A. Pukšto – we are unable to solve parish issues while greater dangers loom

Andžej Pukšto
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Secretly recorded conversations between former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski and former PKN Orlen chairman Jacek Krawiec were released to the public, which prove that there were serious discussions of handing over Orlen Lietuva to Russia, more specifically – Putin’s ally Igor Sechin, while Sikorski urged Kravec to teach the Lithuanians a lesson, using various profanities and other epithets in his description.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius said that based on the cooperation of the time, he can make the conclusion that the talks are not all that far from the truth.

Polish ministers of foreign affair are also interested in education in Lithuania. The topic of Poland was discussed on the LRT Television show Savaitė with Vytautas Magnus University Department of Political Science head Andžej Pukšto.

The expert notes that bilateral relations between Lithuania and Poland are unique in Lithuania’s foreign policy and really have three actors in them, with the third being the Lithuanian Polish community.

While official Warsaw distanced itself from R. Sikorski’s statements, A. Pukšto points out that there is something of a paradox – despite hopes that with Andrzej Duda becoming Polish president relations could be given a chance, it has nevertheless been two years since Duda was elected, during which there have been no Presidential or Prime Minister visits from either side to the other. The political scientist admits that the leaders of Lithuania and Poland meet in third countries, but in the end this is all a sign that there is something wrong with the relationship, even while security and energy aims for both countries match.

“With the Zapad exercises being performed nearby, when V. Putin just recently visited Pitsunda in Abkhazia and repeated once more that he will not relinquish the occupied Georgian territories, when the level of security problems is very high, we are discussing letters, education problems, passports, images of the Gate of Dawn. This is likely to be our historical problem that we have in our genes – when there are far greater and more numerous dangers, we still struggle with parish issues over the fence,” A. Pukšto pointed out regarding the difficulties experienced in resolving bilateral bickering.

The expert expressed scepticism over Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis‘ claims that he would seek to reboot relations with Poland, pointing out that his counterpart in Poland Jarosław Kaczyński lacks political backing, while bilateral relations are developing in an awkward manner – through unofficial meetings at bars, rather than through foreign ministries or presidential meetings. This, Pukšto notes, once again means that we have yet to mature to greater, tangible political decisions. In the end he believes that President Dalia Grybauskaitė will have to play a critical role in the matter, setting a tone and agenda which the rest will have to match.

Regarding rumours of potential coalition brokering with the Polish Electoral Action in Lithuania – Christian Families Union (LLRA-KŠS), if the Social Democrats abandon their “Farmer” partners, the political scientist notes that it is quite unlikely. While the “Farmers” and the LLRA-KŠS often have similar views, in the end it would appear that LLRA-KŠS leader Valdemar Tomashevski is unwilling to take responsibility for governance, plus both parties are less than united in a number of critical questions they would have to jointly resolve. A. Pukšto states that the conditions offered by the “Farmers” would have to be very appealing and R. Karbauskis would need to enforce strict discipline in his party for such a match to happen. Nevertheless he admits that there are no permanent interests or permanent friends in politics and the unexpected could happen.

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