Maciej Stępka - Agata Mazurkiewicz - Marcin Zubek

Local Spoilers and Pathways to Reconciliation: The Polish Perspective on the Polish-Ukrainian Relations in the Borderlands

(Lokálne nápovede a cesty k zmiereniu: Poľská perspektíva poľsko-ukrajinských vzťahov v pohraničných oblastiach)

 Politické vedy, Volume 22, Number 4/2019, pages 8-32



Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
STĘPKA, M. – MAZURKIEWICZ, A. - ZUBEK, M. 2019. Local Spoilers and Pathways to Reconciliation: The Polish Perspective on the Polish-Ukrainian Relations in the Borderlands. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 22, No. 4, 2019. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 8-32. Available at:


In the last three decades Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation has taken a structured and regular form of an international dialogue dominated and controlled by central governments, which simultaneously diminished the importance of the local perspective. Yet, it is the regional level where the Polish-Ukrainian tensions have originally escalated at, and the local borderlands’ communities have always played a crucial role in the inter-ethnic relations. That is why this article tackled the topic of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation as framed by the Polish borderlands’ elites, framing it with three dimensions of reconciliation: encounters, relationship, and innovation. It critically addressed the intractable tensions between Poles and Ukrainians in the borderlands, exploring the contemporary dynamics of distrust, narrowness and historical resentments which are continuously present in the local Polish narrative and stand in the way of reconciliation. The role of the European integration was viewed as an important context and a double-edged sword in the Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation. The article contended that it is crucial to look at Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation beyond the state-level and consider that without the involvement of the borderlands and their perspective, the process is still on a rocky road. The findings were based on primary and secondary sources, including semi-structured interviews conducted in the Polish-Ukrainian borderlands.

Key words: reconciliation, borderlands, Polish-Ukrainian relations, local elites, European integration

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