Poles in Lithuania

Poles in Lithuania

The Polish minority in Lithuania ( _lt. Lenkai; _pl. Polacy) numbers 234,989 persons and, at 6.74% of the population of Lithuania, forms the largest ethnic minority in modern Lithuania and one of the largest Polish diaspora group in a former Soviet republic. Poles are concentrated in the Vilnius region (Polish: "Wilno"). People of Polish ethnicity have lived on the territory of modern Lithuania for many centuries.

The relationship between the two groups is long and complex. The countries were united during the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which ended after the Partitions of Poland in the late 18th century. The alliance was at times uneasy. Both countries succeeded in gaining independence in the wake of World War I, but hostilities over the ownership of the Vilnius Region broke out in 1920. The disputes were addressed when the Soviet Union exercised its authority over both countries during and immediately after World War II. Serious tensions resurfaced after Lithuania regained its independence in 1990 [cite web|author=Evaldas Nekrasas|title=Is Lithuania a Northern or Central European Country?|publisher=Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review|url=http://www.lfpr.lt/uploads/File/1998-1/Nekrasas.pdf|quote=In a letter written to Vytautas Landsbergis in December of 1991, Polish President Lech Walesa described Lithuanian-Polish relations as "close to critical."|format=PDF|pages=p.5|accessdate=2008-03-30] [cite web|author=Antanas Valionis, Evaldas Ignatavièius, Izolda Brièkovskienë|title=From Solidarity to Partnership: Lithuanian-Polish Relations 1988-1998|publisher=Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review, 1998, issue 2|url=http://www.lfpr.lt/uploads/File/1998-2/Valionis.pdf|quote=The interval between the restoration of diplomatic relations in September 1991 and the signing of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Good Neighborly Cooperation on April 26, 1994 was probably the most difficult period for Lithuanian-Polish relations (there were even assertions that relations in this period were “in some ways even worse than before the war”). |accessdate=2008-03-29] , but have since remained at manageable levels.


The Polish minority in Lithuania numbers 234,989 persons. [http://www.stat.gov.lt/en/pages/view/?id=1731 Population by ethnicity] . Data from "Statistikos Departamentas", 2001 Population and Housing Census.] The Polish minority (or Polonia), forming 6.74% of the population of Lithuania, is the largest ethnic minority in modern Lithuania; the second largest being Russian minority in Lithuania. 187,918 people in Lithuania consider the Polish language to be their mother tongue. [http://www.stat.gov.lt/en/pages/view/?id=1763 Population by ethnicity and mother tongue] . Data from Statistikos Departamentas, 2001 Population and Housing Census.] Poles are concentrated in the Vilnius region. The vast majority of Poles live in Vilnius county (216,012 people, forming 26% of the county's population); Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has 101,526 Poles, who form 19.3% of the city's population. [http://www.stat.gov.lt/en/pages/view/?id=1732 Population by some ethnicities by county and municipality] . Data from Statistikos Departamentas, 2001 Population and Housing Census.] Especially large Polish communities are found in Vilnius district municipality (61.3% of the population) and Šalčininkai (Soleczniki) district municipality (79.5%).


As of 1980, about 20% of Polish-Lithuanian students chose Polish at school."Атлас Литовской ССР" 1981, Государственный плановый комитет Литовской ССР. Министерство высшего и среднего специального образования Литовской ССР. Главное управление геодезии и картографии при Совете Министров СССР. Москва 1981. ] In the same year, about 60-70% of rural Polish community chose Polish. However, even in towns with predominantly Polish population the share of Polish language education was less then the percentage of Poles. Even though, historically Poles tended to strongly oppose Russification, one of the most important reasons to choose Russian language education was the absence of Polish language college and university learning in the USSR, and during Soviet times Polish students were not allowed to get college/university education directly in Poland. Only in 2007, the first small branch of the Polish Białystok University opened in Vilnius. In 1980 there were 16,400 school students instructed in Polish. Their number declined to 11,400 in 1990. In independent Lithuania between 1990 and 2001 the number of Polish mother tongue children attending schools with Polish as the language of instruction doubled to over 22,300, then gradually decreased to 18,392 in 2005 Mercator - Education information, documentation, research. [http://www1.fa.knaw.nl/mercator/regionale_dossiers/PDFs/Polish_in_Lithuania.pdf The Polish language education in Lithuania] Dead link|date=June 2008see: graph on p.16 (PDF file, 2.2 MB) Accessed 2008-01-14.] .


People of Polish ethnicity have lived in Lithuania for many centuries. Most researchers agree, that many Poles in Lithuania are the descendants of Polonized Lithuanians or Ruthenians. [cite book | year=1986 | title=Encyclopedia of Soviet Lithuania Vol. 2 ] dubious [cite book|author=Walter C. Clemens|title=Baltic Independence and Russian Empire|year=1991|publisher=St. Martin's Press|pages=p.150|isbn=0-312-04806-8|quote=In reality, many Poles in Lithuania were the offspring of Polonized Lithuanians or Belarussians.] Historically, the number of Poles on modern Lithuanian territory has varied during different periodsFact|date=May 2008. Polish culture began to influence the Grand Duchy of Lithuania around the time of the Union of Lublin (16th century), and during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795) much of the Lithuanian nobility was polonized and joined the Polish-Lithuanian "szlachta" class. Reformation gave another impetus to the spread of the Polish language, as the Bible and other religious texts were translated from Latin to Polish. In 1697 Polish replaced Ruthenian as an chancellery language. In 19th century peasants of Polish nationality started to appear in Lithuania, mostly by Polonization of Lithuanian peasants [cite book | year=2007 | title=Universal Lithuanian Encyclopedia Vol. 11 ] in Dzūkija and to a lesser degree in Aukštaitija.

A large portion of the Vilnius area was controlled by the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period, particularly the area of the Republic of Central Lithuania, which contained a significant Polish speaking population (for example, the Wilno Voivodeship in 1931 contained 59.7% Polish speakers and only 5.2% Lithuanian speakerspl icon cite journal | title=Drugi Powszechny Spis Ludności z dnia 9 XII 1931 r. | journal=Statystyka Polski | volume=D | issue=34 | year=1939 See ethnic history of the region of Vilnius for details.] ). From 1918 to 1921 several conflicts - such as the activity of Polish Military Organization, Sejny uprising (that was met with massive outrage in Lithuaniacite book | coauthors = Editors: Gintautas Surgailis; Algirdas Ažubalis; Grzegorz Blaszyk; Pranas Jankauskas; Eriks Jekabsons; Waldemar Rezmer and others | title = Karo archyvas XVIII | publisher = Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija | date = 2003 | location = Vilnius | pages = pp.188-189 | language = Lithuanian |id = ISSN 1392-6489 ] ) and discovered attempted of Polish coup on Lithuanian government [cite book|last=Juozas|first =Rainys|title=P.O.W. : (Polska Organizacja Wojskowa) Lietuvoje |publisher=Spaudos fondas|date=1936|location=Kaunas|pages=184] [cite book | last = Julius | first = Būtėnas | authorlink = | coauthors = Mečys Mackevičius | title = Mykolas Sleževičius: advokatas ir politikas | publisher = Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla | date = 1995 | location = Vilnius | pages = 263 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=XDg1AAAAMAAJ&pgis=1|isbn =9986-413-31-1] . From the documents stolen in POW headquoters safe in Vilnius and given to Prime Minister of Lithuania Augustinas Voldemaras it is clear, that this plot was directed by Józef Piłsudski himself.cite book | last = Lesčius | first = Vytautas | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Lietuvos kariuomenė nepriklausomybės kovose 1918-1920 | publisher = Vilnius University, Generolo Jono Žemaičio Lietuvos karo akademija | date = 2004 | location = Vilnius | pages = p.269 |sbn = 9955423234 ] , the Polish-Lithuanian War and Żeligowski's Mutiny contributed to worsening of Polish-Lithuanian relations; increasingly Polish people were viewed with suspicion in Lithuania. The loss of Vilnius was a stunning blow to Lithuanian aspirations and identity, and the unrelenting irredentist demand for its return became one of the most important elements of Lithuanian political and social life in the interwar period.Michael MacQueen, "The Context of Mass Destruction: Agents and Prerequisites of the Holocaust in Lithuania", Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 12, Number 1, pp. 27-48, 1998, [http://hgs.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/12/1/27] ] The irredentist campaign resulted in the emergence of feelings of hatred and revenge directed against the Poles in the Lithuanian society. In fact, the largest social organization in interwar Lithuania was the League for the liberation of Vilnius (Vilniaus Vadavimo Safunga, or WS), which trumpeted the irredentist line in its magazine "Our Vilnius" (Mttsu Vilnius)."

Hence in the interwar period Polish minority was persecuted by the administration of independent Lithuania. [cite web |url=http://www.stanford.edu/group/ethnic/Random%20Narratives/LithuaniaRN1.3.pdf |title=Lithuania |accessdate=2008-06-02 |last= Fearon |first=James D. | coauthors=Laitin, David D. |year= 2006 |format=pdf |publisher= Stanford University |pages=4 |language=english |quote= The nationalizing Lithuanian state took measures to confiscate Polish owned land. It also restricted Polish religious services, schools, Polish publications, Polish voting rights. Poles were often referred to in the press in this period as the "lice of the nation".] The Lithuanian census of 1923 showed that Poles constituted 65,600 of Lithuania inhabitants (3.2% of total population). [Does not include Vilnius and Klaipėda regions. Census of 1923 is the only census carried out in Lithuania during the interwar period. lt icon cite book |last=Vaitiekūnas |first=Stasys |title=Lietuvos gyventojai: Per du tūkstantmečius |year=2006 |publisher=Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas |location=Vilnius |isbn=5-420-01585-4 |pages=189] In interwar Lithuania, people declaring Polish ethicity were officially described as polonized Lithuanians who merely needed to be re-Lithuanianized, Polish-owned land were confistacted, Polish religious services, schools, publications, and voting rights were restricted. [cite web |url=http://www.stanford.edu/group/ethnic/Random%20Narratives/LithuaniaRN1.3.pdf |title=Lithuania|accessdate=2008-06-02 |last= Fearon |first=James D. |coauthors=Laitin, David D. |year= 2006 |format=pdf |publisher= Stanford University |pages=4 |language=english |quote= Lithuanian nationalists resented demands by Poles for greater cultural autonomy (similar to that granted to the Jewish minority), holding that most of Lithuania's Poles were really deracinated Lithuanians who merely needed to be re-Lithuanianized. Resentments were exacerbated when Lithuanian Poles expressed a desire to "re-unite" the country with Poland. As a result, the nationalizing Lithuanian state took measures to confiscate Polish owned land. It also restricted Polish religious services, schools, Polish publications, Polish voting rights. Poles were often referred to in the press in this period as the "lice of the nation"]

During the WWII expulsions and shortly after the war, the Soviet Union, during its struggle to establish the People's Republic of Poland, forcibly resettled many Poles who lived in the Lithuanian SSR and were seen as 'enemies of the state' into Siberia. After the war, in 1945-1948, the Soviet Union allowed to leave 197,000 of Poles to Poland; in 1956-1959, another 46,600 were able to leave.cite web |url= http://www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php?id=kw4_5_06|title= Liczebność i rozmieszczenie ludności polskiej na Litwie] (Numbers and distribution of Polish population in Lithuania)|accessdate=2008-06-02 |last=Eberhardt |first=Piotr |authorlink=Piotr Eberhart |language= Polish |quote=Było to już po masowej "repatriacji" Polaków z Wileńszczyzny, która w latach 1945-1948 objęła 197 tys. Polaków (w tym z Wilna - 107,6 tys.) oraz kolejnej z lat 1956-1959, która umożliwiła wyjazd do Polski 46,6 tys. osób narodowości polskiej. ] [cite journal|title=Poles In Lithuania From The Second Half Of 1944 Until 1946: Choosing Between Staying Or Emigrating To Poland (English Summary)|journal=Lietuvos istorijos metraštis|date=2004|first=Vitalija|last=Stravinskienė|coauthors=|volume=2|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.istorija.lt/lim/stravinskiene2004en2.html|format=|accessdate=2008-06-02 ] In 1950s the remaining Polish minority was a target of several attempted campaigns of Lithuanization by Communist Party of Lithuania, which tried to ban any teaching in Polish language; those attempts where however vetoed by Moscow which saw them as too nationalistic. The Soviet census of 1959 showed 230,100 Poles concentrated in the Vilnius region (8.5% of the Lithuanian SSR's population).cite web |url= http://www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php?id=kw4_5_06|title= Liczebność i rozmieszczenie ludności polskiej na Litwie] (Numbers and distribution of Polish population in Lithuania)|accessdate=2008-06-02 |last=Eberhardt |first=Piotr |authorlink=Piotr Eberhart |language= Polish] The Polish minority increased in size, but more slowly than other ethnic groups in Lithuania; the last Soviet census of 1989 showed 258,000 Poles (7.0% of the Lithuanian SSR's population). The Polish minority, subject in the past to massive, often voluntary [cite web |url=http://www.stanford.edu/group/ethnic/Random%20Narratives/LithuaniaRN1.3.pdf |title=Lithuania|accessdate=2008-06-02 |last= Fearon |first=James D. |coauthors=Laitin, David D. |year= 2006 |format=pdf |publisher= Stanford University |pages=4 |language=english |quote= For example, in Vilnius where in the Soviet years education in Polish was offered by some 13–14 schools, only 25 percent of the children born to monoethnic Polish families attended Polish schools. Fifty percent of them chose Russian schools, and only 10 per cent Lithuanian schools.] Russification and Sovietization, and recently to mostly voluntary processes of Lithuanization, shows many and increasing signs of assimilation with Lithuanians. However some young Poles don't speak Lithuanian fluently, so they prefer to study in Poland or in Polish language University of Białystok branch in Vilnius, rather than in Lithuanian universities.

Some Poles living in the south of Lithuania speak a dialect of Polish, containing many substratical relics from Lithuanian and Belarusian language.Valerijus Čekmonas, Laima Grumadaitė "Kalbų paplitimas rytų Lietuvoje (The distribution of the languages in the east of Lithuania)" in "Lietuvos rytai; straipsnių rinkinys (The east of Lithuania; the collection of the articles)" Vilnius 1993; p. 132; ISBN 9986-09-002-4]

Current situation

The situation of the Polish minority in Lithuania has caused occasional tensions in Polish-Lithuanian relations during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. When Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Gorbachev sought help from the Polish minority [ [http://www.stanford.edu/group/ethnic/Random%20Narratives/LithuaniaRN1.3.pdf Lithuania] . Stanford University, 2006] . Polish minority, still remembering the 1950s attempts to ban Polish language, was much more supportive of the Soviet Union and afraid that the new Lithuanian government might want to reintroduce the Lithuanization policies; according to surveys conducted in the spring of 1990, 47% of Poles in Lithuania supported the pro-Soviet Communist party (in contrast to 8% support among ethnic Lithuanians), while 35% supported Lithuanian independence.en icon cite book | author =Dovile Budryte | title =Taming Nationalism?: Political Community Building in the Post-Soviet Baltic States | year =2005 | pages =147-148 | publisher =Ashgate Publishing | location =Aldershot | id =ISBN 0754637573 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=UJMzpeUHkQcC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&sig=s8BnP6xV4TGxoLbhZxJ1_9F8FFU#PPA148,M1 ] The regional authorities in Vilnius and Šalčininkai region, under Polish leadership, with support from Soviet authorities, argued for the establishment of an autonomous region in South Eastern Lithuania, a request that was declined by the Lithuanian government and left lasting resentment among some residents. The same regional leaders later voiced support for the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 in Moscow.en icon cite book | author =Robert G. Moser | title =Ethnic Politics After Communism| year =2005 pages = p.130 | publisher =Cornell University Press| location =Aldershot | isbn = 0801472768| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=QodWT_BdOs8C&pg=RA1-PA130&lpg=RA1-PA130&ots=qH3lMyjLx8&sig=cQH6Lz6O7hGbtCs7KdBL_dNkKiA#PRA1-PA130,M1 ] Government of Poland however never supported the separationist tendencies of the Polish minority in Lithuania, and the former Polish ambassador to Lithuania, Jan Widacki, has criticized some Polish organizations in Lithuania as being extreme far-right and nationalist. [lt icon cite web | author=BNS | title=Buvęs ambasadorius kritikuoja Lietuvos lenkų lyderius ("Ex-ambassador criticizes leaders of Polish community")| publisher=Delfi.lt| url= http://www.delfi.lt/archive/article.php?id=20424| accessdate=2008-06-02 ]

This situation is further aggravated by fringe Lithuanian extremist nationalist organization Vilnija.pl icon cite journal | title =Litewska prokuratura przesłuchuje weteranów AK | journal = Gazeta Wyborcza | url=http://serwisy.gazeta.pl/swiat/1,34175,151474.html |language=Polish |quote=Vilnija to organizacja skrajna, nacjonalistyczna, której głównym celem jest likwidacja skutków wielowiekowej dominacji Polski nad Litwą i tzw. okupacji Wileńszczyzny w międzywojniu. ] pl icon cite journal | author =Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs | year = 2004 | month = 09 | title =Dr Garsva - prezes nacjonalistycznego stowarzyszenia Vilnija (...) | journal = Media zagraniczne o Polsce (Foreign Media on Poland) | volume =XIII | issue =2409 (3162) ] pl icon cite journal |year =2005 | month =November | title =Uknuli prowokację | journal =Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny | url =http://www.tygodnik.lt/200511/aktualia.html | accessdate =2008-06-02 ] The organization was formed in 1988, and its primary aim was the Lithuanization of ethnic Poles living in the Eastern part of Lithuania. The organization's goal is also to counter perceived growing Polish influence in Lithuania, which Vilnija sees as a threat to that nation. Vilnija has been seen by Polish government and media to often organize or support anti-Polish actions.pl icon cite journal | author =Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs | year =2006 | month =10 | title ="Antypolski tekst K. Garsvy" (Anti-polish text by K. Garsva)". Commentary on K.Garsva article "Kiedy na Wileńszczyźnie będzie wprowadzone zarządzanie bezpośrednie? (When Vilnius region will have direct self-government?)" in Lietuvos Aidas, 11 -12.10 | journal =Media zagraniczne o Polsce (Foreign Media on Poland) | volume =XV | issue =200/37062 | url = http://www.mfa.gov.pl/index.php?page=9370&lang_id=pl&bulletin_id=8&portlet=biuletyn%2Fpokaz | format = | accessdate =2006-01-20 Dead link|date=August 2007] pl icon cite web | author=Paweł Cieplak | title=Polsko-litewskie stosunki (Polish-Lithuanian affairs) | publisher= | year= | work=Lithuanian Portal | url=http://www.ambasada.lt/Default.asp?DL=P&TopicID=294 | accessdate=2007-01-13 Dead link|date=August 2007] Leonardas Vilkas, [http://www.darski.info/?darski=kraje&go=estonia_elali LITEWSKA, ŁOTEWSKA I ESTOŃSKA DROGA DO NIEPODLEGŁOŚCI I DEMOKRACJI: PRÓBA PORÓWNANIA] (Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Way to Independence: An Attempt to Compare] , on homepage of Jerzy Targalski, professor of University of Warsaw]

The United States Department of State stated, in a report issued in 2001, that the Polish minority had issued complaints with regard to its status in Lithuania, and that members of the Polish Parliament criticized the government of Lithuania over alleged discrimination against the Polish minority. [ [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/eur/691.htm Lithuania -Country Reports on Human Rights Practices] . US Department of State, February 23, 2001. Accessed September 14, 2007.] In recent years, the Lithuanian government budgets 40,000 litas (~15,000$) for the needs of the Polish minority (out of the 7 million litas budget of the Department of National Minorities). [pl icon Tadeusz Andrzejewski, [http://www.tygodnik.lt/200612/aktualia3.html IX posiedzenie podzespołu ds. edukacji mniejszości narodowych w sprawach litewskiej oświaty na Sejneńszczyźnie] , Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny, 23 - 29 marca 2006 r. nr 12 ] In 2006 Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller asserted that Polish educational institutions in Lithuania are severely underfunded. [pl icon [http://ks.sejm.gov.pl:8009/kad5/010/50101113.htm 5 kadencja, 10 posiedzenie, 1 dzień (15.02.2006) 2 punkt porządku dziennego: Informacja Ministra Spraw Zagranicznych o zadaniach polskiej polityki zagranicznej w 2006 r.] ] Similar concerns were voiced in 2007 by a Polish parliamentary commission [pl icon [http://www.ryszardbender.pl/senat/komisja.html Posiedzenie Komisji w dniu 11 kwietnia 2007 roku] , Komisja Spraw Emigracji i Łączności z Polakami za Granicą.]

A report by the Council of Europe, issued in 2007, stated that on the whole, minorities were integrated quite well into the everyday life of Lithuania. The report expressed a concern with Lithuanian nationality law, which contains a right of return clause, and recommended additional financial support for translations of textbooks. [ [https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1134263&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FFC679#P192_38971 Memorandum to the Lithuanian Government Assessment of the progress made in implementing the 2004 recommendations of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights] Council of Europe, 16 May 2007.] The citizenship law was under discussion during 2007; it was deemed unconstitutional on 13 November 2006. [ [http://www.lrkt.lt/dokumentai/2006/r061113.htm Ruling On The Compliance Of The Provisions Of Legal Acts Regulating The Citizenship Relations With The Constitution Of The Republic Of Lithuania] ] A proposed constitutional amendment would allow the Polish minority in Lithuania to apply for Polish passports. [ [http://finanse.wp.pl/POD,1,wid,9102035,wiadomosc.html?ticaid=144ac Polish press review - Government & Economy] . Wirtualna Polska, 10/08/2007 ] .

According to a report issued by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2004, Poles in Lithuania were the second least-educated minority group in Lithuania. [ [http://fra.europa.eu/fra/material/pub/RAXEN/4/edu/CC/EDU-Lithuania-final.pdf RAXEN_CC National Focal Point Lithuania] ] The Lithuanian government is obligated to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of The Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-neighbourly Co-operation between the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Lithuania(Vilnius, January 13, 1992), which says: "Both Parties will seek the possibilities of fully satisfying linguistic, cultural, religious and educational needs of the Polish minority in Lithuania and the Lithuanian minority in Poland, including studying in their mother tongue, educating minority members in their mother tongue on all levels of the school system, as well as to ensuring non-discrimination in political, social and economic life and also enabling persons belonging to minority to retain unrestricted contacts with the other country." [ [http://www.zbiordokumentow.pl/1992/1/4.html Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-neighbourly Co-operation between the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Lithuania] . Zbiór Dokumentów, 1992 ] . Branch of University of Białystok in Vilnius educates mostly members of the Polish minority. Ministry of Internal Affairs dissolves Vilnius district municipality causing protests.

According to "Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny" Polish language weekly Lithuanian authorities don't respect EU convention [http://www.vilniaus-r.lt/index.php?id=4061] . Jurgis Jurkevičius, the representative of Lithuanian government in the Vilnius district municipality demands removal of Polish names of the streets in Maišiogala (Mejszagoła), Raudondvaris (Czerwony Dwór), Riešė (Rzesza) and Sudervė (Suderwa). [ [http://www.vilniaus-r.lt/index.php?id=4061 Przedstawiciel rządu na powiat wileński narusza Konwencję Ramową RE ] ]

Tensions have been reported between the Lithuanian Roman Catholic clergy and its Polish parishioniers in Lithuania. [ [http://www.magwil.lt/archiwum/2005/wmw-10/pazd-3.htm New Page 1 ] ] [cite web |url=http://www.balticsww.com/pope.htm |title=The Divine Painting |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20061006184227/http://www.balticsww.com/pope.htm |archivedate=2006-10-06] [ [http://www.lcn.lt/en/bl/news/?newsid=1647 News] ]

In late May 2008, Association of Poles in Lithuania issued a letter, addressed to the government of Lithuania, complaining about anti-minority (primarily, anti-Polish) rhetoric in media, citing upcoming parliamentary elections as a motive, and asking for better treatment of the ethnic minorities. The Association has also filed a complain with the Lithuanian prosecutor, asking for investigation of the issue. [pl icon [http://www.rp.pl/artykul/137412.html Polacy atakowani w mediach] , rp.pl, 21-05-2008] [pl icon [http://fakty.interia.pl/swiat/news/litwa-polacy-zwracaja-sie-do-wladz-o-pomoc,1114321 Litwa: Polacy zwracają się do władz o pomoc] , interia.pl, 21-05-2008] [pl icon [http://www.bankier.pl/wiadomosc/Zwiazek-Polakow-na-Litwie-apeluje-o-zaprzestanie-kampanii-przeciwko-mniejszosciom-narodowym-1770706.html Związek Polaków na Litwie apeluje o zaprzestanie kampanii przeciwko mniejszościom narodowym] , 21-05-2008]

The situation of Polish minority causes occasional tensions between Lithuanians and Poles. The Lithuanians criticize the activities of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, whose Polish-Lithuanian officials often administer the Vilnius and Šalčininkai districts. The Poles on the other hand are critical of the Lithuanian government. Both groups criticize the other for discrimination and intolerance.


Lithuanian Polonia has several organizations.

The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania ( _lt. Lietuvos lenkų rinkimų akcija, _pl. Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie) is an ethnic minority-based political party formed in 1994, able to exert significant political influence in the administrative districts where Poles form a majority or significant minority. This party has held 1-2 seats in the parliament of Lithuania for the past decade; in the last general elections it got about 4% of votes. The party is more active in local politics and controls several municipal councils.pl icon [http://encyklopedia.interia.pl/haslo?hid=216646 AKCJA WYBORCZA POLAKÓW NA LITWIE] . Encyklopedia Interia. Last accessed 20 January 2007.]

The Association of Poles in Lithuania ( _pl. Związek Polaków na Litwie) is an organization formed in 1989 to bring together Polish activists in Lithuania. It numbers between 6,000 to 11,000 members. It defends the civil rights of the Polish minority and engages in educational, cultural and economic activities.pl icon [http://encyklopedia.interia.pl/haslo?hid=114890 ZWIĄZEK POLAKÓW NA LITWIE] . Encyklopedia Interia. Last accessed 20 January 2007.]

Prominent Poles


* Wiktor Budzyński - politician


* Darjuš Lavrinovič ( _pl. Dariusz Ławrynowicz) - basketball player
* Kšyštof Lavrinovič ( _pl. Krzysztof Ławrynowicz) - basketball player
* Artur Liudkovski ( _pl. Artur Ludkowski) - deputy mayor of Vilnius
* Jaroslav Neverovič ( _pl. Jarosław Niewierowicz) - vice-minister of foreign affairs
* Česlav Okinčic ( _pl. Czesław Okińczyc) - politician, journalist
* Artur Plokšto ( _pl. Artur Płokszto) - secretary of Ministry of National Defence
* Leokadija Počikovska ( _pl. Leokadia Poczykowska) - politician
* Jan Senkevič ( _pl. Jan Sienkiewicz) - politician, journalist
* Jarosław Wołkonowski - dean of branch of University of Białystok in Vilnius
* Valdemar Tomaševski ( _pl. Waldemar Tomaszewski) - leader of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania

ee also

* Krajowcy
* Kresy
* Lithuanian minority in Poland

External links

* [http://www.istorija.lt/lim/stravinskiene2004en2.html POLES IN LITHUANIA FROM THE SECOND HALF OF 1944 UNTIL 1946: CHOOSING BETWEEN STAYING OR EMIGRATING TO POLAND] by VITALIJA STRAVINSKIENĖ, The Lithuanian Institute of History, January 19, 2006
* [http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/mar/chronology.asp?groupId=36801 Chronology for Poles in Lithuania]
* [http://www1.fa.knaw.nl/mercator/regionale_dossiers/PDFs/Polish_in_Lithuania.pdf The Polish language in education in Lithuania] Dead link|date=June 2008
* [http://www.polonia.org/litwa.htm Organizacje Polonii na Litwie] (Organizations of Polonia in Lithuania)
* [http://www.prezydent.pl/x.node?id=74 Polonia na świecie] (Polonia worldwide) with section on Lithuania
* cite web |url=http://placieniszki.pl/polacy.php |title= Polacy na Litwie |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20050403173639/http://placieniszki.pl/polacy.php |archivedate=2005-04-03 (Poles in Lithuania)
* [http://www.najmici.net/losy_litwa.htm Losy ludności polskiej na Litwie] (Fate of Polish population in Lithuania)
* Jan Sienkiewicz, [http://www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php?id=kw3_2_04 Przestrzeganie praw polskiej grupy etnicznej w Republice Litewskiej] (Respecting the righs of the Polish minority in Lithuania)
* [http://www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php?id=l_spis Polacy na Litwie w prawie] (Lithuanian law on minorities)



* Zbigniew Kurcz, "Mniejszość polska na Wileńszczyźnie", Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2005, ISSN 0239-6661, ISBN 83-229-2601-4.

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