Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2006

In Osteuropa 11-12/2006

Revolutionary Elites, Pragmatic Masses
The Polish Populists’ Pyrrhic Victory

Jadwiga Staniszkis

Deutsche Fassung


In Poland, a neo-traditionalist elite has come to power, whose populist rhetoric has made it the subject of much conversation. This elite feels that it has no control over the processes for which it bears political responsibility. For a long time, it was marginalised and has only now come to understand that European integration and globalisation have put limits on its power, and that a hierarchal form of governing is no longer possible. So as to distract from its lack of certitude, this elite makes use of an imitative nationalist ideology. Since Polish society is pragmatically adapting to the new circumstances of EU membership, the nationalists’ success at the polls was but a pyrrhic victory. They will only be able to survive, if they return to the political centre.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2006, pp. 7–12)