One of the persistent problems in the Eastern Europe is the ambiguity of what it means to be pro-western: while in the west the term is synonymous with accepting western values, in the Eastern Europe it is often understood as being anti-Russian. In the same time, the old Soviet/communist/totalitarian mindset persists in the form of the support for right-wing policies and movements - such as AfD in Germany (whose base of support is mainly in eastern Germany) or the rise of Viktor Orban in Hungary (who is largely viewed as inspiration for Donald Trump.)
Poland has its share of problems on this front, notably:
As the result Poland was sanctioned by the European Union, the latest sanctions being adopted just before the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.
Thus, the Poland's strong anti-Russian stance and reviving claims against Germany
- on the one hand, are grounded in justified grievances about past mistreatment ^1.
- On the other hand, they serve to distract from Poland's own problems with democracy and human rights, and perhaps even to put the pressure on the European Union to ease the sanctions, due to the Poland's key status (geographical and political) in confronting Russia, and due to the German sense of guilt over the WW2 crimes, compounded by German reluctance to adopt strong anti-Russian stance, due to the country's dependence on the Russian gas.
This politics is arguably successful, as we can conclude from the failed non-confidence vote against the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this June:
According to them, the EU Commission chief should be held to account for having pushed to give the green light to the Polish recovery plan despite Warsaw’s failings on the rule of law – a fundamental point of disagreement between Poland and the Commission, which had blocked the EU funds allocated to Warsaw for over a year.
If von der Leyen “continues to refuse to seriously apply the conditionality rules on the rule of law,” which aim to make the payment of EU funds conditional on member states’ strict respect of fundamental rights, “we will withdraw our support,” Verhofstadt said on Monday.
^1 Hundreds of thousands of Polish were killed by Nazis and Soviets, often not in a battle, but summarily executed (e.g., see Katyn). Even before that the country had often been subject of cynical treatment by its bigger neighbors, see Partitions of Poland.