Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hero or Traitor? A Pole Returns

April 28, 1998|Associated Press

WARSAW — Poland's most famous turncoat made an emotional visit to his homeland Monday after 17 years in exile, defending his actions to a public still divided over whether he is a hero or a traitor.

Col. Ryszard Kuklinski, a longtime spy who fled Poland after telling the CIA about the Communist regime's plans to impose martial law, said that he acted in the interest of Polish independence.

"We saw the need to escape the Soviet grip. The tools to do it were abroad, in the West and in the United States," he told a news conference, at one point wiping away tears.

Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, who met for two hours with Kuklinski, offered his support.

Polling in October by the Demoscop agency found that 34% of Poles thought Kuklinski's actions were patriotic and that 26% thought he betrayed Poland. The rest had no opinion.

He fled in November 1981, just weeks before the military crackdown against Solidarity, and has lived in the U.S. since then.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|