The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language proposes the legalization of the original spelling of the non-Lithuanian surnames of the citizens of Lithuania providing they have legitimate source id-document. Jarosław Narkiewicz, the vice president of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (AWPL), claims that it is a populist strategy that generally only applies to female citizens of Lithuania that got married and gave birth to the children of the foreigners.
“It is an obvious trickery. It clearly makes it difficult for the local community to use the original spelling of the surnames. The next phase, if allowed, will be the technical difficulties. In public people speak about the original spelling of the surnames, but nobody mentions that it will only apply to the foreigners” – commented Narkiewicz in the talk with the Radio “Znad Wilii”.
The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language transmitted its conclusions to the Parliament which is currently discussing the bill concerning the national language.
In the article about the spelling of names and surnames the commission proposes the following: the names and surnames of the citizens of Lithuania in the official id documents may be written in the non-Lithuanian form providing there is a legitimate source id document.
“The matter concerning the category of people that will be allowed to use the original spelling of their names and surnames is a topic for a wider discussion. It is to be regulated in a separate statute. The parliament received several bills on the original names and surnames spelling. The commission presented its conclusions” – explained Jūratė Palionytė, the vice president of the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language, in the talk with the Radio “Znad Wilii”.
Currently, the parliament analyzes the bill on the national language and two alternative bills concerning the original names and surnames spelling in the id documents. One bill would allow for the original spelling of the surname on the first page of the passport, the other in the “other entries” section.
“One of the bills allows the possibility of writing the surname with the original non-Lithuanian spelling. According to the commission, it should primarily apply to the women who got married with the foreigners and gave birth to their children” – explained Palionytė. She added that these regulations should also apply to those struggling to receive Lithuanian citizenship. The foreigners would then have the possibility to write their names and surnames in the original form. “This bill does not concern other citizen categories, therefore the commission does not comment upon the matter. If there would be proposals concerning other groups of citizens the commission would state its opinion. In this case, the commission would also like to know what source documents would be the basis for such possibility” – said Jūratė Palionytė, the vice president of the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language.
In 2010, the parliament rejected the bill on the names and surnames spelling prepared by the then prime minister Andrius Kubilius, which allowed for the original spelling of the Polish names and surnames in passports. The parliament’s main argument was the concern about the fate of the Lithuanian language.
The then Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania – Remigijus Šimašius – labaled the rejection of the bill “the triumph of a faint patriotism” which showed the provincial character of Lithuania.
The original spelling of names and surnames, bilingual road signs and signs bearing names of the streets, and Polish education for years have been the main bone of contention in the Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Tłumaczenie by Damian Gabryś w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Damian Gabryś within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.