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Poland

Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

In the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading — and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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Poland Renews Alliance With Orban — Putin May Be Next

After having announced Poland's rupture with Hungary, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki has reversed course. It is a sign that Poland's ruling conservative government may be ready to bet on an alliance with Moscow.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Mateusz Morawiecki lasted only a month without Viktor Orban. Now the Prime Minister of Poland is back on the anti-EU war path, back in step with his Hungarian counterpart.

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Whatever integrity Morawiecki may have had got lost "somewhere in his contacts with Moscow." This is what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said about the pro-Russian prime minister of Hungary a few months ago. Orban, despite Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine, maintained economic ties with Moscow, resisted European Union sanctions, and refused to provide support to the invaded state.

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Orbán And Kaczynski, A Duet In The Key Of Fascism

As the populist leaders face sinking poll numbers and the nearby war in Ukraine, they turn to the tactics of racism and transphobia, which ultimately adds up to fascist tactics.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Soaring inflation, economic stagnation, pressure from Brussels and the blockade of European funds, war on the eastern front...

The autocratic governments of Viktor Orbán and Jaroslaw Kaczynski are facing a wave of adversity they have not faced before.

Their governed subjects are starting to get fed up, taking to the streets, blocking bridges (in Budapest), and chanting: "You will sit!". Poll ratings for Orbán's Fidesz party in Hungary and Kaczynski's PiS in Poland keep falling.

So the pair of autocrats are reaching for a tried-and-true method of distraction: inventing alleged "enemies of the nation" and pointing the blame at them.

Kaczynski has taken aim at transgender people to rouse the attention of the God-fearing masses — even if some voters from his party are forced to listen to the leader's stories with amazement and slight distaste.

Orbán, on the other hand, brought out an artillery of a heavier caliber. Last month, in his annual keynote speech he reached for arguments from the arsenal of 20th-century racism and — yes, let's not be afraid of the word — fascism.

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When Ukrainian Children And Teachers Come Together In A Polish School

After fleeing the war, many Ukrainian teachers have found new jobs in Poland. But their work involves more than just teaching — they're helping Ukrainian children adapt to a whole new life.

The bell rings for Polish lesson in the Primary School 34 in the city of Lublin in southeastern Poland. There are 25 students, five of whom are children from Ukraine who came here after the outbreak of the war with Russia.

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Olga is in the classroom alongside the teacher. She used to teach English in Ukraine, but she is now employed in Poland as a teacher's assistant, thanks to the "Cash for Work" program of the Polish Centre for International Aid.

Today's lesson is on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The children read paragraphs and analyze them.

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Ideas
Jacek Żakowski

COVID And Ukraine, A One-Two Punch That's Remaking Our World

Can you believe Poles are happy to see Germans re-arming? It is just one of a series of examples of how the world has turned upside down since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, completing a shift begun during the pandemic toward less interdependence and more uncertainty.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — For half a century, the grand strategy of the democratic and capitalist West against competing systems has been to build bridges and create interdependence.

The building of bridges is meant to convince people how well they can live when authoritarian regimes are exchanged for democratic capitalism. The Soviet bloc collapsed largely because the West persuaded huge numbers of communist elites by inviting them and their societies to join the coveted Western way of life.

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Creating interdependence, instead, is the deepening of the international division of labor.

Russia sells us raw materials, and we sell them machines. We have the technologies and the Chinese have the factories. That created global supply chains. There are parts in the Airbus A380 that come from 40 different countries. COVID-19 vaccine components are supplied by nearly 100 companies from every continent except Antarctica.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Evacuating Mariupol, Lavrov’s “Jewish Hitler”, Bored Ape Metaverse

👋 გამარჯობა!*

Welcome to Monday, where civilians are being evacuated from Mariupol as Europe looks for a way out of its Russian energy reliance, Spain’s government is hit by the Pegasus spyware and New Zealand reopens for the first time in two years. We also look at the real reasons behind Elon Musk’s interest in Twitter.

[*Gamarjoba - Georgian]

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Society
Magdalena Środa

A War Against Putin, A Fight Against The Patriarchy

In Poland, the support for the war effort against Russia is linked not only to history but to an aggressive male-dominated narrative, tinged with tales of martyrdom and acceptance of sexual violence.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — In addition to all the terrible things we already know about it, the war in Ukraine also appears to be a time machine that takes us back to a very masculine world of heroes and beasts — where the former are worthy of glory, the latter inhuman and deserving of death.

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This way of seeing reality and all that it encompasses is as tragic and retrograde as war itself. We Poles have finally begun to learn such values as equality, rule of law, democracy, dialogue, tolerance, and diversity; and yet once again we are returning to the paradigm of the heroic martyr that is unfortunately firmly established in our history and morality.

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Society
Sofiia Kyslytska

Sofiia’s Story: An Escape From Kyiv, A Springtime Dream

This is how Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has looked to one 16-year-old high school senior from Kyiv, the daughter of Worldcrunch contributor Anna Akage.

My name is Sofiia, I’m 16 and I’m from Kyiv. Like my friends, I had plans … and dreams too. I believed in the future.

And then came 5 a.m. on February 24, and nothing would ever be the same.

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Suddenly, and for the next two weeks, everything around me became very specific and elementary: how many kilometers, how many people, how much gasoline. Life became like simple mathematics — and math never fails.

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Society
Jacek Harłukowicz

Wroclaw Postcard: What We Learn About Ourselves In A Wartime Train Station

The war in Ukraine has prompted a huge outpouring of compassion across the border in Poland. It is a positive reflection of the human condition, but also a reminder that we should care for others and outsiders even when there's no nearby conflict.

WROCLAW — Being born on the banks of the rivers Vistula and Odra that falls within the boundaries of Poland has never filled me with particular pride. People are more important to me than the Polish red-and-white flag.

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Ordinary human solidarity is more important to me than patriotism. And yet, something made my heart swell last weekend when I went to the aid stations springing up like mushrooms after the rain.

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Geopolitics
Klaus Geiger and Dominik Kalus

Kaliningrad Revisited: Where Putin's ​Nuclear Threat Is Most Chilling

Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear forces on alert — a shock for many, but even more so for those just across the Polish border from Kaliningrad where Russian nuclear missiles are stationed, and aimed at European capitals from Warsaw to Berlin.

GOLDAP — In the immediate vicinity of this Polish tourist town, there are three special features: a picturesque lake, a renowned health spa — and Russian weapons of mass destruction. The small town of 14,000 inhabitants is located directly on the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

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The region, which is geographically separated from Russia and located by the Baltic Sea, is of vital importance to Moscow when it comes to threatening Europe — with nuclear weapons in particular.

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Society
Paweł Kośmiński

“Five Years Of Hate” – Being LGBTQ In Poland Has Gotten Worse

With Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and the Catholic Church using gay rights to stir up a culture war, the country's LGBTQ community is feeling the effects. Depression and suicide are rising dramatically, and many now feel they have no choice but to leave.

WARSAW — Suicidal thoughts, violence and lack of support from state institutions. This is the grim reality faced by Polish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and asexual people outlined in the report "The Social Situation of LGBTQ Persons in Poland."

Gay rights have become a divisive issue in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has used the issue to galvanize supporters, declaring it "a great danger" and an "attack" on the family and children.

“The situation of LGBTQ people has not really improved, but rather gotten worse," says Mirosława Makuchowska, deputy director of the Campaign Against Homophobia. The organization – together with the association Lambda and the University of Warsaw's Centre for Research on Prejudice – published a report last week that describes the situation of non-heteronormative people in Poland in 2019-20.

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Coronavirus
Justyna Sobolak

COVID, Nail In The Coffin Of Poland's Underground Funeral Industry

A total lack of regulation has meant that virtually anyone can sell funeral service, even people without refrigerated rooms, hearses or pandemic safety measures.

The law governing the funeral market in Poland is nearly 100 years old, and de facto the industry has long been unregulated. As the gray market has continued to grow through the pandemic, shocking practices multiply. “Companies keep corpses in garages or barns," says Robert Czyżak, president of the Polish Funeral Industry Board. "This is what has been happening in Poland."

It is very easy to organize funerals in Poland. Almost anyone can do it, without any certificate, training or official permission. All you need is an entry in the CRIBA (Center of Registration and Information on Business Activity). Even without any facilities other than an office where the families of the deceased will be received, you can offer funeral services.

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