The New Politics of Poland

Jaroslaw Kuisz


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Manchester University Press
28 November 2023
ISBN: 9781526155870
376 pages

From the publisher

The election of populist far-right party Law and Justice in 2015 marked a shocking break in Polish politics. A period of stability was brutally interrupted as Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his allies took over public media and launched a controversial 'reform' of the judiciary.

How was this illiberal turn possible after years of democratic development? Jaroslaw Kuisz, one of Poland's leading liberal thinkers, digs deep into Polish history to propose an original analysis of the crisis. He reveals how centuries of statelessness have left Poles with a 'post-traumatic' attitude to sovereignty, making them wary of powerful foreign blocks, be it the EU, the Soviet Union or present-day Russia. This is a phenomenon populists have proved adept at exploiting.

Providing a brilliant account of Europe's largest illiberal democracy, The new politics of Poland shines a light on the broader situation in East and Central Europe, offering valuable lessons for other countries experiencing the rise of populist right-wing movements.