It will come as a surprise to no-one that the effects of this pandemic will be devastating and long-lasting. In Poland, this has manifested in an increase in authoritarian tendencies within their politics with an ultra-conservative agenda. The chaos that came with the pandemic has caused a collapse of normality and given rise to a dangerous form of populism that could define this era of electoral politics for Poland.
Poland managed to avoid catastrophe in the first wave of the pandemic with a low death rate compared to countries like America and the UK, but the second wave hit them harder, and they recently reached 20,000 deaths. Things were worsened by the recent re-election of the proto-strongman Andrezej Duda whose populism and mismanagement has undoubtedly worsened the crisis in which Poland finds itself. Recently Hungary and Poland pledged to stand together against the EU relief fund for COVID, and Duda's Law and Justice party has a history of furthering conspiracy theories which have added fuel to the spread of this virus.
This pandemic has also furthered the spread of bigotry in Polish politics. Duda’s government had already created LGBT free zones and rolled back rights for queer people across the country, but the virus has created further space for this hate to fester. Poland has now been voted the worst place in Europe to be Gay or Trans. Poland had a serious homophobia issue long before the pandemic hit. However, the rise of conspiracies surrounding it combined with an already toxic environment has made it a dangerous place to be openly queer.
You don’t have to look at America to see that right-wing populism and a global crisis isn’t a good mix. With cases in Poland skyrocketing and another election years away it’s clear that the crisis for Poland won’t end when the vaccine comes.