THE legacy of a Polish double-agent credited with helping the world avoid nuclear war has divided Poland, with renewed debate over whether he was a traitor or hero.
As an indication that some old wounds in Poland have failed to heal, this week parliament rejected a draft resolution honouring Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, the Cold War spy whose, the resolution read, “selfless sacrifice helped overthrow communism in Poland and maintain world peace”.
In the 1970s and early 80s Col Kuklinski, a Red Army liaison, handed 40,000 documents containing vital intelligence on the Soviet nuclear arsenal and defences to the US Central Intelligence Agency.
The Pole had gone over gone to the Americans due to his revulsion over the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 and a massacre of Polish workers in 1970.
“Different values can be placed on his actions,” said Tadeusz Iwinski, an MP from the left-wing Democratic Left Alliance, the party which emerged from the wreckage of Poland’s old communist party.
Right-wing MPs from the ruling Civic Platform remained lukewarm about honouring Col Kuklinski, who died in 2004.
Iwona Sledzinska-Katarasinska thought it would be better to wait “until some new information emerges about him”.