- February 6, 2014
Cytacka’s statement stuck in their gullet
This week, the Lithuanian media has been in uproar over the fact that Renata Cytacka, who accused President Dalia Grybauskaitė of lying, is still the vice-minister of energy. Lithuanian Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevičius, together with a great number of right-wing politicians, demanded that Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Jaroslav Neverovič, dismiss her. The media in Lithuania put a lot of pressure on the Minister, constantly pestering him with questions about the term of her discharge.
“Lithuania is experiencing the best period in our country’s new history. Ours is the civilized country in which everyone has the right not only to have, but also to express their own opinion” – Jaroslav Neverovič told the journalists. He explained that Cytacka had written the widely discussed statement after her working hours, as the President of the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in Šalčininkai District, and not as the vice-minister of energy. The Minister remarked that together with Ms Cytacka, they had agreed she would refrain from taking such actions in the future, lest similar complications occur. Moreover, Jaroslav Neverovič informed that he had already talked to the Prime Minister, and given extensive explanations concerning Cytacka’s case. For him, the discussion is closed.
Meanwhile, also this week, and as well in Lithuania, the media has been struck with yet another wave of discontent – this time of a different kind. The outcry has been caused by the conviction that President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s lies were a matter of fact. Famous journalists and politicians (e.g. the signatories of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, such as Zigmas Vaišvila and Bronislovas Genzelis) accuse her of speaking untruth. However, nobody insists that they be punished, as those accusing the President of lies have evidence to confirm their words. Although Cytacka also presented the proofs to support what she had written, she still has to take the consequences and leave her post. This ambiguous situation is the result of the way in which the accusations have been formulated, of their character. According to Cytacka, the President lied about the situation of the Polish minority in Lithuania on the European forum, while others’ objections concern the communist past of the President herself, as well as her father.
Beginning the election campaign this week, President Dalia Grybauskaitė has claimed that after Lithuania restored its sovereignty in March 1990, she resigned from her membership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and, allegedly, joined the Lithuanian communists, who advocated Lithuania’s independence. According to the President, again in March, she took leave from her work in the Vilnius Party High School, and she did not work there until June 1990 – then she resigned from her post. At that time, she was also to resign from her membership in the Communist Party of Lithuania. Grybauskaitė denied allegations that her father had been a KGB agent.
Meanwhile, Bronislovas Genzelis, who was then one of the leaders of the Lithuanian communists, claims that he does not remember having seen “this damsel” (as he says) among the members of the party – he met her much later. Also Vaišvila argues that, according to the accounts of the Vilnius Party High School, Grybauskaitė took her leave in April, but despite this fact, she still drew her salary until mid-year. She even received a pay rise in the last months of her work.
On Thursday, portal Alfa.lt presented archival materials suggesting that Grybauskaitė’s father had been a Soviet partisan and, afterwards, a policeman serving the Soviet government. It turns out that the President’s lies are not considered to be equally reprehensible – some can be denounced, while those concerning the Polish minority cannot. Paradoxically, people trying to ward off the latter are condemned.
It is worth reminding that in January, while presenting the results of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Grybauskaitė denied allegations of breaking the Polish minority’s rights in Lithuania. The allegations were made by the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and Member of the European Parliament, Valdemar Tomaševski. The President concluded that no international organization had any doubts on the subject of observing minority rights in Lithuania.
“We, parents of the pupils studying at Polish schools in Lithuania, support the actions of Valdemar Tomaševski and other parliamentarians, who flatly oppose violating the rights of minorities in Lithuania.
Apart from offending an MEP, President Dalia Grybauskaitė lied to the public and to the representatives of the European Parliament, claiming in her speech that the reports of international organizations had not found any incorrectness in the Lithuanian treatment of minority rights. Well, the President is lying, as evidenced by the following reports” – Ms Cytacka wrote in the Forum’s statement, and presented 7 accounts and reports bearing out her words.
Despite the fact that the abovementioned reports provide an undeniable proof of the President’s lies (unless she was not aware of their existence, which, in turn, would attest to the poor quality of her advisory staff), neither the Lithuanian media, nor politicians (such as the Prime Minister who demands that Cytacka be dismissed) do not pay any attention to their President having lied to the European Parliament.
Tłumaczenie by Agata Weronika Chrobak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agata Weronika Chrobak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.