The reader Gediminas Kazėnas (Political Sciences Department in Michał Romer University in Vilnius) comments on the “Studies of the identity of the Polish minority in Lithuania”, guided by the group of sociologists and political scientists from the Michał Romer University in Vilnius.
The studies included the Poles living in Vilnius as well as in the Vilnius and Šalčininkai District Municipalities. The outcome surprised even the scientists.
Kazėnas pointed out that the Poles living in Lithuania identify themselves with the separate minority and the title “Lithuanian Pole”, which is often used, is remote for them. The reader explains this in terms of the problems in translating.
If we use the phrase “Lithuanian Pole”, we would not find the corresponding term in the polish language. They call themselves “Poles in Lithuania” – as the scientist made it clear.
The findings of the research revealed that the Polish-Lithuanian relations are defined as mediocre; however, the answers differed depending on the place of living. The relations were assessed as the worst by the residents in Vilnius and they were described as the best by the residents of Šalčininkai District Municipality.
“We’ve came to the conclusion that the outskirts centre effect takes place here; the conflicts are generated in the centre, where the political and economic forces concentrate and the people are affected by these emotions.” – as Kazėnas concluded.
We support the party, not the leader
The respondents answered reluctantly to the questions concerning politics and part of them refused to answer in general, suspecting that the study was performed not in scientific goals but in political aims. Part of the subjects feared that they may be punished for their answer.
Though, a number of respondents who agreed to answer started to explain the issues that astonished Lithuanians. Although the Polish minority supports the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania at least in three districts, the majority of respondents made allegations against its leader – Waldemar Tomaszewski.
When asked which party the respondents would choose if there were no EAPL, they chose the Party Order and Justice, Labour Party or the Lithuanian Social Democratic Union.
According to the findings of the research, the bilingual terminology which is a bone of contention in the Polish-Lithuanian relations is currently not a problem for them. The majority thinks that bilingual terminology won’t harm the Lithuanian identity; on the other hand, the lack of it won’t harm polish identity as well.
Small wages and rents, expensive drugs and others were mentioned as the biggest problems by the Polish minority; however, Poles living in Lithuania don’t intend to go abroad. Researchers were greatly surprised by the attachment of Poles in Lithuania.
“Poles in Lithuania are immensely attached to Lithuania, to the Vilnius Region and emigration is out of the question. I dare to claim that this is an example for Lithuanians of how to love their country, their little homeland” – the reader concluded.
Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Galek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Galek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.