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Tag: Poland

Poland’s future on the ballot in October

When asked what is at stake in the upcoming Polish parliamentary elections, the answer is simple: the future of Poland. Should the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party win a third term, it will complete a process of state capture and set Poland on the path to becoming a fully-fledged autocracy, writes Eugeniusz Smolar in an op-ed for New Eastern Europe.

October 2, 2023 - Eugeniusz Smolar

Poland’s Third Way seeks to break political duopoly

As the Polish electoral campaign enters its most crucial phase, it is already clear there will be a hard fought battle for third place. While dashing any hopes of a unified opposition list against PiS, two party leaders have put their political survival on the line in order to break the Kaczyński-Tusk duopoly. The consequences of this move might not be what they intended.

July 11, 2023 - Daniel Gleichgewicht

Nothing new in the East? The Polish Orientalism

As the most powerful state on the EU and NATO’s Eastern Flank, Poland has been cast in the role of a new regional power in recent months. The country will now allegedly be able to shape developments in Eastern Europe and even farther into the East. However, Warsaw will face a serious challenge to live up to its geopolitical ambitions if it does not rethink its own Orientalism.

May 29, 2023 - Adam Balcer

The end of a friendship? Orbán’s opportunism on Russia may break the Polish-Hungarian axis in the EU

Orbán’s Russia-friendly course over the last year strained relations with EU institutions and put the country at odds with fellow EU member states. With no imminent end to Russia’s war in Ukraine in sight, the continuation of this opportunism may cost him dearly, as Hungary could lose its last ally in the EU, Poland, for good.

May 15, 2023 - Gabriela Greilinger

The abandoned homes of Poland’s most tourist-heavy region

Decades ago, Poles from the Podhale region flocked to the US in droves. But even those who never planned to return still refuse to give up their homes.

May 9, 2023 - Katarzyna Skiba

Russian propaganda in Poland in the context of parliamentary elections

De facto pro-Russian communities are clearly consolidating in the context of the upcoming Polish parliamentary elections. The groups in question are made up of people who have contacts with entities linked to the Russian state. We can assume that the Russian Federation not only supports such groups through the Polish-language sources it runs, but also has influence on the activity of some of the people operating within these communities.

By mid-2022, the first activities of those promoting pro-Russian statements in the Polish information sphere were clearly perceptible, indicating the growing consolidation of a broad pro-Russian community with political ambitions. The start of 2023, especially the first weeks of the year, only further showed this to be the trend.

April 29, 2023 - Michał Marek

One country, two borders: how Poland differentiates narratives about migrants

Poland used various discursive practices to shape diverging social perceptions about two groups of migrants/refugees entering Poland: those crossing from Ukraine, on the one hand, and those crossing from Belarus on the other. The Polish government’s portrayal of the crisis on the Poland-Belarus border as a hybrid war, whilst helping Ukrainian refugees, was presented as being in line with Poland’s national interests.

Poland has been witnessing two very different waves of migration on its eastern border: the arrival of millions of Ukrainian refugees since February 2022, and the arrival of people, predominantly from the Middle East and Africa, through Belarus since June 2021. These two groups are quite different in their nature and origin and arouse different reactions both on part of the Polish authorities and broader society. While those fleeing Ukraine have been warmly welcomed, people trying to enter Poland via Belarus have been predominantly denied the right to apply for asylum and pushed back into Belarusian territory.

April 28, 2023 - Givi Gigitashvili

Noch ist Polen nicht verloren! Germany, Poland – and Ukraine?

There seems to be a widespread inability in Germany to look at oneself from the position of others and to accept the intricacies of history and memory and their influence on the present. But it is not only the perception of place in the past that is the problem. For some in Germany everything east of the Oder river today is still lumped together as “Eastern Europe”.

February 24th 1940, the concentration camp of Hohenbruch in East Prussia: on the eve of his 50th birthday, the Polish publisher, writer and activist Seweryn Pieniężny Jr. is beaten up, forced to dig his own grave and then, in his underwear, shot by Nazi guards. According to the writer Eugeniusz Tryniszewski, who published a short biography of Seweryn in 1987, his last words, shouted in German so his executors would understand, were “Noch ist Polen nicht verloren!”, Poland has not yet perished – the first line of the Polish national anthem.

April 28, 2023 - Marcel Krueger

Recipe for disaster: preparations for the First World War on the eastern side of Europe

Much is known about the infamous alliance system that led to the First World War. Ultimately dragging in all of Europe’s military powers, these agreements would lead to great battles typically associated with the Western Front. Despite this, the Eastern Front would prove to be equally bloody and conspiratorial, with the lands of modern Poland playing a central role.

Our imagination of past times is often influenced by cinema. This is probably the case as all topics we read about are preceded by cinematic imagination, which rules our thoughts and provides us with key visions of past events. This is especially true regarding the iconic topics of our European history, one of which is the formative event of the 20th century: The Great War of 1914-18.

April 28, 2023 - Andrzej Zaręba

The “Middle Matchstick”: on Poland’s “Recovered Lands”

For visitors to western Poland, the region may at first glance appear just as Polish as any other in the country. However, beyond this facade lies a strange story of alienation felt by those who call these lands their home.

March 13, 2023 - Samuel Tchorek-Bentall

Germany, France, Poland and the future of the European Union

Numerous tensions, deepened by Russia’s war with Ukraine, high inflation and the energy crisis, generate our anxiety about the future of the European project. Especially as the proposals that are put forward may actually lead to a greater fragmentation and further “unsealing” of the European Union. This, in turn, can only impede its further development.

March 9, 2023 - Eugeniusz Smolar

The easy times are behind us, but we are not giving up

Poland responded generously to the mass inflow of refugees from Ukraine as Russia invaded in February last year. However, the need for help continues with every day of the war. While times are indeed hard for the country’s army of volunteers, they are determined to continue aiding people in their time of need.

Right before the end of 2022 the vice chairman of the Polish Development Fund, Bartosz Marczuk, published a tweet in which he presented the amount of money that Poland had spent on helping Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression on February 24th. The data that he presented showed that altogether in 2022 it was between 35 and 40 billion Polish zlotys, which is between 7.5 and 8.5 billion euros. Out of it, ten billion zlotys were spent on weapons, six billion amounted to state support for Ukrainian refugees (including support for children), around ten billion was spent by local governments and non-governmental organisations, and another ten billion was made up of the private help of the Polish people.

February 16, 2023 - Iwona Reichardt

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