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The crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. A sociologist: this is a difficult situation, also for service employees

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As a result of the crisis on the border with Belarus, the employees of the services are also subjected to enormous pressure, they experience situations that traumatize them – said the sociologist, dr hab. Przemysław Sadura. In his opinion, the officers complain about the lack of adequate psychological support. – The uniforms are put in a very complex situation – admitted a sociologist, Dr. Sylwia Urbańska.

There is a migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, triggered by the regime of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenka. It is about an organized action of bringing migrants to Belarus, so that they later try to cross the border with Poland illegally.


Sociologists from the University of Warsaw, Dr. Sylwia Urbańska and Dr. hab. Przemysław Sadura.

The crisis at the border is “a difficult situation, also for the employees of the services”

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– The situation is such that the employees of the services, soldiers, guards, like everyone on the border, are subjected to enormous pressure, experiencing situations that traumatize them. These are situations in which, on the one hand, they have to act against moral reflexes, the will to help (…). On the other hand, for several weeks we have been observing an intensification of group situations of attempts to cross the border by force, which is also a different kind of stressful situation for people who secure the border because it is a real threat to health – noted Sadura.

As he noted, “this is also a difficult situation for the employees of the services.” – What is striking, however, is the complete psychological “neglect” of the service employees. They complained that they did not have psychological support, they were left alone with these problems – he said.

“Uniforms are put in a very complex situation”

According to Dr. Urbańska, “the uniforms are put in a very complex situation”. – They must obey orders that violate basic human rights. Some of the uniforms we spoke to emphasized that they did not arrange something like that. Some of them, who feel internal resistance, are very much against them, she added.

– On the other hand, the part of society that supports refugees has a very negative view of all services as a whole – she noted.

Urbańska referred to the situation of the communities living in the border region. – Inhabitants who experience this crisis directly (…) feel completely abandoned. They feel that the responsibility for human life and health has been pushed to them. They are responsible for this life and health. They bear the emotional and financial costs of providing care, on the other hand, this help is criminalized and they are constantly intimidated, she said.

“Fear causes the compassion of the inhabitants to decrease significantly”

Sadura was asked if the officers were supported by local residents. – The Border Guard could always count on the support of local communities. The rangers themselves are often recruited from these communities. (…) We saw a lot of trust during the first research trip in early September. Then the guards could count on the great support of local informants. People informed about every suspicious situation – he said.

– It has changed in the months that have passed. The information that pushing into the forest, into the swamps, to the Belarusian side concerns not only such obvious situations, but also concerns people who previously benefited from care in hospitals and are taken from the hospital to the forest, these stories caused that the mood began to change – he explained.

He noted, however, that “on the other hand, pictures of desperate, aggressive refugees trying to cross the border by force are images that inspire fear”. – This fear causes the readiness, openness and compassion of the inhabitants to significantly decrease. Fear causes the actions of the guard and the army to be perceived as legitimate – he added.

A state of emergency on the eastern borderPAP

Main photo source: Wojska Obrony T Terrialny / PAP

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