• August 7, 2018
  • 731

Radčenko: Schemer Michal Mackevič & Co.

It sounds rather immodestly, but I will take the risk. It seems to me that after many years of practice I know the law, journalism and also a bit of public relations. But when I watch what what Valdemar Tomaševski, Michal Mackevič and their supporters are doing lately I can clearly see that our leaders know little about law or journalism and nothing about public relations.

In May 2018 Michal Mackevič, president of the Association of Poles in Lithuania and member of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) from the EAPL–CFA party, was accused of falsifying financial records while settling grants of the motherland. Anyone who has ever flipped through a public relation textbook knows, what should be done in such a situation – strive to minimise the damage caused by this information. Mackevič should have resigned, the Association of Poles in Lithuania should have replaced the management with new people of impeccable reputation, create a committee to examine the matter and audit the problem.

Exactly this way behaved the Liberal Movement after the arrest of its Chairman Eligijusa Masiulisa and which, as we know, was unexpectedly successful in the parliamentary election in 2016. There are a lot of things of which Liberals can be accused, but they know public relations well. However, EAPL–CFA – Association of Poles in Lithuania acted against all the rules of PR.

Mackevič not only didn’t quit but was re-elected for another, probably sixth term, and Valdemar Tomaševski stood up for his comrade. The problem which in no time could have been swept under the carpet, became a serious problem that impacts not only voters’ attitude to EAPL–CFA, but also the relations between Poland and Lithuania. Moreover Mackevič’s issue provoked many other scandals with activists of the “not involved in any scandals” party.

Michal Mackevič probably trying to blackmail Poland and to suspend the investigation procedure concerning himself, announced a suspension of cleanup work in Józef Piłsudski’s manor house in Zalavas, which is one of the places of national remembrance in the Vilnius district. The Main Board of the Association of Poles in Lithuania dependent on Mackevič and Tomaševski also decided to remove all the Polish flags in Zalavas.

“All the recently taken actions of defamation and keeping the Main Board of the Association of Poles in Lithuania from decision-making and taking action make further work and realising plans in Zalavas virtually impossible. There are also not being realised all the planned initiatives to celebrate 100 years of Poland regaining independence, which is special to this place. In such a situation white-and-red flags – the symbol of jubilee year – were removed from the masts” – wrote “Nasza Gazeta”, and the president of the Association of Poles in Lithuania went even further when he announced sale of Zalavas and accused Poland, which each year gives tens of millions PLN to support Poles in Lithuania, of… lack of support and Polish delegations visiting Zalavas of lack of respect for the birthplace of marshall Józef Piłsudski. For instance, Mackevič in an interview with 15min.lt complained that representatives of the Polish state come to Zalavas only to “place wreaths”:

“Then we have to go there and clear the wreaths away, we get no help, nothing. It’s summer now, the grass is growing, I should organise some young people for clean up.”

It turned out there was nothing to organise, the youth got organised itself. Scouts went to Zalavas first, then community workers convened by, inter alia, the president of the Polish Discussion Club (PKD) Ewelina Mokrzecka and they cleaned the area. Even Michal Mackevič himself with EAPL–CFA – Association of Poles in Lithuania activists stopped by in the meantime and took a photo of himself with a lawn mower…

It also turned out that Michal Mackevič for years has been keeping a secret that he studied in Higher Party School Under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in Moscow and that EAPL–CFA members: Vanda Kravčionok and still the same Michal Mackevič spend the most money on parliamentarians’ offices rental of all the members of Seimas. This year Kravčionok has spent €1996 on office rental in the House of Polish Culture, whereas Michal Mackevič – €930. Last year the proportion was exactly… opposite. I do not know the difference between the offices in the House of Polish Culture, if the difference in their price is double, and I do not know if Kravčionok and Mackevič swap their offices each year, but this information gives a lot of thoughts…

Lithuanian Special Investigation Service (STT) investigated the situation of the construction and repair of local roads in Vilnius District Municipality ruled by EAPL–CFA. It turned out that there are many shortcomings: there’s no objective criteria on the basis of which the roads are marked for repair, on repairs shall decide the Commission under the authority of the head of the local administration, composed almost entirely of employees from the same department etc. No wonder – as reported the Municipal Counsellor of the Vilnius District Municipality Robert Duchniewicz of social democrats – in some municipalities (more disloyal to EAPL–CFA) roads are renovated by putting nails on them.

And, at last but not least, it turned out that our Vilnius political beauty, starost of the parliamentary group EAPL–CFA Rita Tamašunienė leaves at the taxpayer’s expense (so yours and ours) for… Australia. Formally, to promote religious tourism and take part in a conference on… apostolic mercy. The thing is, the conference will last only 3 days while Rita in the land of kangaroos will stay 11 days…

Examples – older or more recent – can be multiplied. It seems like the narrative of EAPL–CFA, being so carefully built by Valdemar Tomaševski, as the only Lithuanian party “not involved in any scandals”… went to hell. It turned out that EAPL–CFA activists just like the others are interested in money, privileges, benefits, positions…

We expect of a politician two things: effectiveness and honesty. How it goes with honesty – we can see, perhaps it is high time to think how efficiently they operate?

Only six months left until the elections.

Tick-tock, tick-tock… Can you hear it?

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

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