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Poland Says Medal Awarded to Ex-Communist Strongman is a Mistake

A spokesman for Polish President Lech Kaczynski says a prestigious patriotism medal awarded last week to former communist strongman Wojciech Jaruzelski was a mistake.

The spokesman told Polish television Wednesday that Mr. Kaczynski does not read everything that lands on his desk and signs.

President Kaczynski is a virulent anti-communist and a pioneering member of the Solidarity trade union that Jaruzelski outlawed in 1981.

Jaruzelski was awarded a medal given to Poles deported to Siberia by Stalin at the start of World War II.

Despite the announcement that it is a mistake, Jaruzelski proudly showed off his medal on Polish television.

He thanked Mr. Kaczynski for what he called the president's ability to rise above political differences.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.