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Poland Lithuania - current relations


Jurgis 1 | 6
26 Apr 2011  #1
Dzien dobry.

First of all I want to explain the purpose of this thread. There are some issues (and they should increase constantly) about Poland Lithuania which I would like to discuss with your community.

I was reading your forum for quite a while and the reason why I chose "History" section is because in many cases the issues which I would like to discuss should appeal to historical background. Also because I believe that people, who could share the best thoughts and who should be the most interested by this thread are here.

One of the main goals of these discussions would be not to clear who is the smartest or something like that, but to share reliable information from original sources, that means you - poles.

There are several reasons why I am interested in Poland. I always was more or less intrigued by Poland and Lithuania history, but I became fascinated a few years ago. I feel proud not only by Lithuania's history, but by Poland's too. I wish to learn the polish language someday too.

Furthermore I live in Vilnius city, Salininkai (pol.:Soleniki) district. So, basically I am surrounded by our shared history, heritage and present day events.

The time for this thread might not be perfect, but I hope we could overcome this by discussing about these recent events. I mean the current down-grading relations between Poland and Lithuania.

As I live in VIlnius there are many poles and some russians living here. I'm happy to have the opportunity to live in such a place. I can say that lithuanians and poles get along very well. I have some polish friends and my personal experience is also very positive. Though I could say that sometimes poles spend more time among themselves, but it's natural.

On the other hand I could say that some lithuanians have the stereotypical pole view - somehow slithery. And sometimes (though this happens very rarely) poles are being insulted in some way by lithuanians.

Educated and wise people (for example in school or university during lectures) when they have an opportunity admires Poland and poles. (I intend to discuss that later. Especially about universities lectures and views)

The overall experience is that poles and lithuanians get along well.

Speaking about minorities rights it is a very tricky thing, in my opinion. Often they could be used not because of defending justice but rather as a political weapon.

The second interesting thing is the recent president shift in Poland. Lech Kaczyński was a conservative and a patriot, Bronisław Komorowski is more liberal. (correct me if I'm wrong). Is it not strange that the relations between two countries were better or even great, when Poland's president was a conservative patriot and after his death they started to worsen?

The official tone of Warsaw and Vilnius might not portray the picture very clearly (having in mind that some level of a propaganda war might exist), so I hope to hear your own opinion about these events.

There are few last things which I want to mention. My knowledge about Poland is limited so please, do not be offended if I will make a mistake about it. I would be grateful if the administrators, moderators and the whole community would understand me and would not move or delete this thread.

Dziekuje.
alexw68
26 Apr 2011  #2
Is it not strange that the relations between two countries were better or even great, when Poland's president was a conservative patriot and after his death they started to worsen?

That's just a matter of timing. The question to ask here is what Lech Kaczyński would have said and done if he were still alive and President. The tone of the current discussion concerning minority language/cultural rights would have been much the same, one suspects (though the irony of his and his brother's attitude to Silesian self-definition would, of course, be lost on him).
Gregrog 4 | 100
26 Apr 2011  #3
The second interesting thing is the recent president shift in Poland.

During last visit of Lech Kaczyński in Vilnius Lithuanian parliament voted against the law that allow Poles to write their names in Polish. So there is not difference between then and now. Only general politics changed - Kaczyński's policy of strong Central Europe vs Tusk's policy of good relationship with Germany and Russia. Loss for Lithuania.

There are many problems between our countries:
- writing of Polish names(which was regulated by both-side agreement soon after regaining independence from SU)
- Możejki oil refinery(pipeline shut down by Russians and forbidden transport of oil via railway by Lithuanian government)
- receiving back properties lost by Poles in Lithuania during WW2
- the newest problem of education reform which hardly threaten Polish schools
- antiPolonism within government, parliament and society of Lithuania
- Lithuania doesn't fulfilled minority law for Poles which are guaranteed by EU laws.
To sum in up - relations between Poland and Lithuania is one of the worst in whole Europe. Which is funny and sad at the same time. We are both in NATO and EU.

When I read forums, comments under articles related to PL and Lithuania there are always Lithuanians who are moaning that their country is smaller, that we pressure them in their internal issues or that we are treat for them.

These picture I get from Polish and English sources.

I want to warn you - most people who will write here won't be Poles. This is forum of foreigners writing about Poland. Poles are minority here ;)
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #4
Lech Kaczyński was a conservative and a patriot,

Sadly one of Poland’s biggest international embarrassments; a blinkered, paranoid, village fool who’s managed to amass massive amounts of anti-goodwill towards Poland within the EU countries and beyond.
gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #5
I am pretty surprised people (especially Polish) use such forums to spread unsubstantiated private political biases and then are surprised those oppositely biased make their views clear

and the respectful language - gotta love it

btw I am curious what is your social background FP - don't you perhaps come from a village yourself - I do if you ask - you can feel as much superior as you wish
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #6
am pretty surprised people (especially Polish) use such forums to spread unsubstantiated private political biases and then are surprised those oppositely biased make their views clear

Hmm you do like surprises and Kaczynski was kind of …surprising (in sort of morbid yet amusing way), so small wonder. Personally I prefer my surprises to be nicer than that:)
gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #7
like having over 10 per cent drop in taxes collected while having a positive economic growth? (I am not 100 per cent sure but it was between 2009 and 2010)

and then being surprised by the speed Polish debt grows? and perhaps in a few years being surprised by being as bankrupt as Argentina, Greece or even more - is that what you call nicer surprises? Ho Ho Ho ?
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #8
like having over 10 per cent drop in taxes collected while having a positive economic growth?

Provided the tax revenues are spent for the benefit of the general public, which clearly works elsewhere, what's wrong with that?? Is that the usual ooooh booooh bad baad tax rant you hear fx in US? Seeing how many young Poles have jumped the ship, most notably under Kaczynski, one would have thought their own country should perhaps strive to provide better benefits for its people...
gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #9
Provided the tax revenues are spent for the benefit of the general public, which clearly works elsewhere, what's wrong with that?

you seem not to understand the matter - have you heard about any tax lowered in the said period?? and especially one that could lower general tax income of the country by 10 per cent? - and then ( a completely separate matter) what is the point of lowering taxes when it directly causes massive growth of state debt - so no - lowering taxes is not always the best possible thing or even a responsible thing to do

and btw FP you probably don't live in Poland - so you don't care that much this country can go bankrupt

next nota bene - what do you think about the recent ZUS reform? was it a right thing to do??
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #10
and btw FP you probably don't live in Poland

true

so you don't care that much this country can go bankrupt

eerh why? weird conclusion, to make me look like I'd gloat over Poland's bankruptcy..? lol
Anyways it seems to me that just about any country except China is about go bankrupt, with US leading the pack. Sorry for my broad sweep leading us away from Lithuania and closer to ZUS, which btw I haven't got the faintest clue what is other than something horribly boring... cheers.
pawian 157 | 9,053
26 Apr 2011  #11
I feel proud not only by Lithuania's history, but by Poland's too. I wish to learn the polish language someday too.

Welcome, Lithuanian brother.

I want to warn you - most people who will write here won't be Poles. This is forum of foreigners writing about Poland. Poles are minority here ;)

How about fifty fifty?

The time for this thread might not be perfect, but I hope we could overcome this by discussing about these recent events. I mean the current down-grading relations between Poland and Lithuania.

How do I see it? Lithuanians are torn between two options. On one hand, they are trying to protect their country against Russian imperialism. The year 1940 and later on is still well remembered.

On the other hand, they are trying to diminish the Polish influence in/on their country because they fear another Polish cultural colonization. That is why they are refusing to acknowledge the rights of Polish minority etc etc.
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #12
On the other hand, they are trying to diminish the Polish influence in/on their country because they fear another Polish cultural colonization. That is why they are refusing to acknowledge the rights of Polish minority etc etc

hmm in my ears you sound rather patronizing towards Lithuanians suggesting some sort of inexplicable void in their culture that above all needed filling with… ‘Polishness’
gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #13
pawian:
On the other hand, they are trying to diminish the Polish influence in/on their country because they fear another Polish cultural colonization. That is why they are refusing to acknowledge the rights of Polish minority etc etc

hmm in my ears you sound rather patronizing towards Lithuanians suggesting some sort of inexplicable void in their culture that above all needed filling with… ‘Polishness’

you sound patronizing to Kaczyńskis on the other hand, what's the difference - btw he is not patronising at all - you need to think less (or read more) sometimes cause you get strange conclusions
pawian 157 | 9,053
26 Apr 2011  #14
hmm in my ears you sound rather patronizing towards Lithuanians suggesting some sort of inexplicable void in their culture that above all needed filling with… ‘Polishness’

I don`t know if it needed filling or not. I just know the facts: Lithuanian elites prefered to turn Polish in the past. Today we are proud of those Lithuanian Poles and kids learn about them at school..
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #15
Lithuanian elites prefered to turn Polish in the past

It's 21 first century btw.. and Lithuanians are surprise surprise...Lithuanians. I know, shocking...
pawian 157 | 9,053
26 Apr 2011  #16
Yes, it is 21 century so why still so many Poles feel anxious about Germans ? :):):)

Lithuanians fear Poles the same as Poles fear Germans or Russians.

Do you know Adam Mickiewicz, the great Belarussian poet who was born in Lithuania and wrote in Polish????

Here is the ending of one of his poems:

A zając rzekł do siebie: "Niech nikt nie narzeka,
Że jest tchórzem, bo cały świat na tchórzu stoi;
Każdy ma swoją żabę, co przed nim ucieka,
I swojego zająca, którego się boi".

gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #17
pawian:
Lithuanian elites prefered to turn Polish in the past

It's 21 first century btw.. and Lithuanians are surprise surprise...Lithuanians. I know, shocking...

during the firts half of the 20th century (and also before a bit) Lithuanians did a lot to get rid of Polish influence on their culture and language (this was called Lithuanian national revival) they also forcibly Lithuanized a sizeable Polish minority in pre-war Lithuania (polonia laudańska) - there was serious anti-Polishness among Lithuanian elites in the first half of the 20th century - I come to think it is still lingering here and there
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
26 Apr 2011  #18
A zając rzekł do siebie: "Niech nikt nie narzeka,
Że jest tchórzem, bo cały świat na tchórzu stoi;
Każdy ma swoją żabę, co przed nim ucieka,
I swojego zająca, którego się boi".

lol cry craven. btw anything else from the 18th century I need to be admonished about...? ;) or was it 19th ?:))))
gumishu 11 | 4,991
26 Apr 2011  #19
I have to admit that I don't know the facts - but - are Poles in Lithuania enjoying the same liberties as Lithuanians in Poland (there is a small are north of Suwałki with Lithuanian majority)
pawian 157 | 9,053
26 Apr 2011  #20
lol cry craven. btw anything else from the 18th century I need to be admonished about...? ;) or was it 19th ?:))))

Adamus Mickievicius created poetry in 19th century. :):)

there was serious anti-Polishness among Lithuanian elites in the first half of the 20th century - I come to think it is still lingering here and there

That is a massive understatement. Lithuanian complex of Polish colonization is as big as Mount Everest.
routro66 - | 4
27 Apr 2011  #21
One of the problems with this discussion is it confuses modern national identities with earlier identities. By the 17th and 18th Centuries there was a "Polish Nation" but it didn't include peasants speaking Polish dialects. It included mainly gentry of Polish, Lithuanian, East Slavic, German, Armenian, Tatar, Scottish, South Slavic etc. origins who shared a common Polish Language and culture and a membership in the elite of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. (Czesław Miłosz's family originated in west Slavic Sorbian Areas. Father Kollontai's family was of Slovenian Ancestry) The peasants: Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian speaking were only "Ludzie Tutejsze" (local people). They did not belong to any "nation"

It is only when the Polish speaking peasants started to be included in the Polish nation that local elites sought out ties to their own local folk. See Tim Snyder's incomparable book :"The Transformation of Nations" for a clear exposition of the issue.

TCR
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
27 Apr 2011  #22
How do I see it? Lithuanians are torn between two options. On one hand, they are trying to protect their country against Russian imperialism. The year 1940 and later on is still well remembered.
On the other hand, they are trying to diminish the Polish influence in/on their country because they fear another Polish cultural colonization. That is why they are refusing to acknowledge the rights of Polish minority etc etc.

I think that is quite an accurate summary.

See Tim Snyder's incomparable book :"The Transformation of Nations" for a clear exposition of the issue.

Sounds like an intersting read.
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Apr 2011  #23
Yes, it is 21 century so why still so many Poles feel anxious about Germans ?

You were born in Poland - you tell me. WW2 ended 66 years ago, and people on PF and in Poland (?) still seem to be obsessed with it even though several generations have passed already. I never really understood where all this anxiety comes from; given the fact that hardly any Pole (or German) can remember the war as an eye witness.
Babinich 1 | 455
27 Apr 2011  #24
I never really understood where all this anxiety comes from; given the fact that hardly any Pole (or German) can remember the war as an eye witness.

Why write history if the goal is to live only in the present?
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Apr 2011  #25
Writing down and remembering history is not the problem; the anxiety that Pawian mentioned is. For how much longer does Poland want to be stuck in the past? Isn't the future of the country way more important? I really believe that it's time to move on - much like Germany and Israel did for example.
z_darius 14 | 3,969
27 Apr 2011  #26
For how much longer does Poland want to be stuck in the past?

We just want to follow the good example of our Jewish brethren.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
27 Apr 2011  #27
Writing down and remembering history is not the problem; the anxiety that Pawian mentioned is. For how much longer does Poland want to be stuck in the past? Isn't the future of the country way more important? I really believe that it's time to move on - much like Germany and Israel did for example.

I agree, as a great poet one's s said.

Adam Ansnyk Daremne żale:

Daremne żale - próżny trud,
Bezsilne złorzeczenia!
Przeżytych kształtów żaden cud
Nie wróci do istnienia.

Świat wam nie odda, idąc wstecz,
Znikomych mar szeregu -
Nie zdoła ogień ani miecz
Powstrzymać myśli w biegu.

Trzeba z żywymi naprzód iść,
Po życie sięgać nowe...
A nie w uwiędłych laurów liść
Z uporem stroić głowę.

Wy nie cofniecie życia fal!
Nic skargi nie pomogą -
Bezsilne gniewy, próżny żal!
Świat pójdzie swoją drogą.

I meant once said, in regards to the above contribution.

And further about the past, provided of course that one learns from history and draws the right conclusions, there is no point in dwelling in the past.
boletus 30 | 1,366
27 Apr 2011  #28
Speaking about minorities rights it is a very tricky thing, in my opinion.

Today's Gazeta Wyborcza re-prints an open letter of Lithuanian intellectuals "Litwini do Litwinów", dated April 10, 2011:

With blazing anxiously and sadly observe , as in Lithuania every day is destroyed and desecrated the germ of European Christian civilization : the wisdom and tolerance , humility and charity.

I have seen something similar few weeks before, published somewhere else.

It is an appeal to Lithuanian society to stop playing short term political games and to start seeking agreement with Polish-Lithuanian minority, which are, after all, the citizens of the Lithuanian state, and who wish to live in piece and take care of future of their children.

... Nawołujemy do przezwyciężenia politycznych sprzeczności, do uśmierzania ognia wrogości wzniecanego przez krótkotrwałe cele polityczne, do szukania porozumienia z Polakami z Litwy jak z obywatelami jednego państwa, pragnącymi, jak wszyscy inni, w zgodzie i spokoju układać swoje życie, dbać o dobro swoje i swoich dzieci na tej ziemi.

Signed by:

Antanas Gailius - an intellectual, philosopher, poet, translator, member of the Foundation's Thomas Mann, a former editor of Catholic ed. IDEAS,

doc. Irena Vaišvilaite - Rector of European Humanities University, an opposition activist, former advisor to President V. Adamkus,

prof. Alvydas Jokubaitis - prof. of Institute for International Relations in Vilnius, a political scientist,

doc. V. Paulius Subaeius - expert in Lithuanian affairs, president of the Catholic Academy of Sciences,

prof. Danute Gailiene - prof. psychiatry;

Julius Sasnauskas - Franciscan friar, philosopher, former dissident, songwriter about multiculturalism of Vilnius,

prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas - medievalist historian at the History Faculty of Vilnius University
tautmyla
27 Apr 2011  #29
i am a Lithuanian, born in the United States. I am proud of my heritage. Everyone should be proud of one's cultural heritage. It is galling to find so much misinformation passing for objective fact. Example: Poland IS NOT in Central Europe. The center of Europe is in Lithuania not far from Vilnius. There is a marker there indicating this fact. "East" and "West" Europe are not geographical considerations, but political. Perhaps the time has come when political aggrandizement should be clearly labeled instead of being masked in the guise of "cultural" considerations. Lietuva lietuviams. Anyone wishing to live there should learn that country's language rather than insist on imposing one's own. If you want to speak Polish - go back to Poland

Bishop Liiudvikas Vezelis, OFM
gumishu 11 | 4,991
27 Apr 2011  #30
If you want to speak Polish - go back to Poland

just a petty nationalist who knows little history that's what you are - the people you are talking about never moved into Lithuania (like 95 per cent) - their parents, grandparents and grand grandparents were born in those lands

Anyone wishing to live there should learn that country's language rather than insist on imposing one's own.

are you implying Polish people in Lithuania impose anything on Lithuanians? - interesting - just shows you know next to nothing about the issue

btw being proud of one's national background makes as much sense as being proud one has a bottom to sit on


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