On Tuesday, 17 January the editorial office of Kurier Wileński was visited by Monika Navickienė, member of the Seimas. In last year’s election she entered the Seimas in the single-seat constituency Naujoji Vilnia as a representative of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.
– I would like to express my gratitude to Polish minority for votes cast during election. It is thanks to them that I won. I am very grateful. Cooperation with Poles is very important for me. Now we are visiting Polish organizations – said Monika Navickienė.
During her visit in the editorial office she raised the issue of multinational festivals that are intended to improve integration, consolidate and strengthen traditions of various nations.
– I would like that festival to be also held in Naujoji Vilnia. Unfortunately, this neighbourhood has never been treated equally with Old Town, Žirmūnai or other districts of the capital. It has always been a forgotten place, somewhere on the outskirts, but this should not be the case. I met more than once with Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius to discuss it with him. He acknowledged that there is a problem. Fortunately, now the local government starts to put more attention to the problems faced by Naujoji Vilnia.
Now the most important task is to design urban environment, clean up a neglected area and ensure that street lights work everywhere.
– We came up with many plans. We noticed that residents are rarely involved in public life. In spring we are going to organize a family festival, hoping that it will become a tradition in the future. We have also many plans that are related to students. Very soon a contest for the best essay will be launched for older students in Polish, Russian and Lithuanian schools in Naujoji Vilnia. For younger students we plan to hold a contest for the most beautiful picture. I wish there was no national differences and everyone felt equal. If possible, I want to help disadvantaged and poor people – she stated.
Although a month ago the Seimas rejected the previous version of the fund for the south-eastern Lithuania, conservatives again proposed to establish a fund.
– South-eastern Lithuania, i.e. the Vilnius and Šalčininkai regions, is statistically more backward than other regions of Lithuania, though it should not be the case as it lies near the capital. The most important tasks to be performed include economic development, attraction of foreign investments and modernization. I think this is a very good idea and I hope it is feasible – emphasized Monika Navickienė.
Members of the parliamentary group of 3 May (our interlocutor is also its member) proposed to establish the Vilnius Museum to commemorate multicultural character of the capital and to present a joint history of city residents.
– We believe the Vilnius Museum would be an important source of knowledge, but also would help the current city residents to meet their history, learn about each other and overcome their complexes as regards relations among different national communities. As a result, mutual trust would be enhanced, which would help us find solutions to important problems. The investment in the Vilnius Museum pays off in a variety of ways. If people learn about their shared history, they will become resistant to external influences and attempts to divide the Lithuanian society.
The request to establish the museum was made to the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, the Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, the Minister of Culture Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson and Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.
It was noted that the Vilnius Museum would enable people to learn about multinational and multicultural heritage of the capital city and would help them better understand its history. A great input of Jews, Poles, Belarusians and Russians into the city development would be also shown. The museum would be created in cooperation with both Lithuanian and international specialists.
Among those who signed the proposal were Andrius Kubilius, Arūnas Gelūnas, Arvydas Nekrošius, Gediminas Kirkilas, Egidijus Vareikis, Dovilė Šakalienė, Rita Tamašūnienė, Mykolas Majauskas and Monika Navickienė.
Tłumaczenie by Grzegorz Gaura w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Grzegorz Gaura within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.