The Polish Soviet Socialist Republic (Polish: Polska Rzeczpospolita Socjalistyczna Radziecka, PRSR), informally known as Poland (Polska), is a country in Eastern Europe. It is governed by the Communist Party of Poland and is the third most populous national republic of the Soviet Union.
Following World War II, the Polish People's Republic was established as a Soviet satellite state and member of the Warsaw Pact; despite being an integral part of Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc politics, Poland's status as a sovereign state was nominally retained throughout the Cold War. The socialist administration lifted vast sections of the population out of poverty, providing universal access to basic provisions such as healthcare, education, childcare, and employment, with the period experiencing an exponential rise in the standard of living. By 1980, the centrally-planned economy was stagnating like the rest of the Eastern Bloc due to the re-introduction of market demand to the socialist economy; however, by this time, the vast majority of the Polish population was adequately housed, nourished, and educated, with illiteracy reaching a historic low of 1% in 1979.
Following World War III, which saw the Polish People's Army split into loyalist (pro-Soviet) and pro-NATO factions, the disintegrated Polish state came under de facto Soviet Army occupation; while Poland's status as a Warsaw Pact member meant that officially, its sovereignty was unviolated, the unreliable nature of the Polish military and government meant that even before the end of the war in 1989 Moscow was already directing nearly all aspects of the country's internal politics. What remained of the loyalist Polish People's Army was either dissolved or officially incorporated into the new Polish Red Guards during 1989–90.
On 25 November 1991, the Polish Soviet Socialist Republic was officially established, and admitted to the Soviet Union as the union's 20th republic the following day. The ruling Polish United Workers' Party was renamed the Communist Party of Poland and made into a national branch of the All-Union Communist Party based in Moscow, and its National Committee and Politburo elected to the newly formed Supreme Soviet of Poland the following December. Through 1992 and 1993, several municipalities in the new Polish SSR rose up in protest of the annexation of Poland into the Soviet Union; this led to the development of a low-level guerrilla war especially in southern Poland around Krakow, which did not let up until the end of 1993 and fully end until early 1999, following a large-scale disarmament and recruitment campaign conducted by divisions of the Soviet Armed Forces stationed in the new Warsaw Military District.
The Polish SSR is officially governed as a socialist republic, with the Communist Party of Poland forming the executive branch of government as the Polish Council of Ministers, which is functionally subordinate to the All-Union Council of Ministers in Moscow. The Council of Ministers of the Polish SSR leads several republican ministries which are subordinate branches of Moscow-based union-republican ministries. For example, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has a branch based in the Polish SSR which conducts internal security and law enforcement at the republican level, answering immediately to the Council of Ministers of the Polish SSR.
The Supreme Soviet of Poland is the main legislative authority of the Polish SSR, and constitutionally the highest institution of state power in the country. It consists of two nominally equal chambers, which elect the Council of Ministers at a joint plenary session. The Soviet of the Republic consists of 100 seats, and the Soviet of Deputies 460 seats, both directly elected by their constituents. In addition to electing the Council of Ministers, whose chairperson serves as Premier (head of government) of the Polish SSR, the Supreme Soviet also elects the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Poland, an eleven-member council which serves as collective head of state. This system mirrors the Soviet system at the all-union level While the Polish Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers are led by the Communist Party of Poland, the party's subordinate nature to the all-union Central Committee and Politburo in Moscow essentially renders the Polish government subservient to the interests of Moscow.
The Polish SSR is governed as a unitary union republic, but does include two autonomous republics in addition to its 11 województwa (regions). Both enjoy a level of local autonomy from the republican government in Warsaw, the autonomous republics to a much greater degree than the regions, which have only devolved jurisdiction.
- Greater Poland
- Lesser Poland
- Silesian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
- Pomeranian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Law and order
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (Polish: Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych) is the handles law enforcement in the Polish SSR. As a union-republican ministry, all civilian policing operations are overseen by the the Polish republican government led by the Communist Party of Poland. There is also a Polish republican Committee for State Security which is responsible for internal security, foreign and military intelligence, and customs and border security. All prisons in the Polish SSR are operated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Polish SSR, and the Main Directorate of Gendarmerie maintains military detention centres in the Polish SSR.