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Issue 10 – Easter 2022


Airbnb Politics

On Poland.


When I went to Poland this past December, I felt a mixture of apprehension and curiosity that had almost nothing to do with the pandemic travel restrictions then in place. Over the last two years, I had often heard friends and teachers speak of the country in a certain tone. I had read even more from journalists and politicians. Some say Poland is Europe’s black sheep and a terrifying example of a backsliding democracy, proof that illiberalism is a real threat to the political, social, and moral progress Europe has made in the last eighty years. Others say Poland is a success story of the marriage between social conservatism and liberal fiscal policy. To me, the country was like a controversial classmate or colleague who is rumored to have inscrutable or abstruse views, which no one can quite understand. I wanted to learn more firsthand.

Why are so many people seemingly obsessed with Poland anyway? Of course, to some extent what happens in Poland affects global affairs, especially now, given its proximity to the war in Ukraine. But that doesn’t explain the inordinate amount of attention paid to Poland from non-experts who never seemed willing to delve into the reality of Polish government and society. 

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About the author

Thomas Hellenbrand