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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Polish Foreign Ministry continues to declare that when Radosław Sikorski was foreign minister, Edward Lucas (lead image), a reporter for The Economist, was awarded the Bene Merito medal. This is the ministry’s announcement, dated November 13, 2009, and currently to be read on the ministry’s website. The ministry says Sikorski “has awarded” — that’s the ministry’s official continuous past tense — its medal to “Edward Lucas – journalist, European correspondent of “The Economist”. For bringing closer to many readers all over the world issues dealing with Poland’s interests to many readers all over the world in a well-disposed way.”

Later this week it will be five years since the ministry did what it still says it did. For the story so far, read this.

Lucas has written to say it isn’t so:

From: Edward Lucas [mailto:eluc@me.com]
Sent: 11 November 2014 12:44
To: mail.helmer@gmail.com
Subject: Bene Merito

Sorry to bang on about this, but the Polish Foreign Ministry either has written to you or is about to write to you telling you that I never received the Bene Merito (and declined it as soon as it was offered).

Your website is still saying
“and the Polish Foreign Ministry is not confirming”.

please change it. It is untrue and unfair. You are making me out to be a liar.


On November 6, 2014, the Ministry was asked to confirm the award of the medal. It refused to reply. On November 10, the Ministry was asked again. A telephone call to the Ministry’s press office, following the email, confirmed that both emails had been received and the question understood. Maciej Tumulec, the spokesman addressed by the emails, was asked to respond. “He is out of the room,” his spokesman said. “I will ask him to reply to the email.” There has been no reply.

According to Lucas, the ministry “is about to write”. How Lucas knows not only this, but also the text of Tumulec’s unsent letter, is not known.

Tumulec has been asked to clarify whether Lucas is so close to the Polish Foreign Ministry he is informed what its correspondence unit is about to clear and despatch before it does so. If that is true, Tumulec has been asked, did the Ministry advise Lucas, and did Lucas know in advance of the November 2009 award of the Bene Merito medal?

A source close to the Ministry in Warsaw says: “If Lucas had declined Bene Merito as soon as it was offered, he would not be listed as a recipient in the communique of the Polish MFA published the day of the ceremony. Nobody learns about his order from the media a few hours before the ceremony.”

NOTE (November 28): Lucas denies taking government medals, honours, honoraria, or payments for promoting the Russia war party. On November 27, the Estonian Government announced a special award for Lucas, who is scheduled to attend the ceremonial presentation by the Estonian President on December 1.


The Estonian announcement cites the Ministry of Internal Affairs as saying Lucas will be able to use his medal, er card, to receive money in Estonian bank accounts he can open without delay.

According to the release, “Journalist Edward Lucas will become the first Estonian e-resident BC, Tallinn, 27.11.2014. Estonia’s first e-resident will be British journalist and columnist Edward Lucas, Minister of Internal Affairs Hanno Pevkur said on Thursday at the government press conference, LETA/Delfi reports. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will hand over the e-resident’s ID card to Edward Lucas on 1 December, at 16:00.”

“Lucas has done a lot of publicity in the world to Estonia and he gets the Estonian e-residency without submitting an application. Next week, the internationally ambitious plan is launched during which all European Union and third-countries nationals, who are not residents of Estonia, can apply for Estonian e-residency. E-resident is a foreigner for whom Estonia creates a digital identity, based on the identity of their citizenship state and will issue a digital identity card. E-residents will get access to Estonia’s e-solutions like the comfortable possibility of creating in one day a company and bank account. Estonian Economy and Communications Ministry IT Undersecretary Taavi Kotka has stressed that the main role of the state regarding e-residency is to develop a platform for business possibilities.”

If readers want to join Lucas on the receiving line, the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs obliges them to file a formal application. The qualifications are different from Fast Eddie’s – a trip to an Estonian police station for fingerprinting, a crime record check, and a down-payment of €50. Here’s how.

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