Communism and complaint


Marta Zielińska-Jędo

Apart from the fact that it’s freezing cold and/or dark for about seven months of the year, please remember that the older people you see in Poland lived through communism – which was hardly a holiday camp or a system designed to produce sunny dispositions. The perpetual lack of basic goods (including meat, razor blades, sugar or toilet paper) and the sheer absurdity of everyday life (enormous queues for everything – or nothing, insane bureaucracy etc.) were the norm. In this environment complaining became a national sport, at which the Poles could give even the Brits a run for their money.

The collapse of communism did not exactly change this overnight, either; the early years of capitalism brought abrupt changes and instability, which presented completely new challenges for lots of people. Many of them were/are disappointed with the new system and… keep complaining. Although Poland's economy continues to develop fast and the population as a whole grows richer, this is not evenly spread and for many there are still plenty of reasons to keep up the old habit. On your visit you may catch the odd glimpse of this, especially in some non-touristy shops or, were you to visit one, public institutions.

Tags: history, communism, culture, stereotype
  • Latest modification: October 6, 2011 3:24:13 PM
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