Open letter to Jarosław Kaczyński

Laurynas Kasčiūnas
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

I feel greater respect for the firm and uncompromising stance your party holds regarding questions related to views of our communist past and contemporary Russian aggression against our neighbours. Your brother L. Kaczyński, along with President Valdas Adamkus, was one of the European leaders most supportive of Georgia during the Russian invasion into said country. Today Law and Justice firmly supports Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, MP Laurynas Kasčiūnas writes in DELFI.

We also support efforts to renew investigations of the Smolensk catastrophe, seeking to reveal in detail and leaving no doubt of the real reasons behind this tragedy.

Furthermore together with my colleagues we congratulate your party’s principled view of social, birth rate encouraging and focused on real economic aid to families with children policy.

All of this unites us. In the face of contemporary issues this unity is incredibly important because Lithuania and Poland have to, through mutual effort, strengthen regional security, deter the Kremlin, seek suitable portrayal and evaluation of communist crimes at the European level and to protect and defend the foundations of Christian European civilization.

Nevertheless this cooperation of two nations is diminished by the Polish Electoral Action (LLRA) which actively works in Lithuania. While this party declares it serves the interests of Lithuanian Poles, for many years it has systematically focused on policy suited to the Russian regime and has been creating an artificial wedge between Lithuania and Poland.

For example in 2014 LLRA member of Seimas Zbignev Jedinskij urged NATO to bomb Kyiv because according to him this way peace in South-eastern Ukraine could be established. This week Z. Jedinskij declared that instead of raising national defence financing, Lithuania should sign a non-aggression agreement with Russia, while reducing defence spending to 0.8% in contrary to commitments to NATO. Considering the historical lessons of non-aggression treaties between Russia and Lithuania, this proposal raises serious doubts of loyalty toward the Lithuanian state.

The leader of the LLRA, MEP Waldemar Tomaszewski is also known for his numerous pro-Russian statements. He is the only one of the major Lithuanian party leaders to denounce the 2013 Maidan protests in Kyiv, calling them the “ultimate evil”. In May 9, 2014 during Russian supported separatist aggression in Eastern Ukraine, V. Tomaszewski showed up in the Vilnius cemetary Victory Day commemoration, bearing the ribbon of St. George which symbolises Russian imperialism. V. Tomashevski and other representatives of his party have stated in many surveys made online that the Soviet era benefitted Lithuania more than harmed it.

I am certain that such a stance does not adhere to Polish political and cultural tradition. While the LLRA declares it represents the interests of Lithuanian Poles, with the previous party logo containing the Polish flag, the LLRA’s stance in terms of historical memory and geopolitical questions does not reflect the interests of Poland, but those of the Kremlin. While in the European Parliament both Law and Justice as well as the LLRA belong to the European Conservatives and Reformists fraction, the views of the two parties in regard to foreign policy and historical memory are incompatible.

All of this has consequences. For long years Poles living in an LLRA dominated environment have been susceptible to hostile Kremlin propaganda. Based on research done at the beginning of this year, a total of 65% of Lithuanian Poles view Vladimir Putin positively or very positively. The majority of them justify the Russian annexation of Crimea.

LLRA cannot be a mediator in dialogue between Lithuania and the Polish community in Lithuania. This political power is simply not interested in it. I am certain that being a principled political power the Law and Justice party should review its cooperation with the LLRA while this party’s geopolitical stance directly opposes the strategic interests of Lithuania and Poland. A new generation of Lithuanian Poles has grown up, one which cherishes the Polish language, culture, traditions and feel as being Lithuanian citizens, but do not want to be identified with the inflammatory politics of the LLRA.

Specifically these people are the future which will ensure our nations’ coexistence and historic harmony, they should be encouraged. Together we should seek to strengthen the identity formulation proposed by Lithuanian Pole M. Romeris, under which Polish-ness and Lithuanian-ness coexist together.

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