Interview: Solidarity took us to a different level

Opposition veteran Czesław Bielecki reminisces on the 30th anniversary of the June 4, 1989 election which signalled the end of communism in Poland.

June 4: 30th anniversary of the election that changed Poland

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Czesław Bielecki is an architect, writer and was an influential activist in the opposition movement to the communists in the 1980s. In an interview with PolandIN, he analyses the events of the momentous year that was 1989.

Mr Bielecki believes that the crucial breakthrough came not in 1989 but in 1980 when Solidarity was formed and had to be recognized by the communist authorities. 1989 came at the end of a long period of resistance, which Mr Bielecki believes influenced Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, followed by negotiation and became a referendum on communist rule.

The Round Table was conducted in a spirit of “co-existence”: but the compromise was over once the election was held. Solidarity’s victory on 4 June led to a new division between those in it who wanted a form of power sharing and those who wanted full sovereignty and independence.

That debate and many of the divisions which followed was in many ways inevitable, feels Czesław Bielecki, but in any case “Poland was better prepared for its freedom than was East Germany for the fall of the Berlin Wall”, he says.

Click here to watch the full interview.