Vol. 9, Issue No. 27/2002

Andrzej Zybertowicz, Maria Los, Privatizing the Police State: The Case of Poland

Gary T. Marx comments in his Foreword: "Los and Zybertowicz thoughtfully and creatively probe beneath the veneer of reality constructed by those who were (and some who remain) masters of deception. This study is a model of what scholarship on secrecy-enshrouded topics should be."

This is the first book that documents and analyzes the paramount role of secret services in the decomposition of the communist system and the conversion of its elites into new capitalists. The surge of civil society in 1980s Poland prompted a parallel expansion of the police-state apparatus. The book traces the subsequent reconstitution and privatization of social, political and material resources of the police state and shows how these covert operations shaped other, more visible aspects of the East/Central transformation.
For all people interested in Central-Eastern European politics this book is a must-read. It provides a reader with a thorough and provocative insight into the murky mechanisms of the use of secret police to control the transition process in former communist states, and Poland in particular.

As the authors show, the former communist secret services have not really lost their influence on the post-1989 politics. They were also instrumental in providing intelligence and security that enabled the party apparatchics to profit from the transformation and impose their own rules on the changing environment. It is so far the only book that documents and explains the processes through which the personnel and resources of the police-state apparatus have in good part been privatized through the creation of a powerful private security sector linked to the former communist elite.

This publication is a valuable and unique guide to understanding of Eastern European socio-political reality.

Vol. 9, Issue No. 27/2002

The Summit Times

© Copyright 2002 by Andrzej M. Salski