companies. This is unlikely to take place before the European parliamentary elections due this spring and the general elections in autumn, since it would open a new political frontline. Nevertheless, PiS did not turn a blind eye to the transaction associated with Radio Zet and emphasized that the state must have a larger market share of the media sector. Beata Mazurek, the spokesperson of the party, published the following statement on Twitter: “PiS, together with Jarosław Kaczyński believes that the state must do everything in its power to counteract the growing influence of hedge-fund managers on the media market.” One of the largest right-wing internet websites wrote that Soros, who was once behind the speculation against the GBP, wants to increase his share of the media market against that of the Polish state.
It appears that Soros will not give up in Poland either where, similar to Hungary, there is a conservative government. In the past he has already supported politicians who hoped to counter the conservative forces through creating new political formations. Jan Palikot – the founder of the previously mentioned but now disbanded political party, Palikot Movement – announced a somewhat similar program as Biedroń, or Ryszard Petru, the co-founder of Nowoczesna (Modern) and later Teraz (Now). What makes them fully compliant is that they receive founding from EEA Grants and the Norway Grant, both supported financially by Soros. These grants also provide generous financial support for the activities of the Warsaw-based Stefan Batory Foundation (Fundacja Batorego), established by Soros, which propagates the idea of an open society. This foundation receives an annual sum of 150 million złoty as founding from the above mentioned organizations, a large portion of which was spent on the project called Citizens for Society (Obywatele dla Demokracji). This project funds many left-wing and liberal NGOs, which openly fight against nationalism, patriotism, racism, xenophobia and favour uncontrolled translocation and free movement of migrants. In a recent interview Biedroń denied that Soros is behind his party, but also declared that he would happily accept his support, since their values and objectives are remarkably similar.
Some think this had already happened. Over the past few days a poster-like image has been circulating on Facebook depicting George Soros who is moving puppets with the faces of Palikot, Petru and Biedroń. The caption reads: “New masks, the same patron. Let’s not be fooled.”
This message is also true for Hungary. Behind the newer and newer masks and, so to say, “lifted” old faces, lurks the same figure.