- April 17, 2013
Report: Poles are not very interested in Lithuania or in local Polish people
The Institute of Public Affairs prepared a report entitled „Poles and Lithuanians” about what Lithuanians think about Poles and vice versa. Our knowledge about the other nation is very superficial. Almost half of Poles weren’t able to indicate Lithuania on the map. And only a small percentage of Poles living in Poland admitted to keeping in touch with Poles living in Lithuania.
„Amongst the associations Lithuanians have with Poland, economic associations constitute a big part. When Poles think about Lithuania, they think about Adam Mickiewicz and his work.” it was written in the report. Issues of national minorities account only for „a small fragment of the Poland’s image in Lithuania and Lithuania’s in Poland”.
Konowledge about the neighbouring country
Both Poles and Lithuanians gain their knowledge about the neighbouring country from the media or school. Apparently it is not enough because: „Only 58% of Polish people was able to point Lithuania on the map. They mixed it up with Belarus, pointed at Kaliningrad Oblast or sometimes even Ukraine.” This may be influenced by the fact that only 9% of Poles ever visited Lithuania. Even less, because only 4% of interviewees said they keep in touch with Poles living in Lithuania. On the other hand, 50% of Lithuanians at least once visited Poland and 21% at least once a month make contact with local Poles. In any case, majority of Poles (84%) and Lithuanians (62%) did not have any contact with media reports about the other country during the month before the survey.
Polish people think about Lithuanians in a more positive manner. The report says that almost half of the Poles like Lithuanians (44%), whereas only a quarter of Lithuanians admit to liking Poles. Almost half of the residents of both countries (respectively43% and 46%) says they are neutral towards the other nation.
Half of Poles say that the Polish-Lithuanian relations are good (51%). Almost half of Lithuanians say in turn that they are bad (48%). Half of Lithuanians and Poles living in Lithuania think that Polish-Lithuanian relations have gotten worse during the last three years. A big group of Polish people (39%) and a straight majority of Lithuanians (76%) living in Poland believe that the quality of the relations haven’t changed during this period of time.
Poles living in Lithuania are divided when it comes to the issue of their rights being respected (44% said yes, they are, 40% – no, they aren’t). In Poland, the prevailing opinion is that the rights aren’t respected (48%). Lithuanians living in Poland, on the other hand, think that their rights are respected (76%). Over half of Lithuanians claim that representatives of Polish minority fit well with Lithuanian society (54%). According to half of Lithuanians and Poles living in Lithuania, Polish minority is being presented in the media in a neutral way (both 47%). Also, members of the minority group were not personally discriminated against (Poles in Lithuania – 73%, Lithuanians in Poland – 86%).
Economic issues look much better. Half of Lithuanians that took part in the survey are convinced that Polish economy is developing well. Lithuanians find Polish products attractive (68%) and cheap (87%). Polish opinions about Lithuanian products are more restrained, but still they are more positive than negative. Poles are not able to evaluate the quality, the price or the attractiveness of Lithuanian products. Majority of Lithuanians (65%) say the quality of Polish products is good, when only 30% of Polish people have a similar opinion about Lithuanian products. However, in both countries, there are three times more positive opinions than negative.
Tłumaczenie Justyna Kaczmarek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Justyna Kaczmarek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.