President marks Polish Peasant Movement Day

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

President Andrzej Duda laid flowers in Krakow, southern Poland, on Sunday at the monument to Wincenty Witos (1874-1945), a prominent peasant movement member, parliamentarian and Polish prime minister before WW2, as Poland observes Peasant Movement Day on May 31.

As the president said, the holiday of Pentecost and the Peasant's Movement anniversary falling on Sunday are both related to Poland's regaining independence in 1918.

Duda spoke about Witos's successful mobilisation of Poland's rural population to defend the country during the 1919-21 Polish-Soviet War, which, in his view, proved decisive for Poland's victory in the conflict.

"Indeed, a million-strong army was created, thanks to the peasant movement, thanks to the fact that the men from Polish villages went to the army, stood up for the Polish Republic and won," Duda said.

Witos was the leader of the inter-war Polish People's Party and three-time Polish prime minister, one of Poland's independence fathers who played an instrumental role in the country's return to statehood. He greatly contributed to forming pro-independence attitudes among Poland's vast rural population.