We – the Poles in Wilno area – can count on our situation iproving only when Lithuania will start facing the consequences of its discriminatory policies internationally. And this can be ensured by the attitude of Polish authorities.
On July 3rd Lithuanian prime minister Andrius Kubilis started started for Polish support in building a nuclear power plant in Wisagina It started a week after LithuanianMinister of Energy Arvydas Sekmokas visited Poland to beg for support as well. On July 5h Egidijus Meilūnas , ambassador of Lithuania in Poland, Loreta Zakarevičienė, Lithuanian vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other lesser Lithuanian officials and business representatives took part in a special conference held in Warsaw. They too encouraged Poles to invest in Lithuania, to focus on the industry and ignore the “media issues.” We k now all too well what issues they meant – our issues. After Sekmokas’s visit the Ministry of Energy issued a very concise and moderate statement which indicates the failure of his expedition. Kubilis’ statement went unanswered in Poland – from a political point of view it was worse than open criticism.
Lithuanian authorities are truly amusing in their inconsistency. They are akin to a football team trying to win the match by attacking both goals at once. On one hand they are trying to “score” by obtaining Polish money for industry, particularly the future power plant – which has particular strategic significance when one remembers Lithuania’s current energetic dependency on Moscow. On the other hand, the constantly ruin the relations with Poland by harassing us – Poles in Wilno, while Polish authorities send yet another proposals regarding Polish education (getting rid of last year’s horrible Education Law) and spelling the names of people and geographic locations. Proposals identical to the ones made by Polish organizations over here. All our suggestions and subsequent proposals by Polish authorities without fail send Lithuanians into a frenzy. One has to only remember the continuing arrogant behaviour towards Poland exhibited by Minister of Education Steponavičius and Prime Minister Kubilius himself.
One can also mention anti-Poli9sh statements made by president Dalia Grybauskaite during her last visit in the USA where she called Polish insistence on giving us our due rights tarnishing Lithuania’s reputation. Grybauskaite ostentatiously did not attend the NATO conference in Warsaw in April, which was met with disbelief by presidents of Latvia and Estonia who were also present there. Grybauskaite made it clear that it was a result of Polish criticism of Lithuania. Interestingly enough, soon after this boycott, in May, Grybauskaite was complaining to the press that Poles would rather confer with Russia than Lithuania, which is yet another humorous accent in Lithuania’s political life.
Add to all this the story of Polish funding of the oil refinery in Możejki. In 2006 it was purchased by ORLEN – a Polish national corporation – from Russian JUKOS. Poles freely admitted that reasons for doing so were political rather than economical ones – it was a crucial part of the strategy by then-governing Kaczyński brothers, who wanted to create a unified anti-Russian front with neighbouring countries; part of it was freeing Lithuania from the dependency on Russian fuel. It all ended with Lithuanian Railways disassembling the rails on which the oil was transported to Możejki and made the investment completely unprofitable. Polish company came away with huge losses. Let us stress that both ORLEN and Railways are national companies, thus their actions were controlled by the politicians and unambiguously show their attitudes.
With all this in mind a good laugh can be had watching Lithuanian attempts to win over Polish government to fulfill the dreams of atomic energy. I’d be surprised if Polish authorities decide to help in such conditions, while Lithuanians take repeated actions against us over here and incessantly criticize Poland in the international forum. In all frankness I hope that long-ingrained naivete of Polish authorities and our compatriots in the country will end at last and Lithuania and its authorities will receive the treatment they really deserve. We hope that our motherland will remember us and will not leave us to be discriminated against and denationalized. We hope that, as Prime Minister Tusk said in Wilno in September 2011, ‘the relations between Poland and Lithuania will be as good as Lithuanian relations with Polish minority’ which is to say that every issue in Polish-Lithuanian relations will be tied with the necessity of stopping the discrimination against us.
When it becomes apparent that Polish funds are withdrawn; that there still is no nuclear power plant and energy has to be obtained from Russia; that Polish F-16’s no longer protect the airspace of a country which thus far has not obtained even a single fighter plane of its own; when eventually Lithuanian state falls into isolation, well earned by its chauvinistic policies (since no European country other than Poland has an interest in Lithuania) then perhaps we will see our rights being exacted over here. The only thing that can get through to them is the persecution like the one we have faced.
Tłumaczenie Andrzej Rola w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Andrzej Rola within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.