- February 6, 2013
Nationalists’ orders for Linkevičius before his visit to Poland
Yesterday, the protests of right-winged politicians and nationalists took place in Vilnius, before the foreign minister, Linas Linkevičius, left to Warsaw. They believe that there is no place for compromise in Polish-Lithuanian relations.
MPs, activists of veteran’s and national organisations warned the present centre-left government against the “Russian’s agents” – in their opinion – MPs of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. The MPs of EAPL were accused of treason and threatened to be brought to the State Tribunal. However, when the protesters were asked if they are going to take the matter into their own hands, they answered that “that’s not their business” and added that the citizens – mainly the electorate of the parties which invited EAPL to the coalition – should put forward such a proposal.
Radoslaw Sikorski – according to Gintaras Songaila, the leader of the Lithuanian Nationalist Union and a former MP – uses Polish minority for Poland’s imperialistic purposes. Nationalists wrote a petition to the government. They want to collect citizens’ signatures under its text. They demand firm actions from Lithuanian government against Poland’s violation of bilateral agreements. They want Poland to acknowledge that it occupied the Vilnius Region and to apologise for that. They also demand that Poland stop instigating Polish minority to not to abide by law and the Constitution.
Yesterday, during a press conference in Sejm, Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas, an MP of “Trail of Courage” party, emphasized that Lithuania should not look for any compromises in relations with Poland. “Polish policy towards Lithuania hasn’t changed since the Union of Lublin. Poland has claims to Cieszyn towards CzechRepublic and to Lviv towards Belarus and Ukraine. The way of compromise is wrong,” said Patackas. He added that Lithuania must preserve the status quo in relations with Poland and did not compromise. According to Patackas, any concessions to “Polish demands” will not resolve any problems but will create new ones. If we give in the Vilnius Region, the next will be Vilnius – the capital city – where Polish street signs may appear,” said the MP. His conservative colleague, Rytis Kupčinskas, noticed that the government’s policy, which intends to resolve the problem of the spelling of names, provide bilingual street signs and meet Polish demands, will “lead to the decline of values,” and therefore it causes social and national anxiety.
Kazimieras Garšva, the president of the association “Vilnija”, argued that in terms of relations with Poland there should be no equality in keeping to the rights of national minorities – Polish minority in Lithuania and the Lithuanian minority in Poland. As the president of “Vanija” stated, the Sejny country – ethnic Lithuanian land – was violently separated from Lithuania, whereas it boils down to the polonised and slavonicized population in Vilnius Region.
Garšva, who is highly regarded in the Lithuanian linguistics’ academic environment, said that the Byelorussian minority lives in the Šalčininkai district municipality and its mother tongue is classified as so-called simple. Thence, according to Garšva, they should be taught Byelorussian at schools but Polish activists do not allow for that.
“I agree with every word. However, I would like to soften the tone of the rhetoric here,” put in a word Vytautas Juozapaitis, another conservative MP and a famous Lithuanian tenor. A singer-MP explained that he did not mean the culture of discussion. “An emotional excitement makes us more vulnerable to attacks from our enemies, who usually act cynically, often with a smile on their faces,” said Vytautas Juozapaitis. An artist-MP classified the members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania as the “enemies” who “represent the affairs of a foreign country.” By the way, Juozapaitis emphasized that he is a “dear friend to Poland,” the country, where he has a lot of friends and has spent a lot of time during his performances abroad. He believes that the continuation of the Polish policy “twisting-arms-and-blackmailing” towards Lithuania only broadens the distance between the two neighbouring countries and leads to more trouble. “Civil war is the last thing both sides want now,” said Juozapaitis and noticed rhetorically that driving a wedge between Poland and Lithuania is not what only Poland can order.
While politicians in the Sejm called on the new government to not to make any concessions to “Polish demands”, the same was done by the veterans of The Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters who picketed with posters in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before midday. In the afternoon, the foreign minister Linas Linkevicius’ two-day visit to Poland began. The picketers wanted to get his attention and communicate that the possible agreement to allow for Polish spelling of names and Polish signs would be at variance with the Constitution and the Law on the State Language. “In my opinion, if we give in the street names, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania using human ignorance will slowly push the Lithuanians out of this area,” said Juozas Burokas, the president of Lithuanian veterans.
Tłumaczenie Patrycja Olszówka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Patrycja Olszówka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.