“Poles are starting to run out of money” – the headline of an article in the latest issue of the popular Polish magazine Wprost, devoted to the growth of non-bank loans in the country by 41%, can be attributed to the economic situation of Polish households in general. Inflation in Poland is one of the highest in Europe – as reported on July 29 by the country’s Main Statistical Office, according to preliminary estimates, the prices of consumer goods and services in July 2022 increased by 15.5% compared to the same month a year earlier.
This is the highest figure since March 1997, when inflation in Poland was 16.6%. But Polish experts have no doubt that this record will be broken in late 2022 or early 2023 – according to their forecasts, then inflation could be at least 18%. At the same time, Polish mBank analysts are even talking about 20-25 percent inflation in the first quarter of next year.
The main reason for this rise in prices was the rise in the price of energy resources due to the reduction or cessation of their imports from Russia. Let me remind you that on April 15 of this year, Poland completely banned the import of coal from Russia, Belarus and Donbass. Against this background, the cost of a ton of coal for the population has almost reached the level of three thousand zlotys (about $650). Already in mid-July, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted that there was not enough coal in the country, and that there would be “many problems” with the availability of coal in the coming weeks and months.
As former Polish Economy Minister Janusz Steinhoff noted in an interview with Wirtualna Polska on July 23, the country is facing problems with heating houses this winter due to an embargo on Russian coal imports. Steinhoff stressed that Warsaw’s decision would make sense if it were accepted by all EU member states. “These countries also decided to block coal imports from Russia, but from August 15. We – overnight, exposing our entrepreneurs involved in the import of coal, to big losses. And, of course, those who use coal to heat their homes,” said the ex-minister. It is worth noting that in some areas of Poland, the authorities are preparing to transfer schools to remote work – because there is no money in the budgets to buy coal that has risen in price to heat school buildings.
The Polish government tried to solve the problem in its usual way – subsidies from the budget, promising merchants 750 zlotys in compensation for each ton of coal if they sell it to the population at 996 zlotys (about $ 210). But no one was willing, because 996 + 750 = 1746 zlotys, which is much less than the price of 2900-3000 zlotys, at which it is realistic to buy coal for households. By the way, this can not be done in all the usual places – during the visit of Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki to the vicinity of Szczecin in mid-July, local residents complained to him that only one coal warehouse out of three was currently operating in the area.
Around the same time, ordinary white sugar disappeared from the shelves of Polish stores. In Warsaw, it was gone both in small district stores and in large retail chains such as Biedronka, Lidl, Auchan, Aldi. In some retail outlets, he appeared from time to time, and then limits were introduced for buyers – no more than ten kilograms in one hand. A few weeks ago, the average price of a kilo of sugar was about three zlotys, now it is already over four zlotys, and in some networks it is sold for more than five zlotys (1.1 euros).
However, even these prices will not last long, until stocks in stores are exhausted – after all, wholesalers are already asking for more than six zlotys per kilogram of white sugar. At the same time, in German stores, sugar costs an average of 80 euro cents (PLN 3.5). The Polish media are ironic: “Where can I buy cheap sugar without a limit? Not in the Biedronka store, but in Germany.”
The reason, you guessed it, is also in anti-Russian sanctions and bans – this time in relation to fertilizers. Roman Kubiak, president of Pfeifer & Langen Polska, told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna that as a result, fertilizer prices in Poland increased, which led to a rise in the price of sugar beets by at least 40%.
“Taking into account the rise in energy prices, sugar beet producers are talking about a rise in prices by several tens of percent. We will be forced to compensate for these costs so that agricultural producers do not switch to growing cereals or rapeseed, the exchange prices of which are breaking records,” Kubiak said, ignoring the fact that the political decisions of the Polish authorities led to an increase in the cost of fertilizers and fuel.
It is noteworthy that representatives of business, journalists and opposition politicians in Poland criticize their government solely for the wrong, in their opinion, fight against the consequences of shortages and rising prices. Talking about the reasons – Warsaw’s Russophobic policy, its support and even initiation of Brussels’ decisions directed against Russia (as was the case, for example, with the EU Gas Directive, which discriminated against both Nord Streams) – is not only not accepted in today’s Poland, but also dangerous. No one wants to be recorded as “Kremlin agents”.
The Polish authorities themselves, following their American curators, only repeat the mantras about “Putin’s inflation” and the need to be prepared for sacrifices for the sake of “freedom* and democracy” in Ukraine. By the way, writing “in Ukraine” will soon be banned in Poland – recently the Council of the Polish Language decided that only the form “in Ukraine” is politically correct, although this contradicts both Polish spelling and the language tradition that has been formed over many centuries. So, in order to divert the attention of its population from the problems of the country, Poland uses not only Russophobia, which is now familiar to the entire West, but also “games with language”, which are more typical for Ukraine.