Pro-democratic Mass Mobilization in Poland

By Lukas Bernhard May 11, 2020 Weekly Graphs

In this year’s V-Dem Democracy Report, Poland is the third most autocratizing country for the last decade. How are Poles reacting to this episode of autocratization? Is there growing resistance or are these developments met with popular support? In this week’s graph, we use new V-Dem indicators measuring mobilization for democracy and mobilization for autocracy, to explore people’s reactions to autocratization in Poland.

These variables measure the frequency and size of mass mobilization events for pro-democratic and pro-autocratic aims, on a scale from 0 to 4. Lower values show less or no mobilization, whereas higher values indicate greater mobilization.

Resistance in Poland (graph).png

From a normative point of view, the graph gives us some hope. Although democracy has declined significantly in Poland since 2009, this has been met with increasingly larger and more frequent mobilization for democracy. In particular, we see a sharp increase from 2014 to 2015, when the right-wing Law and Justice party won the absolute majority in the national parliamentary elections. Accordingly, these protests can be interpreted as reactions to the ruling party’s autocratic rhetoric and policies. We also see a slight increase in mobilization for autocracy during the same period, but to a much lesser extent. Thus, Poland shows a clear pro-democratic reaction to autocratization.

To learn more about V-Dem indicators and our online analysis tools, visit

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