“There are many who wish to be president, but very few who have a calling for it. It is a problem for wishes and calling to match. A calling is not ambition, it is suitability for the job. A calling, say for the work of a priest, a doctor or an educator – it happens. You cannot order a calling and you cannot buy it at the cash register – it manifests,” Prof. V. Landsbergis shared his thoughts on LRT TV Dėmesio Centre about the potential presidential candidates.
V. Landsbergis points out that in his opinion among current new arrivals into politics such as G. Paluckas, there is a desire to present oneself as new and effective, but this fails, with both the Social Democrats seemingly having renewed themselves, but then breaking down or the Liberals appearing a young, new power, but once again succumbing to the same faults as old nomenclature.
This, the professor believes, is due to a deep seated infection from the soviet era and it will take more than two generations to recover from. While it is possible to recover faster, it would require greater human capital, more people with idealism and intent to work for the country and nation. V. Landsbergis laments that unfortunately this is not a very frequent phenomenon.
In terms of the constant successes of populists in Lithuanian politics, he observes that there is more to it than a question of needing generation changes, but rather a syndrome where either populists are forgiven for failing their promises due to low expectations or new populists’ claims are bought wholesale. The professor recalls a conversation he was told about which sums the situation up – while people are often aware of previously failed promises and lies, an expectation continues for improvement. This, he notes, may not necessarily come true with people arriving who are young in age, but not in their thoughts, seeking power for the sake of power.
“In the end there exists this unwritten, spiritual, value heritage. These are damaged people who were used to use their privileges, steal, swindle, try to “place” their children into comfortable positions and such. This mentality was present for a terribly long time. And how do you tell this child to choose work they actually like? In the old days the parents would say “here child, we are making you a priest.” If the child is uninclined to become a priest and has doubts, then the parents declare they will no longer care for them, will no longer feed them,” V. Landsbergis summed up the development of this Lithuanian experience.
When asked about the upcoming presidential elections, the professor explained he took little interest in the debates because everyone speaks the same things and regarding potential candidates for the Homeland Union, which he was a founding member of, he states that, “Time will come for the party to decide who it will support, which one of those declaring intent to run. There are many who wish to be president, but very few who have a calling for it. It is a problem for wishes and calling to match. A calling is not ambition, it is suitability for the job. A calling, say for the work of a priest, a doctor or an educator – it happens,” he said.
Nevertheless V. Landsbergis was unwilling to identify any specific individuals who would appear to be called for politics, only noting that he himself never felt he had the calling to be a politician and was only placed in circumstances which brought him into politics and that really there is no way to display having the calling to be a politician – it is only perceived by others. “You cannot order a calling and you cannot buy it at the cash register – it manifests,” the professor summed it up.
While unwilling to directly praise his grandson G. Landsbergis out of concern for his words being twisted, V. Landsbergis pointed out that there is a need for people who believe in a goal, their country’s goal and can make a career sacrifice in order to be where they feel they are necessary and want to do something tangible. For example yielding the large wages in the European Parliament in favour of working in the national parliament.
While the former politician said that he does have an idea who he would give his vote to during the presidential elections, it is a case of who he would be more inclined to support, rather than it being the case that he has a clear favourite.
In terms of his own future plans, V. Landsbergis points to a number of books that he wrote and await publishing, adding to the 150 publications he has already released. This includes the publishing of a book on the works of M. K. Čiurlionis. He is also performing research for a book about his mother Ona Jablonskytė-Landsbergienė, which he believes contains much related to her life and the development of Lithuanian history.
The professor finally notes that he has prepared a publication to commemorate the centenary of Lithuanian statehood, “Along the way I put together a commemorative publication for the centenary of statehood. At some point the tradition began to commemorate February 16 and I would always have to talk there. Almost during any weather in the same balcony. That’s what I ended up calling the book – From the Signatory Balcony. It is a sort of review of our time based on the point of view of one person.”