Cold war spy Kuklinski – traitor or hero?

Cold war spy Kuklinski – traitor or hero?

A new opinion poll has found 37 percent of respondents are still unable to state whether Cold War era defector Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski was a hero or a traitor.

Kuklinski's Polish military ID  Photo: wikipedia

Kuklinski’s Polish military ID
Photo: wikipedia

The poll by the Homo Homini Institute follows the February release of Jack Strong, a Polish-made movie that paints the late Ryszard Kuklinski in heroic colours.

Thirty three percent of respondents classed Kuklinski as a hero, 9 percent stated he was a traitor, while 37 percent were unable to decide.

Kuklinski began cooperating with the US in 1972, ultimately passing thousands of classified documents to the CIA under the pseudonym of Jack Strong.

He and his family were spirited out of Poland to America in November 1981, just weeks before Martial Law was declared, after Warsaw was informed by one of its own agents that there was a leak.

Even after the fall of the Iron Curtain, President Lech Walesa dismissed requests to have Kuklinski pardoned, and it was not until 1997 that all charges against the colonel were dropped.

In 1998, a poll found that 34 percent of respondents classed Kuklinski as a traitor, and 29 percent as a hero. He died in the US in 2004.

Meanwhile, Wladyslaw Pasikowski’s film Jack Strong is proving to be a hit at the Polish box officer, with over a million viewers catching the movie in the first month of its release

Prior to the film going on general release, Kuklinski’s former CIA colleague David Forden said Kuklinski “was deeply loyal to his country, and at the same time he grasped that this country was not free – that’s why he decided to do what he did, knowing he was taking a huge risk.”

(nh)

 

Categories: News in English

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