Poland’s Kin-state Policies: Opportunities and Challenges

One of the most contentious features of post-communist politics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has been the self-assumed responsibility of many states vis-à-vis their kin-minorities. Kin-states’ trans-sovereign involvement has challenged home-states’ exclusive obligation to protect their minority groups and raised fears over their national security. Its societal impact can be positive, ensuring the cultural preservation and flourishing of kin-minority groups as, for example, in the cases of the Danish minority in Germany or the German minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet, it may also be destabilising, as shown by Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008, or disintegrative, as with Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, showing how a kin-state’s intervention may impede the accommodation of ethno-cultural groups. In Poland, the Polish Charter (Ustawą z dnia 7 września 2007 r. o Karcie Polaka) was implemented in 2007 and amended in 2016. Even though they have sparked great contentions in the neighbouring states, these laws have not yet been subjected to a comprehensive examination. This project will create a network that will bring together experts in order to undertake the first in-depth exploration of Poland’s kin-state policies and situate them better in a broader comparative perspective.

To this end, we will focus on the following themes: a) the history of Poland as a kin-state; b) the grounds, content and scope of Poland’s kin-state policies; c) the similarities and differences between the policies of Poland and those of other countries; d) the place of the Polish Charter within Poland’s diaspora policy, as well as within its foreign policy; e) past and future impact of Poland’s policies upon the living conditions of its kin-minorities; and f) the tensions between the obligations assumed under the Charter and those under international law. The grant of the Oxford Noble Foundation’s Programme on Modern Poland facilitates the establishment of a network of scholars researching in different areas, the dissemination of their research to a wider audience, and the production of a collective volume.


Project Partners

  • Professor Karl Cordell (University of Plymouth)
  • Professor Sławomir Łodziński (Warsaw University)
  • Dr Dorota Pudzianowska (Warsaw University)
  • Dr Paweł Hut (Warsaw University)
  • Professor Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski (University of Wroclaw)
  • Dr Magdalena Dembinska (University of Montréal)
  • Dr Myra Waterbury (Ohio University)
  • Professor Zsuzsa Csergo (Queen’s University)
  • Dr Zoltán Kántor (Pázmány Péter Catholic University)

Project dates

October 2018-March 2020


Noble Foundation Programme on Modern Poland (£29,408)