EUROPE - Poland: From Honey to Hard Workers Polish Boom Leads in East Europe
By Sebastian Kinsky
A trip by car from the beautiful city of L’viv on Ukraine’s western flank that meets Poland’s eastern border, and across to the bustling city of Krakow is an eye opening experience in how Poland transformed itself in 23 years of independence from the Soviet Union while Ukraine’s progress were smothered to a standstill by the Russian bear.
Poland’s rapid rise upon becoming a fully fledged European Union member following its Solidarity movement and later the fall of the Soviet empire is one reason why neighboring Ukraine now looks to join the west.
Ukrainians say they want to become like Poland. Many west Ukrainians are married into east Poland families and see the physical difference in new construction, paved roads and gleaming glass and steel high rise buildings against decrepit villages, rundown apartment buildings and broken, neglected roads. It is little wonder that Ukrainians rose up against inherited corruption and iron fisted totalitarianism in its Maidan Revolution that ignited a war with Russia.
Poland has stepped out of the shadows of its Soviet Union past but has not forgotten its gloomy, uninspiring years under suppressive Russian dictatorship. Consequently its new President Donald Tusk has taken a decisive, vocal role in pressing to continue the E.U. sanctions against Russia and supporting Ukraine in its hour of need.
In taking full advantage of its E.U membership hundreds of thousands of Poles have over last several years flocked to England to earn British pounds. Money earned in the U.K. are sent home to families in Poland.
In Holland, Germany and especially in England the Poles have earned a deserved reputation as being the hardest working of the European migrants. Even though its agriculture products such as apples and honey have now been banned by Russia, along with foods from several other countries, many observers say Poland will not only survive but will continue to thrive as the new leader of the East European nations and defender of Ukraine and non E.U. Baltic nations.