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Published: 23 april 2012 13:26

Rimvydas Valatka: Why is Poland's Foreign Minister Sikorski more confident about Lithuania's bright future than we are?

While most Lithuanians – those who did not participate in the clean-up campaign “Let's Do It” – are giving up on the faith in their state and even go on to destroy it under a partisan flag of “justice without courts,” Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski announces, from high up in the Polish Sejm tribune, that he believes in the bright future for the Lithuanian state.


“In our relations with Lithuania, we are hoping for a new opening-up with the new Government that will be formed after October's general election,” Poland's chief of diplomacy has delivered a message to Warsaw and Vilnius.

Much in tune with over 70 percent of Lithuanians, who cannot stand Prime Minister Kubilius, Sikorski has implied that our current Government is so irredeemable that it is not even worth wasting one's breath talking to. A good word from the lips of our Polish brothers is always comforting. But even more comforting is the fact that the Polish foreign minister already knows that our conservatives and liberals are definitely losing the parliamentary election and leaving power, while the next Government of the Republic of Lithuania will be, unlike this one, an incarnation of good.

The only bad thing, though, is that our joy with the bright future that Mr Sikorski forecasts recedes once we realize that he has failed to indicate who exactly it is from the  motley crew of our current opposition that is to provide the bright future of Lithuania and excellent relations with Poland. We are forced to indulge in some guesswork.

Is it Rolandas Paksas? If so, Mr Sikorski should be extra careful. Even though Paksas has many times – during his term as both the Mayor of Vilnius and an MP – become friendly with the Polish Electoral Action, the impeached president announced the new course for “order and justice” on Saturday: to change the Constitution, to give up representative democracy and introduce direct government by the people. This does not sound good for Poland. Because the people are still holding grudge against Poles for taking Vilnius (that was occupied by Poland 1920-1939), so after having their way with late Ūsas and Kedys, they can go on to hold posthumous trials of Pilsudski, Želigowski, the Radziwills, the Sapiehas, the Czartoryskis, the Chodkiewiczs, going as far back as the 15-century generations.

Let's admit that Mr Sikorski cannot nurture any illusions about the nationalists that have just split from the conservatives. On the other hand, if Mr Sikorski is ten-fold more critical of Grybauskaitė-Kubilius' Lithuania than of Putin's Russia, it is hardly conceivable that the Polish foreign minister sees the bright future in the hands of Viktor Uspaskich or some Vladimir Romanov.

What is left? Yes, of course, “Yes!” And the movement's founder, the undying Vilnius Mayor Artūras Zuokas who, if scared away by Lithuanian law enforcement officers, usually runs to hide towards Warsaw.

However, Mr Sikorski should hold his horses of enthusiasm in Zuokas case, too. He'd better ask his embassy to brief him on the last two weeks in Vilnius that Zuokas spent throwing cobblestones at his former party fellow Stanislovas Štriūbėnas.

Zuokas was shouting that it was Štriūbėnas who paved the central Gediminas Avenue with low-quality cobblestones and, moreover, stole the old ones. Šriūbėnas would retort that stealing something in Vilnius without Zuokas' knowledge was mission impossible. Eventually, we discover that it was Vilnius Municipality itself that sold the old pavement stones to someone.

Even though the whole affair might seem like yet another dull incident from the Lithuanian political gutters, it is an eloquent proof – much more revealing than the entire rhetoric behind the “Yes!” movement – that Zuokas is not someone you would like to do business with. Everyone – be it Pole or Lithuanian – who associates their hopes of the bright future with him, sentences themselves to the thief's fate. The alternatives are two – either one will eventually be declared a thief by law enforcement, or by Zuokas himself. No third option.

But that is besides the point, because Mr Sikorski must be thinking of the social democrats when he talks about the bright future, right?

And yet, it would be so below Mr Sikorski – a former player of Kaczynskis' “Law and Justice” party who now runs on Tusk's liberal platform – to prophesy the political death for Lithuania's conservatives and liberals while throwing in his lot with the leftist and slightly post-communist party.

On the other hand, if we assume that Mr Sikorski automatically sees his enemies' enemies as his friends, the Polish foreign minister must be deluding himself in a major way. Since the one to praise President Grybauskaitė's weird decision to turn down an invitation to meet President Komorowski in Warsaw was social democrat Česlovas Juršėnas and not the “evil” conservatives.

So Mr Sikorski is only left with the Polish Electoral Action led by Waldemar Tomaszewski. It is hardly conceivable that they could become an influential force in the Parliament by any other way than joining ranks with the Russian Alliance.

Victory of one's compatriots is always heart-warming? Well, Mr Sikorski should know better than anyone else what the Targowica Confederation was. And the outcome for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that this flirting of dishonourable noblemen like Potocki, Branicki, Rzewuski, and brothers Kosakowski with the Empress of Russia has brought.

This historical parallel between 1792 and 2012 is almost “off the point,” as our current President is so keen on repeating.

The only sentence uttered by Mr Sikorski addressing the Polish Parliament on the topic of Lithuanian-Polish relations has given such a great boost to our self-esteem, depressed by the deteriorating rapport. At least for a short while. It is comforting to realize that a Sikorski of a big state can be just as bad a diplomat as an Ažubalis of a small one. Small comfort, but still somehow pleasant.

Temos: 1 Rimvydas Valatka
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