Recognition of the Russian threat in Poland. From othering to securitisation
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The theory-driven research aims to investigate securitisation as a phenomenon applied to a particular case of Polish perception of Russia. Despite the fact that Russia’s expansionist ambitions toward neighbouring states have permanently given cause for concern, identifying an object as a potential threat to own national sovereignty requires a political will to proclaim it as such and to deal with it. We state that the traditional approach to security does not allow illustrating the whole mosaic of bilateral relations, one of the elements of which is national memory. In the absence of any objective criteria for measuring and classifying threats, constructivists argue that threat is a subjective category. This study aims to identify the conditions behind securitisation of Russia, which shape the general public agreement over Polish defence policy. The work intends to test the assumption that public support for an increase in military spending depends on securitisation of Russia by political elites, the premise of which is the mobilisation of collective memory. The author hopes to contribute to the existing literature on securitisation by addressing the question of threat construction through the role of external conditions and mobilisation of historical memory to facilitate the adoption of certain defence policy measures. Support for possible Polish engagement in military actions in accordance with the NATO principle of collective defence is observed against the background of the Russian-Ukrainian escalation in 2014. Although security concerns expressed in relation to Russian external policy prove to be largely independent of historical controversies, national memory reinforces the self-identification process, when shared memory is called upon to draw an unambiguous line between own community and Others.
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