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Polish army. PiS in the spot: “we have doubled the number of soldiers.” Not exactly

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In its latest spot about Poland’s security, Law and Justice boasts that the number of soldiers has doubled during this party’s rule. This is a misleading comparison. We explain.

IN sweat published on social media on February 12, Law and Justice emphasizes the importance of Poland’s security. He boasts about the achievements of his own government and criticizes the actions of the current one. “Our security is the most important issue. That’s why we need to strengthen and develop the Polish army. The Law and Justice government treated defense issues as a priority,” says the narrator and enumerates: “We increased the budget to 4 percent of GDP, bought modern weapons and We doubled the number of soldiers“. Then we hear information that “we have announced the cancellation of contracts for Korean K2 tanks and K9 howitzers”; “it is not known what will happen to the supply of Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles.” Finally, the head of the PiS club, Mariusz Błaszczak, former defense minister, says: ” We must keep an eye on the achievements of recent years. “Poland must be safe.”

This is not the first time that PiS boasts about increasing the number of troops – and once again it is misleading.

Data from the Ministry of National Defense and NATO: the number of professional soldiers increased by 25%.

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IN Konkret24 we checked the statements of PiS politicians about the size of the Polish army. We analyzed budget documents Ministry of National Defense. According to them, in 2015, when the United Right began to rule, we had 100,000. professional soldiers. According to the latest data, in 2023 there were 125.7 thousand of them. Therefore, this is an increase of one quarter, not a doubling of the number – as PiS informs in the spot.

This is consistent with the previously reported and still current data from the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO). As published on July 7, 2023 document on the military expenditure of the alliance countries, the latest information was presented, showing, among other things, their military potential. According to the data from the “Military personnel” table, the Polish army in 2015 numbered 98.9 thousand. people. However, in 2023, NATO estimated this number at 124,000. Therefore, also according to the alliance’s data, during the eight-year rule of the United Right, the number of military personnel increased by 25%.

An important note here: as shown in the response sent by the Ministry of National Defense “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”, in October 2022, the ministry changed the method of counting professional soldiers only: from then on, it also includes all students of military universities after completing their first year. The ministry explained that this resulted from the provisions of the Homeland Defense Act.

How PiS politicians compared incomparable data

Why such a discrepancy between the data in the PiS spot and the official data of the Ministry of National Defense? We have already explained this: PiS politicians, wanting to boast about how much the number of soldiers was growing during their rule, compared incomparable data – that is, different groups of soldiers. For 2015, they provided the number of professional soldiers, and in the last years of their government, they also added to this number students of military universities after the first year, candidates for professional soldiers, soldiers of the Territorial Defense Forces, soldiers of preparatory service (voluntary compulsory military service, DZSW) and soldiers of the National Forces Reserves (liquidated service, replaced by DZSW).

This procedure was used, for example, in February 2023 by the then head of the Ministry of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak. To prove that “the Polish Army is growing stronger” posted a chart showingthat in 2022 the number of Polish soldiers was 164,000. He did the same, speaking in July 2023 about over 175 thousand Polish “soldiers under arms”. MP and chairman of the PiS club Ryszard Terlecki on the X platform (formerly Twitter) he also wrotethat “Poland already has 175,000 soldiers.”

Hence, it can be concluded that now PiS – when informing in the spot about “doubling the number of soldiers” – means not only the number of professional soldiers, but also other groups. Such an unjustified comparison resulted in over 70% in 2022. growth.

We asked the Ministry of National Defense press office about the number of WOT soldiers, candidates for professional soldiers and volunteers from DZSW. It informed us that as of January 1, 2024 we had: 134.3 thousand. professional soldiers 34.9 thousand WOT soldiers 14.5 thousand DZSW soldiers 4.9 thousand professional soldiers in training 3.2 thousand DZSW soldier during training.

Therefore, it can be assumed that PiS again compared different groups of soldiers in its spot: from the first and last years of its rule.

It should be emphasized that NATO does not include in its lists “military personnel”: WOT soldiers, DZSW volunteers and candidates for professional soldiers.

Main photo source: DarSzach/Shutterstock

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