V. Radžvilas: a disaster has come already and we can‘t hide it

Vytautas Radžvilas
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“Why do politicians suddenly need to legalize dual citizenship? Because they finally saw that a demographic disaster has happened in Lithuania. On the other hand, they seek, as in Soviet times, to embelish population statistics, “- said philosopher and political scientist Vytautas Radžvilas to LRT.lt, while commenting on the Conservative-initiated amendments to the Law on Citizenship. At the time, the Conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis said that they must leave the door ajar for the emigrants – that they would have the opportunity to go back if the situation in Lithuania gets better.
The vast majority of members of the Parliament have signed a Conservative initiated amendment to the Citizenship Act, which would allow Lithuanian citizens who emigrated after 1990 March 11th, who have acquired foreign citizenship. It is true only if the country is a member of the European Union or NATO. However, the President Dalia Grybauskaitė believes that the amendments to the Law are unconstitutional and therefore, in order to legalize dual citizenship, a referendum is required.
“Lithuanian Constitution has not changed. The last interpretation of the Constitutional Court on the matter was in 2013. When it was very clear that the expansion of dual citizenship institute can only take place by referendum rather than the law, “- said D. Grybauskaitė last week.

Citizenship Law amendment prepared by Conservative has the support of the Parliamentary group leaders, the chairman of the Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis, and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. 114 MPs signed the initiative to legalize dual citizenship.

He wants to leave the door ajar in the Homeland

“At this time when many residents leave Lithuania for better social conditions in foreign, we cannot afford to splurge on our citizens. Therefore, we offer the opportunity of dual citizenship for their children or grandchildren. I do not think that because of the dual citizenship emigrated Lithuanians [now] would flood back to their homeland, but I would think that by saving Lithuanian citizenship they would come back one day “, – said one of the initiators of the amendments to the Citizenship Law, the Conservative leader G. Landsbergis.

He believes that if dual nationality is not legally recognized, that Lithuanians who have emigrated will not associate themselves with Lithuania and generally see no point in returning.
“The main reason now that people are leaving the country are poor economic conditions and labour shortages. If, however, after ten years life conditions would improve, but people would not have the possibility of dual nationality, it is unlikely that the emigrants would come back. Therefore, we need to leave the door ajar. After all, they are all citizens of our country. Although in my immediate environment there are people who believe that the emigrants legal problems for a better life are their own business “, – said G. Landsbergis.

In which way should dual citizenship happen?

Legal Committee of the Social Democrat leader in the Parliament Julius Sabatauskas did not sign the initiative to edit the Citizenship Act that would allow for the dual citizenship to be legalized.
When asked why he did not sign the Conservative initiative to legalize dual citizenship, and correcting the Citizenship Law is opium for the people: “This is a deception of the people, because now the valid Law on Citizenship provides nine cases in which the person with a foreign nationality may be also a citizen of Lithuania. This law cannot do anything else. It should change the Constitution. Also, a referendum is anticipated for the dual citizenship.”

J. Sabatauskas spared no criticism to the World Lithuanian community and said he thought that the hypocrisy of its leaders, who are constantly arguing that the referendum on dual citizenship has to happen.

“It’s better to let it them come together and campaigning for the fellow countrymen who are living abroad to participate in a referendum to obtain Lithuanian citizenship not as a gift, but to take it by themselves. After all, you can participate in the referendum, without leaving their residential area, sending their voice by mail before registering in a Lithuanian diplomatic embassy and expressing a wish to participate in the vote, “- said J. Sabatauskas.

He said that the current situation, when last year only 19,207 have registered and voted only 16411 voted in the elections out of those who are living abroad – this is really abnormal.

“If at least 200 thousand emigrated Lithuanian citizens would vote in the elections, the situation would be quite different. I therefore suggest the need to organize a referendum on dual citizenship and then we will see whether our fellow countrymen need it? “- said J. Sabatauskas.

In response to the question, why of Lithuanian citizens who emigrated in approximately past 30 years is it necessary to preserve or recover nationality, MPs told the story about one of his relatives who is living in the United States with a Green Card: “Now the question arose whether to become a US citizen or have a Lithuanian citizenship. I asked her whether she intends to seek for a political career in the US? No. Will by becoming a US citizen you will receive a higher pension there? Hardly. Salary increase? I wonder. I did not receive a clear answer as to why they should refuse a Lithuanian citizenship and to accept a US citizenship.”

J. Sabatauskas considered that perhaps many of the countrymen, who find themselves in the Atlantic, are seeking to preserve or recover Lithuanian citizenship is because the US passport it is less safe and more complicated to travel to some parts of the world than for EU citizens.

A demographic catastrophe has already happened in Lithuania

Philosopher, political scientist and one of the Movement initiators V. Radžvilas said to LRT.lt that he thought that the Parliament is determined to establish dual citizenship in Lithuania for several internal and external reasons.

As for internal reasons, he said, due to the fact that today it is impossible to conceal the demographic catastrophe that has occurred. It has happened over the last three decades, the country’s Government carried out an irresponsible economic and social policy.

“We were silent and those who have tried to raise this issue, were marginalized, they received labels of country slanderers and apocalyptical theologists. But it happened, and what the prophets predicted black – this nations’ decrease is not only abnormal, it is absolutely dangerous “, – believes V. Radžvilas.

He also pointed out that emigration from Lithuania in recent years is much higher than in those whose level of development is the same, or similar: “Lithuanian economy is one of the fastest growing in the EU but why people earn less than in Estonia or Poland? That fact was concealed until Lithuania experienced a shortage of labour that it took on easy measures of cheap labour form abroad. Therefore, we heard more serious and loud talks about amendments to the law on dual citizenship.”

V. Radžvilas said that he sees that because the greed and short-sightedness of entrepreneurs’ even educated and smart citizens are leaving Lithuania. He pointed out that even the stores are closing in the provinces, “And the land turns into an uninhabited desert, which is a threat to the functioning of the economy.”

In the philosopher’s opinion, it is hard to identify who is to blame. Existing politicians in the Government seek the most likely culprits, so they resorted to a series of steps: “One of them – the Soviet times are characterized by the manipulation of statistics. As related by the Prime Ministers’ S. Skvernelis claim that if dual citizenship is not legalized, the number citizens in Lithuania will drastically decrease. However, each state is existing for as long as it is supported by citizens who live in the country and not in those who have emigrated.”

V. Radžvilas also pointed out that he thought that it is impossible to compare people who have left Lithuania after 1990 with the immigrants, who were forced to retreat from the Homeland before and after the Second World War.

According to the philosopher, for some reason politicians are silent, Lithuanian citizens who decided to emigrate after 1990, had the opportunity to take such a decision as free people, and in 1940 citizens of our country have found themselves faced with aggression and occupation.

It is handy for the corporations to steer people

When speaking about the reasons for emigration, V. Radžvilas drew attention to global trends when many large business corporations fond it useful to steered people, who are ready to move to another place in the world for a few more euros or dollars.

“We can’t do anything, these are the universal laws of globalization. But nevertheless, all the people of the world need a place where they feel safe, where their needs are met. Therefore, even in this context when a multi-nationality institute is promoted. So, it dual citizenship is legalized, that Lithuanian citizenship means more Soviet Socialist Republics citizenship meant in Soviet times. In other words, will the meaning and understanding of the Citizenship Institute be washed away”, – believes V. Radžvilas.

He considered that by legalizing dual citizenship, many people will be able to achieve it on the various grounds – which are not necessarily beneficial to Lithuania.

Philosopher did not rule out the possibility that a day X might come when, for example, Russia will start caring to protect their citizens in Lithuania from discrimination or hypothetical persecution, which has happened repeatedly in the former territory of the Soviet Union.

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