Fidelity to traditional values has generated a peculiar approach to politics as such throughout Eastern Europe. The author found in Poland that the criteria people used to judge political excellence, or political leadership, had little to do with programs and performance, and almost everything to do with morals and ethics. Poles tended to judge leaders not by whether they were or were likely to be effective at moving the country in a given direction, but by whether they were good or bad men: decent or indecent, strong or weak, kind or brutal, loyal or disloyal. The author's conclusion was that this moralization of politics made swinstwo--swinishness--the primary category for political condemnation. This paper then analyzes this phenomenon throughout the region as a whole.
February 1997 - Observers of Polish Politics may feel a strong sense of déja vu. Like the historic election of 1989 which precipitated the collapse of Communist regimes across Eastern Europe, Solidarity emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections of September 1997, a showdown between the former Communists and the Electoral Action Solidarity (AWS). The AWS, a coalition of the trade union "Solidarity" and several minor parties, won decidedly, with 33.8% of the votes and 201 of the 460 seats in the Sejm. The post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) finished second with 27.1% of the votes and 164 seats. A distant third was the Freedom Union (UW) party, dominated by the former Solidarity intellectual elite, with 13.4% of the votes and 60 seats. It was followed by the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the 1993-97 coalition partner of the SLD (7.3% and 27 seats), and the Movement for the Rebirth of Poland, another party with Solidarity roots (5.6% and 6 seats). The remaining two seats were won by the Silesian Germans, exempt from the 5% threshold as a national minority. Among those who didn't clear the threshold was the leftist Labor Union (UP) with 4.7%.
This paper was written to analyze the sixth of August 1990 as an important date in the history of Polish-German relations. It was on this day that Chancellor Helmut Kohl told a huge gathering of expellees from the former German territories now part of Poland that their homeland had been lost forever. The border with Poland was final and would not be undermined by any German territorial claims now or in the future. This paper examines both the road to reconciliation as well as long term prospects following the settlement.
279. Leading the Way to Regionalization in East Central Europe: An Evaluation of Poland's Territorial and Administrative ReformsJul 07, 2011
October 2003 - In 1998, elections were held in Poland to create regional councils. Soon afterwards, similar elections were held in the Czech Republic (2000) and Slovakia (2002). This trend invites many questions: Why have these East Central European countries established regions and regional political authorities? What factors drove this process of region-building? What explains variance in region-building across post-communist countries? Why has Poland taken the first and the most significant steps toward regionalization? My approach to answering these questions is to consider a number of factors and incentives that drive the regional reform processes in post-communist countries in general and to examine the Polish case in particular.
December 1997 - Speaking at a Noon Discussion, Krzysztof Jasiewicz reminded his audience that it was exactly fifteen years ago, on December 13, 1981, that General Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland in order to suppress Solidarity. If someone had told him then that in fifteen years Aleksander Kwasniewski would be president of Poland, Jasiewicz would have said, "Oh, sure, that's quite likely. If Jaruzelski dies, and Mieczyslaw Rakowski dies, then Kwasniewski is a likely candidate for succession." If, however, someone had told him that between Jaruzelski and Kwasniewski's tenures, the presidency would belong to Lech Walesa, he would have been mystified. What has in fact happened is proof for Jasiewicz that the totalitarian model of succession has been fully replaced by the mechanisms of pluralist democracy.
This paper examines the market changes which developed in Poland in the late 1950s, where one could observe small-scale, timid changes in the traditional communist view toward free enterprise. One of the results of political liberalization was a drastic reduction in the numbers of secret police, party bureaucrats, and censors. Many former guardians of communist morality, now deprived of their posts and Privileges, succumbed to the temptations of Mammon and established small industrial enterprises, shops, and brokerage agencies themselves. Moreover, it now seems that the Party authorities, silently and discreetly, fully supported these undertakings, treating them as a safe and simple safety valve to release the anger and frustrations of forcIbly retired apparatchiks and as a reward for their faithful service.
May 1998 - A historian tends to look at current foreign policy problems from a long-range perspective. Such an approach appears particularly relevant when dealing with Poland, and this presentation begins with a sketch of historical background up to 1989 followed by an analysis of developments during the last decade up to the present.
Even though Jews and Poles no longer live together in Poland, the simple phrase "Poles and Jews" evokes powerful emotions. Jews have bitter memories of friction and conflict, of being despised and threatened by Poles. Distrust of and dislike of Poles is handed down within the culture; most Jews today have had no personal experience of living among Poles. This paper works to examine the current state of the relationship between Poles and Jews today, after the Holocaust and redrawing of Poland's borders.
May 1997 - One of the weakest aspects of Polish democracy, according to Marian Krzaklewski, Chair of the Solidarity trade union and leader of Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnosc (AWS--Solidarity Electoral Action Coalition), has been the inability of the post-Solidarity political parties to maintain a united front. Eight years after the collapse of Communism, the "destructive diffusion" of these groups has inhibited the creation of a well-defined political landscape and has left Poland's former Communists in control of the country.
This author asserts that symbolically, the new Polish republic will be regarded as a direct continuation of the prewar republic: what existed in the period between them will be enclosed in historical parentheses. This article examines what the reason is for this East European preoccupation with the past? Why do people get so excited when trying on this or that antiquated garb or disposing of the garbage of the past?