Why Polish protests are intensifying and how Polish government should act

Thursday, 22 February 2024

The blockade of border crossings on the Ukrainian-Polish border, attempts to halt railway connections, spilling Ukrainian grain and corn... The current protests of Polish farmers have surpassed recent actions by hauliers by the level of outrage.

Hauliers, by the way, are expected to join these protests soon. New groups continue to join the protests, aiming to achieve something from the government.

The situation is getting worse because of impunity, believes Yurii Panchenko, European Pravda's editor. Read more in his column – Guarantee of impunity: why Polish government does not react to the border blockade and whether this could change.

The author states that the Polish authorities carefully avoid punishing protesters even for obvious law violations.

There are several reasons for that, explains Yurii Panchenko.

Firstly, elections (local and European Parliament) are approaching again. Farmers in Poland have always been an influential electoral group. Neither the government nor the opposition wants to have issues with them.

But even more important, the editor adds, is that Polish society supports farmers and their demands. The level of support has reached 77% – meaning that over three-quarters of Polish citizens support the claims of farmers. Obviously, this includes both supporters of the new government and the opposition.

"It is impressive how in the Polish collective consciousness, supporting Ukraine (having social consensus) is separated from supporting farmers and banning Ukrainian agro-imports," writes the author.

According to him, these thoughts have become mainstream in Poland, and they have to be taken into account.

However, the overall situation does not look hopeless for Ukraine despite all the voiced difficulties.

"The average Poles support the demands of farmers, but without blocking railways, military cargoes, dumping grain, and definitely without Soviet flags and calls to Putin. It becomes pretty obvious that there have been attempts to artificially turn the farmers' protest against the European Commission policy into a protest against Ukraine and Ukrainians," the author believes.

According to him, the events of recent days may become a cold shower for many Poles, as support for Ukraine remains very high there.

And if the Polish government feels that the border blockade no longer has public support, its position will no longer be as helpless as it is now.

The question is only how long the havoc on the border will transform into a change in assessments in Polish society. And what will be the price (hopefully only economic) of this blockade for Ukraine.

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