• January 5, 2017
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Wołkonowski: Poles are victims of the Kremlin propaganda

Russian television, a low level of education and ravenous capitalism are the factors by which popularity of president Putin is growing among Lithuanian Poles – believes PhD. Jarosław Wołkonowski.

On Wednesday (4 January) the Eastern Europe Studies Center presented research on Poles and Russians living in Lithuania. Research shows that 46% of Lithuanian Russians believe that Russia had the right to the annexation of the Crimea. It is also believed by 40.5% of Poles. Asked whether they like the Russian president Vladimir Putin, 73% of Russians answered affirmatively, as well as 64% of Poles.

No Polish television

This situation is caused by the fact that we have such television and Poles in the Vilnius region watch it. This television on a daily basis broadcasts Kremlin politics, explaining this way the annexation of the Crimea. In fact, Poles are victims of the Kremlin propaganda. They have no other channels which would demonstrate the real situation in the Polish language”, told zw.lt PhD. Jarosław Wołkonowski, Associate Dean for the Department of Economics and Information Technology in the branch of the University of Białystok in Vilnius.

Associate Dean added that one television is not enough to counter the Russian propaganda. “As long as there are no changes, effects will be the same”, he explained.

Wołkanowski noted that also the fact, that the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania is in alliance with Russians, has the impact on the Polish community. “Russians have similar views and it all gets even stronger.”

Bad education

Such results are also influenced by the economical situation of the country. The Lithuanian society is, in terms of financial situation, the most stratified in the European Union, believes Wołkonowski, and it certainly has an impact on political views.

Capitalism which we have nowadays in Lithuania is really ravenous. Social care, care of the country is at a very low level. Lithuania is hostile not only against Poles, but also against an average citizen of Lithuania or of other nationalities. This is the brutal truth. (…) It particularly affected Poles because of a low level of education”, said Wołkonowski.

Putin and the Crimea

Research of the Eastern Europe Studies Center shows that 18.8% of Lithuanian Poles think that Russia annexed the Crimea legally. The next 21.8% tend to agree that Russia took the Ukrainian peninsula lawfully. 14.4% disagree with this approach, 19.7% tend to disagree and absolutely does not agree – 11.4%.

Vladimir Putin is liked by most of respondents of Polish nationality. 38.4% of respondents “really like” Putin, and 26.2% just like him. 13.5% do not like Putin and 11.4% – absolutely do not like him.

The study was conducted in June by Baltijos tyrimai on order of the Eastern Europe Studies Center on a group of 500 representatives of national minorities in Lithuania. The whole study will be published by the end of the month.

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

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