Paweł Sobik: Nowhere in Europe did Poles achieve such success

Paweł Sobik wants his book to be translated into lithuanian

‘Success of political party referring to polish demands has not taken place in any other place in Europe’ – highlighted Dr Paweł Sobik, author of „Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie w systemie politycznym Republiki Litewskiej” [Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania in Lithuanian political system] book, during meeting organized by Polish Discussion Club. First promotion of the book took place in Vilnius, where the author stayed for a year during his studies and where he had been collecting contents for his work.

-It is the best work on Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania so far – said Aleksander Radczenko, opening Thursday meeting in Catholic Academy of Science. Author explained that he tried to be objective

-I come from Silesia. I have no any family sentimental connection with Vilnius Region, I did not visit this place to pray over bones of my grandparents. I was aware of it, when writing the book. I considered Poles living in Lithuania mainly as inhabitants of foreign country, who have particular demands and try to take part in political life, in order to implement them – he says.

According to him, the long existence itself is a proof of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania importance.

-The party has been active for 20 years, survived many crisises and today it can be proud of its’ representatives not only on the level of council but also in Seimas or European Parliament. It achieves positive results in presidential elections, this is a big success – noticed Sobik and highlighted that when writing about Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania he wanted to look closer critically on party’s activity, not paying attention to negative comments that can be seen in Lithuanian television.

-We can begin to discuss this matter only after distancing ourselves from such extreme opinions. We should appreciate success of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. Nowhere in the world Poles can be proud of such political success. Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania was a part of conflict that I did not want to name as polish-lithuanian conflict. It is internal conflict of lithuanian citizens with their country. It actually concerns the matter if Lithuania is supposed to be a civil country. One of the symbols of the fight is letter ‘w’ – explained to ‘Kurier Wileński’.

Book is meant mainly for readers in Poland and that is why you can find there very detailed reality in which Poles live in Lithuania. Timeframes have been extended towards doctorate that is the base for the book, year 1994 when reunion association appointed polish party in Lithuania and year 2014, when celebrating 20th anniversary of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania has left ruling coalition.

-Due to technical reasons the book has not appeared earlier, which I am happy about, because I managed to complete it with elections in 2016. Thanks to this it will be up-to-date for longer – says author. Sobik has been speaking about chances and threats that have to be faced by the party. He indicated its’ weaknesses and unused potential in matters of improving relations between Poland and Lithuania.

-I would like to see Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania as an ambassador of Lithuania in Warsaw. What I mean are the infrastructural projects. For example support from polish politicians in building freeway to Vilnius – he said. He also explained reasons for cooperating of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania with Russians, which after Crimea annexation by Russia in 2014 got new meaning as well as dangers related to it.

-At the end of meeting the guest commented on proposed subject ‘Does Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania have any future?’ I would rather ask ‘What kind of future does Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania have?’ The answer is: Without sudden breakthrough on Lithuanian side – same future’ said Sobik. He explained reason of interest in Lithuania.

I come from town that is a real center of Europe to me. Where the distance to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Warsaw is similar.

You cannot be more central than being in Upper Silesia. The closest neighbor are Czechs, I got to know this culture and became fascinated. I have also learned the language. At the same time I have been interested in whole Central and Eastern Europe. I was lucky to take part in Erasmus Program in 2010 in Vilnius. When collecting data to my master’s thesis, I realized how does Poland refer to Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. I have been recommended to write monograph on Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, by my supervisor Professor Zdzisław Julian Winnicki. It was a challenge, but also honor. I have been working on this book for 4 years.

He highlighted that the presence of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania in Seimas is crucial, so he wanted Seimas conference room to be on the cover.

-Poland is unable to propose some kind of packet to Poles living in Lithuania that would solve their problems. It all needs to happen here, in Lithuania. That is why Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania is so important, as a part of Lithuanian political system.

-I want the book to be translated into lithuanian. It would be a good compendium for politicians. I get a feeling that there are many rumors about Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and this book could correct them. Chairman of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, Waldemar Tomaszewski said that the book has a rich content.

-Mr Paweł Sobik contacted us when writing his master’s thesis. Prof Zdzisław Winnicki from Wrocław University contacted us too, asking to share some data. MEP says that he knows this data and content of the book was not a surprise to him. Waldemar Tomaszewski notices that Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania builds its’ strategy and takes it very seriously, persistently canalizes every event, discusses and draws conclusions. But he does not evaluate the book unambiguously.-It is clear that we do not want our opponents to have easy access to our data that contains our strategies and tactics – he explains.

He also explained why environment of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania did not pay interest to the meeting organized by Polish Discussion Club.

-Such discussion is aimless to me, most importantly because of the environment that organized it. These people work in ministries and are related to liberals. Also the subject of the discussion has been formulated in a way that our opponents do not understand our strategy. It did not include new name of the party, along with its’ new political strategy. It indicated that organizers still want to discuss ‘yesterday’, not understanding presence at all, as well as the future – said MEP.

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The book ‘Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania in Lithuanian political system’ has been published by Kolegium Europy Wschodniej. The book is not in stock yet, but it soon will be available in online bookstore kew.org.pl/ksiegarnia/

Extract from introduction of Maria Przełomiec

Sentiments foster treating lithuanian Poles as special needs skansen. A big contribution of Paweł Sobik work is enlightening reader that lithuanian Poles are nothing of a skansen, but peak population group just after Lithuanians, that has its’ representation in Lithuanian Parliament, that is Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and its’ leaders have own policy.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2017/06/02/pawel-sobik-nigdzie-w-europie-polacy-nie-osiagneli-podobnego-sukcesu/

Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Piontek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Piontek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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