“Ukrainian refugees expect the situation to be temporary. Those people hope that they can go back to Ukraine soon,” dr. Iwona Gusc tells NPO Radio 1. Iwona was interviewed for NOS Met Het Oog Op Morgen and spoke about the reception of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Iwona is a historian at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC).
Poland has already welcomed more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees, who mainly reside in the big cities like Warsaw. It is the Polish citizens that make the reception of this big wave possible. “Refugees are mainly taken in by the citizens, so the gravity lies on the shoulders of the population. Grassroots solidarity movements join forces to help their neighbouring country,” Iwona says.
It is hard and the governmental support is limited, she explains, “but the vigour and involvement of the Polish population, of the citizens themselves, is so big that people give their free time, all they can give, to the refugees.”
To the question whether people also think about the long term, Iwona answers: “not much, is my impression.” In fact, “it’s actually taboo to talk about the long term. A big group also doesn’t want to start the Polish procedures to find work. They hope that they can return to Ukraine in a few weeks.”
It is therefore hard to say something about the future. “I also have my own worries that the enthusiasm that we currently see in the population, and the involvement, will eventually fade,” Iwona admits.
But we’re not there yet, she adds: “that involvement is still very palpable.”