From Vedomosti, October 12, 2021, Complete text:
The ruling made by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal on Oct. 7, 2021, sparked outrage across the European Union and within Poland itself. Thousands of people took to the streets of Warsaw and Gdansk last weekend, demanding the dismissal of Mateusz Morawiecki’s cabinet and “political death” for Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party.
Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that four articles of EU treaties contradict the Polish Constitution. The court stopped short of declaring those articles null and void in Poland, yet its verdict clearly opens the door for Poland’s potential exit from the European Union – “Polexit,” as it is now called by pundits. In any case, the Morawiecki government has made it clear that it would be willing to take this step if Brussels continues to put pressure on Warsaw. For example, the EU has retracted its plan to provide Poland with financial aid for rebuilding its economy and to offer the country $32 billion in subsidized loans.
Actually, Poland’s economy is in pretty good shape and does not need EU aid that badly. The Polish authorities are tired of being reprimanded on all controversial issues like vaccination, LGBT rights, immigration policy, etc. Hungary supports Poland in its confrontation with Brussels in general and with respect to the ruling of the constitutional court in particular. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says it is unacceptable for the EU to overstep its mandate.
When Central European countries joined the European Union, they did not fully comprehend what their decision would entail. What they had in mind was very different from the situation they ended up in. They were desperate to leave their communist past behind and become part of modern Europe. But instead, they found themselves in a totally different postmodernist world, where democracy means various minorities wielding a lot of power. Catholic Poland and nationalist Hungary feel like aliens in this postmodernist world. Other countries that are part of Europe’s conservative periphery, too, find it hard to adapt to this postmodernist world.
Attempts by Europe’s peripheral countries to form an ideological anti-Brussels coalition have been labeled “populism.” I think this umbrella term conflates several different strategies, which all agree on one point: The future of humanity does not need strong supranational blocs; instead, we should see gradual yet inevitable fragmentation of these blocs. This is the view shared by [former US president] Donald Trump, [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson, [former Brexit party leader] Nigel Farage, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Viktor Orban and [French National Front leader] Marine Le Pen – politicians who have very little in common otherwise. Proper analysis of this phenomenon was made difficult by the diverse geopolitical orientation of all these politicians: Some of them sought a special relationship with Washington, some preferred to rely on Moscow’s support and some were interested in developing a trade partnership with Beijing. This is why Russian experts had such a hard time dissecting this rise of “populism,” especially when it comes to Poland, where “populism,” or national sovereignism, is closely linked with Russophobia.
Orban described his regime as an “illiberal democracy,” meaning that Hungary remains committed to all democratic procedures while at the same time doggedly protecting its national sovereignty. When [US President Joe] Biden became president, this signaled the victory of the transatlantic West over the national sovereignist camp. Naturally, this meant increased pressure on Europe’s conservative periphery with the aim of suppressing its nationalist rebellion against Brussels’ liberal dictatorship. Last week saw two major achievements for the liberal-imperial camp: Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the Austrian People’s Party, stepped down as chancellor over corruption allegations, and the Czech Republic’s ruling party ANO (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens) lost the parliamentary elections. The EU’s decision to cut back its financial aid to Poland for postpandemic recovery is, of course, part and parcel of these efforts by the progressive center to ratchet up pressure on the conservative periphery.
The collective West will continue evolving into a liberal empire. According to political analysts, the very definition of an empire is a state consisting of a center and a periphery, where the center imposes certain values on the periphery and subdues it in the name of a better future. Based on this definition, it’s not Russia that is the world’s last empire, but actually the EU, which will sooner or later merge with America into a single transatlantic commonwealth. Considering all the problems that the collapse of this “liberal empire” may create on our western border, we have to admit that the best scenario for Russia in the foreseeable future would be to coexist with the integrated Euro-Atlantic community, no matter how alien it is to us for ideological reasons.