Opinion: Will Cytacka save Lithuania?

Jaroslav Neverovič and Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

These factions could be ethnic minorities, professional groups or retired people. Luckily, in the face of Russian-induced military crisis in Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland remain relatively immune, preserving calm domestically and securing EU and NATO support internationally.

Under such circumstances, the flashy political conflict caused by the reappointment of vice-minister of energy Renata Cytacka can turn into something more than just our usual clash of political ambitions; it can be a dangerous unsettling of political stability in the state.

[Upon the insistence of her party, Cytacka was reappointed to the post this week despite the prime minister’s objections; as a result, he decided to dismiss the minister of energy, putting into question the survival of the ruling coalition.]

In that sense, resolving this conflict means saving Lithuania. Geopolitical circumstances have forced Ms Cytacka, otherwise a player of very local significance, into a position of great consequence. Her decision now is a matter of national urgency. What’s at stake is much bigger than the post of deputy minister she clings to. It is now up to her to make the only possible decision that will seem right for everyone who cares about Lithuania and wrong only for those who wish it ill.

Renata Cytacka must resign in order to:

– save Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, who is now forced to demand the resignation of Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič, because otherwise he would lose face in the eyes of the society. A prime minister and a party leader without respect and, by extension, confidence of the society cannot remain in power for long;

– save President Dalia Grybauskaitė, so she is not forced into a difficult decision to dismiss Energy Minister Neverovič whom she trusts and whom she has commended several times for excellent work;

– save Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič, who is rightfully regarded as one of the best ministers in the current Cabinet. His example proves that there are stately-minded people among Lithuania’s Polish-speakers, people capable of developing complex international projects in the name of their country. The EU Council presidency has allowed Neverovič to prove that he can excel at an even higher level of the entire EU. Dismissing such a minister would be a great loss for Lithuania and Lithuania’s Polish-speaking community;

– save the ruling coalition, since Prime Minister Butkevičius has hinted that the current crisis puts the continued participation of the LLRA (Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania) party in the government in question. Redistributing Cabinet posts right now – when Lithuania is preparing for the euro adoption and struggling to contain the effects of Russia’s embargo on food imports – would disturb government work on many levels at a time when decisive actions are as crucial as ever;

– save her own party, the LLRA, and its supporters. Otherwise the party would be kicked out of the coalition, losing any influence on the state governance it has. Cytacka’s fellow party members would lose their posts: the deputy speaker of the Seimas, the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, not to mention the minister of energy and a number of deputies in various ministries;

– save the relations between ethnic Lithuanians and Lithuania’s Polish-speaking citizens, since it is evident that the architect of the crisis feeds off the confrontation between the two groups which brings no benefit to anyone except him- or herself and the Kremlin. A responsible decision to step down by Cytacka would improve the standing of Polish-speakers in the eyes of ethnic Lithuanians – and provide and example of true statesmanship. This would reduce mutual suspicions and ease the way to solving the real issues that exist.

Should Ms Cytacka refuse to step down – succumbing to the commands of the party leader and her own short-term ambitions – all the advantages listed above would turn into liabilities. She might earn her fifteen minutes of fame as a martyr, but she will soon find all the doors will be closed to her. A choice Ms Cytacka is now facing is one between flipping over her reputation, ruined by but a few ill-advised actions, and isolating herself even further.

On the day that the leader [of the LLRA, Valdemar Tomaševski] decides to sacrifice something or someone for the sake of better political relations, she will be the first on his list. Unlike the leader, she will be the one embodying everything that the nation thinks about LLRA politicians – players incapable of acting like true statesmen.

Another possible scenario: after a difficult conversation with the president and the prime minister, Neverovič declares he is no longer a representative of the LLRA. The prime minister then confirms him as a non-partisan member of the coalition government. The minister sacks Cytacka, since nothing obliges him to listen to the orders of [LLRA leader] Valdemar Tomaševski, and the prime minister gets the party kicked out of the coalition. However, Cytacka’s resignation of her own free will would be much better for everyone involved.

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