• March 14, 2016
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Tomasz Sakiewicz: The Russians set the Poles against the Lithuanians

The Poles who defend the Polish concernment in Lithuania and want to cooperate with Lithuania should be supported, said to zw.lt executive editor of weekly “Gazeta Polska” and daily newspaper “Gazeta Polska Codziennie” Tomasz Sakiewicz, who participated in the Polish-Lithuanian media forum in Vilnius last week.

Antoni Radczenko, zw.lt: What do you think about such initiatives as the Polish-Lithuanian media forum?

Tomasz Sakiewicz: I think that is very good. We want to continue that in Poland. It is absolutely necessary because Russian propaganda is trying to antagonize the countries of Central Europe. What we need to do is to build bridges. However, it is impossible if we do not talk about the problems, which exist. It is not such a case that there are no problems between the Lithuanians and the Poles or the Poles and the Ukrainians. There are problems and those are serious. But all the problems can be solved. A lot of problems is not being solved and nobody knows why. Probably even a little act made by the Lithuanians would help release the tension between the Poles and the Lithuanians. The Russians are not only active around Lithuania but also in Poland. They set the Poles against the Lithuanians and the Ukrainians a lot. We can do certain things but the Lithuanians need to know that there is a limit. If they do nothing or very little for the Poles living in Lithuania, then it is difficult to help the Lithuanians. Lithuania is one of NATO countries. Recently, Russia really wants to antagonize the NATO countries…

The election won by Law and Justice party (PIS) received little optimistic reaction. Will the politics of Lithuania concerning Poland change?

The truth is that it is quite hard to tell now. On the one hand, there is the policy of the country. On the other hand, the ministers can change that in noticeable ways. The politics of the formation which has won the election is about restoring the relations of the so called Intermarium nations. In fact, those are the nations which lived within the borders of the Kingdom of Poland or near. However, various people in the government, administration or diplomacy might have different opinions. We have to pay attention to that and talk about it. We need to have a harmonious politics. In each formation there will be some people who will not care about good relations, and the other way around. Support should be given to those who defend the Polish concernment but will not exacerbate the relations of Poland and Lithuania. Also, among the Poles we need to support those who while defending the Polish concernment will want to cooperate with Lithuania. It is the key to spoil the plan of the Russians.

While you were discussing on the media forum, you have said that the Russian propaganda influences not only the residents of our part of the world but also the Polish Community Abroad, eg. in the USA.  In what ways does the Russian propaganda influence them?

The Russians appear under their flag very rarely. They rather appear under the flag of care for “the real national concernment”. For instance, they say that the cooperation with the Ukrainians is like supporting the Banderites. And cooperation with the Lithuanians is supposed to be harmful for the Poles. This way, they blackmail all the patriotic communities. They have the money to do that. They are loud and noticeable. They go inside the real communities. They are trying to change their attitude and policy. Firstly, we need to prepare the people for that so that they know how to react. Secondly, we need to find and support the people who understand what is the national concernment of Poland.

You have mentioned the national concernment of Poland a few times. What is that exactly?

These are various types of concernment, but the base is keeping independence and safety in such a way that we are able to make our own politics. This concernment is about keeping the independence of the countries which lie east of Poland. Because Poland, which lies next to friendly countries of Central Europe , where the culture and customs are similar, is much safer than if it would lie next to aggressive Russian Empire. What is more, this is about the economic development of Poland. We can develop economically through transiting goods. This gives us a lot of possibilities. The truth is that by becoming “the Intermarium” we are a great connector between Asia, Africa and Europe. It can really boost our economic growth. And the last thing, the existence of various cultures let us develop and enrich. It is within the Polish concernment to take care of the Polish traditions so that they last. Our politics should be about creating strong bonds with Lithuania, Ukraine and maybe one day also with Belarus. Poland needs to remember about the Poles who live there and take care of them well. Anyway, it will be best to take care of them if the relations with the country are good. On the one hand, they will get help from the Polish government and on the other hand, they will get help from the government of Lithuania.

One of the basic problems in the relations between Poland and Lithuania is the unsolved problem concerning the original spelling of names and bilingual names of streets. Do you think that the Lithuanian authorities will fulfill the so called Polish postulates? Are you an optimist or a pessimist when it comes to this case?

I do not really know the Lithuanian political elite. However, it is within the Lithuania’s concernment to have good relations with Poland. Poland does not threat Lithuania in any way. We do not want any territorial changes. We do not want to dominate Lithuanian culture. We only want the Poles here to feel good.

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

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