- September 1, 2018
Andrzej Papierz about Poles in Lithuania: We will not tolerate continued existence of some relicts of the former USSR.
“Polish communities in Lithuania are diverse and pluralistic,” said Andrzej Papierz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, who is finishing his visit to Lithuania. The Polish politician and diplomat stressed that the Polish authorities will continue to support the Polish minority in Lithuania. He added that not all activities of Polish activists in Lithuania would be tolerated by Warsaw.
“We cannot tolerate and we will not encourage continued existence of some relicts of the Soviet times, such as good feelings toward Soviet tradition and historiography. These are things that are simply inappropriate in the 21st century. History has assessed this. In Poland, we have already assessed this. We have objectively and unambiguously assessed the period of the criminal Communist regime. If any such elements appear here, especially in Polish communities in Lithuania, then it is completely incomprehensible to us. No relations with the independent state of Lithuania can be based on such things,” said Papierz.
However, the Deputy Minister did not want to mention any specific names. “Polish communities in Lithuania are diverse and pluralistic. There are different attitudes. You will probably know better whether this kind of people are there or not. I just said what attitudes we are not going to promote. I do not refer to any particular person, but I am talking about certain trends, about a certain assessment of the situation resulting from the analysis of attitudes and statements. That is one thing. The second is a clear message. The current authorities in Poland believe that we really spend a lot of money on the Polish community and Poles abroad. What is more, thanks to the dynamic economic growth, these funds are growing. We simply want see if this is beneficial for Poland in 20 years. It is our duty to take care of the Republic of Poland, therefore we would also like to feel that the majority of these funds are spent as intended. All activities that were previously – and I would say gently – not transparent, not only will they not take place, but they will be definitely eliminated,” Papierz referred to the last “invoice scandal” of the Association of Poles in Lithuania. “With regard to this prosecutor’s case, these are the actions of the prosecutor’s office. If I am well aware, they are being conducted in the case and not against. We are changing the judicial system in Poland very deeply. We have great confidence in these changes. I think that this issue will be clarified. If the allegations are wrong, then the matter will be cleared. But if proceedings have been brought in the case, that means that there is some indication to the contrary,” added the deputy minister.
Andrzej Papierz informed that current Polish-Lithuanian relations are developing very well. “I belong to the generation of high officials in this government, who are very pragmatic in their attempts to approach political issues, especially in difficult areas such as relations with their neighbours. Especially with Lithuania. I had the pleasure of working with Lithuania in other institutions in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed and independent Poland and the Baltic States were being established. I am quite well prepared when it comes to the factual knowledge and have a strong background when it comes to the past. Our relations with Lithuania are not unknown to me, although I do not belong to the type of politicians who were somehow strongly emotionally connected with Lithuania and the Vilnius region. In my opinion, there are too many emotions from both sides. I can say that the Law and Justice government, particularly the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, has found excellent partners in the current Lithuanian government. We regard the developing relations between Poland and Lithuania as very good,” he said.
“The principles of our policy towards Lithuania and the region are simple and obvious. We come to a country that is friendly towards us. We come to our friends. Lithuania is our close neighbour and shares many of the regional policy concerns on a European policy scale. Especially in terms of security, we also define threats in the region in a similar way,” he added.
Translated by Aleksandra Jackiewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.