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Polish Ambassador to Russia Gives Lecture at Higher School of Economics

Polish Ambassador to Russia Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz visited Nizhny Novgorod to give a lecture to HSE students.

Polish Ambassador to Russia Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz visited Nizhny Novgorod to give a lecture to HSE students.

The topic of the lecture was ’25 years of Polish Transformation. Regional Reform as a Means of Success for Changes in Poland.’

Before starting her career in politics, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz taught at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Poland’s socioeconomic development began in 1989 when, as a result of an agreement between opposition and the ruling authorities, the country was returned to the system that was in effect in the vast majority of the world’s industrially developed countries. In the realm of politics, this concerned parliamentary democracy and in economics – a contemporary market economy with minimal state regulation.

Overall, the positive changes seen in Poland were made possible by the reforms of Polish politician Leszek Balcerowicz, towards whom there is still mixed emotion. ‘Shock therapy’ is how experts label his reforms, which consisted of ten revolutionary reforms which put the Polish economy into motion.

As Ambassador Pełczyńska-Nałęcz noted, such great successes would not have been possible without three factors. Firstly, society was ready for a transformation and strongly supported the reforms. The second factor was the positive international environment that existed. Ambassador Pełczyńska-Nałęcz noted that at the time, Poland felt support from the European Union and Russia, as it was specifically these two powers that aided and made the positive changes possible in the country. The last major factor that contributed to Poland’s success in reform was the emergence of a political elite for which changes in Poland were above any political ambitions or successes.

The Ambassador’s presentation included not only the successes in Polish reform, but also an honest recognition that everything did not always go so smoothly. The lecture ultimately transitioned into a dialogue with students. HSE students were interested in the organization of local self-government, education in present-day Poland, problems in healthcare, and corruption. Ambassador Pełczyńska-Nałęcz’s answer to a question about corruption was as follows:

‘Of course there was, is, and will be corruption. There is no country that does not have this illness, and if someone says otherwise, then it’s not true. The question is of its percentage in a country. I can say that in Poland, corruption has fallen drastically over the last several years.’