- December 16, 2016
No conflict between Poland and Lithuania
Lithuanian diplomats were concerned about the amendments proposed to one of the laws prepared in the Polish parliament. The amendments assumed that Lithuanian nationalism should be put on a par with totalitarian regime. Finally, the project was not taken into consideration, so the potential conflict between Poland and Lithuania was resolved.
– It is a project concerning street names that promote people or historical phenomenons associated with totalitarianism. We estimated that about 1 500 streets in Poland had been named in honour of people associated with the totalitarian regime. These names should not be popularised in public space, even by naming streets or objects after them. We decided unambiguously that the communism was a totalitarian regime and all the associations should disappear from the public space. In Poland there are about 500 monuments dedicated to the heroes of those days, which were definitely not positive figures. These objects would have to be removed within 12 months from the date of entry into force of the mentioned law – said Maria Koc, Deputy Speaker of the Senate in an interview with “Kurier”.
The project’s aim is to prevent people from promoting communism or any other totalitarian regime by using the associated names for naming buildings, facilities and equipment of public monuments, mounds, obelisk, columns, sculptures, statues, busts, commemorative stones, slabs and plaques, inscriptions and signs, with the exception of all facilities located within the cemeteries and other places of rest and entered in the register of objects of cultural heritage.
In the amendment, politicians define the “totalitarian regime”. Lawmakers proposed that fascism, German nazizm, Lithuanian and Ukrainian nationalism and Prussian, Russian and German militarism were considered as “other totalitarian regimes”. Jacek Kurzępa, a member of the Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) is behind of the idea.
– Such an amendment would certainly make Polish and Lithuanian relations worse. I think that allowing politicians to evaluate history is always a bad idea. This is a job for historians. When politicians try to do it, it only results in tensions between countries. This is what happened now. I think it is wrong. Such a proposal of an amendment – although ultimately it was decided that the amendment will not be taken into consideration – is an unfriendly move towards Lithuania, Ukraine and Germany – said Gediminas Kirkilas, Deputy Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas.
Because of the proposal, Lithuanian Embassy in Warsaw sent a letter to the President, the Parliament and several ministries. Lithuanian diplomatic office was afraid that the adoption of such a law would allow the destruction of monuments named after Lithuanian characters.
Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the amendment was not taken into consideration during the meeting of the Polish parliament held on Thursday. The information was confirmed by Kęstutis Vaškelevičius, the Ombudsman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Translated by Joanna Jastrzębska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.