In this article I am going to present the Polish-Ukrainian border from the perspective of the community, whose life is organized around its everyday experiencing of the border. The protagonists of my research are so-called ‘Ants’1: petty cigarette smugglers operating at the border crossing point in Medyka, who earn their living by carrying cheap, often forged Ukrainian cigarettes through the border and selling them with much profit on the Polish side. They are inhabitants of the surroundings of Przemyśl (a town about 12 kilometres away from the border), for whom the opening of the borders in 1989 and the subsequent economic changes, which led to the collapse of many factories in the region, meant the border crossing is the only ‘workplace’ left.2 In 1998 the pedestrian crossing was opened in Medyka – the road and railway ones already functioned – and after Poland joined the European Union in 2004 it has become the biggest crossing point of that kind separating the EU and ‘the rest of the world’. At the time of my field research the number of Ants at the pedestrian border crossing fluctuated between 6000 and 12000 per day (Delmanowicz, 2008a, 2008b). Other users of the crossing are rarely encountered. The very term ‘Ants’ descriptively refers to a great number of petty smugglers crowding at the border day and night as well as to their mobility, small noxiousness

of their ant-like practices (in comparison with the scale of ‘truck smuggling’) and their ability of effective cooperation aiming at the fastest possible crossing of the border and overcoming obstacles created by the state administration.