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National and Ethnical Minorities in Cultural and Political Strategies of the Polish State: Positive and Negative Experiences of the Last Quarter of a Century (From the End of the 1980s till the Beginning of 2010)

Author: Swietlana Czerwonnaja
Year of publication: 2012
Source: Show
Pages: 129
DOI Address: 151
PDF: npw/03/npw2012208.pdf

During the time in question, the Polish state’s attitude towards ethnic Poles (the majority of the population), and towards national and ethnic minorities changed significantly. This was an important matter for the Solidarity movement members and all the documents they issued. It was also taken into consideration during the Round Table Talks. The Third Polish Republic began its history along with acknowledging national minorities’ rights. In 1989 the parliament called the National and Ethnical Minorities’ Parliament Board into being. The minorities’ rights were guaranteed in the constitution from 1997.

Numerous law acts regulating different life aspects of national and ethnical minorities are discussed in the article, especially the bill passed by the Senate on 6th January 2005 – About national and ethnical minorities and a regional language. The bill mentions 6 features distinguishing a national or an ethnical minority. On that basis, it was officially stated which groups are considered national and which are the ethnical minority in Poland.

The text discusses social organisations and mass information means, serving to preserve the minorities’ national identity.

National groups that were not acknowledged as minorities by the 2005 bill, were also introduced in the text – particularly Silesians and Kashubians. A polemic was developed with the document, by pointing out inequalities in treating different groups, that aspire to the minority status. It is really significant for the groups mentioned, since only the ones that were officially recognized as minorities can count on material and moral support from the state.

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