Back in 2021, the Belarusian government actively supported a wave of migrants who attempted to illegally cross the borders of Poland and the Baltic states. These attempts were resisted by the Polish border authorities with a state of emergency being declared in the border area and the construction of border barriers and fencing.
There was criticism from some liberal politicians about the actions of Polish border guards, with accusations of forcefully pushing some back and inhumane treatment. One MEP, Janina Ochojska, even alleged that there were several hundred people missing who might have been buried in a mass grave by Polish foresters. These remarks are now subject to a legal action for defamation, which is being pursued by the Polish foresters who said the claim was a total fabrication.
However, despite these criticisms, the vast majority of the Polish population backs the border guards and their efforts to protect Poland’s borders. When the Social Changes survey asked a controlled sample of respondents about their views on Polish border guards and their work on the eastern border, 63 percent said they viewed their actions positively. Only 14 percent took the opposite view, and 23 percent had no view on the matter.
As expected, 95 percent of the voters who support the ruling conservatives had a positive view of the border guards’ efforts. But even among opposition voters, 45 percent of the main opposition liberal PO’s supporters shared this sentiment as well. The policy of combating illegal migration is widely supported by Poles, as they differentiate between illegal migrants and legitimate refugees who have arrived via the Ukrainian border after the start of the Russian invasion in February last year.