• October 17, 2012
  • 89

V. Uspaskich: Poles in Lithuania have problems?

The Labour Party leader, Viktor Uspaskich, is convinced about him being the next Prime Minister of Lithuania, even though new scandals are being revealed, aggravating his party. When we visited his headquarters after the elections, he was proud of his success, he promised big changes and economic growth in Lithuania. Journalists, as usual, made fun of his accent and manner of speaking, which irritates defenders of the language purity. Questions about a coalition with the EAPL and plans for future relations with Poland clearly embarrassed and irritated the potential prime minister. He admitted that these issues are secondary if significant at all…

V. Uspaskich, even asked about the EAPL, with Russian frankness admitted that they’re “cool lads”, he knows them and with one of them often flies to Brussels and Strasbourg, so they can join the coalition, why not…

[I don’t mind. It’s all right, these are normal people, pragmatic, and I know almost all of them, their leader as well. Nothing stands in the way for us to work together, but of course our party’s program is quite innovative, quite different from what the former coalition proposed. If they (the EAPL) will accept our program and join it, it’s sure we can work together. As for the so-called “human factor”, we can work together with no problems.]

His ignorance came out even stronger when, in reference to the program, he was asked about the problems of the Lithuanian Poles and whether the new government will speed up the solution to these problems. He used hackneyed phrases and statements clearly borrowed from other Lithuanian politics. He didn’t hide the fact that he belongs to a minority himself, but his declarations showed that the issues of national identity at are the far end of his hierarchy of values. When asked about the educational issues, including the final exams in the Lithuanian language, he said there’s no problem. Fashioned by his fellow Lithuanians, he thinks that in this area the Poles demand some privileges; especially since his son passed the exam with one hundred points (there’s no Russian school in Kėdainiai, so I assume his son attended a Lithuanian school from the first class).

The essence of his opinion about national minorities was a statement that he has no grief to Lithuanians for the fact that his name is written with Lithuanian letters in his passport… And how could it be different? In the Cyrillic alphabet?

[- I don’t know, but it seems to me that all these problems are artificially exaggerated/ Neither the Poles in Lithuania nor the Lithuanians in Poland have any major problems, there is just no need to blow up this bubble. For example, when they began to talk about favourable conditions of exams in the Lithuanian language for students from national minorities’ schools, I always wondered – why the politicians are still arguing with each other, why they are fighting, after all, just ask the children. I asked my son, he’s a Russian child anyway. And he felt almost offended. And being offended, he passed his matriculation examination with 100 points. Other issues, such as the letters in the passport, street names, they don’t really interest me. I don’t have complexes about the fact that my name is written with Lithuanian letters in my passport – no problem. I don’t understand how it can be so life-changing. I’m not insulted, I don’t understand, why other feel so.

– But if it’s important to someone?

– And if it’s important, I don’t mind. Just for me it’s not. So I say there’s no problem, but if there is – let it be!]

The question about Poland was another awkward one, but the Lithuanian MEP pretended to be self-confident. It is known that there, in Warsaw, and here, in Vilnius, will be pragmatic folks, and “we will work it out”…

[They must improve, well, because our party, our experts are pragmatists, the Social Democrats also have a pretty good opinion about Poland, so I see no problem here. They must improve. I’m sure that today there are no problems at all, everything is blown up.]

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/video/v-uspaskich-polacy-na-litwie-maja-problemy

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

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