The modern Poland–Russia border

Looking for a topic for today’s article I asked people in the office what they knew about Poland. As expected, very few of them knew anything significant about Poland. At least, everyone agreed to place Poland in Europe and not Australia. It turned out that Greeks associate Poland with vodka, which is quite right. However, I had already discussed vodka and its many super powers in a previous article.

Out of the many voices I heard, one statement interested me particularly: “Poland is similar to Russia,” and because it’s not a new opinion I hear about our country, I decided to write about it. I must also admit that, I cannot call myself one hundred percent Polish, because half of my family comes from Russia.

I will put aside the cultural backgrounds of Poland and Russia as well as their histories, and focus more on the mentality of both nations. Naturally, both in Russia and Poland, the roads are not the best quality. Even if by some miracle you manage to fly over the holes, cross the speed limit and have to pay a fine, there is still no problem to solve it “in a different way”. Although Poland stubbornly tries to keep up with the West, I have the impression that we are more similar to our eastern neighbours than any other European country.

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The turbulent times of communism left a stigma in our mentality – a kind of superiority complex. It does not mean that we feel better than others, I would rather say it’s about the fact that if you have in your pocket a penny more than your neighbour, you have to show it to him immediately. Thus, once a Pole earns just enough money to buy a BMW, he’ll buy it right away. We always have to invite the whole family for the holidays and give them the most expensive gifts, and of course buy the brightest and most expensive fireworks to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The rest of the year, we spend keeping an eye on our new car from behind the curtain and praying every Sunday, that our neighbour would not scratch it.

The same situation can be found in Russia. A young Russian woman would under no circumstances go to the shoe boutique across the street. However, she would definitely come from the far end of Russia straight to Moscow and buy shoes in the capital. Ideally, she would also find herself buying a sable fur coat. Mink is outdated nowadays, because – quote of the most important Russian woman in my life – “every poor Russian girl wears mink”. Although that same beautifully dressed girl returns home that day by third-class train, it’s all about feeling that you are better than someone else. Both our nations should simply chill out!

Please share your comments and opinions below. I wrote this article on Friday the 13th so forgive my black humour.

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