• February 7, 2014
  • 221

A political scandal after zw.lt’s publication

© Fot. BFL/Butautas Barauskas

 On Thursday, February 6 zw.lt published an article in which the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania Šarūnas Birutis denied his statement about fighting against Polish influences in Lithuania and accused the BNS news agency of citing an utterance that has never been said. The following day, BNS publicized a recording of the meeting, which proves that these words had been uttered.

“I wouldn’t overestimate Russia’s threat. We should defend our values against anyone who aims at disturbing them. I would also mention Poland in this context. It is close and it pursues its own goals. It may not have a great basis, because the national minority is not numerous. Nevertheless, Poland tries to achieve its goals through this minority group, it financially supports ideological matters. Not only Russia, but all the countries that have their business here do the same.” – said Šarūnas Birutis during his meeting with the conservatives. You can also hear it on the recording.

The minister’s statement was criticised by many Lithuanian intellectualists and also by conservatives themselves.

The Minister tried to explain himself. He wrote a private letter to the Polish Ambassador in Lithuania Jarosław Czubiński, which zw.lt’s editorial staff managed to reach: “The media representatives publicized an utterance that has never been said (…). I mentioned Poland in relation to the membership in EU of both Poland and Lithuania, which should care about preserving and supporting the values common for them and not surrender to the cultural ambitions of countries that did not join the EU.” – the Minister of Culture wrote in the letter to the Ambassador.

To the editorial office of zw.lt the Minister said: “I don’t see the need to publish my statements in the press. We cooperate with the Polish Embassy, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Polish Ministry of Culture and we always try to solve problems constructively, without involving the press and making public statements. I’m surprised that anyone would like to worsen these relations and provoke conflicts by publicizing isolated utterances without the proper context. In my opinion surrendering to those kinds of provocations does not lead to anything constructive. We already have too many negative emotions and situations like these only multiply them.” – the Minister commented.

Source: http://zw.lt/litwa/skandal-polityczny-po-publikacji-zw-lt/

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

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