- August 10, 2016
Valatka: Polish-Lithuanian Relations Like Those After Ultimatum of 1938
President of Poland Andrzej Duda has finished his first year of office. This fact wasn’t noticed either by Lithuanian politicians or by the media. It’s strange, at the very least, as even someone who’s not interested in politics should see that the key to defence of Lithuania against the potential Russian aggression is in two capital cities in the world, Warsaw and Washington, D.C., claims the Lithuanian publicist Rimvydas Valatka. How long are we still going to overlook Warsaw from Vilnius and the other way round?, he asks in his article for LRT.
As Rimvydas Valatka notices, “the lack of interest in Poland is doubly surprising, as, after the power in Poland was taken by Andrzej Duda and the Law and Justice, some worrying processes have been taking place there. During the first year of his term of office, Andrzej Duda didn’t even try to step out of Jarosław Kaczyński’s shadow, the party leader, who does not hold any state office formally. The president follows all his orders obediently. He did everything he could to overcome the Constitutional Tribunal, and did not oppose the witch-hunt, whose victims begin to include even the participants of the Warsaw Uprising.”
According to the Lithuanian publicist, the situation in Poland resembles what is now happening in Turkey. Lithuanian politicians and media, however, pay less attention to Poland than Turkey, which is more distant from Lithuania than Poland after all. On the other hand, it seems that Poland does not care about Lithuania either. “In the first year of his term of office, President Duda paid 30 state visits, thus visiting nineteen countries, including Estonia, but he wasn’t in Lithuania even once. In other words, A. Duda is the first president of Poland since the time when Algirdas Brazauskas and Lech Wałęsa signed the historic Polish-Lithuanian Treaty who during the first year of office did not visit Vilnius,” noted the publicist.
To this fact – as Rimydas Valatka pointed out – also the Polish media did not pay attention, though only a few years ago something like this would have been unthinkable. Admittedly, if it had not been for the NATO summit in Warsaw, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė would not have had even a short meeting with the Polish president as well. “I’m under the impression that the fact we’ve become a country that Poland doesn’t care about at all even pleases at the Daukantas Square, as I haven’t heard somehow any news about our president seeking contact with her Polish fellow,” he pointed out in his comment for LRT.
“It seems that the Polish-Lithuanian relations are as cool as never before. […] If we had to describe the current relations in one sentence, we’d have to say that they are more or less like those after the ultimatum of 1938. The diplomatic relations are established, post and other means of communication between the neighbouring countries work, and that’s all. The presidents and prime ministers don’t meet and even don’t talk with each other on the phone. There aren’t any interparliamentary relations; neither the ruling parties nor opposition keeps them. The only difference arising when we compare the two situations is that in 1938 Vilnius belonged to Poland, and now it belongs to Lithuania,” said Rimvydas Valatka.
The publicist admits that it is the Lithuanian president and Seimas that are to blame for the existing situation, as since Lithuania regained independence Lithuanian politicians have not managed to decide on any issue that the Poles living in Lithuania have strived to have settled. “Such inaction drives the Lithuanian Poles into the hands of Valdemar Tomaševski and, as the most recent studies show, the Russian propaganda. Yet has at least one party participating in the election mentioned even once that the relations with Poland are abnormally cool and something should be done to warm them up, because it’s one of the key national interests of Lithuania? Just dead silence,” writes the Lithuanian publicist.
Based on: lrt.lt
Translated by Karolina Katarzyńska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.