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My Experience in Poland (compared to Germany)


Lyzko 24 | 6,684
25 Sep 2017 #61
@kaprys,

In case you haven't noticed, bribery's not exactly something we talk about, especially in public:-) One certainly can't deny its existence, since it is done, as the German puts it "unter der Hand" aka "under the table, i.e. in secret. No one comes out and announces that they just paid a kickback to get a job.

However, here as elsewhere, the Catholic Church and certain routine clerical civil service jobs seem to go together with a wink and a nod from the monsignor to the local gov't. official.

The crying pity is that you don't seem to know what goes on your own country; it's been going on there for a while, you merely never picked up on it.

Someday, you will.

In Germany, my experience is that things are generally more straightforward and above board in business.
G (undercover)
25 Sep 2017 #62
EU membership has changed the mentality a lot.

Ah you "expats". Sometimes I'm just speechless :)))
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Sep 2017 #63
@delphiandomine
Isn't United Russia Putin's party? Or do you mean Russian National Unity?
kaprys 2 | 1,889
26 Sep 2017 #64
@Lyzko
Bribery happens everywhere. Some find it acceptable. I don't. There are other people like me. You seem to be fine with it, though.
And you're even an expert on the Catholic Church influence on local government here in Poland. I'm in awe ;)
Atch 17 | 2,904
26 Sep 2017 #65
In fairness Kaprys it wasn't Lyzko who started this line of thinking. It was the OP with this gem:

I have no problem with corruption in government if it means having to grease a few palms to get paperwork processed faster.

So if you're going to have a go at anyone, start with him. Of course Lyzko is not 'ok' with bribery but the OP very much is, to the extent that he would happily collude with it if it's to his advantage to do so. Now that is something that you as a Pole should be taking serious issue with as the guy is suggesting he would do this in your country and seems to think that it's common practice in Poland in the same way as it is in Banana Republics.

@Lyzko, I would say that bribing minor civil servants to process paperwork is uncommon in Poland. Bribery at a higher level, for example property developers handing over brown envelopes to get planning permission, that sort of thing very much goes on everywhere to some degree. But I wouldn't think Poland is much worse than most civilised nations in that respect.
Atch 17 | 2,904
26 Sep 2017 #66
Ok now I took a quick look at the Global Corruption index for Europe which has been compiled by Transparencey International since 2003. It's based on interviews with ordinary people about their perceptions/experiences of dealing with their governments. For the bribery section last year, the findings were that for example 0% of UK citizens reported paying a bribe to a public servant, Sweden 1%, in Poland it was 7%, Germany 3%, Czech Republic 9%, Hungary an impressive 22% (shocking really for an EU country), Romania 29%. It gets worse and worse as you go futher east and out of the EU with Moldova managing 42% so pretty much what one would expect really.
kaprys 2 | 1,889
26 Sep 2017 #67
@Atch
I did talk about foreigners talking about bribery in Poland in #56. In that sense Lyzko and Alltimegreat are pretty much the same. It's ridiculous how they make such general comments about Poland having spent so little time here.
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Sep 2017 #68
I understood Lyzko's original comment about the bogus bureaucracy to mean that I'll need to deal woth corrupt officials if I move to Poland. In response to that I wrote that I can cope with that. I never said I believe Poland is corrupt nor that I support bribery, only that I would do it if that's the way things are done in Poland.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
26 Sep 2017 #69
Ah you "expats". Sometimes I'm just speechless :)))

I've been here for a long time. I've had to deal with all kinds of government offices, including during the long and complicated process of buying land and building a house. Perhaps speechless would suit you sometimes.
mafketis 21 | 7,411
26 Sep 2017 #70
I understood Lyzko's original comment about the bogus bureaucracy to mean that I'll need to deal woth corrupt officials if I move to Poland

He knows less about living in Poland than you do. Don't listen to him. I've lived over 20 years in Poland and never paid a bribe.

From what I can tell bribes are limited to certain areas, anything to do with cars (especially importing them) or drivers licenses (the system used to be completely corrupt but I think it's better now?) and dodgy construction (builing first and trying to get the permit after).
nothanks - | 640
26 Sep 2017 #71
Alltimegreat1,

I enjoyed reading your experience. Nice to have you onboard here!
Ziemowit 12 | 3,591
26 Sep 2017 #72
Hungary an impressive 22% (shocking really for an EU country)

If you read some press reports describing the present political system under Orban, a supposed political friend of Our Dearest Leader Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński, you wouldn't be surprised at all. Such articles only occasionally appear in the Polish press and I doubt if they reach the press or social media in the so-called 'rotten' West. Hungary is simply too small a country to pay attention to that.

Poland has not been imitating Hungary in creating such a system so far. But never say 'never' as the saying goes. The democracy under PiS goes on pretty much unchanged so far despite complaints from Brussels. Changes in the judiciary system may be a test for it, but time can only show if the courts in future are abused for political benefits or if it is a genuine reform aimed at eradicating the cliques which make part of the judiciary system really rotten. Anyway, there are commentators in Poland who say that as soon as the PiS people start to have greasy hands, it will be the end of that party in power. On the other hand, the example of Orban's Hungary shows that the system can slowly evolve to the extent that the equality in law (równość wobec prawa) or equality in economic activity may one day become strictly regulated by the ruling party.
Atch 17 | 2,904
26 Sep 2017 #73
I doubt if they reach the press or social media in the so-called 'rotten' West. Hungary is simply too small a country to pay attention to that.

Oh I know how bad Hungary is but it is shocking that an EU country can get away with that kind of thing. Unfortunately that's the result of the EU being naive enough to think that post-Communist countries could change within a couple of decades, to a way of thinking which has taken about 150 years to evolve in Western Europe. The EU believed that the initial eagerness in the former Eastern Bloc to embrace democracy and take their place in a 'free' Europe would be enough to sustain reforms but it isn't and the EU didn't have the foresight to put safeguards in place which could be easily activated at the first signs of trouble. Now they're paying the price with the current mess which they are still fruitlessly trying to resolve with 'dialogue'.

There are actually loads of articles about Hungary and it's often mentioned in the same breath as Poland. There are serious concerns out there about Hungary and Poland leading the way to a mass 'rebellion' by other newer EU members and causing permanent damage to the union. You often refer to countries being too small to matter Ziem but it's not their size that counts. It's their influence. A small country can be suprisingly powerful.
mafketis 21 | 7,411
26 Sep 2017 #74
A small country can be suprisingly powerful.

I love Hungary (Orban... not so mcuh) and one of the big differences is that Hungary seems to have a Big Country Attitude while Poland often has a Small Country Attitude. It's hard to express, but in many ways Hungary still thinks of itself as a major power and Poland... doesn't.

EU believed that the initial eagerness in the former Eastern Bloc to embrace democracy and take their place in a 'free' Europe would be enough to sustain reforms

Well in the case of Hungary, the country was devastated by the Gyurcsány years (that's exactly how Hungarians I know describe it, imagine if PO was as bad as PiSites always say it was Gyurcsány was worse) and the runaway corruption/incompetence of that government made it very possible for Orban to retake power.

I don't worry about PiS as neo-Orbanites I worry about their venal corruption and PRL style incompetence blowing up and opening the door for something far worse...
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
26 Sep 2017 #75
I weep for the younger generation's lack of geography and history...

not sure it is even the 'younger generation' tbh.
spiritus 67 | 664
26 Sep 2017 #76
I understood Lyzko's original comment about the bogus bureaucracy to mean that I'll need to deal woth corrupt officials if I move to Poland

And this is how I also understood your comment in the light of you clarifying it already in an earlier post.

Atch-please cut some slack for new members especially when they clarify themselves as articulately as Alltimegreat1 has done.
Atch 17 | 2,904
26 Sep 2017 #77
I wasn't having a go at him just for the sake of being difficult. I just thought it was a daft thing to say, that he wouldn't have a problem greasing palms to get things done, if that were the custom in Poland. What normal person actually makes a deliberate decision to move to a country which might be that corrupt because he thinks it would be 'better' to live in than his own homeland which is presumably free from such practices. It's also annoying because it smacks of that kind of patronizing ignorance which supposes that such things would be the norm in Poland. The bottom line is that he's what he's really saying is that he would accept it as a reasonable price to pay for living in a country that's still predominantly white and Christian but that's a poor basis on which to form a plan to move to another country especially as there's no guarantee that Poland will remain untouched by immigration. It may do so under the present government but they won't remain in power forever.
spiritus 67 | 664
26 Sep 2017 #78
@Atch

He did go on to clarify that he would have no problem in having to "deal with corruption" to get things done if that were necessary. It's a very idealistic world you paint but sadly in the real world we sometimes have to conform to the cultural "traditions" even though we may rail against the things that some of us have to do.

There is no guarantee that Poland won't be touched by immigration but it's safe to say that compared to many European countries then Poland is regarded as one of the final bastions of a multi-cultural-less society.
Atch 17 | 2,904
26 Sep 2017 #79
we may rail against the things that some of us have to do

But the whole point is that he doesn't have to. He would be choosing to. He doesn't have to relocate to a country that he suspects might be corrupt.

Poland is regarded as one of the final bastions of a multi-cultural-less society

That's not a sound basis on which to up sticks and move to another country.
spiritus 67 | 664
26 Sep 2017 #80
He doesn't have to relocate to a country that he suspects might be corrupt.

That's a very broad statement to make. Are there elements within Polish society that are corrupt ? Yes. Would I extend that to declare that Poland is corrupt ? No.

Corruption occurs in every country in the world. Places like the UK are just better at covering it up as it's become institutionalised and harder to unearth but it still goes on. He didn't say he wants to move to Poland because it is corrupt but in spite of the corruption.

That's not a sound basis on which to up sticks and move to another country

Don't underestimate how people feel about forced multi-culturism. I don't think Poland is considered yet to be a place to migrate to but things could change.
Lyzko 24 | 6,684
26 Sep 2017 #81
Poles here in the States are definitely though black marketeers, and big time as well! Explain then why at many offices, the blacks, American-born Hispanics, Asians, and assorted non-European others, typically lose their jobs during tough times, while the Poles and Russians always seem to keep theirs, eh?

Many of the latter are in fact, as regards English skill anyway, far less qualified than the average African-American (including those from Guyana or the Caribbean!), Hispanic or Asian, but somehow, it never seems to matter.

The answer is bribery, pure and simple. During the Communist Era, if a Pole, Russian, Romanian etc. tried to be "honest" and straightforward, they wouldn't, likely couldn't survive. This is history which anyone who's studied it would already know.

@Maf
While I'm trying hard not to doubt you, if you actually accepted a bribe (then again, foreigners are exempt from certain local practices), would you be foolhardy enough to talk about it publically??!
Roger5 1 | 1,458
26 Sep 2017 #82
would you be foolhardy enough to talk about it publically??!

Probably not, but those of us who live in Poland would hear from our friends, family and contacts if they paid bribes. As has been said above, govt. contracts, etc. have always been open to abuse, but on a day-to-day level for ordinary folk, bribery does not happen on any significant scale. It certainly used to, and I could go into detail about that, but there has been a very significant change since Poland joined the EU.
mafketis 21 | 7,411
26 Sep 2017 #83
would you be foolhardy enough to talk about it publically??!

Again, you know nothing of Poland (as lived on a day to day basis). It certainly didn't used to be rare at all for those people who have been cornered into paying bribes to tell people about it. I've heard of it (again, mostly things like cars and building permits that don't don't apply to me).
spiritus 67 | 664
26 Sep 2017 #84
@mafketis

It's generous of you to ignore the outlandish claim that Lyzko just made. He's saying that Poles (and Russians) bribe employers in the United States to ensure they are not made redundant when times are tough. Wonder how that works :)

Laughable !
kaprys 2 | 1,889
26 Sep 2017 #85
@Lyzko
What you have just said is that bribery exists in the States. You accuse Poles and Russians of bribing others. But there are obviously two parties involved. So are you saying American officials are dishonest? Perhaps you should report it somewhere. Why haven't you?

Why don't you ever listen to people who actually know things like mafketis?

edit: I can see spiritus has just come to the same conclusion ;)
mafketis 21 | 7,411
26 Sep 2017 #86
He's saying that Poles (and Russians) bribe employers in the United States to ensure they are not made redundant when times are tough. Wonder how that works :)

I sometimes wonder if he's ever actually met a Polish person... I have heard of some.... unsavory practices among Poles in the US. Many years ago (90s) a friend won the greencard lottery and was looking for employment (in the NYC area) that didn't need great language skills since her English was very limited (since improved). Anyhoo, she thought maybe working as a maid might be an idea and she found out that getting hired wasn't up to the employers as access to Polish cleaning ladies was controlled by a kind of maid mafia. If she wanted a job she had to 'buy' it from a cleaning lady who was quitting (the usual price was two or three months average income). She gave up on that idea.

I've also heard of a lot worse (she said the movie Szczęśliwego Nowego Jorku was nowhere near as bad as the reality on the street in Greenpoint), but part of the point is that these were practices that would not be found/allowed in Poland.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,734
26 Sep 2017 #87
but part of the point is that these were practices that would not be found/allowed in Poland.

There was one thing that I'm familiar with - Poles in 2004 would place adverts in newspapers/etc, offering some seemingly easy work - all you had to do was get to Victoria Coach Station in London, sometimes even with the bus ticket provided. The gangs would then take the victims to work in factories and farms, while keeping most of their wages. "Accommodation" would be provided along with food, but it would be very substandard stuff - they were simply taking advantage of people being ignorant as to the real situation there, especially as the victims were often naive people from small towns and villages.

He's saying that Poles (and Russians) bribe employers in the United States to ensure they are not made redundant when times are tough. Wonder how that works :)

Actually, that was a common practice in some countries, and it's quite possible that Polish companies in the US did the same thing. For instance, during the Bosnian War, state-owned companies were often dormant - and what happened was that savvy people paid off the management during the war to make sure that they had a job once it finished.

I woudn't be surprised if kickbacks were expected in the chaotic early 1990's in Russia as well, though as far as I know, it wasn't a common practice in Poland. Bribing someone to *get* a job was widespread though, and until the introduction of the standardised Matura, bribery to get into university courses was routine.

These days? I wouldn't give a bribe, nor would I expect anyone to ask for one. The anti-corruption authorities are everywhere.
G (undercover)
26 Sep 2017 #88
I've been here for a long time.

And you still don't have a clue. Italy (one of the founding member of EU) has huge problems with corruption. Even Gerries are far from saints. You madmen will soon claim that the sun is rising thanks to the EU. Type into google "Rywin gate" and "CBA" then use google translate and maybe you will get some idea why and how corruption in Poland was reduced.
Lyzko 24 | 6,684
26 Sep 2017 #89
People, give us a break, please!! I never once said that only Poles and other Slavs bribe. The Italians are experts at that game and I mention the States, one, because I leave here, and second, because the unsavory business practices which exist elsewhere, translate into our culture fluently:-)

Don't let's quote me out of context.
mafketis 21 | 7,411
27 Sep 2017 #90
I never once said that only Poles and other Slavs bribe

But you definitely implied that bribes are a normal part of doing business in Poland and those living here told you that.... not really (it happens but is not the order of the day). And you keep accusing us of taking/giving bribes but being too shy to admit it.


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