- July 21, 2019
Is departure of councilors from the Vilnius region to Osmania a threat to national security?
Vilnius region councilors have planned a weekend trip to Belarus, to the local government of Osmania, to – as the local government representative informs – gain experience in the field of tourism development. Meanwhile, some political scientists recall that Belarus, like Russia, is mentioned in the reports of the State Security Department as a country posing a threat to Lithuania. However, opposition councilor Robert Duchniewicz believes that the Lithuanian media has exaggeratedly inflated the case.
The Secretary of the Vilnius District Council, Elżbieta Jankowska informed LRT journalists that all the councilors of the region – 31 people – were invited to travel. The Vilnius region has been cooperating with Osmania for 12 years, it also plans a common project between European, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus.
“Such live meetings are very effective, ideas and goals are discussed during them, and experience can be shared,” said Jankowska.
AWPL-ZChR chairman Waldemar Tomaszewski commented to the public television news that the region of Osmania is one of the closest for Vilnius. “In its time, the largest number of sellers from Osmania were at Kaziuk fairs. Now there is a kind of iron curtain. In my view, it’s worth going, it’s worth cooperating. “
Meanwhile, Lithuanian political scientists asked by the LRT critically assessed the idea of Vilnius region politicians.
“Trainings from Russia, Belarus, or countries that are hostile to us, which the State Security Department constantly mentions in its reports, look strange to me. Any ties with these countries pose a threat to national security. And what you can learn from countries that are not far in the ranks of the world’s leading countries, it is hard for me to say at all, “said analyst Marius Laurinavičius.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the opposition Social Democrats faction in the Vilnius District Council, Robert Duchniewicz, believes that this is just a visit to a partner self-government.
“I don’t think I will go alone, because today I see that I will have a lot of work here in Lithuania. But we plan that other members of our fraction will go. I see nothing wrong with that. This is a visit to partners. Maybe more in the tourist style, but councilors, as I understand, will pay for everything except transport. It is possible to visit territories historically associated with Lithuania and see how life is in Belarus. Maybe these partners do not have as much experience as more developed countries with which I would try to make contact, but this does not mean that this visit will not give any experience “- said Duchniewicz to zw.
“Cooperation and partnership agreements with the cities of Belarus, are concluded by other Lithuanian self-governments. The subject of tourism is quite important. We see how many Belarusians go shopping with us. The Vilnius region is a borderland and may become an accessible place for tourism and recreation for the” explained the social democrat councilor.
The program of trips of councilors to Belarus includes, among others, visiting the castles in Mir and Nesvizh as well as a visit to the “Niemen” glassworks.
Translated by Patrycja Polanowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.