Poland was recently the poster child of success among post-Communist countries of the former Soviet bloc. In a region rife with corruption and murky ties with Russia, Poland had very little of either and its economy was essentially unaffected by the global financial crisis of 2008. But with the rise of the right-wing populist wave sweeping Europe, Poland’s election of the Law and Justice Party in 2015 has thrown into question the country’s previous commitment to open society and the rule of law. That may seem baffling: immigration is negligible and GDP per person has nearly tripled since 1990. Joining the podcast to discuss the seeming paradox is Leszek Balcerowicz, the former finance minister who was the main architect of Poland’s so-called “shock therapy” in the 1990s.

The Cable is a production of ICWA and the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group

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Professor of economics, Warsaw School of Economics

Former Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Poland




Executive Director, Institute of Current World Affairs

Journalist, author of Russians: The People Behind the Power



The Cable is produced by Rebecca Picard.



Lead image credit: https://scd.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/rfi_16x9_1024_578/article/image/eu-poland-protest_1.jpghttps://www.moldova.org/en/thousands-protest-chisinau-mixed-electoral-system-proposed-democrats-socialists/