When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!
Ideas

Polexit Is Path To Dictatorship, A Cry To Keep Poland Free

EU membership is not in line with Poland's values, say the current ruling party. Will that mean Poland's Exit (Polexit) from the European Union? Everything is riding on where the long-serving conservative government of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński will do as they run counter to popular opinion on the EU question.

Polexit Is Path To Dictatorship, A Cry To Keep Poland Free

Protest Against Changes In Justice System In Poland

Marek Beylin

-OpEd-

WARSAW — They left it to Julia Przyłębska, President of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal, to state where the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) stands: the country should no longer be in the European Union since EU values are contrary to the party's rule.

This was the decision reached by this pseudo-Constitutional Tribunal last week, while nearly 90% of the public wants to remain in the EU — according to a recent Ipsos poll for Gazeta Wyborcza and OKO.press. It means that on this fundamental issue in Poland, the PiS is looking to bypass the absolute majority of Poles.

According to the same Ipsos poll, more than half of us fear that the PiS is preparing a Polexit for us. After the decision of the pseudo-CT, this fear is likely to grow.


So if at least some of us, out of this large majority, publicly express our fear and anger, the power of PiS, already shaky, will begin to lose ground even faster. For it is impossible, in the long run, to rule against a majority of voters without openly spreading terror.

Pro EU Demonstration In Krakow, Poland

Beata Zawrzel/ZUMA

Kaczynski's catch-22

This, of course, leaves PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński facing a historic choice. He can preserve his power in one of two ways: either with concessions and dialogue with the Poles and the EU; or by maintaining the Polexit scenario and escalating the conflict with society. Today, neither Kaczyński nor the rest of the PiS leadership are ready for either of these solutions. But sooner or later, they will have to pick one.

If the PiS chooses Polexit, it will have to use more violence against its own citizens.

If the PiS chooses Polexit, it will have to use more and more violence against its own pro-EU citizens. That would inevitably steer the party towards dictatorship — a bloody yet poor one, lacking EU resources. If the PiS backs off and chooses dialogue, its power is bound to eventually recede; but at least it will not be disgraced by violence and bloodshed, nor be eternally considered as traitors.

The future is still uncertain. But the time of the "dictatorship of immobility" is certainly coming to an end. Because this electroshock and crisis are just beginning, and their results remain impossible to predict. These results depend on us, on whether we take to the streets. The more we stand up for Poland remaining in the EU, the more difficult it will be for the PiS to maintain the path towards Polexit. Because now, finally Kaczyński too has something to fear.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Important Things: A Rare Unfiltered Look Inside Russian Schools

In Russian schools, lessons on "important things" are a compulsory hour pushing state propaganda. But not everyone is buying it. Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii spoke to teachers, parents and students about how they see patriotism and Putin's mobilization.

Important Things: A Rare Unfiltered Look Inside Russian Schools

High school students attending a seminar in Tambov, Russia

Vazhnyye Istorii

MOSCOW — On March 1, schools found themselves on the ideological front line of the Russian-Ukrainian war. At the end of May, teachers were told they would have to lead classes with students called "Lessons about important things." The topic was "patriotism and civic education."

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

At the beginning of November, we learned about the revival of an elementary military training course for senior classes. In the teaching materials sent to the teachers, it was stated that a "special peacekeeping operation was going on, the purpose of which was to restrain the nationalists who oppress the Russian-speaking population."

Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii asked several teachers, students and parents about their experiences with the school's attempt to instill patriotism and Russia's partial mobilization of citizens.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest