What is it about?

In 1848 Marx and Engels published their Communist Manifesto. The opening line claimed: ‘A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.’ In Poland the experience of more than forty years of communism and the fear that ‘reds’ still secretly control the government haunts the present.

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Why is it important?

The essay is timely because it sketches in the background to the lustration debate in Poland, the vicious infighting between those who favoured it and those who foresaw disaster if it was allowed to become law, and helps explain the the rise of the populist, anti-European PiS party which now governs Poland.


This article explores the emerging political culture and the volatile political climate of post-communist Poland. In particular it looks at the various attempts at lustration as part of transitional justice, at the Kaczyński brothers’ plan to redefine national identity by establishing a moral Fourth Republic and at the involvement of writers, reporters and film makers in the lustration debate.

Prof Carl Tighe

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This page is a summary of: Lustration – the Polish experience, Journal of European Studies, September 2016, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0047244116659800.
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