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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » August 28, 2015
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From the editor
August 28, 2015   
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On the cover of this issue you can see two men shaking hands in the company of two women. They are Poland’s former president, Bronisław Komorowski, the new president, Andrzej Duda, and their wives, Anna Komorowska and Agata Duda. Taken on the stairs in front of the Polish parliament, the photograph depicts the end of an era.

The previous era started, I think, at the end of World War II, after which Poland came under Soviet rule. Between the two world wars, Poland had enjoyed a brief period of independence that lasted little more than two decades.

Before that, for 123 years until 1918, Poland had been deprived of statehood and was partitioned between the Russian, Austrian and Prussian empires. Understandably, freedom came to underpin the Polish national identity. Lost or regained, freedom, the battle for it and sacrifices made in its name were the subject matter of literature, paintings and even music. Rather than personal liberties and human rights, the focus was simply on national freedom. That kind of freedom underlay Polish culture, political thought and even the upbringing of children. It united people and made them act, hence the phenomenon of Solidarity, in which economic issues played a relatively minor role.

But you can get used to being free, given time, a sense of stability and a sense that you have always been free and that freedom is yours forever. In other words, you no longer feel responsible for freedom. New criteria and new generations take over. Poles now need to switch to a new line of thought, a line that leads in a new direction.

After losing Poland’s recent presidential elections, Komorowski said he had learned the lesson that truth could not prevail on its own. Andrzej Duda is only beginning to understand his powers as president and just starting to taste authority as head of state.

But in Poland, it’s not the president who will play the main role in shaping the country’s future. That will be the job of the government that emerges after voters go to the polls in parliamentary elections Oct. 25.
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