A SOCIALIST ACTIVIST IN A UNIFORM FROM KENZO
He is still pretending to be somebody else. He was a nobleman, a hetman of Lublin. His opinions are ridiculous, it is an alternative theatre, a fun till the end – says Maria Nowińska, an ex-wife of Janusz Palikot
MICHAL MAJEWSKI, PAWEL RESZKA: – Have you heard the speech of Janusz Palikot on 1 May?
MARIA NOWINSKA: - My family were sitting on a terrace of a mansion in Jabłonna drinking tea. There were jokes that he would pop in suddenly with a division of the Bolsheviks and would start attacking us. You know, I sometimes watch what he does and I think that we must congratulate him.
– That he is manipulating all of us?
– Yes, if it was not so terrifying.
– Pretending to be somebody else, but it is not me who should pay attention to it but people who are watching and evaluating the political life.
– You know real Palikot unlike somebody else.
– That’s true but my evaluation is burdened by a personal...
– Yes, somebody can always say that a frustrated woman is talking about Palikot.
– Aren’t you frustrated?
– I am but not because of personal relationships with Mr Palikot but I have got other reasons for the frustration.
– Do you think that your ex-husband has taken away your common property abroad, among the others, to Cyprus and Curacao?
– Yes, and he is beyond the law. It proves that the Polish system of justice is in a mess.
– Palikot is an innocent man and he has never been sentenced for anything...
– More is required from a politician. If he denies the circumstances of taking away the property, he should explain what happened with the amount of 180 millions gained from the sale of Polmos Lublin and answer the question who is his sponsor in Cyprus. In the property statement there are only multi-millions debts. CBA prepared a report which shows unclear things in his finances. The procurators did not make any allegations. They explained that the mistakes in the property statements result from his philosophical education and attitude towards material values. At last it is known why it is advantageous to study philosophy.
– If the procurators are lenient towards it, why Palikot would have to explain himself?
– The procurators are calculating and adjusting to what should be done in a particular situation so that it would be good. They are independent only by name; whereas I expect from a man who is ambitious to decide about the fate of the country that he will reveal the truth about his interests, but he is glad that he has concealed evidences in the haven of tax.
– Do you think that Janusz Palikot has any opinions or is effectiveness his opinion?
– He thinks that philosophical education authorizes him to use ideas, people and through them he is aiming at realization of his purposes.
– What is his purpose: authority, leadership or money?
– It is an attitude of graces towards his fears.
– What fears?
– Fears against nothingness, ordinariness and the average. The fact how he is behaving in politics is a psychotherapy which he is experiencing in public.
– The psychotherapy has already had a few phases. He was posing as a nobleman, he was an editor of a conservative weekly which forbid homosexualism. Then he was a liberal and now he is nearly a communist.
– The changes are connected with people who appeared around him; with people who became his spiritual leaders for a while and were programming his opinions and pushing him into some actions.
– And later?
– His opinions were dying when his fascination with his mentor was finishing. His friendship was finishing and a new one was starting. These are not his opinions but the opinions of other people.
– Why was he a conservative activist?
– The Old England, a limousine among old trees; fascination with the environment of the Polish Business Council and generally a big business. It resulted from demand for these opinions in this company. A temporary fascination because the realisation of conservative ideas requires stability and strength.
– What do you mean?
– For example the purchase of the group of castle-parks in Jabłonna. It is not enough that a man will purchase them or will give a few performances outside or review of alternative theatres. It requires many years of hard everyday work. And it is boring.
– A palace requires a careful gardener and not a cultural-educational activist?
– It requires a hard and careful work. Such projects are successful in some generation. Here there is lack of determination. The project failed because it was too demanding.
– It failed...
– That’s true but he finds it hard to say: ‘I failed’. It is better to find another idea, ‘more interesting and more modern’. I perceive him as a man without any proprieties whom somebody has to vaccinate first. It is caricature. People, whose opinions he takes over, are in the second row and are not seen.
– We were reading a book – a long interview with Palikot ‘Cats are burning in Bilgoraj’, edited in 2007. In the presence of journalists, he scolds Mrs Daniela serving to a table that she has cut a pear wrong and she tells a driver the jaguar in such a way that a pencil would stand till the end of the journey. These are a bit shocking manners for a socialist activist. Was he a sir on estates?
– At that time he was not an owner of estates but a hetman of Lublin; a sir of the middle-age house of a vicar in the centre of Lublin.
– Why doesn’t he want to be a hetman any more?
– Range rover does not impress anybody any longer. The make has become ordinary, as well as the plane. In the beginning he was fine but it turned out that he did not have merits good enough to impress. He was not ably to catch up with the highest league. This plane has always been smaller and looked ridiculous when he was parking it near jets of big business. Indeed, he had a problem with it.
– And what?
– Now he is a socialist activist, a communist.
– Which means?
– Fun till the end, great fun, a complete alternative theatre.
– What fun?
– With people, fun that he can deride and be spiteful towards people.
– But he has a program nearly like from Havana.
– This program is a fairly tale. He must have been writing it with his pal while drinking wine and they had a great fun. I was not astonished. I was rather thinking about others, politicians and journalists.
– What were you thinking?
– If Palikot wants to persecute companies not paying taxes in Poland, I would expect a question: how did he settle taxes from amounts which he had located on Cyprus? But this question was not asked because it is seen that everybody has a short memory. In the matter of taxes he should start from himself.
– And what was Palikot really like for ordinary people? A gardener? A driver?
– He appreciates ruthless people of success. It raises his respect. There is no division between ordinary and non-ordinary. He divides the world into efficient and needed people and the whole rest of losers.
– In ‘Cats are burning in Biłgoraj’ he is against the rises of benefits for single mothers because if there is a rise in benefits, they will stop working and their families will become pathological and will fall down into a margin. Doesn’t Palikot have a social sense of hearing?
– Social hearing? I am a doctor, so problems about health care used to be discussed. He always had the same idea for solving the matter of protesting nurses; to transport nurses down into a coal mine, to miners. Then to drown them all and block mining shafts with concrete.
– Shortly speaking, he is not paying attention to poverty?
– He is using the position of power. I will put it in these words: for three years after Mr Palikot had moved away from Jabłonna, I paid overdue money to workers and I was solving conflict situations of the past. I could not neglect it because I live there among people. I see them everyday. In the beginning I sent them off to Palikot but they returned and said that they would never go to him again. Anyhow he maintained the same style because many people, who were helping me in the last campaign, were also protesting and demanding their own money.
– If somebody does not pay, he can always be sued to the court.
– People do not believe that they may win against Palikot in the court. And he feels unpunished. He thinks that if a plumber comes to him to exchange a pipe, he should not demand any pay.
– Only what?
– Only to be glad that he was honoured to exchange a pipe for Palikot. I think that my ex-husband is happy when being unpunished. Anyhow he has a reason to feel unpunished.
– The court submitted an appeal for legal assistance on Curacao because there was a suspicion that Mr Palitot had concealed money there. After two years it turned out that the appeal had got lost.
– And what happened?
– The court suggested sending another appeal to...Caracas. Another example. Court experts are supposed to estimate a value of a big company. It turns out that they have never done it before. I do not know whether an average Smith could expect such a course of events like Mr Palikot.
– How was he acting in business?
– Business does not forgive those who do not pay invoices. He was running away from creditors. Later he achieved the status of a millionaire and a rising star of politics. At that time many people forgot about their own money, for various reasons: they are afraid of being destroyed by the tax office and they do not want to have an opponent.
– Is it true that he demanded from servants to address your sons per sir?
– I would not like to return again to this absurd. Various things happened at the time when Janusz Palikot had an image of a nobleman.
– But he was not parading with a sword at home, was he?
– Instead he was being photographed in an ermine for one of his interviews. The session probably took place in the palace of the Zamoyski in Kozłowka.
– Was Palikot checking to which direction to go, what opinion to choose, which issue to discuss so that it would bring a beneficial effect for him?
– In the beginning he was. A few times. Later he was bluffing that he was checking. It was cheaper.
– Today he is doing well in politics. If he becomes the prime minister, will we have socialism or will he change his opinions? He announced that he would start the state furniture industry which would provide people with employment.
– I do not know whether he will change his opinions because his opinions are ridiculous. I do not take them seriously.
– And what is serious?
– If Palikot cared about workplaces, he would have become the owner of Polmos so far. At that time I was paying attention to the value which is included in building a family company. It has been derided. Soon workers were dismissed and the company sold. And is he going to introduce a new economic order. Nonsense.
– He was able to attract people to himself, he is an important figure.
– He is an outstanding seducer and he is popular. He is moving in his sweetness appearance; which does not change the fact that his program is ridiculous. It is a fun of a philosopher for him who in the real world is finishing his unfinished doctorate degree.
– ‘Policy of full employment’, ‘the country is going to build factories’, ‘the rich are supposed to pay more’ – he has got seductive mottos.
– He touches on issues to which electors are sensitive. He thinks: ‘I will say this and that to them and I will have them’. And once Mr Palikot had a yeast factory. I wanted it to remain. But he wanted to sell it at any cost saying that it would be better burn it than keep.
– Because it was a difficult business project. It demanded a strong will and work. It was not for him. He is a genius in constructing but in fact he has never built anything. So he sold the yeast factory and had a fun. He is a person of destruction and fun.
– Maybe you are unfair? Palikot sold the yeast factory and bought a political position for that, his party and fame.
– Nothing permanent remains after him. And the political position and fame were developed by journalists to much extent who needed a new idea to amuse a viewer.
– Why is Palikot attractive to journalists?
– Because his short and clownish performances are attractive. They do not require any intellectual work. These are short amusements and folk fun. Somebody called somebody else by a bad name and somebody has waved with a gadget. Considering booking media, excitement by these performances, Mr Palikot can only compete with Maggie’s mum.
– Sometimes these clownish performances serve to an important matter. He was waving with a plastic penis in order to draw attention to a rape which might have happened at a police station.
– Matters are to solve them but not use. Palikot promised in front of cameras that he would help a baker from Legnica who was giving away bread to the poor. He was using the baker in media and then he waved his hand. It was similar with the rape. He is not stable. He uses people as long as they serve to a short-lasting building his pseudo-greatness. In his behaviour there is much instability and emotions. Recently he has started suing Aleksander Kwasniewski to the Tribunal of State and a while ago he saw a partner and ally in him. These are short romances which end with burning, using and rejection. He has no ability of consolidation or acting in a group.
– Palikot is capable. He was able to reach to a message to electors. His party got 10 percent of votes. It is more than the Democratic Leftist Alliance or the People’s Polish Party. He can make something by himself.
– It is not true about Palikot, but about journalists and electors. Meat hedgehog is also attractive and is a hit.
– It seems that Palikot has an astonishing ability of adjusting himself to the surroundings. He meets with Komorowski, or twists his moustache which he has not got and is talking about hunts with passion. When he meets with business colleagues, he drinks cognac, smokes a cigarette. When he is in a company of liberal youth, he smokes marijuana. Zelig from Allen’s film?
– Palikot used to say that human skills are measured by the ability of adjusting oneself to particular circumstances. He is successful in this game because listeners are hardly demanding. Journalists and commentators should find certain things, verify and evaluate them.
– Palikot looks a lavish man. Does he like good suits and men’s jewellery?
– Yes. He used to be so in his baronial times. Now as a socialist activist will surely have to put on a uniform but as long as I know him it will be a uniform from Kenzo.
Maria Nowińska is a doctor. She runs a surgery of general and esthetical dermatology in Lublin. For a few dozen years, till 2005 she was a wife of Janusz Palikot. She has two adult sons with him.
Re-edition from the weekly ‘Wprost’ number 21, 21-27 May 2012