„#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