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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 209,563 187,670 176,300 24
GNI per capita
 US $ 5,270 4,570 4,230 71
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Poland


Update No: 125 - (25/10/07)

The twins confounded
Poland has had its most important election since 1989. They have voted emphatically on a high turn-out of 55%, up 15% since last time, for change. The populist far rightists in charge since autumn 2005, the Kaczinski twins, have been confounded. 

On October 21, electors to parliament inflicted a resounding defeat on Premier Jaroslaw Kaczinski's Law and Justice party, its 31% being easily eclipsed by the tally of the leading opposition party's 44%, the vote for Civic Platform. This is led by David Tusk and is a centre-right party, which is internationalist, pro-EU and pro-US. 

It is flanked by the Peasants Party on 8%, its likeliest coalition partner. The CP and PP together have a clear majority in the 460-seat parliament. They will be dependent, however, on the support of the Social Democrats, who obtained 13% of the vote, to surpass the 60% threshold, which nullifies a presidential veto. President Lech Kaczinski, Jaroslaw's identical twin brother, might hope to thwart the CP's more radical measures otherwise. 

The defeat of the predatory victims
The Kaczinski twins appeal to the older generations who endured an appalling time under the onslaught of first Nazism and then Communism. They kept harping on the terrible past, and terrible indeed it was. Everybody knows with what extraordinary bestiality and brutality the Naxis behaved from the word go in Poland in the Second World War, culminating in the Holocaust. 

When the Warsaw Uprising took place in autumn 1944, the Red Army, on Stalin's orders, refrained from intervening while the Germans slaughtered 200,000 men, women and children. For the uprising was not led by communists, but the Lublin Poles of Roman Caltholic faith and intense patriotism, utterly hostile to everything Communism stands for. As Stalin himself said: "Communism fits Poland like a saddle does a cow." 

But communism is what it had to endure for nearly fifty years, thanks to the Nazi suppression of the Warsaw Uprising and its subsequent 'liberation' by the Soviets. Every Pole knows that. Also that Russia and Prussia were the prime instigators of the three Partititions of Poland (1772-95) that deprived it of its independence until 1919. A deadly fourth partition by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union took place in August 1939 that set off the Second World War, the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

The Kaczinski twins and their supporters are fixated on this tragic story. The Kaczinskis have been picking quarrels with Russia and Germany for two years as if crypto-Communists and Nazis were still in power there. 

The younger Poles are fed up with all that. They came out in droves to vote for the future in the EU. Two million of them have emigrated since Poland joined in 2004. But they returned in droves to vote for a new future. 

A certain chagrin in Washington
Brussels, Berlin and other EU capitals are delighted to see the back of at least one Kaczinski, and the neutering of the other. But Washington is not so unalloyed in its schadenfreude. 

Tusk has committed his party to pull out all Polish troops from Iraq, if not immediately. They have the largest contingent after the Americans and the British. He says that Poland has more than fulfilled its obligations to the US in Iraq. He is also not at all enthusiastic about the US anti-missile defences that the Kaczinskis agreed to being stationed in Poland. 

The new Polish government will probably pay lip-service to the idea all the same, but ardently hoping that a new administration in Washington in 2009 will abandon it. 

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