„#EngagEUkraine. Engagement of Ukrainians in Poland and Germany” – Presentation of the study in Warsaw and Berlin
The currently published study „#EngagEUkraine. Engagement of Ukrainians in Poland and Germany” has been presented to the public in Warsaw on 24. May and two days later in Berlin. It is the final publication of the research project “Ukrainians in Poland and Germany — Civic and Political Engagement, Expectations, and Courses of Action” funded by the Deutsch-Polnische Wissenschaftsstiftung and has been conducted by the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) in Berlin and the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) in Warsaw.
The event in the gallery “Apteka Sztuki” in Warsaw was visited by a great circle of interested people that participated in a lively discussion – moderated by Justyna Segeš Frelak (IPA) – of the results and the role of the Ukrainian involvement in Poland. Magdalena Patalong and Richard Steinberg (both IEP) presented the results on Germany, where the political protests in the course of the Euromajdan have led to a mobilization and politization of Ukrainians living in Germany. The circle of people actively dedicated to Ukraine increased significantly since the end of 2013. Andriy Korniychuk and Łukasz Wenerski (both IPA) presented similar results for Poland, and discussed in a comparative manner the research results of the engagement of Ukrainian migrants and the Ukrainian minority in Poland. During the discussion, the differences between the two countries took a center stage. In this regard it is essential to emphasize the openly Ukraine promoting public opinion in Poland, whereas the Ukrainians in Germany find themselves confronted with a significantly more sceptic attitude of the public. Concluding, recommendations addressed to the Polish government on how to further promote the Ukrainian engagement were presented. Apart from concrete advices, the presenters demanded more consequent politics integrating Ukrainians into the Polish society.
During the second part of the event, Ljudmyla Melnyk (IEP), Miroslava Keryk (Fundacja Nasz Wybór), Lyudmyla Kozlovska (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog) and Piotr Tyma (Związek Ukraińców w Polsce) discussed the above mentioned results from the perspective of the activists themselves. It became clear that even the self-perception differs significantly between Ukrainians in Poland, depending on whether they are part of the Ukrainian minority, or are working migrants or to students from Ukraine. Due to a lacking Ukrainian minority, these differences do not exist in the same manner in Germany. The audience challenged the observation that the perception of Ukrainians in Poland is effectively better than in Germany, as the comparison seems to show. In Poland, Ukrainians and even the Ukrainian minority were mainly perceived as “Russians” and prejudices persisted. However, progress could be seen.
Presentation of the study in Berlin: Elaborating on differences and similarities
On 26. May 2016 the publication was presented in Berlin by Dr. Agnieszka Łada (IPA), Julian Plottka and Ljudmyla Melnyk (both IEP). They presented the Polish respectively the German results of the study at the Institut für Europäische Politik. The event was moderated by Dr. Katrin Böttger (IEP). The presentation was not only visited by an interested public, but also by representatives of the media, the embassy of Ukraine and the Deutsch-Polnische Wissenschaftsstiftung.
During the commencing speeches, differences and similarities between the two countries were pointed out. As particularly notable, the speakers emphasized the difference in perception and in the organization of the Ukrainian diaspora. Even though two groups within the diaspora can be seen in both countries, they still differ from each other. Whereas in Poland, the Ukrainian minority is well-established and its structures played a role during the Euromajdan protests, the “old Ukrainian diaspora” was less visible in Germany. This difference could be explained by historic arguments that demonstrate the close relationship between Ukrainians and Polish people, said Agnieszka Łada. Apart from these established groups, new groups of activists have been created, mainly by migrant laborers and students – in both countries. The increasing engagement in the course of Euromajdan was organized centrally via social media that became an important communication tool. Church congregations also functioned as reference points in both countries, through which a network of Ukrainians was promoted, while universities played a significant role only in Poland.
In a lively discussion with the audience, various recommendations for Germany and Ukraine, but also for the Ukrainian diaspora in Germany were debated. The research results were compared to current processes in the active diaspora. Questions such as how the diaspora could optimize its work or if the newly established groups will persist, were discussed. If the process of professionalization and institutionalization would be further strengthened, the probability that sustainable structures remain in the long-term would increase, said Julian Plottka. Through internalizing European values into work and daily routine, the diasporic community could function as future transposer of democratic values, such as transparency, to Ukraine. A stronger public occurrence of the diaspora could not only strengthen the process of a long-term establishment, but would also increase the perception of Ukraine and Ukrainian issues in Germany. In this regard, the significance of studies such as the one presented was emphasized, both as a measure for broadening the perspective and as basis for public debate.
The study „#EngagEUkraine. Engagement of Ukrainians in Poland and Germany” can be found on our website:
New study published: #EngagEUkraine. Engagement of Ukrainians in Poland and Germany