Centre of Migration Research

Dominika Pszczółkowska. 2022.

Poland: What does it take for a public opinion coup to be reversed?

 

International Migration

 


Abstract

On 7th April, two long-established Ukrainian organizations in Poland appealed to the Polish government and Border Guard for better treatment of non-Ukrainian asylum seekers. “It amazes us that Poland, the same country which helps Ukrainian refugees in such a wonderful way, shamelessly and with cruelty drives families from outside of Europe into the forest and kicks them out to Belarus” – wrote the Ukrainian Union in Poland and the “Our Choice” Foundation.1 The position of the Polish government, which granted Ukrainians fleeing war preferential treatment, but prevents others from entering and applying for asylum, reflects the dichotomy of policies and practices of the whole European Union. Nevertheless, Poland has drawn attention because of the acute contrast between its brutality towards non-Europeans crossing from Belarus, and the heart-warming welcome for the over 3 million Ukrainians who have entered the country since the Russian aggression began in February.2 This commentary attempts to analyse how Polish public opinion perceives refugees and government policies towards them, and how this attitude may have changed in light of recent events.