Poland’s nationalists prepare for cases of emergency.
Bang, Bang in Poland
Where is the enemy? Ahead? Shots, from everywhere. A Polish forest in
state of emergency. A smoke grenade. Ignition. Launching. It bounces off
the stem of a birch. Falls down in front of the fighter’s face who disappears
in colored nebula. Just a cheap firecracker. Then a loud female voice
shouts: “You’re dead! Shot! Keep on practicing!“ The trainer. The defense
of their home country: failed. Fortunately, it has only been an exercise.
One hour east of Warsaw, thirty men and women tiptoe through the woods in order to practice. In case, someone might attack Poland. The attacker? Russians. Ukrainians. Islamists. Angela Merkel. That´s what members of paramilitaric groups say. They do mean it seriously.
Poland has had a long tradition of paramilitary fighters. Poland’s homeland army Armija Krajowa (AK), which used to be one of the biggest oppositional organizations during WWII, is essential for its history. Until today many Polish are convinced it was the AK and not the Red Army which expelled Hitler’s forces. AK-fighters are heroes. And there aren’t many heroic stories in Poland.
The number of paramilitairs, according to experts‘ estimations, has tripled to 80.000 since the conflict in Ukraine. In comparison: Poland’s professional army counts 90.000 members. The youth of an entire country militarizes – and the state supports them. What’s going on over there?
This is not a story about populists arming themselves. Young Polish have been
training with weapons for decades. They use the popularity of populists to professionalize and to rise in social esteem. They feel that their time has come.
This year, they are going to be included in the national defense scheme of the government. In order to reach this goal, they have worked in lobbies for a long time and written concepts which have been incorporated into government plans without any change. They get trainings by soldiers, equipment and financial support for weapons. In the most recent NATO‑exercise “Anaconda” many of them have been chosen to take part.