Statue of Cold War spy Kukliński unveiled in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
A statue of a Polish colonel who spent years spying on his communist colleagues for the CIA was unveiled on Thursday in Gdynia, on the Polish stretch of the Baltic coast.
The statue of Ryszard Kukliński. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa
Today's ceremony marked the twentieth anniversary of the annulment of a death sentence that was handed down to him in absentia.
Colonel Ryszard Kukliński was spirited out of Poland in 1981, having informed the US that the Polish government was planning to introduce martial law.
The bronze statue unveiled in Gdynia on Thursday afternoon was funded by local businessman Andrzej Boczek.
“The colonel showed great wisdom, courage and independent thinking, which allowed him to see what Poland's real interests were, which certainly did coincide with the interests of the USSR,” he said.
In 1997, the Gdynia City Council passed a resolution that described Kukliński as “an officer who by making a wise and courageous choice risked his life - and history has proved him right – and contributed to the recovery of our freedom.”
Kukliński handed thousands of classified documents to the US between 1972 and 1981, before being spirited out of the country by the Americans with his wife and two sons.
Once in the United States, he lived under a false name, but his life was not free from tragedy, as both sons died in separate accidents, sparking conspiracy theories about a KGB plot.
It was not until 1995, five years after the fall of communism that the death sentence was annulled.
Kukliński died in February 2004, aged 73.
An award-winning film about the colonel was released in Poland in 2014 under the title of 'Jack Strong', his CIA pseudonym. (nh/rk)