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Defining and Defending Borders in the Post-Soviet Space - Articles (3)

Theorizing the Karta Polaka

Debordering and Rebordering the Limits of Citizenship, Territory and Nation in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood
Bastian Sendhardt

Abstract

This article offers a contribution to theorizing the Karta Polaka, a kin-state law addressing the Polish diaspora in the successor states of the USSR, in the context of the Europeanization of Poland’s borders with Ukraine and Belarus. Building on the observation that the modern state includes individuals according to an ideal model based on a congruency of the categories “citizenship”, “territory” and “nation”, it is argued that kin-state laws, by addressing non-resident non-citizens of national belonging, not only diverge from the ideal inclusion but also redraw the very boundaries of these categories. Building on a qualitative analysis of the Act on the Karta Polaka, accompanying documents and the minutes of parliamentary (committee) sessions concerned with the draft act, this article traces the discursive processes that redraw the boundaries of these categories. Employing the concept of De-/Rebordering, this article shows how the categories of Polish citizenship, territory and nation are redefined and how the inclusion of non-resident non-citizens by the Polish state is legitimated.

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Index terms

Countries :

Poland, European Union

Research Fields :

Geopolitics
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Introduction1

  • 1 I thank the two anonymous reviewers as well as Amandine Regamey for their helpful suggestions and c (...)
  • 2 Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Dz.U. 2007 nr 180 poz. 1280, 07 September 2007. The term “Karta Polaka” kno (...)
  • 3 While dual citizenship is not recognized in most post-Soviet states, including Belarus and Ukraine, (...)
  • 4 See Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Art. 3, para. 1, op. cit. (All translations from non-English sources ar (...)

1As a consequence of Poland’s EU accession in 2004 and the subsequent introduction of the provisions of the Schengen agreement, which came into effect in 2007-2008, members of the Polish minority in countries such as Ukraine and Belarus found themselves separated from their kin-state by the Schengen border. While throughout most of the 1990s, Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens—including members of the Polish minorities—benefited from a visa-free travel regime, they now needed visas for travelling to Poland. In order to mitigate the negative effects of this “Europeanization” of its eastern borders, in 2007 Poland passed the Act on the Karta Polaka2, a kin-state law addressing the Polish diaspora in the successor states of the USSR, which for the most part prohibit dual citizenship3. It confirms its holder’s “belonging to the Polish nation”4 and grants entitlements such as a waiver of visa fees, the right to work and set up a company in Poland, the right to study at university level and access to free healthcare services in cases of emergency.

  • 5 Eligible for the Karta Polaka are members of the Polish minority who are concomitantly citizens of (...)

2In other words, with reference to national belonging, the Karta Polaka grants these entitlements to non-resident non-citizens, that is, persons who are neither Polish citizens nor permanent residents in Poland. The fact that the Karta Polaka addresses—except for the Baltic states—citizens from non-EU countries who are subject to the Schengen visa regime, adds yet another layer of complexity to this topic and points out that the case of the Karta Polaka cannot be analysed in a bilateral context only, but must be seen as embedded in the context of Poland’s EU membership5. While in general, the Schengen regime significantly curtailed the sovereignty of EU member states as to defining the conditions for crossing the border, the case of the Karta Polaka highlights how member states can use their discretion in citizenship policy-making to circumvent and mitigate “unfavourable” regulations passed at the supranational level.

  • 6 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship, Nationalising Political Space: A Framework for Interpreting the Hu (...)

3But in what way does this Polish kin-state law affect the regulations imposed by the Schengen Agreement? The Karta Polaka itself suggests that the categories of citizenship, territory and nation are particularly relevant in this context. Holding a copy of the Karta Polaka in one’s hand, the front side reads: “The Karta Polaka is a document confirming belonging to the Polish nation”. The reverse side reads: “Granting of the Karta Polaka does not mean acquiring Polish citizenship” and “The Karta Polaka is not a document entitling to cross the border or settle on the territory of the Republic of Poland”. By evoking the three categories of citizenship, territory and nation, the status of the Karta Polaka is related to the status of an ideal resident citizen belonging to the titular nation: a person holding Polish citizenship, residing permanently on Polish territory and (ethnically) belonging to the Polish nation. This ideal of the relation between state and individual is based on the “assertion that territory and citizenship can be the only bases for a relationship between the state and individuals, and that the state’s territory, citizenry and nation must be coterminous”6.

4My main argument is that kin-state laws aim at the, albeit partial, inclusion of non-resident non-citizens into (welfare) state structures and, by doing so, challenge a taken-for-granted ideal model for the inclusion of individuals by the state, which is based on an assumed congruence of the categories of citizenship, territory and nation. Here, a caveat concerning my notion of the “welfare state” is in order. While this notion, of course, includes social benefits for unemployment, sick and maternity leave or child allowances, for example, it clearly goes beyond such a narrow understanding of the term. Rather, throughout the article, “welfare” refers to any measure by the state to include individuals - for instance, through schooling, integration into the labour market or granting political and social rights - based on the ideal of the resident citizen, who is a member of the state’s titular nation. To put it another way, to the extent that they provide chances for inclusions, all modern nation-states are welfare states.

5In the remainder of this article, I firstly propose and develop a theoretical framework for analysing kin-state legislation that combines insights from both world society theory and the concept of De-/Rebordering. Secondly, I sketch out the case of the Polish minorities in the East, with a focus on Belarus and Ukraine. Thirdly, I describe how Poland’s integration with the EU impacted on the relations to its minorities in the East. In the fourth part, using De-/Rebordering as a theoretical framework, I trace the bordering processes involved in the drawing and redrawing of the categorial boundaries of citizenship, territory and nation in the context of legitimating the inclusion of non-resident non-citizens through kin-state laws such as the Karta Polaka.

A Theoretical Framework for Analysing Kin-state Legislation

  • 7 A. Kicinger and I. Koryś, “The Case of Poland,” in G. Zincone et al (Eds) Migration Policymaking in (...)
  • 8 R. Bauböck, “Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation: A Normative Evaluat (...)
  • 9 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 183.
  • 10 T. Faist (Ed.), Dual Citizenship in Europe: From Nationhood to Societal Integration, Aldershot, UK, (...)
  • 11 R. Bauböck, “The Rights and Duties of External Citizenship”, Citizenship Studies, Vol. 13, # 5, 200 (...)
  • 12 T. Hammar, Democracy and the Nation State: Aliens, Denizens, and Citizens in a World of Internation (...)
  • 13 See also D. Owen, “Resident Aliens, Non-Resident Citizens and Voting Rights: Towards a Pluralist Th (...)

6In the academic literature, kin-state laws such as the Karta Polaka are often described as a form of “semi-citizenship”7 or “quasi-citizenship”8 because they establish “rights claimable by particular individuals against specific states”9. However, these legislations fall short of full citizenship as they usually do not grant political rights and only particular social rights. In other words, kin-state laws resemble fully fledged citizenship in certain areas while differing from it in others. An important aim of this article is, therefore, to outline these areas and make visible where and how the boundary between the Karta Polaka and Polish citizenship is drawn. Of course, existing research on citizenship knows many variations of the ideal citizen with but one single citizenship, permanently and exclusively residing in his country of citizenship, in other words, the ideal of the resident citizen. Among these variations are dual citizenship10, external citizenship11 or denizenship12. Thus, in one way or another, all of these variations fall into the category of either the non-resident citizen or the resident non-citizen13. In other words, when it comes to the inclusion of citizens by the state it is not solely citizenship that is decisive, but a connection between citizenship (as a status granting particular rights) and territory (as the area of residence where these rights apply).

  • 14 As specified in Art. 2, par. 4, “The Karta Polaka can be granted exclusively to persons having neit (...)

7However, the Karta Polaka addresses non-Polish citizens of the successor states of the USSR, whose permanent residence is outside Polish state territory14. The Karta Polaka, thus, addresses a category of persons that has been largely neglected and remained undertheorized in existing research: the category of the non-resident non-citizen of national belonging to the titular nation of his kin-state. A theoretical framework for analysing kin-state legislation must therefore take into account the categories of “citizenship”, “territory” and “nation” and explain how kin-state laws organize and legitimate the inclusion of individuals by states, of whom they are neither citizens nor residents.

  • 15 E. F. Isin and B. S. Turner, “Citizenship Studies: An Introduction,” in E. F. Isin and B. S. Turner (...)
  • 16 M. Bommes, Migration und nationaler Wohlfahrtsstaat: Ein differenzierungstheoretischer Entwurf, Opl (...)

8This article conceives of citizenship as the relationship between state and individual based on a certain set of obligations and rights, the latter of which will be focused on here. These “include civil rights (free speech and movement, the rule of law), political rights (voting, seeking electoral office) and social rights (welfare, unemployment insurance and healthcare)”15. While keeping in mind that full citizenship includes a combination of these three rights, this study focuses primarily on the social dimension of citizenship as a status ascribing certain rights, which are granted by the national welfare state. Building on Michael Bommes, I conceive of the welfare state not only as an institution offering social benefits to the general population, but, following a systems-theoretical approach, as a mediator for chances of inclusion into the function systems of world society16.

  • 17 See N. Luhmann, “Globalization or World Society: How to Conceive of Modern Society?”, International (...)
  • 18 H.-G. Moeller, Luhmann Explained: From Souls to Systems, Chicago, Open Court, 2006, p. 52.
  • 19 In this context, it must be pointed out that what is generally labelled as nation-state is first an (...)
  • 20 N. Luhmann, Die Politik der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp, 2002, p. 84.
  • 21 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 125.

9The systems-theoretical world society theory holds the view that modern society is not so much defined by national or territorial divisions, such as a Polish or a Ukrainian society, but is primarily organized in terms of borderless and therefore structurally global fault lines such as functional forms of differentiation17. Thus, world society is internally differentiated into function systems such as the economic, the legal, the political and the science system. Each of these subsystems fulfils one specific function within society. Globalization then points to “the fact that function systems transcend geography”18. Only the political system (and, to some extent, the legal system) uses territorial borders and is internally differentiated into nation-states19. The function of politics is to provide for the capacity of collectively-binding decisions20, that is, to provide for the capacity of decision-making on the one hand and the acceptance of these decisions on the other. The modern welfare state thus offers individuals chances for inclusion into function systems (e.g. politics, the economy, education) based on a territorial criterion in exchange for their loyalty21.

10As I argue, the inclusion of individuals by the national welfare state, as a mediator for chances of inclusion into the function systems of world society, involves three categories: citizenship, territory and the nation. This categorial nexus of citizenship, territory and the nation serves to define and delimitate access to the welfare state. In this context, I am particularly interested in how these categories are formed. In other words, employing a constructivist approach, I will highlight the boundary-drawing (bordering) processes which establish these container-like categories with a seemingly clear-cut inside/outside distinction.

  • 22 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., pp. 124–125.
  • 23 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 185.

11From this perspective, the national welfare state includes individuals through the status ascription of citizenship by drawing clear-cut “inside/outside distinctions” establishing the category of “citizens” as distinguished from “non-citizens”. Historically and functionally, citizenship is coupled with the segmentary differentiation of world society’s political system into nation-states and is, thus based on a territorial criterion22. As Fowler notes, “territoriality and citizenship have been held together by the assumption that citizens would typically be physically present on the territory of ‘their’ state”. Thus, ideal-typically, “an individual has access to civil, political and social rights only from a particular state and only inasmuch as she is its citizen; and she can be a citizen of only one state”23. Consequently, also territory is crucial in this context insofar as the entitlements citizens might have can only be enjoyed while being present on the territory of the respective state.

  • 24 B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, Ver (...)
  • 25 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 131.
  • 26 See Luhmann, Die Politik, op. cit., p. 254.
  • 27 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 131. In a nation-state, this “collective” is the nation, at le (...)

12The third crucial category, as far as access to the welfare states' offers of inclusion is concerned, is the nation, understood as an “imagined community”24. In this context, the nation poses the “semantic frame of reference of modern welfare state policy” by articulating “national demands for equality and solidarity”25. Originally, and at least in the theoretical conception of the nation-state, welfare state measures primarily are targeted at the members of the nation. Nationality—and (national) citizenship as the political operationalization of this concept—is thus the discursive fundament upon which those demands can be politically articulated. When assuming that the function of the political system is to provide for collectively binding decisions26, then “[e]quality becomes a criterion for the orientation of political decisions to the collective, for which the bindingness of political decisions is claimed”27. In other words, the inclusion of individuals through the national welfare state is legitimated by national belonging.

13Ideally, the categories of citizenship, territory and the nation are congruent and exclusive. The ideal individual included by such a welfare state is the resident citizen whose access to the welfare state is legitimated by national belonging. From this point of view, citizenship is an administrative-political category defining who is eligible for these offers of inclusion. Territory, on the other hand, defines where these entitlements can be realized. Finally, the nation serves as a symbolic category legitimating why an individual is eligible for national solidarity. Empirically, of course, there are numerous derogations from the ideal categorial nexus of citizenship, territory and the nation. As a result of phenomena such as global migration, European integration or the existence of diaspora communities, entitlements are not necessarily limited to citizens or members of a national community and one might be entitled to certain benefits—such as retirement pension—even while residing abroad. Apparently, while citizenship, territory and the nation are important when it comes to legitimating access to welfare states' offers of inclusion, empirically, these categories often are not congruent. On the contrary, they are in a constant process of re-negotiating and re-defining their own categorial boundaries, thus revealing the “fuzziness” of these putatively fixed container-categories. This is exemplified by phenomena such as dual citizenship, external citizenship, denizenship as well as statuses created by kin-state laws such as the Karta Polaka.

  • 28 M. Albert and L. Brock, “De-bordering”, op. cit.
  • 29 Ibid., p. 20.
  • 30 Ibid.
  • 31 Ibid., pp. 39–40.

14An analytical approach able to comprehend this fuzziness is the concept of Debordering and Rebordering28. De-/Rebordering observes globalization processes as an increasing permeability of territorial borders towards transborder phenomena, such as “problems to regulate the relationship between citizens and the state via the instrument of citizenship in face of a transnationalization of social relations”29. In other words, nation-states increasingly must deal with transnational dynamics such as international migration and diaspora communities both of which present a challenge to conventional models of nation-statehood based on a congruency of citizenship, territory and national belonging. Debordering refers to the “adaptation of statehood as a response to this increasing permeability of borders”30. At the same time, processes of debordering are accompanied by rebordering processes, such as a tightening of borders and the re-territorialization of space31.

  • 32 B. Sendhardt, “Border Types and Bordering Processes: A Theoretical Approach to the EU/Polish-Ukrain (...)

15In this article, I employ De-/Rebordering as an analytical tool to observe and describe the dissolution processes (debordering) and related affirmations (rebordering) of the exclusiveness and assumed congruence of the categories of citizenship, territory and nation32. The debordering of the categorial nexus of citizenship, territory and the nation always must be legitimated and is thus accompanied by rebordering processes, re-defining these categories and thus the conditions for access to welfare states' offers of inclusion. In the case of the Karta Polaka, it is non-resident non-citizens that are granted access to the Polish welfare state based on the criterion of national belonging.

The “Poles in the East” as an “Accidental Diaspora”33

  • 33 The Poles in the East did not migrate to the countries in which they live today, but were either “c (...)
  • 34 See Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia w liczbach”, http://swp4.wspolnotapolska.org.pl/pol (...)
  • 35 See Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, “Priorytety polskiej polityki zagranicznej: 2012-2016”, 2012, (...)

16Besides the 38 million inhabitants of the Republic of Poland, an estimated number of up to 20 million Poles and persons of Polish descent is living beyond the borders of the Polish state34. This Polish diaspora is largely referred to as Polonia, the Latin term for “Poland”. When referring to the Poles living on the territories of the successor states of the Soviet Union, often the term “Poles abroad” (Polacy za granicą) is used, especially when referring to persons living in those parts of today’s states of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine (the so-called Kresy) that belonged to interwar Poland, because these people have never decided to leave Poland but found themselves outside the borders of the Polish state against their will35. This was a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 and the subsequent annexation of the country’s eastern territories.

  • 36 See Z. A. Kruszewski, “The Revival of the Polish Diaspora in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine”, The P (...)
  • 37 See T. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, London, Vintage, 2011, pp. 128–130.
  • 38 See J. Jagielski and D. Pudzianowska, Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Warszawa, Wolters Kluwer Polska, 2008 (...)

17On the 23rd of August 1939, a week before Nazi Germany started its invasion of Poland on the 1st of September 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union had signed the so-called Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact including a secret protocol which provided for the division of Poland between both countries. As a result, between 3,5 and 4,2 million (ethnic) Poles found themselves on Soviet territory36. Just a few weeks after the Red Army had invaded eastern Poland on the 17th of September 1939, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union issued a decree conferring Soviet citizenship on all people living in the Kresy territories as of November 1–2. The respective persons’ loss of Polish citizenship was confirmed in a Polish-Soviet treaty shortly after the Second World War37. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allies confirmed the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland and thus agreed on the country’s westward shift. In the light of the historical fate of the Poles in the former Kresy, a narrative of a “moral obligation” of the Polish state towards its former (ethnically Polish) citizens and their descendants – the so-called Poles in the East - emerged in post-1989 Poland38. In consequence of Poland’s forced westward shift and despite mass deportations (euphemistically called “population exchanges”) of Belarusians, Poles and Ukrainians to their respective “new homelands”, a considerable number of people of Polish nationality remained on what were now the territories of the Belarusian and the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republics.

  • 39 Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia …”, op. cit.
  • 40 Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, “Atlas polskiej obecności za granicą,” http://www.msz.gov.pl/pl/p (...)
  • 41 Ibid., p. 226.
  • 42 Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia …”, op. cit.
  • 43 M. Kowalski, “Raport z badań na temat posiadaczy Karty Polaka,” in M. Dworczyk (Ed.) Odkryte karty (...)

18Moreover, there is a dispersed Polish diaspora in today’s post-Soviet space which is a result of both earlier emigration in the nineteenth century and the Polish partitions between 1772 and 1795. Altogether, the Association “Polish Community” (Stowarzyszenie “Wspólnota Polska”) estimates that between 1,104,000 and 2,558,720 persons of Polish descent live in today’s post-Soviet space39. These estimates are considerably higher than official statistics, not least, as Polonia organizations argue, because many Poles are still afraid to officially confess their Polishness. According to the last all-Union Census in 1989, a total of 1,126,334 Soviet citizens of Polish nationality resided in the Soviet Union, of whom more than a half was living in the Ukrainian (219,179) and the Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic (417,720). Pursuant to the latest official censuses in both countries, there were 144,000 Poles living in Ukraine (2001) and 295,000 Poles in Belarus (2009)40. However, Polish minority organizations give much higher estimates; accordingly, there is an estimated number of Poles between 300,000 and more than 1,000,000 in Ukraine41 and between 396,000 and 900,000 Poles in Belarus42. As of November 2015, a total of 162,218 Karty Polaka were issued, the bulk of which was granted to members of the Polish minorities in Ukraine (76,742) and Belarus (69,630)43.

Entering Schengen: The Europeanization of Poland’s Eastern Borders

  • 44 Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 208.

19On the 7th of September 2007, following a positive vote in the Sejm, then Polish President Lech Kaczyński signed the Act on the Karta Polaka. As for other countries in Central and Eastern Europe—for instance, Slovakia or Hungary—one of the main driving forces behind the introduction of kin-state legislation such as the Act on the Karta Polaka has been “the prospect of EU enlargement in stages and to only some of the states of the region, with a Schengen border regime on the Union’s new eastern frontier”44.

  • 45 Ibid., p. 209.
  • 46 The “two-step implementation” of the Schengen regulations by the new member states comprised, first (...)
  • 47 Council of the European Union, “Council Regulation of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries who (...)

20While before the EU’s eastern enlargement members of national minorities in Central and Eastern European states could cross the borders to their respective kin-states more or less freely, the then upcoming accessions to both the EU and later on the Schengen area were expected to complicate cross-border movement and contacts between national minorities and kin-states45. In the wake of its 2004 EU accession, even before becoming a full Schengen member, Poland was obliged to introduce visas, inter alia for the citizens of its eastern neighbours Belarus, Russia and Ukraine46. The legal basis was the EU Council Regulation No 539/2001 establishing a so-called “white Schengen list” with countries whose citizens are exempt from visa obligations and a “black Schengen list” with countries whose citizens were obliged to possess a visa when crossing the EU external border47. Among the blacklisted countries were all the post-Soviet republics (except the Baltic States), including Ukraine and Belarus. This “Europeanization” of Poland’s borders with Ukraine and Belarus was expected to have a negative impact, inter alia, on the relations between the Polish state and “its” minorities in these countries, who would be treated just as any other third country citizen.

  • 48 “Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establi (...)
  • 49 Polish National Contact Point to the European Migration Network, “Visa policy as migration channel (...)
  • 50 “Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas” (...)

21On the 21st of December 2007, Poland officially joined the Schengen area, a step that led not only to the abolition of checks at EU internal borders such as the Polish-German one, but also to new obligations concerning the borders of Poland with its eastern neighbours. In consequence, third country citizens became subject to the Schengen Borders Code, which defines the “Entry conditions for third-country nationals” wishing to cross the external borders of the Schengen area. Accordingly, Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens must possess “a valid travel document or documents authorising them to cross the border” and a valid visa. Moreover, they must “justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay” and prove “sufficient means of subsistence” for their stay in the Schengen area as well as their return48. Under the new Schengen regime, Ukrainians were now obliged to pay a visa-fee of 35 Euros, their personal data was verified in the Schengen Information System (SIS), applicants were more often asked for direct interviews with the respective consul and they were required to give evidence of having a health insurance as well as sufficient financial means to cover their stay49. One should also bear in mind that the reduced visa fee of 35 Euros is a result of the bilateral Agreement on the facilitation of the issuance of visas50.

  • 51 See O. Wasilewska, “Analysis of the Visa Policies of the Visegrad Countries: Relative Openness. Pol (...)

22While from the EU’s point of view, the agreement puts Ukraine in a privileged position in comparison to other non-EU countries, from the perspective of Poland and Ukraine, the agreement clearly is a setback: fees for a visa have risen from zero to 35 Euros and the time for processing visa applications envisaged in the agreement is ten days maximum, while prior to the Schengen accession, Polish consulates could issue visas within a day or two51. For Belarusian citizens the new Schengen regulations are even tighter and visa fees amount to 60 Euros. Seen from this angle, Poland’s accession to both the EU and the Schengen area not only put Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens in the position of third country citizens required to have a visa when entering the Schengen zone, but also established additional bureaucratic, financial and organizational barriers between Poland and its eastern neighbours.

23From the perspective of De-/Rebordering, it is crucial to conceive of these regulations as bordering processes establishing separate categories of access with regard to a person’s citizenship and residence status. With regard to Poland’s eastern border, the EU thus introduced a clear status differentiation between Polish and other EU citizens on the one hand and Ukrainian or Belarusian citizens on the other. Of course, among the persons affected by the Regulation were also members of the Polish minorities in Ukraine and Belarus, who for the most part possess Ukrainian and Belarusian citizenship only. In what follows, I will analyse the workings of the Karta Polaka as a means of debordering and rebordering the limits of Polish citizenship, territory and the nation. In this respect, the Karta Polaka is referring to the complex interrelationship of the categories “citizenship”, “territory” and “national belonging”. In the following pages, I will therefore analyse the bordering processes of these categories by employing the concept of De-/Rebordering. The analysed data consists of official legislative acts and accompanying documents as well as the minutes of sessions of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, and of the parliamentary committees related to the legislative process of the Act on the Karta Polaka from the 7th of September 2007.

Mediating Offers of Inclusion: De-/Rebordering the Limits of Polish Citizenship

  • 52 On the conditions for acquiring Polish citizenship see T. Sieniow (Ed.), Nabywanie obywatelstwa pol (...)
  • 53 Ustawa z dnia 2 kwietnia 2009 r. o obywatelstwie polskim, Dz.U. 2012 poz. 161; Ustawa z dnia 9 list (...)

24With regard to individuals seeking access to welfare states' offers of inclusion in an EU country such as Poland, state citizenship—and thus indirectly EU citizenship—as a status category is the point of reference. In Poland, it is Polish citizenship that is granting not only political rights but also full access to the national welfare state, understood as full residence rights and access to offers of inclusion into various function systems such as the economy (right to work, right to set up a company), the education system (right to free education at university level) and the healthcare system. In general, there are four legal acts structuring the contours of the institution of Polish citizenship52: the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (1997) as well as the Act on Polish Citizenship (2009) but also the Repatriation Act (2000) and finally, the Act on the Karta Polaka (2007)53. As I argue, the Karta Polaka can be understood as a semi-citizenship mediating the partial inclusion of its holders into the Polish welfare state.

  • 54 “Uzasadnienie rządowego projektu ustawy – Karta Polaka”, 16 June 2007.
  • 55 Ibid.

25Also in the documents accompanying the legislative procedure of the Karta Polaka there is evidence of the close relation to Polish citizenship. As laid down in the Explanatory Memorandum from the 12th of June 2007, the Karta Polaka bill must be seen in the context of the then draft act on amending the Polish Citizenship Act (1962), which was intended to “provide […] for the possibility to restore Polish citizenship, which means access to all the privileges every citizen is entitled to”54. Because most of the USSR successor states have imposed a ban on dual citizenship, the Polish state introduced the Karta Polaka, which not only confirms its holder’s “belonging to the Polish nation” but also grants “concrete privileges”55, which are enumerated in Chapter 2 of the Act on the Karta Polaka. The entitlements include visa fee waivers (Art. 5), the right to work (Art. 6, par. 1, 1) and to set up a company (Art. 6, par. 1, 2), the right to study at university level including doctoral studies and scientific projects (Art. 6, par. 1, 3), education on a par with Polish citizens (Art. 6, par. 1, 4), access to healthcare in cases of emergency (Art. 6, par. 1, 5), a 37% discount for public railway transport (Art. 6, par. 1, 6) and free entry to state museums (Art. 6, par. 1, 7). In granting these rights, the Karta Polaka provides an approximation to the set of rights related to fully fledged Polish citizenship. It is in this regard that the Karta Polaka can be understood as a form of “semi-citizenship”.

  • 56 In 2007, when the Act on the Karta Polaka was discussed in the Sejm, third country citizens with a (...)

26During the debates on the bill in the parliament and the Committee on Liaison with Poles Abroad (Komisja Łączności z Polakami za Granicą), it became obvious that access to welfare state programmes for third country citizens is an important aspect of the Karta Polaka. During the first reading of the draft act, the question was raised as to what extent the Polish state is responsible for non-Polish citizens abroad, especially when compared to welfare state entitlements for Polish citizens or third country citizens with a long-term residence permit in Poland56. Sejm deputy Joanna Senyszyn underpins this observation with the following statement. According to her,

  • 57 Sejm deputy J. Senyszyn, “Biuletyn z posiedzenia Komisji Łączności z Polakami za Granicą (nr 35): N (...)

Each country has first of all obligations towards its own citizens. Obligations towards persons who are not citizens cannot be larger than obligations towards persons who are citizens. […] [O]n what basis should we give out to persons not having Polish citizenship, entitlements much larger than those of citizens of the Republic of Poland. I think of this as a discrimination of the citizens of the Republic of Poland.57

  • 58 As is argued in the Act’s Explanatory Memorandum, free entry to state museums serves “to propagate (...)

27Of course, the Karta Polaka does not grant its holders entitlements on a par with Polish citizens. Holders of the Karta Polaka do not have the rights to vote or to be elected. In other social spheres, however, holders of the Karta Polaka have rights comparable to those of Polish citizens and, as in the case of free entry to state museums, sometimes even beyond58. It is worth quoting at length Joanna Senyszyn’s contribution to the debate in the Committee, because she, even though somewhat polemically, describes the way in which the Karta Polaka defines a separate status next to Polish citizenship. With regard to the alleged preferential treatment of holders of the Karta Polaka in comparison to Polish citizens, Senyszyn states:

  • 59 Sejm deputy J. Senyszyn “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 27.

[...] Polish citizens who are not insured do not have the right to use health services in cases of emergency for free and if they receive such kind of support, then later on the costs will be demanded from them. They also do not have the right to a 37% discount on fares or to free access to museums. But if we will now add the right to work and the right to conduct business on the territory of the Republic of Poland, then all of a sudden, the Karta Polaka will become the most attractive commodity in the former USSR countries. […] Therefore, in the light of these extraordinary entitlements it would be worth to resign Polish citizenship because the citizens of the Republic of Poland cannot obtain the Karta Polaka and enjoy in Poland larger entitlements than the citizens of the Republic of Poland.59

28As a “semi-citizenship”, the Karta Polaka impacts the very category of citizenship. This categorizing must then be understood as establishing a distinction between holders of the Karta Polaka on the one hand and other citizens of post-Soviet countries such as Ukraine or Belarus on the other. The Karta Polaka is a way of debordering the limits of Polish citizenship because it extends the scope of persons potentially benefiting from the offers of inclusion of the Polish welfare state to non-resident non-Polish citizens, who are, moreover, in the case of Ukraine and Belarus non-EU citizens. At the same time, the Karta Polaka also is a way of rebordering the limits of Polish citizenship as it establishes a categorical distinction; in this case between Ukrainian or Belarusian citizens whose “belonging to the Polish nation” has been officially confirmed and those not eligible for the Karta Polaka.

Loopholes in Fortress Europe: De-/Rebordering Schengen Territory

  • 60 Another case in point is the EU Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 which entitles EU member states to con (...)

29In this context, state territory plays a major role because all entitlements acquired through the Karta Polaka, and thus access to the welfare states' offers of inclusion, can be claimed only and exclusively on the territory of the Republic of Poland. Since late 2003, Poland is subject to the Schengen border regime and thus Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens—among them the Polish minority—are required to present a valid visa when entering Poland. The Schengen regime is a new dimension, a supranational addendum to Poland’s eastern border, making this national border even more complex. It is, however, of the utmost importance to understand that this new European dimension of the Polish border with Belarus and Ukraine is not a form of supranationalization completely replacing the national dimension. Instead, the European Union leaves some competences with regard to national citizenship laws but to some extent also with regard to visa policies within the competence of the member states60. Poland, for example, made use of this competence by introducing the Karta Polaka, which is in itself a way of debordering the oft-quoted “fortress Europe” by including non-Polish citizens but, at the same time, is drawing new lines of exclusion in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.

30The need for a kin-state law such as the Karta Polaka results from the ban on dual citizenship in former USSR republics such as Belarus and Ukraine, which impedes the maintenance of contact with Poland for Poles living in these countries: should they be eligible and apply for Polish citizenship, they would have to renounce their initial citizenship, thereby complicating their daily lives in their home country. This also became obvious during the legislative process. According to one deputy,

  • 61 Sejm deputy D. Pawłowiec “47. posiedzenie Sejmu w dniu 5 września 2007 r.: Punkt 9. porządku dzienn (...)

This impediment will become especially severe from 1 January 2008, when the Schengen regulations on visas for citizens of states remaining outside the European Union will come into effect. The forwarded draft law provides for the possibility to seek for an exemption from the fees for multiple entry visas to the Republic of Poland, or more widely, the entire European Union.61

  • 62 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 5.

31Consequently, for the Poles in Ukraine and Belarus access to affordable visas became a precondition for crossing the border to Poland. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the first entitlement listed in the Act on the Karta Polaka in Article 5 is the right “to seek for an exemption or reimbursement of the costs for reception and examination of the application for a national visa in order to enjoy the entitlements granted by the Karta Polaka”. The Explanatory Memorandum calls this “an extremely important entitlement because after the entry of the Republic of Poland to the ‘Schengen area’, the visa fees of dozens of Euros would for a remarkable number of ‘Poles in the East’ be an obstacle precluding their coming to Poland”62.

32The Karta Polaka is a special case insofar as the Polish state extends its offers of inclusion not only beyond its own state territory but also beyond the borders of the Schengen area. Although being subject to the Schengen visa regime, EU member states such as Poland have retained considerable scope with regard to controlling the inclusion and exclusion of persons via citizenship, the granting of which remains a prerogative of the nation-state. In this way, member states can undermine EU policies, that is, by opening the category of citizenship -albeit partially - to third country citizens, thus extending its offers of inclusion beyond the confines of EU citizenship. Given that dual citizenship is not a viable option for the Poles in Ukraine and Belarus, the Karta Polaka as a quasi-citizenship circumvents this prohibition by facilitating access to visas. It is in this way that Poland, firstly, is debordering the limits of Polish citizenship and residence entitlements but also, secondly, is debordering the Schengen border regime which is keeping third country citizens out of the EU’s, and in this way, also outside of Polish territory, the residence on which would be a precondition for being eligible for welfare state entitlements.

Legitimating Access: De-/Rebordering the Polish Nation

33From the above-said, it has become evident that the Karta Polaka is a means to mediate chances of inclusion into the Polish welfare state for non-resident non-citizens. In other words, neither citizenship nor place of residence serve as a justification of these persons’, albeit partial, inclusion into the Polish welfare state. However, this inclusion of non-resident non-citizens requires a specific legitimation. This is why I look at how the Karta Polaka legitimates the inclusion of Poles living abroad in the successor countries of the Soviet Union. I conceive of these differentiations as processes of debordering and rebordering of the category of the Polish nation, in particular the category of the “Poles in the East”. Focusing on the legitimating discourses accompanying this categorization process, I point out how these bordering processes take place.

  • 63 Projekt ustawy o Karcie Polaka i trybie stwierdzania przynależności do Narodu Polskiego osób narodo (...)
  • 64 See, e.g., A. Stelmachowski, “Biuletyn …”, op. cit., p. 10.
  • 65 “47. posiedzenie Sejmu …”, op. cit., p. 80.

34Originally, in the first draft Act on the Karta Polaka from 199963, the range of addressees was not limited to a specific group but the Act was directed to the global Polonia as a whole. Therefore, the fact that the number of potential beneficiaries of the law was limited to the Poles being citizens of one of the USSR successor states was criticized during the legislative process of the draft Act on the Karta Polaka from 200764. One deputy explicitly criticized that the Act “divides the Poles into better and worse, into those living east of Poland and the others”65. Hence, the Act on the Karta Polaka not only confirms the notion of a Polish nation transcending the confines of Polish citizenship - a notion also present in the Polish Constitution - but at the same time draws a line between those members of the Polish nation living in the East and those living in other parts of the world.

  • 66 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit.

35The Explanatory Memorandum66 accompanying the draft Act on the Karta Polaka lists four explanations for such a move, that is, for singling out a specific group among the global Polonia, the “Poles in the East”, and giving this group special attention on the part of the Polish state.

Moral Obligation

  • 67 Quote from the English translation of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland from 2 April 1997, (...)
  • 68 “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 13.

36As the Act’s preamble states, the Act is a realization of art. 6, par. 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, according to which: “The Republic of Poland shall provide assistance to Poles living abroad to maintain their links with the national cultural heritage” (my emphasis, B.S.)67. The text of the preamble continues that it is “fulfilling a moral obligation towards the Poles in the East, who lost their citizenship as a result of the changing fate of our Fatherland” (my emphasis, B.S.). During the first reading, Sejm deputy Andrzej Czuma pointed to the ambiguity of the preamble, which once addresses the Poles living abroad in a general manner, while referring to the “Poles in the East” later on. Fully in line with the idea of a moral obligation towards the “Poles in the East”, who live outside of Poland due the historical circumstances, Czuma asks for an explanation of the fact that the law is limiting the range of addressees to the “Poles in the East”68. Later in the legislative process, Czuma pointed out:

  • 69 “Biuletyn z posiedzenia Komisji Łączności z Polakami za Granicą (nr 36): Nr 2344/V kad.”, 06 Septem (...)

Those having lost Polish citizenship on the territories of the former USSR, those are people, who had lived before the war on Poland’s eastern territories, invaded by the Soviet Union. In a unilateral act, the authorities of the USSR abolished Polish citizenship, changing it into Soviet citizenship. This genocidal and illegal act has never been acknowledged by the authorities of the sovereign Republic [of Poland; B.S.]. According to Polish law, none of these persons lost Polish citizenship, which is why this formulation in the text of the preamble makes us ashamed.69

37In this way, besides underlining once again the singularity of the fate of the “Poles in the East” and thus legitimating the Polish state’s moral obligation towards this group amongst the Polonia, Czuma associates the issue of the Karta Polaka with the issue of citizenship. In this he is following the text of the preamble, according to which the Karta Polaka could be seen as a kind of compensation for those Poles abroad who could or should have Polish citizenship but do not have it and would have difficulties in obtaining it. It is in this way that the Karta Polaka can be understood as a semi-citizenship. Obviously, the Act on the Karta Polaka discriminates between those Poles being citizens of one of the USSR successor countries and those being citizens of other countries. In doing so, the Act establishes a separate category among the global Polonia, the “Poles in the East”. Following the reasoning of the law-maker, what makes the “Poles in the East” unique and thus eligible for a preferential treatment in comparison to Poles in other parts of the world, is the fact that they did not voluntarily choose to live beyond the confines of today’s Poland but found themselves in this particular situation due to the forced westward shift of Poland after the Second World War and the mass deportation of Poles to Siberia and Kazakhstan.

Material Situation

  • 70 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 2.
  • 71 Ibid., 4.

38Besides this moral obligation on historical grounds, a second line of argument for singling out the “Poles in the East” refers to this group’s difficult material situation. Following the text of the Explanatory Memorandum, it was poor material conditions that prevented the majority of the “Poles in the East” from maintaining “ties with the fatherland by driving to Poland and benefitting from the goods of culture and science”70. A second reason for “limiting the circle of addressees” lies in the “enormous disproportions in living standards between the Diaspora in the East and in other parts of the world”. In the consequence, the “Poles in the East” are the group most in need of “support on the part of the Polish State”71.

Political Conditions

  • 72 “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 5.
  • 73 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 3.

39A third aspect of the Polish state’s preferential treatment of the “Poles in the East” refers to the assumed difficult political conditions for Poles in the USSR successor countries, which would not allow for the cultivation and free expression of one’s Polishness. Accordingly, the Karta Polaka encompasses only persons being citizens of one of the successor countries of the Soviet Union because the Poles living there fell victim to Soviet persecution not least on grounds of their Polish nationality. Also after the breakdown of the USSR, “the Poles as a nationality group [grupa narodowościowa]” were amongst those “additionally afflicted by the social and economic transformations”72. In terms of these symbolic bordering processes, the Explanatory Memorandum acts on the assumption that national minorities in general are subject to a “process of de-nationalization”. The Karta Polaka is thus a means “of stopping, slowing down or reversing” this process by “tightening the compatriots’ ties with the fatherland”, a “political signal” that Poland would start treating seriously the Polish diaspora in the East73.

  • 74 See the statements by M. Błaszczak “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 4; J. M. Wójcik “47. posiedze (...)
  • 75 M. Dworczyk “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 23.
  • 76 See ibid.

40The fear of a de-nationalization of the “Poles in the East” was also mentioned several times during the legislative process74. Yet, it remains unclear what de-nationalization entails. What is clear, however, is that, from the law-maker’s point of view, the “threat of de-polonization” exists only for persons living beyond the borders of the Polish state: “With regard to people living in Poland such concerns do not exist. There is rather little concern that I […] or anybody else living in Poland would de-polonize. But people living in Ukraine, in Belarus, they could”75. Following this reasoning, “Polishness” appears as something attached to or at least strongly associated with the territory of the Polish state in its present shape. It is the lack of opportunities of getting into contact with Polish culture that makes the Poles living abroad prone to what the law-makers call “de-nationalization”. Therefore, one reason for offering the holders of the Karta Polaka free entry to state museums is to provide them opportunities to come into contact with Polish culture76.

  • 77 “47. posiedzenie Sejmu”, op. cit., p. 78.
  • 78 Apparently, this view on the Polish minorities in the East is resonating beyond party affiliations. (...)

41The observation of a de-nationalization of the Polish minorities in the USSR successor states to legitimate a preferential treatment of the “Poles in the East”, however, seems to be at odds if not in direct contradiction with other statements during the legislative process. According to Sejm deputy Piotr Krzywicki, “exactly these Poles [in the East] show a real patriotic attitude, they preserve their national consciousness and cultivate traditions and the language. Where they live, they make an effort to organize projects that allow for preserving national identity. Thus, the Karta Polaka is to help maintaining Polishness, strengthen the ties with the fatherland”77. Taking these two contradicting justifications together, it remains unclear whether the Karta Polaka is to serve as a compensatory measure to halt an on-going process of de-nationalization—of course, leaving aside that this de-nationalization is not further defined and it thus remains unclear what it entails and why it must be halted—or rather some kind of reward for those Poles preserving their Polishness abroad, even in the face of unfavourable conditions78.

42From the perspective of De-/Rebordering, concerns about a denationalization of the “Poles in the East” must be understood as symbolic bordering processes. In this case, a clear-cut line—fully congruent with current Polish state borders—is drawn to distinguish between those Poles living inside Poland and those living beyond the borders of the Polish state. While it remains unclear whether the “Poles in the East” are under a constant threat of de-nationalization or if they are rather the heroic outpost of Polishness in the East, both perspectives share a common understanding: the conditions for preserving Polishness inside Poland are much more favourable than those beyond the confines of the Polish state. On the other hand, as becomes clear from the legal text and the parliamentary debates, the Polish nation is imagined as a community transgressing (debordering) both the territorial borders of the Polish state and the limits of Polish citizenship.

Ban on Dual Citizenship

  • 79 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 4.

43A fourth reason that deemed it necessary to introduce the Karta Polaka is that the majority of USSR successor states imposed a ban on dual citizenship. Consequently, for members of the Polish minorities in countries such as Ukraine and Belarus, who do not plan to settle in Poland permanently, the acquisition of Polish citizenship is not a viable option as they would have to renounce their first citizenship. This would put Poles with Ukrainian or Belarusian passports at a disadvantage with fellow citizens when it comes to residence entitlements, political rights and access to the however scarce social security systems in Ukraine and Belarus. Following this line of argumentation, the Explanatory Memorandum states that because of the impossibility of obtaining a second citizenship, the members of the Polish minority living in the USSR successor countries would be bereft of the “possibility to manifest their national belonging, which leads to de-nationalization and a dramatic decrease in the number of persons of Polish descent”79. While the “denationalization argument” could be understood as a process of changing identities—that is, identifying with the majority instead of the Polish minority group—, the argument that the impossibility of obtaining Polish citizenship would reduce the number of persons of Polish descent is much more difficult to comprehend. But it does give evidence of how variable a category such as “persons of Polish descent in the USSR successor states” is in this context.

44From the perspective of De-/Rebordering, the Karta Polaka extends the symbolic borders of the Polish nation in order to include the members of the Polish minority in the USSR successor countries, the so-called “Poles in the East”. In this way, the solidarity group of the Polish nation is extended beyond the confines of the Polish state and, thus, the inclusion of the “Poles in the East” into the Polish welfare state is legitimated.

Conclusion

  • 80 Think of the gradual inclusion of guest workers in West Germany, the increasing number of people wi (...)

45This article used the example of the Karta Polaka to support the argument that kin-state laws function as a form of inclusion of individuals into the structures of the national welfare state. In general, as has been argued, the inclusion of individuals by the state follows an ideal model, namely a congruent configuration of the categories of citizenship, territory and nation. Deviations from this ideal model are, of course, possible and widespread but at the same time in need of being legitimated80. As the case of the Karta Polaka underlines, the legitimation processes involved affect these categories directly.

46Bommes’ systems-theoretical take on the state as a mediator of offers for the inclusion of individuals helps us understand that inclusion based on kin-state laws involves not only citizenship (as is suggested by the one-sided interpretation of kin-state statuses as “semi-” or “quasi-citizenship” by previous research) but also the categories of territory and nation. The concept of De-/Rebordering can help us trace the legitimation processes and categorial bordering practices involved in the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion underlying the attempts of nation-states to organize political communities in world society.

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Notes

1 I thank the two anonymous reviewers as well as Amandine Regamey for their helpful suggestions and comments on earlier versions of this article.

2 Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Dz.U. 2007 nr 180 poz. 1280, 07 September 2007. The term “Karta Polaka” knows numerous translations into English. The homepage of the Polish Prime Minister in its English version refers to it as “Polish Charter” (https://www.premier.gov.pl/en.html) while the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.msz.gov.pl/en) uses the term “Card of the Pole”. Moreover, in the English-language literature on the topic one finds also “Pole’s Card” or “Polish Card”. For reasons of terminological consistency, throughout this article I use the Polish term Karta Polaka.

3 While dual citizenship is not recognized in most post-Soviet states, including Belarus and Ukraine, some countries such as Armenia, Moldova and Russia allow for dual citizenship; see the country profiles on the European Union Observatory on Democracy (EUDO) web platform (http://globalcit.eu/country-profiles).

4 See Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Art. 3, para. 1, op. cit. (All translations from non-English sources are mine).

5 Eligible for the Karta Polaka are members of the Polish minority who are concomitantly citizens of one of the successor states of the USSR (i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, but also the EU member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), given that they fulfil the application criteria, i.e. sign a declaration of belonging to the Polish nation and give proof that at least one parent or grandparent or two great-grandparents were of Polish nationality or had Polish citizenship. Alternatively, the applicant can present an attestation by a Polonia organization confirming his activity for Polish language and culture. In addition, the applicant must have at least basic Polish language skills and be familiar with and maintain Polish customs and traditions.

6 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship, Nationalising Political Space: A Framework for Interpreting the Hungarian ‘Status Law’ as a New Form of Kin-state Policy in Central and Eastern Europe,” in Z. Kántor et al (Eds), The Hungarian Status Law: Nation Building and/or Minority Protection, Sapporo, Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, 2004, pp. 177–238, (here p. 197).

7 A. Kicinger and I. Koryś, “The Case of Poland,” in G. Zincone et al (Eds) Migration Policymaking in Europe: The Dynamics of Actors and Contexts in Past and Present, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2011, pp. 347–376, (here p. 355).

8 R. Bauböck, “Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation: A Normative Evaluation of External Voting”, Fordham Law Review Vol. 75, # 5, 2007, pp. 2393–2447, p. 2396.

9 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 183.

10 T. Faist (Ed.), Dual Citizenship in Europe: From Nationhood to Societal Integration, Aldershot, UK, Ashgate, 2007.

11 R. Bauböck, “The Rights and Duties of External Citizenship”, Citizenship Studies, Vol. 13, # 5, 2009, pp. 475–499.

12 T. Hammar, Democracy and the Nation State: Aliens, Denizens, and Citizens in a World of International Migration, Aldershot (UK), Avebury, 1990. “Denizenship” is a status referring to the inclusion of (permanently) resident non-citizens into the structures of the welfare state.

13 See also D. Owen, “Resident Aliens, Non-Resident Citizens and Voting Rights: Towards a Pluralist Theory of Transnational Political Equality and Modes of Political Belonging,” in G. Calder et al. (Eds) Citizenship Acquisition and National Belonging: Migration, Membership and the Liberal Democratic State, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, pp. 52–73.

14 As specified in Art. 2, par. 4, “The Karta Polaka can be granted exclusively to persons having neither Polish citizenship nor a settlement permit for the territory of the Republic of Poland.”

15 E. F. Isin and B. S. Turner, “Citizenship Studies: An Introduction,” in E. F. Isin and B. S. Turner (Eds), Handbook of Citizenship Studies, London, Sage, 2002, pp. 1–10, (here p. 3).

16 M. Bommes, Migration und nationaler Wohlfahrtsstaat: Ein differenzierungstheoretischer Entwurf, Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag, 1999, p. 130; N. Luhmann, Politische Theorie im Wohlfahrtsstaat, München, Olzog, 1981, pp. 25–28.

17 See N. Luhmann, “Globalization or World Society: How to Conceive of Modern Society?”, International Review of Sociology, Vol. 7, # 1, 1997, pp. 67–79.

18 H.-G. Moeller, Luhmann Explained: From Souls to Systems, Chicago, Open Court, 2006, p. 52.

19 In this context, it must be pointed out that what is generally labelled as nation-state is first and foremost a territorial state “because territorial delimitation antedated the policy of nation formation, and the latter, as a blanket principle, has as yet not been fully realised”, whereas the principle of territoriality has been diffused on a global scale; see M. Albert and L. Brock, “De-bordering the World of States. New Spaces in International Relations,” in M. Albert et al. (Eds), Civilizing World Politics: Society and Community Beyond the State, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000, pp. 19–43, (here p. 22).

20 N. Luhmann, Die Politik der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp, 2002, p. 84.

21 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 125.

22 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., pp. 124–125.

23 B. Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 185.

24 B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, Verso, 2006.

25 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 131.

26 See Luhmann, Die Politik, op. cit., p. 254.

27 M. Bommes, Migration …, op. cit., p. 131. In a nation-state, this “collective” is the nation, at least semantically. Of course, empirical evidence shows that not only nationals or citizens are eligible for the welfare states' offers of inclusion. However, those “divergences” from the national solidarity principle are in need of being discursively legitimated. As Bommes puts it, the inclusion of non-national groups or individuals into the national welfare state system is generally possible. From a political point of view, however, this inclusion has to be justified and legitimated in relation to the demands and entitlements of the nation (Ibid., p. 132).

28 M. Albert and L. Brock, “De-bordering”, op. cit.

29 Ibid., p. 20.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid., pp. 39–40.

32 B. Sendhardt, “Border Types and Bordering Processes: A Theoretical Approach to the EU/Polish-Ukrainian Border as a Multi-dimensional Phenomenon,” in A. Lechevalier and J. Wielgohs (Eds) Borders and Border Regions in Europe: Changes, Challenges and Chances, Bielefeld, Transcript, 2013, pp. 21–43.

33 The Poles in the East did not migrate to the countries in which they live today, but were either “crossed by the border” (Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine) as it was mentioned during the legislative process or forcefully deported (Kazakhstan). For this phenomenon, Brubaker coined the term “accidental diasporas” (see R. Brubaker, “Accidental Diasporas and External ‘Homelands’ in Central and Eastern Europe: Past and Present”, Political Science Series, Institute for Advanced Studies, 2000). I consider the, otherwise interesting, distinction between diasporas (a) as a result of migration and (b) as a result of border changes (see also C. King, “Introduction: Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Postcommunism,” in C. King and N. Melvin (Eds.) Nations Abroad: Diaspora Politics and International Relations in the Former Soviet Union, Boulder: Westview Press, 1998, pp. 1–25) not very helpful for the purpose of this article, because by underlining difference, the distinction obscures a striking commonality: both types of diasporas affect and are affected by the ideal configuration of the categories “citizenship”, “territory” and “nation”.

34 See Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia w liczbach”, http://swp4.wspolnotapolska.org.pl/polonia_w_liczbach.html (accessed 21 May 2017).

35 See Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, “Priorytety polskiej polityki zagranicznej: 2012-2016”, 2012, http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/aa1c4aec-a52f-45a7-96e5-06658e73bb4e:JCR (accessed 21 May 2017).

36 See Z. A. Kruszewski, “The Revival of the Polish Diaspora in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine”, The Polish Review, Vol. 41, # 3, 1996, pp. 293–308.

37 See T. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, London, Vintage, 2011, pp. 128–130.

38 See J. Jagielski and D. Pudzianowska, Ustawa o Karcie Polaka, Warszawa, Wolters Kluwer Polska, 2008, p. 51.

39 Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia …”, op. cit.

40 Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, “Atlas polskiej obecności za granicą,” http://www.msz.gov.pl/pl/polityka_zagraniczna/polonia/atlas_polskiej_obecnosci_w_swiecie/ (accessed 21 May 2017), 2015, pp. 226, 54.

41 Ibid., p. 226.

42 Stowarzyszenie “Współnota Polska”, “Polonia …”, op. cit.

43 M. Kowalski, “Raport z badań na temat posiadaczy Karty Polaka,” in M. Dworczyk (Ed.) Odkryte karty historii: Podsumowanie ustawy o Karcie Polaka, Warszawa, Fundacja Wolność i Demokracja, 2015, pp. 25–60, (here p. 27).

44 Fowler, “Fuzzing Citizenship …”, op. cit., p. 208.

45 Ibid., p. 209.

46 The “two-step implementation” of the Schengen regulations by the new member states comprised, firstly, of “flanking measures” such as the introduction of visas for non-EU neighbours even before EU accession on 1 May 2004, and, secondly, of the full application of the Schengen acquis from 21 December 2007 onwards; see J. Apap and A. Tchorbadjiyska, What About the Neighbours? The Impact of Schengen Along the EU’s External Borders, CEPS working document 210, Brussels, CEPS, 2004.

47 Council of the European Union, “Council Regulation of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement”, Official Journal of the European Union, 21 March 2001 (EC), # 539/2001. See also E. Guild and D. Bigo, “Policing at a Distance: Schengen Visa Policies,” in D. Bigo and E. Guild (Eds), Controlling Frontiers: Free Movement into and within Europe, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, pp. 203–227.

48 “Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code)”, Official Journal of the European Union, 2006.

49 Polish National Contact Point to the European Migration Network, “Visa policy as migration channel in Poland: National report (reported period 2004-2010”, Ministry of the Interior, Migration Policy Department, 2012, pp. 16–17.

50 “Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas”, Official Journal of the European Union, 18 December 2007.

51 See O. Wasilewska, “Analysis of the Visa Policies of the Visegrad Countries: Relative Openness. Polish Visa Policy towards Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine”, Warsaw, Stefan Batory Foundation, 2009, p. 6. In 2007, the average income in Ukraine was about 1350 hryvnia per month, then roughly equalling 180 Euros (http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua/operativ/operativ2007/gdn/reg_zp_m/reg_zp_m_u/reg_zpm07_u.htm, accessed 21 May 2017). That is, the mere visa fee equalled almost one fifth of an average monthly income. To this one must add the costs for travelling to the place of the consulate – now most probably two times – as well as expenses for accommodation.

52 On the conditions for acquiring Polish citizenship see T. Sieniow (Ed.), Nabywanie obywatelstwa polskiego: The Acquisition of Polish Citizenship, Lublin, Fundacja Instytut na rzecz Państwa Prawa, 2013; C. Dumbrava, Comparative Report: Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe, San Domenico di Fiesole, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 2017.

53 Ustawa z dnia 2 kwietnia 2009 r. o obywatelstwie polskim, Dz.U. 2012 poz. 161; Ustawa z dnia 9 listopada 2000 r. o repatriacji, Dz. U. 2000 Nr 106 poz. 1118; Ustawa z dnia 7 września 2007 r. o Karcie Polaka, Dz.U. 2007 nr 180 poz. 1280.

54 “Uzasadnienie rządowego projektu ustawy – Karta Polaka”, 16 June 2007.

55 Ibid.

56 In 2007, when the Act on the Karta Polaka was discussed in the Sejm, third country citizens with a long-term residence permit had already the right to work and set up a company and the right to social assistance; see D. Pudzianowska, Obywatelstwo w procesie zmian, Warszawa, Wolters Kluwer Polska, 2013, pp. 247–248.

57 Sejm deputy J. Senyszyn, “Biuletyn z posiedzenia Komisji Łączności z Polakami za Granicą (nr 35): Nr 2308/V kad.”, 28 August 2007, pp. 22–23.

58 As is argued in the Act’s Explanatory Memorandum, free entry to state museums serves “to propagate Polish culture and traditions among the holders of the Karta Polaka”; “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 5.

59 Sejm deputy J. Senyszyn “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 27.

60 Another case in point is the EU Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 which entitles EU member states to conclude agreements on Local Border Traffic with third countries.

61 Sejm deputy D. Pawłowiec “47. posiedzenie Sejmu w dniu 5 września 2007 r.: Punkt 9. porządku dziennego: Sprawozdanie Komisji Łączności z Polakami za Granicą o rządowym projekcie ustawy Karta Polaka”, Sprawozdania stenograficzne, 05 September 2007, p. 83.

62 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 5.

63 Projekt ustawy o Karcie Polaka i trybie stwierdzania przynależności do Narodu Polskiego osób narodowości polskiej lub polskiego pochodzenia, Senat RP, Druk nr 1206, 28 April 1999.

64 See, e.g., A. Stelmachowski, “Biuletyn …”, op. cit., p. 10.

65 “47. posiedzenie Sejmu …”, op. cit., p. 80.

66 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit.

67 Quote from the English translation of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland from 2 April 1997, http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm (accessed 21 May 2017)..

68 “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 13.

69 “Biuletyn z posiedzenia Komisji Łączności z Polakami za Granicą (nr 36): Nr 2344/V kad.”, 06 September 2007, p. 6.

70 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 2.

71 Ibid., 4.

72 “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 5.

73 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 3.

74 See the statements by M. Błaszczak “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 4; J. M. Wójcik “47. posiedzenie Sejmu”, op. cit., p. 82; D. Pawłowiec, op. cit., p. 83.

75 M. Dworczyk “Biuletyn … (nr 35)”, op. cit., p. 23.

76 See ibid.

77 “47. posiedzenie Sejmu”, op. cit., p. 78.

78 Apparently, this view on the Polish minorities in the East is resonating beyond party affiliations. While the legislative debate on the alleged de-nationalization of the Poles abroad was largely dominated by representatives of the then nationalist-conservative-populist coalition of Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS), Samoobrona (Self-Defence) and the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the following coalition between the liberal-conservative Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelstwa, PO) and the agrarian Polish People’s Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL) voiced similar views. In a 2012 Report on the situation of the Polonia and the Poles abroad, the authors name the “[c]rumbling of the Polish community (mainly in the East and the South of Ukraine) and the ongoing reluctance to disclose their Polish descent” as one of the most important problems of the Polish diaspora in Ukraine. Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, “Raport o sytuacji Polonii i Polaków za granicą 2012”, 2013, http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/b8b3993a-2df7-408b-a4c4-20b7ef465d34:JCR (accessed 21 May 2017), p. 259.

79 “Uzasadnienie …”, op. cit., p. 4.

80 Think of the gradual inclusion of guest workers in West Germany, the increasing number of people with multiple citizenships and the rise of transnational communities.

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References

Electronic reference

Bastian Sendhardt, « Theorizing the Karta Polaka », The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [Online], Issue 18 | 2017, Online since 17 January 2018, connection on 24 February 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/pipss/4348

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About the author

Bastian Sendhardt

Universität der Bundeswehr Munich

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CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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