• June 4, 2014
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Bumblauskas: We are afraid of Poland and neglect Belarus

According to the Lithuanian publicists and historians, the negative aptitude towards Poland among the Lithuanian society results from the social immaturity and scarce historic knowledge.

The public opinion survey conducted by Spinster Tyrimai for the delfi.lt portal shows that 26,8% of Lithuanians perceive Poland as a hostile country. The first place has been taken by Russia ( 72, 5%), whereas the third- by Belarus (19, 1%).

”While observing the recent events, such a result is genuinely surprising. In the negative sense of this word. What surprises is the fact that the NATO’s ally poses a bigger threat than Belarus, whose armoured division is located by the Belarussian- Lithuanian border, in Modołeczno.In this respect, though, it is also the ” contribution” of the media, because at all costs, the conficts were sought instead of reconciliation. Also the Polish people of Lithuania affected such state of affairs by opting for a National Democracy- oriented leader instead of the one directed towards the policy of Giedroyc or Piłsudski. There is an ongoing nationalistic race, both from Polish and Lithuanian side. And it is very strange, indeed, that Poland is holding the position of an apparently non-knowledgeable in terms of all the actions taking place in its vicinity”- said a renowned Lithuanian historian prof. Alfredas Bumblauskas.

Immature society

A well-known Lithuanian journalist, publicist and culture anthropologist Virginiujus Savukynas partly agrees with A. Bumblauskas’ views. In his opinion, partial fault of media can actually be found for they frequently strive for sensation and decide on an eye-catching title. On the other hand, ”but for the attractive titles, people  simply would not be eager to read articles”. Personally, I always tried to thoroughly explain the so-called ” Polish problems”. I  wrote about it in my articles and I was carrying out various forms of research. Ten years ago, I wrote that unless those problems were solved, we would have just the same situation as we have now”- said V. Savukynas.

The journalist is cnvinced that the current situation proves the immaturity of the Lithuanian society and  the shortcomings concerned with their education. ” The fear f Poland often dates back to the interwar period, during which Vilnius was under occupation. Nevertheless, Vilnius is no more occupied, we regained it a long time ago and Poland does not pose any kind of threat for us”- said V. Savukynas.

A. Bumblauskas added that the elites very often like to take pride in their historic knowledge, limited, however, to ”a few sentences heard from grandfather”, whose outlook on life was shaped during the interwar period.

”Numerous problems have subverged. This demonstrates that the Lithuanian society do not read books and repeat the same one or two sentences heard from the grandfathers with the viewpoints shaped during the interwar period. And the fact that there is a problem with Belarus and even the Belarussian National Front’s idelogy is on the level of the Sudetes. Hitler, while preparing the anschluss of the Sudetes on historic facts, was proving that there were Germans there. On Belarus, a different viewpoint prevails. In their opinion, only Belarussians live here”- the historian  A .  Bumblauskas emphasized and added that now there is no direct peril from Belarus, but the firing range near the very border indded poses food for thought.

Friendly countries

As the friendly countries the Lithuanians perceive to Baltic countries- Latvia and Estonia. Such is the opinion of 71 percent of respondents. Also the northern countries- Dennmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden are positively assessed by 46, 4 percent of people.

According to the politologist Nerijus Maliukevicius, surprising and worrying is the assessment of Poland. In his opinion, the Lithuanians’ approach towards this country has changed dramatically when compared to 2006. At that time, over 53 percent of respondents claimed Poland to be a friendly neighbour. The opposing view was declared by 7 percent of people.

Translated by Katarzyna Piskorz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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