Straz Graniczna: The Mission, Structure and Operations of Poland’ s Border Guard

  • Paul Latawski
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


The chief agency charged with controlling movement across Poland’s 3424 kilometre long frontier is the Border Guard (Straz Graniczna — SG). Created in Autumn 1990, and taking its name from an inter-war formation, the SG is the product of two ongoing influences: first, it is influenced by the new democratic political order which seeks radical transformation of organisations that had served as instruments of the defunct communist regime; the second influence is the need to adapt Polish border controls to the new transnational conditions prevailing in post-communist Europe. This intermixture of internal political requirements and external cross-border pressures, however, has produced some contradictory pressures in shaping the mission of the Border Guard. The domestic impetus for reform demanded a border guard service that would be de-politicised, with human rights practices which would conform to western standards and which would operate to the procedures of a police force rather than a military organisation. Moreover, Polish political changes marked the beginning of a policy reorientation that promoted open frontiers and the free movement of people.


Eastern Border Illegal Migration Armed Attack Detention Centre Nuclear Trafficking 
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Copyright information

© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Latawski

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