Two top generals of the Polish army resigned on October 9, according to Polish media, citing the generals’ disillusionment with the government’s overly politicised oversight of the armed forces.
General Rajmund Andrzejczak, the chief of general staff, and Tomasz Piotrowski, the operational commander of the armed forces, tendered their resignations to President Andrzej Duda, the newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported.
The resignations put the Law and Justice (PiS) party in an awkward position. PiS has made national security a key pillar of its campaign to win a third straight term in office in the election on October 15.
The report in Rzeczpospolita said the generals were in a conflict with Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak over his use of the army in the election campaign.
In a campaign video circulated in September, Blaszczak alleged that defence plans drawn under the previous administration – headed by today’s leader of the opposition Donald Tusk – assumed giving up eastern Poland in case of a war with Russia.
The video apparently used declassified excerpts of a top-secret war plan. The revelation – which was quickly debunked as routine contingency planning – reportedly deepened the mistrust between the generals and the civilian leadership of the army.
General Piotrowski found himself in the crosshairs of the ministry after debris of a Russian missile was found deep in central Poland. The minister of defence accused General Piotrowski of incompetence at the time but an intervention from President Duda averted an escalation of the conflict.
The government-friendly media have since begun alleging that General Andrzejczak was not “responsible enough for a man in his position”.
The opposition accuses PiS now of damaging the army during a war in neighbouring Ukraine and tension in the Middle East after the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel.
“All of this is happening at a time when there is a war unfolding along our eastern border, and tensions are escalating in the Middle East, which could potentially escalate into a global conflict at any moment,” Tusk told a press conference called in response to the resignations.
President Duda has since nominated General Wieslaw Kukula as the new chief of general staff and Maciej Klisz as the new commander of the operational forces.