Poland. The government received harsh criticism in January when Adam Andruszkiewicz was appointed Deputy Minister. He had been the leader of right-wing All-Polish youth and, on the Internet, has spoken out against immigrants and homosexuals.
Italy’s immigrant hostile Interior Minister Matteo Salvini visited Poland and met Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Conservative Government Party Law and Justice (PiS). With a view to the spring European elections, Salvini said that Italy and Poland are planning a new balance of power in Europe. The initiative was hailed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who spoke about the Warsaw-Rome Alliance.
Gdansk Liberal Mayor Paweł Adamowicz was assassinated in January. The perpetrator spoke of revenge for a prison sentence, but many felt that the hate-filled rhetoric online and in government-controlled media encouraged violence.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of POL in general and in geography as Poland in particular.
Gdansk’s new mayor decided to remove a statue of a priest who had been Solidarity’s soulmate but accused of sexual abuse of children and of anti-Semitism. The priest’s followers restored the statue, which was torn down again.
The Catholic Church came in March with a report that nearly 400 church officials in Poland had committed sexual abuse against over 600 known underage victims. Bishops were accused of trying to obscure the abuse. A documentary film about the church’s abuse led to the PiS leader promising to tighten the penalty for pedophilia.
The European Commission declared in April that the independence of the Polish judiciary was violated and that Poland violated EU law when judicial appointments can be controlled by the government and judges are punished on a political basis for sentencing.
The World Bank predicted a 4.3% increase in GDP for Poland in 2019. Growth was one of the strongest in Europe. Parliament decided in April that pensioners should receive a tax refund of just over SEK 2,000. The opposition accused the government of trying to buy votes ahead of the EU elections in May.
In the campaign before the EU elections, rhetoric was harsh, when the PiS leader was likened to an Ayatollah and he described the EU-friendly opposition as part of an anti-Christian trend in Europe. There were fake news and hate messages on the Internet against Jews, Muslims, immigrants and sexual minorities. Facebook closed 27 Polish accounts.
PiS won the European elections with just over 45% of the votes against 38% for the Citizens’ Platform (PO). President Andrzej Duda was told in the United States that another 1,000 American soldiers would be relocated to Poland, where there were already 4,500 men. But Duda did not hear of the demand for a permanent US military base in Poland.
In June, Poland was convicted in the European Court of Justice because the retirement age of judges had been lowered – the intention was assumed to be rid of abusive judges. Later, Poland was brought before the European Court of Justice for new disciplinary rules which were considered to punish judges who do not judge by the government’s political line.
On the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the German president came to Poland and apologized for the attack that started the war. He spoke in the town of Wieluń, where the first German bombs fell on September 1, 1939.
Ahead of this autumn’s parliamentary elections, the PiS government decided to increase support for families with children and cut income tax for 2 million young people. Significantly increased minimum wages were promised. The opposition accused the government of unfunded voice fishing.
The electoral movement became fierce with serious attacks mainly on homosexuality, where the church leader called the gay movement “the rainbow-colored plague” and the PiS leader described it as a strange threat to Polish society.
The election was a victory for PiS, which rose to 43.6% of the vote, while PO declined to 27.4%. The new alliance Vänstern gained 12.6%. PiS thus retained its majority in Parliament’s lower house, the Sejm, and was able to go on. However, the party lost the majority in the Senate.
The election victory was explained by the government’s increased financial support for various groups, not least the increased child allowance. The opposition’s inability to unite was seen as the main reason for its loss.
At the end of the year, the EU Attorney General said that Poland violated EU law in its refusal to comply with the EU decision on the distribution of refugees in 2015.
The Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was awarded the postponed Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018.
Warsaw, Poland’s capital and capital of the Mazowieckie region, 1.7 million residents (2009). Warsaw is located on the river Wisła and is the seat of the government, parliament (Sejm) and the central administration. This political and administrative center is also the center of gravity for Poland’s financial companies. There are also a number of higher education institutions and the headquarters of the Polish Academy of Sciences, PAN. The cultural offer includes approximately 20 theaters, opera, symphony orchestra and numerous museums and galleries.
The industry is located mainly in the northeast and southwest. Mechanical engineering and electronics play a particularly important role, but virtually all industries are represented. Among the largest companies are the steel plant Huta Warsaw, FSO (automobile production) and the Ursus factories (tractors and agricultural machinery).
By a municipal reform in 2002, a number of neighboring municipalities were incorporated in Warsaw, and the city was divided into 18 neighborhoods. The center is made up of the old town, Stare Miasto, and the new town, Nowe Miasto, just north of it outside the medieval defenses. They were rebuilt as the first districts after World War II, leaving 75% of the city deserted. Stare Miasto forms an atmospheric core in Warsaw, where the central square is surrounded by a number of houses representing many different styles. The densely populated neighborhoods of Muranów and Mokotów date from the 1950’s and are characterized by concrete high-rise buildings with small, uniform apartments. The latest development has taken place south of the Ursynów neighborhood and is dominated by prefabricated concrete elements.
After the political upheaval in 1989, private housing has grown strongly, and many homes have moved from rental or condominium status to owner-occupied housing. Traffic is dominated by an east-west axis with wide boulevards and international and regional train connections as well as by a north-south axis that follows the old royal road from the old town to the Łazienki and Wilanów castles. Warsaw got its first subway in 1995.
Architecture and museums
Warsaw’s historic core with its numerous Gothic and Baroque churches and patrician houses was rebuilt in 1949-63; the reconstruction program, which attracted international attention, culminated in 1971-84 with the re-creation of the royal palace; it was originally a castle from 1200-1300-t. and was rebuilt into a castle from 1569 and in 1700-1800-t. The Gothic St. John’s Church has been the city’s cathedral since 1798. In the center is also a large number of monasteries. Among the many mansions are the Krasińskipala (1677-83) and the Radziwiłłpala (1700-1800-t.). A number of urban planning structures were established during neoclassicalism in the 1700-1800’s, such as Nowy Świat Street, the Łazienki facility with the royal pleasure castle and the seats with Bertel Thorvaldsens sculptures by Copernicus and first Poniatowski on horseback. The formerly dominant Palace of Culture and Science (1952-55), donated by the Soviet Union, functions after a renovation as part of the large space at the Centralna Station with modern monumental architecture. The National Museum was founded in 1862 and has rich collections of eg. Polish and European art.
Already in the 900-t. there was a Slavic settlement with a castle on the site, and in the early 1300’s. a small town, Stare Miasto, was formally founded. In 1526, the Duchy of Masovia with Warsaw was incorporated into Poland, and the Lublin Union between Poland and Lithuania in 1569 meant that Warsaw became the center of the kingdom and gradually replaced Kraków, as the nation’s capital. During the Swedish wars of 1655-57, the city suffered greatly from sieges, occupation and outright destruction. During the reconstruction, many palaces and churches were built in particular, but the economic development suffered a new setback during the Great Nordic War 1700-21. Subsequently, Warsaw again experienced significant economic development with a large population growth. In 1795, the city reached Poland’s third division under Prussia, and 1807-15 was the capital of the Warsaw Diocese. 1815-30, the city again became the capital of the formally restored Kingdom of Poland, which, however, belonged to the Russian emperor. The University of Warsaw was established in 1816, and a large industry (textiles, metal, glass, etc.) emerged, and trade again took off.
After Poland’s re-emergence as an independent state in 1918, Warsaw became a new capital and experienced rapid industrialization. This development was abruptly reversed with the outbreak of World War II. The city surrendered to the Germans on September 28, 1939, and they initiated an unprecedented terrorist regime. From November 1940, the large Jewish population was transferred to a ghetto. A desperate uprising (see the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) in the ghetto in 1943 was brutally beaten, as was the case with the great uprising initiated by the resistance movement in August 1944 (the Warsaw Uprising). After the resistance movement capitulated, Warsaw’s population was displaced and the city was systematically destroyed on Hitler’s order. Soviet forces moved in on January 15, 1945. Despite the lack of even the most essential materials and tools, Warsaw residents succeeded in rebuilding large parts of the city.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Poland in 2019 was 37,887,657, ranking number 38 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.090% yearly, and the population density was 123.7232 people per km2.