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est. 2005
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Wojciech Jaruzelski


World War II shaped both the image and the views of Poland's final communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski: Several years of labor as a Soviet prisoner left his eyes badly damaged, hence the trademark sunglasses, but the idea of communism appealed to him so much that he soon joined the Soviet-controlled Polish army. He swiftly rose along the Polish military and political ladders, becoming Secretary of Defence in 1968. In 1970, Jaruzelski's forces shot dead over forty protestors amidst public unrest over increased food prices, an incident that would become a focus of his later-life trials.

Food prices escalated again in 1980, prompting another wave of protests that led to the formation of the pro-democracy Solidarity trade union, which was led by mustachioed electrician Lech Wałęsa. By the time Jaruzelski became head of state in 1981, the movement had ballooned to a membership of about ten million. On December 13, 1981, Jaruzelski controversially declared martial law in an attempt to halt Solidarity (claiming in his later years that his decision was a lesser evil compared to potential Soviet intervention, albeit whether or not that was at risk of happening is disputed). Everyday life was severely restricted, necessities were rationed, and many of Solidarity's members, Wałęsa included, were imprisoned or forced to flee the country.

Martial law initially seemed successful in defeating Solidarity, and it was lifted a year and a half later. However, Solidarity persevered as an underground movement. Other factors in the political landscape changed throughout the decade; reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev took control of the Soviet Union, and Jaruzelski was quick to align with him (it's worth noting that the two were the youngest of the time's Eastern Bloc leaders, and were in fact the only ones seen in this picture to live to see the new millennium). Pro-democracy protests, technically still illegal, again became commonplace in Poland in the late 1980s. Jaruzelski made amends with Solidarity in 1989, and Poland's first democratic elections soon followed. He soon faded into retirement but later faced trials pertaining to the 1970 shootings and the 1981 martial law declaration.

Jaruzelski made few appearances in court, however, thanks to a late-life laundry list of health issues that included pneumonia, lymphoma, heart issues, pleurisy, and a nosebleed. Though the frequent barrage of non-fatal hospital trips made Jaruzelski appear indestructible, a stroke he suffered in May 2014 proved to be one ailment too many. He died later that month, and his funeral's circumstances illustrated how he remains a highly divisive figure in Poland. Many former adversaries forgave and mourned him (Wałęsa described him as a "great friend"), while others continued to regard his implementation of martial law as treachery and protested the Polish government's decision to bury him with full military honors.

Jaruzelski reached ninety, so Allen Kirshner, Deceased Hose, Drunkasaskunk, Jefferson Survives, Pat Peeve, Philip, and The Wiz each pick up two points.

--Jefferson Survives

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