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Meet the president

As a young Solidarity activist in 1980 Radek Sikorski worshipped Lech Walesa. Ten years later, as deputy defence minister in Poland's first freely elected government, he met President Walesa, a political thug bent on buying nuclear weapons from the Russians

By Radek Sikorski   October 1997

By my final year at secondary school, aged 17, I was a hardened anti-communist. On 1st September 1980, the ceremony marking the beginning of my last academic year was as tedious as always: the same communist slogans, the same wooden speeches. But in the boys’ lavatory there were excited whispers. “Who is this man Walesa? Why did he need such a huge pen?” Television pictures had showed him the night before signing the historic Gdansk agreement with a pen in the shape of a huge cigar. We eagerly exchanged bits of information we picked up from the official media, foreign…

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