On the behalf of Democratic Association, their spokesman, Paweł Rogaliński, wants to show a great concern connected with the latest alarming events happening in Lithuania.
Some Lithuanian authority members seem to provoke conflicts with the neighbouring nations and countries because of their attitude towards minorities and some of their decisions. The biggest problem is concerned with the anti-minorities policy, which may be perceived as not fully democratic and conflicting with the European Union’s standards.
Historical problems are the main reason of the discrimination mentioned. The number of Poles in Lithuania has always been noticeable. The census of 1931 reveals that in the Vilnius Voivodeship (Vilnius and the area around), Poles made up 66% of the total population and there was not even 1% (about 0,8%) of Lithuanians. Between 1944 and 1950, 80% of Poles living in the city were expelled and made to move to Poland. Their houses have never been returned. In spite of this fact, even today, in the Vilnius municipality, people of Polish origin make up about 61,3% of the population, whereas in some cities (e.g. Soleczniki / Šalčininkai, Ejszyszki / Eišišk?s, Miedniki / Medinink?) the number of Poles exceeds 93,5%. This shows that the problem of bad relations is very serious and urgent.
One of the most vivid evidents of such a policy is the decision of Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court (and in 2010 – also the Seimas), who has ordered to remove the street signs with Polish names on them as they are against the law. What is more, it is forbidden and fined to use Polish as an alternative language in local government agencies. The same happens with any Polish signs, even in private shops. In the regions where Poles are in a great majority, such steps are not only a discrimination against them, but also this may be seen as a malpractice.
Another decision, which we perceive as being against “Polonia” diaspora, is changing Polish surnames into Lithuanian. Last but not least, Lithuanians condemned some remarkable Poles who were born in Lithuania. As a result, a Polish statesman, Józef Piłsudski, who was born in Zułów (Zalavas, a village close to Vilnius), is perceived as an enemy of the Lithuanian nation only because he wanted to be a realizer of the Jagiellonian idea of a joint country of the two nations. In 2008 and 2010 post offices in Vilnius sold postcards with an image of Hitler, Stalin and Piłsudski together, with an inscription, which was obvious defamation of Józef Piłsudski : “The great organisers of genocide of Lithuanian nation”. They falsified history and hurt feelings of many Poles.
Both: The Democratic Association and The Polish Forum of Young Diplomats are against any discrimination practices in Lithuania. It is all for our future interest and multilateral benefits of cultural diversity.