Former president Adamkus: Polish-speakers don’t appreciate what they have in Lithuania

Valdas Adamkus
Vida Press

“It’s a big internal problem of our country, arising from the Polish minority‘s unwillingness to adapt to, accept the laws of the country they live in. I believe they do not appreciate how good it is for the Polish minority to live in Lithuania, where all conditions have been created [for them], including Polish-language schools, the Polish press, TV, their elected representatives in parliament. I want to ask the Polish minority what they still need,” Adamkus said in an interview with DELFI.

In his opinion, it’s ridiculous that Lithuania’s Polish-speakers want to spell their names and street names in a different language while living in this country. Adamkus believes the issue is easily resolvable.

“The first page of the Lithuanian passport must contain all information in Lithuanian. And on the other page, if that is so important for the Polish minority and if they cannot read the Lithuanian text, it can be written using Polish letters. My wife’s name, when we lived in America, did not have an “ė”. My wife is Alma Marija Adamkus (in Amercica), and Adamkienė in Lithuania, and that could be an example for the Polish minority of respect for the country they live in,” the ex-president said.

Adamkus was Lithuania’s president in 1998-2003 and 2004-2009.

Lithuania’s Polish-speakers want to have bilingual street and location signs in areas densely populated by them as well as the legalization of name spelling using the original Polish alphabet.

Polis-speakers make up over 25 percent of local populations in the districts of Vilnius, Šalčininkai, Švenčionys and Trakai. Over 25 percent of the population in Visaginas are ethnic Russians.

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