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Polish President Andrzej Duda signed off a bill this week that allows the creation of a special body to investigate Russian influence in Polish politics, despite criticism at home and abroad that the legislation could be used to target political opponents, Politico reported.
The legislation will establish a nine-member commission by parliament – where the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) holds a majority – that will have access to all government institutions and their documents to probe alleged interference in Polish politics from 2007 to 2022.
Lawmakers initially introduced a harsher version of the bill in May, which included imposing sanctions on individuals found guilty by the commission of acting under Moscow’s influence.
The law’s approval prompted a large backlash against the Polish government, with critics saying that it was unconstitutional and created to target opposition leader Donald Tusk – prime minister from 2007 to 2014 – ahead of the upcoming general election later this year.
On Wednesday, Duda signed an amended version of the law that scrapped some of its most contentious provisions. Even so, opponents warned that the revised bill could still be used to target opposition politicians.
Supporters of the bill countered that the commission is needed to review issues such as Russian gas deals signed by Warsaw during the time Tusk was prime minister.
Still, some of these agreements were made before Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Under the PiS government, Poland continued buying Russian gas until this year.