- January 22, 2014
The Federation of Kresy Organization submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister of Republic of Poland
On the 20th of February 2014 the Federation of Kresy Organization submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister of Republic of Poland – Donald Tusk – about deteriorating situation of the polish people in Lithuania. Below we publish the content of the letter.
Dear Prime Minister!
During this year we could observe an unprecedented attack on polish people living near Vilnius, which is now the part of the Republic of Lithuania, for ages, at the same time being the majority of inhabitants in the area.
We mean both the provocative verdict of the Vilnius Regional Court about bilingual (lithuanian and polish) plates with the street names in the cities where the polish people are the majority of inhabitants and lithuanian politicians’ response to the verdict or polish protests.
The verdict is considered to be provocative because:
– firstly, the administration director of Šalčininkai District Municipality, Boleslaw Daszkiewicz, has been punished because he didn’t remove the bilingual street plates, even though he took them down from the public buildings. However, neither the lithuanian law, nor administration regulations do not allow him to enforce other residents to remove the plates from their private possessions;
– secondly, Boleslaw Daszkiewicz is supposed to pay the fine of 43.400 Lithuanian litas (12.569 euro) or 100 litas (30 euro) for every day of delay in removing the plates, which seem to be an absurd sum of money in lithuanian standards.
Lithuanian politicians’, including Miss President and the Prime Minister, response is also considered to be provocative because of:
– firstly, ostentatious duplicity – because there are no other words for statements of the Prime Minister who being “shocked” by the court’s verdict does not realise that it is, among others, the result of the Vilnius district government plenipotentiary’s, Audrius Skaistys’, activity;
– secondly, lack of fundamental loyalty – because how we can describe refusing the polish people the right to protests, that are norm of democracy, and accusing them (specifically Waldemar Tomaszewski) of “lack of political culture” (the Prime Minister’s statement);
– thirdly, lack of fundamental loyalty – because how we can describe accusing the polish people (specifically Waldemar Tomaszewski) of striving to discredit Lithuania (the President’s statement) in the situation when the polish people refrained from organising any protests during the lithuanian presidency, although such protests would win international renown.
Dear Prime Minister!
When you were in Vilnius on the 4th of September 2011, in a symbolic for polish people place – the Gate of Dawn – during the Mass in St. Teresa Church you, Mr Prime Minister, ceremonially made a pledge to all the polish people gathered there – everyone interested in listening to it can find that on the website: (http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/video/premier-tusk-w-ostrej-bramie).
Among others you said: “Poland owes its compatriots care and support whenever they need it all over the world, but especially here: in Vilnius and in Lithuania […] I want to say that from that moment we will provide your expectations, dreams and aspirations with a special care, also in terms of education, which has became a hot topic in Lithuania lately. Relationship between Poland and Lithuania will be as good as the relationship between lithuanian state and the polish minority. […] The matter of polish education in Lithuania will be especially observed by the polish government. I promise you that.”
It’s been 2 years since that promise. During that time the lithuanian power definitely put a lot of effort to worsen the situation of the polish people in Lithuania, considering for instance those matters mentioned above.
All of that didn’t meet the proper and effective polish reaction, also from you, Mr Prime Minister. We haven’t heard about the polish power putting any effort on Lithuania to stop the discrimination of the polish people. We haven’t heard about any interventions in any of the Europeans forums – EU, the Council of Europe or OSCE. And it was possible during the Lithuania’s presidency in EU or especially before that. We haven’t heard about the polish power trying to use Lithuania’s economic interests in Poland to improve the Poles’ situation in Lithuania.
The promise of making the polish minority in Lithuania a touchstone of the polish-lithuanian relationship – this is how we understand your statement above – was made publically and ceremonially over 2 years ago. But we haven’t heard about any actions to make it come true. Indeed, the polish-lithuanian relationship has worsened, but it happened because of Lithuania, not Poland (for example statements and actions of the president Dalia Grybauskaitė).
We think, Mr Prime Minister, that it’s high time for you to make your promise come true. It’s not our task to suggest what you can or what you are supposed to do. We believe that when the polish Prime Minister was making that promise, he was aware of the responsibility to fulfil it… and that he had any idea how to do it.
In the light of next, even more dramatic, situations, actions of lithuanian powers leading to discrimination of the polish people we call you, Mr Prime Minister, to undertake effective actions both against the lithuanian power and on the international arena – to provide our compatriots in Lithuania with the rights they deserve.
With kind regards,
For the General Council Presidium of the Federation of Kresy Organization
the vice-chairman Adam Chajewski
the press spokesman Ewa Szakalicka
the chairman Tomir Sołtan
Tłumaczenie by Magdalena Kaczmarek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Magdalena Kaczmarek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.