Authors: Emanuel Pietrobon & Edgar Kobos – 12/10/2020
In Poland there is an old belief according to which the country has been destined by God to stand out among the nations. Just like Jesus Christ, who died and resurrected, Poland itself has been eaten up by its powerful neighbors and has born again several times. This is the reason why Poland has been also defined the “Christ of Europe”.
Now, 31 years later Solidarnosc revolution, the country’s path to rebirth seems almost complete: recently, Poland entered the prestigious club of the developed nations – the only player from the former Communist bloc to achieve this status – the skyline of its cities is more and more American-style and the job market is one of the most flourishing of the European Union.
Apart from the economic achievements, the country has also become a regional power driven by an ambitious foreign agenda aiming at the hegemonization of the so-called Intermarium. In other terms, Poland is trying to build a cordone sanitaire from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea whose importance can’t be fully understood only by reading it as an anti-Russian shield; this geopolitical dream is mirroring the never-dead fear of being eaten up again by German expansionism. The United States is using very skillfully the Polish fear of a new Russo-German dual encirclement with the goal of weakening the EU from within and countering Russia in the East. And it’s working.
Against the background of the non-stop economic growth and of the geopolitical expansion, Poland is being also experienced a cultural rebirth. Secolarization is underway as well as the rest of the world, but the masses still have a lot of faith; liberalism has taken root as well as the rest of the West, but people tend to vote right-wing – especially the youth – and show very strong nation-loving feelings. In other words: Poland is struggling – successfully – to preserve its own peculiar identity in an increasingly homogeneous and post-historic West. This is why this country represents a very curious and attractive case study.
But what do Poles think of their national rebirth and of Law and Justice (PiS)’s foreign agenda? To understand what is going on we reached out Edgar Kobos. He is a young and capable diplomat, winner of several scholarships and a world-traveller for study and work reasons. His most recent achievement has been the win of a prestigious position within the United Nations, where is he now the Youth Delegate of the Republic of Poland. Together with Mr Kobos we are going to understand the PiS phenomenon.
EP: The righ-wing bloc won 47,49% of votes in the 2015 parliamentary elections and the consensus rose up to 58,8% in the 2019 parliamentary elections. PiS was the most-voted party in every election and the right’s main leader. According to the data, two-third of youth voted for right-wing parties. Can you explain why Poland’s youth seems so attracted by the right, whereas in the rest of the EU youth tend to show more liberal attitudes?
EK: It is true that since 2014, Law and Justice (PiS) has won all elections in Poland. PiS has the greatest support in all demographic groups, with the exception of large cities. A special feature here is the exceptionally high support among the young generation. I am not surprised by the sympathy of young citizens of European Union countries, in particular of Western Europe, for left-wing and liberal parties. You can find many reasons why this is so, but I would like to draw your attention especially to one that distinguishes Polish youth from the European youth. This is the popularity of the European Erasmus + Program and its earlier forms. This program generates many benefits for its beneficiaries. It enables comprehensive development, learning about new cultures, and learning skills and language. One of the creators’ assumptions was also to build a new European multicultural society. As a tool for achieving the abovementioned goal, this program works perfectly, regardless of the views on the concept of cooperation between the nations of the old continent. In Poland, this program is just gaining popularity, in other countries (especially in Western Europe) it has been popular for many, many years. For other reasons, I would mention the atrocities of the Second World War (grandparents telling their grandchildren about these events) to which the conservative parties of Central and Eastern Europe refer, and the tragedy in Smolensk in April 2010. As the third reason for the great sympathy of young PiS in Poland, I believe that young people are proud to be Poles, they are proud of our national characteristics.
The stereotype of a Polish alcoholic, a loser working for poor wages in exile is a thing of the past. Today, Poles are returning to their country, and citizens of Western countries plunged in a deep economic crisis, especially from Italy, come to Poland. Today’s young Poles consider themselves a brave, enterprising and ambitious nation – they feel strongly attached to their identity. The sense of identity and the glorification of national characteristics are the most important points of the PiS ideological program.
EP: About 60% of the active electorate support right-wing political parties but Andrzej Duda won the latest presidential race for a bunch of votes. Can you explain what occurred exactly?
Yes, it is true, the majority of the Polish electorate are people who identify with the right-wing worldview. However, it should be remembered that PiS, more broadly, the United Right, because the government in Poland is currently formed by three parties (PiS has 200 deputies, the other two almost 40 deputies) is not the only right-wing bloc. The extreme right-wing party in Poland is the Confederation. It is a coalition of small right-wing groups with clear views. For a part of the right-wing electorate in Poland, Andrzej Duda (as a candidate supported by PiS) is not enough right-wing. Moreover, some voters of the Polish right do not tolerate social programs developed by PiS and supported by President Duda. The model of being “against” is popular in Poland. Therefore, some people, including the right-wing, by definition do not vote for those who are in power on election day.
EP: Do you consider the PiS experience as something temporary and destined to fade over time or a phenomenon destined to shape the country’s future?
I am convinced that the thorough reconstruction of social life, which took place in Poland during the second ruling of PiS (2015-2019), and continued in the current term of office, will be something that will imprint timeless features in the history of the Polish nation. The United Right Coalition actually reformed the country, changed the legislation and the realities of running a business. It changed consumer awareness by promoting Polish products on domestic and foreign markets. No government will last forever, but these few years have generated enormous changes in the social fabric that will be felt for decades to come.
Other articles by Emanuel Pietrobon published in Vision & Global Trends . International Institute for Global Analyses’ website:
- A Dilemma Called Gagauzia
- The slow decline of Catholicism in Latin America
- Does the future of Ukraine speak Turkish?
- What is the future of Belarus?
- The curious case of Trinidad and Tobago’s Black Muslims
- The curious case of Mexico’s Mayan Radical Muslims
- Is the war on Russian language a war on Russia?
- Towards the birth of Roma states
- Why Russia should worry about Turkey’s mask diplomacy in the post-soviet space
- NATO’s dream after North Macedonia is to complete Russia’s encirclement
- The West has the key to make Russia blow up: Turkey
- There is a new a game-changer in the Balkans: Roma people.
- La via vaticana al multipolarismo
- Emmanuel Macron between realpolitik and reality
- Capire la geopolitica turca
- A Chechnya-style Islamist insurgency is rising in Crimea?
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- Perché la Crimea potrebbe diventare la prossima Cecenia
- Russia’s Foreign Policy Problem: Trust
- Lessons of geopolitics from the Texas revolution
- La grande scacchiera: verso lo scacco matto
- L’Eurasia al centro del mondo: al via il nuovo summit dell’Organizzazione per la Cooperazione di Shanghai
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