Sławomir Sierakowski

Senior Fellow, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies

Areas of Expertise

  • Populism and the Future of Liberal Democracy
  • European Affairs
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • Weimar Triangle
  • Globalization
  • Contemporary Philosophy
  • Sociology of Politics
  • Social Research


English, German, French, Polish (native)


Email: sierakowski@dgap.org

Sławomir Sierakowski is a Polish sociologist and political analyst. As a graduate of the University of Warsaw, Mr. Sierakowski has been awarded fellowships from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, the German Marshall Fund, twice from the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and the Bosch Academy in Berlin, among others. He was the director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Warsaw.

He is the founder and leader of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique), an Eastern European movement of liberal intellectuals, artists and activists. He is the president of the Stanislaw Brzozowski Association, overseeing its publishing house and online opinion site as well as the cultural centers in Warsaw, Gdansk and Cieszyn.

Sierakowski became a contributing author for the New York Times in 2013 and a monthly columnist for the Project Syndicate in 2015. In Poland he is a weekly columnist for the largest Polish portal Onet.pl and a political commentator in the Polityka weekly.  Journalistic publications include essays and op-eds mainly devoted to Polish and European politics and culture, for publications such as the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Die Zeit, Le Monde, Der Standard, Le Nouvel Observateur, El País, Haaretz and others.


Filter by:

Selected Publications

The Survival of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe
by Sławomir Sierakowski
Project Syndicate, 16.10.2019
Following parliamentary elections in Poland and local elections in Hungary, populist autocrats in both countries remain in power, where they will continue to undermine democratic institutions. Even so, relative victories for opposition forces in both countries show that the region's "illiberal democrats" are not unbeatable.
Category: Political System, Central and Eastern European countries
Poland’s Parliamentary Elections and a Looming Hungarian Scenario
by Sławomir Sierakowski
DGAPstandpunkt 28, 8 October 2019, 4 p.
Poland’s Parliamentary Elections and a Looming Hungarian Scenario
Thanks to economic growth, Poland’s ruling PiS party has introduced social programs that have further bolstered its popularity. Unlike in recent European elections, the opposition is not running as a unified bloc in parliamentary elections on October 13, 2019. If PiS again wins a majority, it will take steps to cement its system of illiberal democracy. As long as he maintains good relations with Donald Trump, PiS’s leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski does not seem wary of reactions from Brussels and Berlin.
Category: Elections, Poland
The Mainstreaming of Corruption
by Sławomir Sierakowski
Article on Project Syndicate, 27 September 2019
Unethical behavior by populist parties across the West has forced traditional parties to abandon their own moral standards. And the evidence suggests that if mainstream politicians want to try to beat populists at their own corrupt game, their supporters will reward them for it.
Category: Corruption, Poland, Europe
Inside the Hong Kong Protests
by Sławomir Sierakowski
Project Syndicate, Online, August 21, 2019
The Communist Party of China would like the mainland Chinese population and the rest of the world to believe that the ongoing, sometimes violent protests in Hong Kong pose a threat of “terrorism.” But the truth is that China has only itself to blame for pushing the city’s idealistic youth into the streets once again.
Category: Hong Kong
How Europe’s populists lost EU game of thrones
by Sławomir Sierakowski
Project Syndicate, Online, July 29, 2019
In the European Union’s leadership negotiations this month, populist governments failed not only to act as spoilers, but also to secure any concessions at all. They now have every reason to worry that they will be held accountable for their routine violations of the rule of law when EU funds are disbursed.
Category: European Union
The Age of Cynical Voters
by Sławomir Sierakowski
Project Syndicate, Online, 17.07.2019
Voters who support populist parties and leaders are making political choices that they know to be risky because they feel as though they have nothing to lose. As behavioral economists would predict, people become less risk-averse when the perceived choice is between “bad” and “worse.”
Category: Elections