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Eradicating Polishness. Lukashenka on the Polish national minority schools in Belarus. OSW Commentary Number 391 22.04.2021.

Kłysiński, Kamil (2021) Eradicating Polishness. Lukashenka on the Polish national minority schools in Belarus. OSW Commentary Number 391 22.04.2021. [Policy Paper]

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    The Polish national minority school system in Belarus was created from scratch in the 1990s with financial support from Warsaw and an organisational effort of the Polish minority in Belarus. Although in its first years it developed relatively smoothly, since 2005 Polish schools have been under constant pressure from the local and central authorities. The goal of this pressure is unchanging – it involves the Russification (or, less frequently, Belarusianisation) of the young generation of ethnic Poles living in Belarus. In addition, hostile actions were carried out during spells of the political thaw in Polish-Belarusian relations (most recently in 2016–2020), which saw a major development of economic and investment cooperation and numerous high-level visits. However, the most severe blow to the Polish school network occurred in March 2021. This should be viewed both in the broader context – as an element of the wave of repression against civil society following the 2020 presidential election, and in a narrower context – as another blow to the Polish minority. One manifestation of this has been the arrest of the leaders of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB) and of the principal of a Polish community school in Brest. Alongside this, the prosecutor's office has launched a series of inspections in other Polish minority organisations across Belarus and in privately-owned schools offering Polish language courses. This campaign suggests that a plan approved by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is being implemented to undermine independent Polish organisations in Belarus and ultimately destroy the Polish national minority school system.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > culture policy
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > education policy/vocational training
    Countries > Poland
    Countries > Belarus
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Daniel Pennell
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 12:07
    Number of Pages: 5
    Last Modified: 09 Feb 2022 12:07

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