Lithuanian politicians describe as "a slap in the face" a proposed legal amendment in Poland that would equate "Lithuanian nationalism" to a totalitarian regime, saying that if it is adopted, Lithuania-related monuments may start to be demolished in the neighboring country.
Monuent to a Lithuanian writer Antanas Baranauskas in the front of the Sejny Bazillion at the Sejny County in Poland
© DELFI (E.Digrytės nuotr.)

"It is a slap in the face. But if one understands the ideological nature of the current Polish government and remembers their earlier initiatives, such as a resolution on the historical nuances of relations with Ukraine, this is not surprising. This is something close to their traditional thinking. They live as if in a surrounded fortress and, naturally, see nationalisms of others, but do not see their own nationalism," Laurynas Kasčiūnas, a member of the Lithuanian parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, told BNS on Thursday.

The conservative lawmaker said that if the amendment were passed, all memorial signs associated with Lithuania in Poland would be under threat.

"What does the monument to (Lithuanian poet) Antanas Baranauskas mean? There will be someone who will say that this is propaganda of Lithuanian nationalism and must be torn down and that Baranauskas must be erased from the historical memory of the Sejny region. Certain manipulations will begin," Kasčiūnas said.

"I think someone may interpret any Lithuanian symbol as propaganda," he added.

Gediminas Kirkilas, chairman of the parliament's Committee on European Affairs, is of the same opinion.

"In fact, not everybody in Poland approves of that. We saw an assessment from the Polish Prosecutor General's Office that does not approve of that. People in the Prosecutor General's Office understand that such a law may have consequences. Perhaps some monuments will have to be demolished or plaques will have to be torn off. They understand that it will be they who have to do it," the Social Democrat said.

According to proposed amendments to a law on banning "propaganda of communism or other totalitarian regime in the names of buildings, objects and public facilities", "particularly fascism, German Nazism, Ukrainian and Lithuanian nationalism, Prussian, Russian and German militarism" would be considered as a totalitarian regime.

The Lithuanian parliamentarians said that Lithuania would have to recall its ambassador from Warsaw consultations if the Sejm continued debating the bill.

Kęstutis Vaškelevičius, spokesman for the Lithuanian foreign minister, confirmed to BNS on Thursday that the amendments had been removed from the agenda of the Polish parliament's sitting.

The parliamentary resolution was initiated by Jacek Kurzepa, a lawmaker of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party.

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