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FP5

The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics of �Racial� Discrimination, Workpackage 1, Poland: Discriminatory Landscape, Preliminary Report

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-00135
Funded under: FP5-HUMAN POTENTIAL

Abstract

Poland is a country with old traditions dating back to the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the next century, the strengthening of Polish gentry and internal disorder weakened the nation, which ended in loosing independence as the result of a treaty in 1772 between Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioning Poland. She regained independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. After the war its borders were moved; Poland lost its eastern territories and regained its western areas. After the war Poland became a Soviet satellite country following the war, but one that was comparatively tolerant and progressive.
Post-war generations of Poles, now nearly 39 million people, have lived within a rather soft - but commonly mentally disapproved version of a Communist system. Contemporary history of Poland was periodically interrupted by spontaneous, non-violent revolts in 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976 and - the most spectacular of them, the longest and the most effective Solidarity peaceful uprising - the famous years 1980-81. Only eight years later (eight years which, under the rule of Martial Law and its consequences, both had preserved but deviated independent feelings and attitudes) a very casual set of external and internal factors has produced a deep systemic change. Poles have received what they strove for: political democracy and market economy. Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999. She is expected to join the European Union in 2004. But the question arises: do Poles really want to live in a capitalist society - with all its consequences?
The rapid industrialization of 1950s and 1960s has resulted in mass internal migrations from rural areas to the new industrial centers. In the same time external migrations were very weak, meeting many political and economic constraints. In the transition period it has been changing but still very slowly.

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Record Number: 8389 / Last updated on: 2007-02-15
Category: ANREP