Why do so many Poles support the Belarusians' struggle for democracy? The answer to this question is connected to the common history of the two peoples in the Republic of Poland-Lithuania back in the 18th century. When Poland regained independence in 1918, a large part of what is now Belarus lay within Poland's borders. It belonged to the "Kresy", the border areas of eastern Poland, where Poles lived side by side with their Belarusian neighbours.
After World War II, these areas fell to the Soviets, and the Polish population was resettled. As a myth of the lost paradise, the Kresy plays a special role in Polish consciousness. This also explains the sympathy that many Poles have today for the Belarusian opposition. Certainly, however, the similarity of this protest movement to the Solidarność struggle forty years ago also plays a role.
Many people believe that the Belarusian freedom movement, just like the opposition in what was then communist Poland, will eventually prevail.
Translated by Jess Smee
Source: Panelbase Polls, August 2020