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Pagrindinis > in English > Valdemar Tomaševski: „We do not say that we have to live honestly, we actually live what we say we believe in.”

Valdemar Tomaševski: „We do not say that we have to live honestly, we actually live what we say we believe in.”


Valdemar Tomaševski

Gintautas  KNIUKŠTA

Lately, the Lithuanian-Polish relations have been overshadowed by the disagreements triggered by the treatment of the situation of national minorities. Poland has also criticised the new provisions of the Law on Education which provide for the reduced learning in the native language in the schools of national minorities.  

No important bilateral projects have been put to life in 10 recent years. The adviser to the President Darius Semaška declared that certain Lithuanian and Polish politicians were causing tension and misleading the international community with regard to the situation of national minorities in Lithuania.

The guest of the magazine – the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania Valdemar Tomaševski – quite often becomes the target of the arrows of criticism for bilateral relations but, according to him, it takes more than a single sentence to describe the situation.     

In 1994, Valdemar Tomaševski was the coordinator of the group initiating the establishment of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania; he laid the foundations of the party and was elected its first vice-chairman. In 1999, he was elected the chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. Thanks to the fellow members of the party, he has held this office to this day. In 2000, he was first elected the member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in Vilnius – Šalčininkai Single-Member Constituency. He repeated this victory in 2004 and 2008. People voted for the candidate of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania whom they knew as an honest, active and loyal to both his voters and each voter in Lithuania.         

In the 2008 elections to the Seimas, Valdemar Tomaševski won as early as the first round by gaining the largest number of votes compared to other 71 candidates running in single-member constituencies. Not only the representatives of national minorities but also local Lithuanians appreciating the fair policy of the Polish member of the Seimas voted for the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania: Throughout 15 years of existence, under his leadership, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania has not been in the midst of any scandals regarding corruption, embezzlement of public funds or other fraudulent situations which are often shaking other Lithuanian parties.      

In the two previous terms of office, Valdemar Tomaševski held the office in the Seimas Committee on State Administration and Local Authorities; from 2008 he became a member of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence.   

In May 2009, Valdemar Tomaševski ran for the President of Lithuania and ended up fourth out of 7 candidates at the state level, first in Vilnius Region and he took the honourable second place in Vilnius. Such a result was a great success for a Polish candidate.  

With the honesty and competence of Valdemar Tomaševski in mind, the votes decided to delegate him to the international political arena. Due to their expressed confidence in the elections to the European Parliament held in 2009, Valdemar Tomaševski received tremendous support and became a member of the European Parliament where he properly represents the interests of his voters.    

In both the activities of the Seimas and the party Valdemar Tomaševski proved to be a principled, active, incredibly diligent and honest person who follows the Decalogue in his life and professional sphere. He is a devotional and practicing Catholic who always stands for the Christian values; he is the author of the draft law protecting unborn children.

 Valdemar Tomaševski is married; he has been living in harmony with his wife Violeta since 1988 and has two sons: 22 year-old Vladislav and 12 year-old Pavel.

His father Vladislav Tomaševski held the office of the principal of Platiniškės Basic School for many years, whereas his mother Jadvyga Tomaševska dedicated 50 years of her life to pedagogical work. After school graduation in 1983, Valdemar Tomaševski became a student of Vilnius Engineering Construction Institute (now Vilnius Gediminas Technical University). After the first year of study, the new procedure was adopted and he was enrolled in the mandatory military service in Murmansk Region, Russia in 1984–1986. In 1990, he graduated and was awarded the diploma of an engineer. While a student, he actively involved in the national revival movement. He participated in the Baltic Way, where the Association of Poles in Lithuania had its kilometers near Avižieniai Village.          

He expressed his opinion on topical public issues in the media, participated in public discussions. He developed public activeness and excellent organisational skills as a member of Vilnius District Municipal Council and the Board in 1995, 1997 and 2000, when he was elected the vice-mayor of Vilnius District Municipality.   

Dear Valdemar, we are doing this interview at the time when a member of Šalčininkai District Municipal Council and one of the local politicians of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania Jadvyga Sinkevič has recently been beaten and robbed. I would like to highlight this fact because the Internet commentators commenting on this fact do not spare rude words to each other. What is your opinion of the Lithuanian and Polish relations? Do you still feel tension today?

It takes more than a single sentence to describe the situation. Perhaps we should start with politics. Certain parties radiate nationalist moods. I find it difficult to explain why the leader of the Conservatives Andrius Kubilius admitted radical nationalists to his party. It is the sole party inLithuaniawhich openly declares in its bylaws that only the individuals of a single nationality can belong to it. They make respective actions in the public domain by attacking national minorities by all possible means.

Such deeds do not create a better atmosphere; it can also be sensed in online comments. Of course, the comments do not reflect the public opinion. It is hard to tell the percentage of the people writing comments on the Internet. Perhaps ten or more but I believe that they do not reflect the opinion of the general public. Usually, there are a number of “permanent” commentators or institutions interested in discussing certain issues in online comments.

With regard to our council member, we have to admit that the criminogenic situation in the country definitely needs to be improved. But we cannot associate this event with national relations. I believe that trying to find out where the hatred in respect of national minorities comes from, the leaders of the country should first of all express their strict position in terms of this issue.

Regarding pre-war nationalism, we already know its source – it is Bolsheviks with Stalin ahead of them; as proven by the researcher Zenonas Butkus, the nationalists led by the President Smetona were supported by a tidy sum of money at that time – more than 6 million roubles.

Let’s be honest – some try to prove that the party under your leadership also tries to impair the situation?

It is a misunderstanding. The Polish national minority is forced to defend itself because the decisions taken at the supreme level are beyond our understanding. It is exactly the ruling majority that fuels the conflict.

Why was the Law on National Minorities adopted in 1991 abolished? After the bloody January events the faction of the Association of Poles officially expressed its support to the independence ofLithuania; the nation and national minorities were united. The Law on National Minorities was adopted; it was signed by the then speaker of the parliament Vytautas Landsbergis. The law was in force for nineteen years.

Nineteen years later, it was the same political power – the Conservatives – which repealed it. I am forced to think that the national minorities were deceived. When we had to fight for independence, we were united, we supported the independence of the country and gained it. Some time has passed and we have become unwanted – the law has been revoked…

It is cynical that it was done by the same political force. Or, for instance, the new provisions of the Law on Education: the accession to the European Union must have brought more freedom, but the result is contrary to what we expected. After seven years of our membership in the European Union, a decision was made to modify this law, to disregard the interested parties, and more than 60,000 parents’ signatures were simply thrown in a rubbish bin at the Seimas.

Naturally, such decisions of the ruling majority cause tension; there is no way we can avoid it. A wicked political moment can be observed – the negative attitude of both the Conservatives and the Liberals towards national minorities. In fact, their ratings are on the decreasing trend; they cannot boast of any achievements in economics. We may only guess that such actions are their election strategy. However, an even greater evil is that they are openly lying by asserting that the national minorities are to blame for the tension, whereas in reality, as I said, they only try to defend themselves and are resolved to defend their rights which had been in force throughout the 20 years of independence.

You would agree that no one raised the issue of the problems of national minorities in earlier times when the Government was led by Gediminas Kirkilas. Do you believe that today men in power are trying to conceal their inaction by creating such artificial problems?

Unfortunately, yes. This is the strategy of the Conservatives and the Liberals. Such a strategy is not acceptable to us. Voters are being eye-washed. Generally, I believe that such actions cannot be justified. It is not computer games; the negative outcomes of such conduct are likely to be apparent twenty years later. The peak of cynicism is the attempts to blame national minorities for the tension.

How could we now find a way out of this deadlock? Even the academic community allows itself to utter some careless words about our neighbours. For instance, Prof. Povilas Gylys declared that “we are lagging behind because the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk carried out his election campaign in Vilnius instead of doing it in its country”.

Mr. Gylys should not have forgotten that Donald Tusk also played another role this half-year – he held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Hence, lets not speak about Poland alone. His reaction to certain events was definitely justifiable.

You and the party were doing quite well both in the elections and afterwards. Do you have any special recipe?

Yes, we are doing quite well in the administration of certain municipalities. We have an honest team; a number of important jobs have been accomplished with this team.

The greater part of our team consists of devotional people; therefore, it is more likely that the people are honest. I do not say that there are no honest people among non-believers, but I would like to highlight that none of our politicians have been in the midst of corruption scandals. We held an absolute majority in two municipalities; we had our representatives in seven others. We are in power in seven municipalities. Other parties want to cooperate with us because they appreciate our honest and principled activities.

InVilnius, our coalition won an honourable second place; we gained 11 mandates out of 51. Of course, the result is excellent. The result in Šalčininkai was striking – 22 mandates out of 25; 19 out of 27 mandates in Vilnius District. None of the parties can boast of such results. We strengthened our positions in Švenčionys District; we had 4 seats. We gained 5 mandates in Trakai; only 12 votes were lacking to gain the sixth mandate. We got two mandates in Širvintos District andVisaginasMunicipalityeach.

In the latter elections, we gained 63 mandates and 6.5% of Lithuanian votes. The result is really good – we are in the ruling coalition in Visaginas, Širvintos,Vilnius, Švenčionys and Trakai. Seven political forces are in cooperation with us. It is the result of enduring work.

We have always adhered to the principal position – not to take money from business structures. You must start the fight with corruption from yourself, and that is what we did. The law has already been adopted according to which the parties may not be financed by legal entities. That was our proposal and a postulate. We did not only propose to pass this law but have implemented it throughout our years of activity. Only one enterprise, the publisher of a newspaper, belonging to a member of our party, supported us in the elections. Of course, sometimes money was lacking, we did not have as much cash for a commissioned article as other parties had before the elections but we had always followed our principles by refusing the proposals of support from business structures, even though we used to get more than ten of them every year.

Obvious results are good achievements of our members in showing their expertise. At the municipal level, only two municipalities do not have any financial liabilities.VilniusDistrictMunicipalityis operating without any debts; by contrast, debts make up 70% of the budget ofVilniusCityMunicipality. The works accomplished differ as well. In twenty years, only one kindergarten has been built inVilniusCity, whereas as many as four new kindergartens were erected in Vilnius District throughout eight recent years – Rudamina, Nemenčinė, Lavoriškės and Mickūnai.

New hospitals in Šumskas and Nemenčinė were built in Vilnius District. We definitely try to do as much as possible. It would take long to speak about culture or education. All schools have been preserved in the district, while they are being reorganised elsewhere.

Street names in Polish evoked extensive public discussions. Perhaps the state is the one which could express respect towards the national minority by providing the opportunity to read a street name in the native language next to its Lithuanian form? Who needs such a seemingly meaningless fight where even the representatives of the Government have their part to play?… According to the representative of the Government, the conduct of the government of Vilnius District is simply malicious, even though formally they demonstrate the enforcement of judicial decisions. In the meantime, the district government claims its compliance with the laws. J. Jurkevičius asserted in the press that he had applied to the court for the abolition of bilingual street names but the request was not upheld. Perhaps we should adopt a law and end these discussions once and for all?   

I believe it would be in the best interest of the state. It would show that national minorities are respected; it would even contribute to attracting tourists. It is exactly how it had been for a long time. The street name plates were absolutely legal until the Law on National Minorities was repealed in 2009. Now we have a legal loophole, though such name plates are lawful with reference to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ratified by our country, and international commitments prevail over our domestic legal system. There are plenty of both double and triple name plates across the European Union, and their use is even encouraged.

Let’s takeFinlandandCzechRepublicas the example: If the number of national minorities amounts to approximately ten percent, such signs are already used. InLithuania, it is required to eliminate them even if as many as eighty percent of residents belong to national minorities…Polandhas already passed the law according to which such signs are used when the national minorities make up twenty percent. The name plates are mounted at the expense of the Ministry of the Interior.

I do not believe that such name plates are any threat to the Lithuanian language, the more so that it applies barely to several municipalities. Debasing one’s language is a far greater threat because the youth are reading less and less and try to shorten the language.

Not only national minorities but also ethnic groups have their street name plates inPoland, for instance, the Slavic people akin to Poles, the Kashubians fromGdańskregion, similar to Samogitians. Why Samogitians should not be allowed to use their language inLithuania? Would it cause any disturbances to anyone? They cannot even write down the name of the capital in their language. Samogitians had a number of their words, but someone decided that everything had to become uniform, different.

I once spoke to Egidijus Skarbalius, the chairman of the Samogitian Party. The members of the Samogitian Party were invited to the Prosecutor’s Office; they had to answer the questions, to confirm that they were the members o the party because it was planned to wind up the party. It means that certain authorities try to fight with similar parties by simultaneously fighting with the citizens of their own country.

There are a number of unsolved problems pending since the times of restoration of independence. How much longer will the Lithuanian politicians speak about lustration? 

Lustration: 20 years of absurd. The years go by, terms of office, laws and fashions change, andLithuaniakeeps asking why there was no lustration. Vytautas Landsbergis was in power but he failed to do it, and once he lost power, he started talking that we needed to undertake lustration. While the Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania was in power, he had been actively talking about it throughout four years, thus gaining more votes. Once in power, no one did anything in that direction in 1996–2000, and nothing has been done to this day.

The Commission of the KGB Archives was set up as far back as 1990; the archives were taken and copies were made. Today, they can be used for blackmail or other dark goals.

I was neither afraid to express my beliefs in the Soviet period nor I hesitate doing it today because I am a free man. When I was sixteen, my surname was incorrectly entered in my passport, with a short “i” at the end, and I did not reclaim the passport throughout the year. A year later, I received an invitation to the police – I was threatened to be administered a fine for living without a passport throughout the year. I repeatedly explained to them that I wanted to have a passport but my surname contained a mistake. They corrected the mistake; then I reclaimed my passport.

In 1980, I chose the wrong place to discuss about the Katyn massacre of 20 thousand Polish officers in 1940 during my military training sessions. I said that it was the Soviets who did it. I found out about it from my family members when I was still a child. Both I and the school faced some troubles but I was young and I did not pay much attention to it. My father was a school principal and my mother was a teacher, so I was more worried about them.

According to nationalist ideologies, a man is evil because he is of a different nationality. Perhaps the Conservatives are worried because I am supported by the people across Lithuania, not only the region inhabited by the Poles, for my lack of hesitation to tell the truth. People across Lithuania voted for me and our party. We had forty Lithuanians in our registers in the most recent municipal elections. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania is a regional centre-right party uniting the people of various nationalities.

The restitution of land in Vilnius Region and the demand of the national minorities to write their surnames in the native language provoke wide-ranging discussions. How could we accelerate the solution of such lingering issues? Why do you think the process of restitution of land in Vilnius Region has been floundering for so long? 

The surname and the name are the individual’s property; they have nothing to do with the Lithuanian language.

The process of land restitution is particularly sluggish in cities. For instance, only 17% of land was restored to the owners inVilnius, about 40% of restitutions were made in Druskininkai, whereas over 95% of land has been restored acrossLithuaniain general. Officials are abusing their position; the position of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania also plays a role – the court made its own interpretation of Article 12 of the Law on Restoration of Citizens’ Ownership Rights to Existing Real Estate.

According to the amendments to Article 12 (Paragraph 1, Clause 3) of the Law on Restoration of Citizens’ Ownership Rights to Existing Real Estate which took effect on 19 April 2002, the state may buy out the land on condition that the detailed plans have been legally approved by 21 April 2001. How would you then explain a loose interpretation of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, when the court pronounced in 2003 that the general plan could be sufficient grounds for the state to buy out the land?

The issue of the restitution of land is acute and longstanding. What should we do? There must be good will and there must not be any interested groups willing to take advantage of it. In fact, there is no good will to restore the land. Someone really wants to benefit from it. Latvians passed the law and restored all land lots, even the land subject to mortgages, with certain limitations of use, of course. Officials could no longer influence anything or decide who was entitled to restitution and who was not. InLithuania, corrections and amendments are ongoing; there are always some reasons of how to procrastinate the process.

The law says that all spare land must be restored if it is not subject to detailed plans. A year has passed but the law is virtually helpless because someone abuses the situation, and not only inVilnius.

In general, it is very difficult for an ordinary individual to orient himself in the maze of land restitution. A number of them ruined their health, and did not live to see it at all. Perhaps only the former deportees were ensured better conditions for restitution. A lot of people openly declare that the land was taken away from them. Vytautas Landsbergis and his wife got a parcel of land in Vilnius District, even though they had never had it there. The Conservatives themselves drafted the law providing for the opportunity to transfer the land, and they were the ones who took advantage of it. In the meantime, there was not enough land for local people because it had already been divided. In particular in Avižieniai, Zujūnai and other suburbs ofVilnius.

A country grounded on the rule of law and democracy cannot allow such a conduct because land, like the name and the surname, is an untouchable property of man.

Is it true that the situation of Polish education in Lithuania has recently impaired? The Minister of Education Gintaras Steponavičius sent out 26,000 letters to the parents of Polish and Russian pupils in Lithuania trying to calm them down and to explain the essence of a new law. Was there a dialogue on the new amendments to the law? Was there a dialogue before adopting the amendments to the Law on Education? You were blamed for pupils’ participation in the demonstrations on the Law on Education.

It was a strike. Is it very odd that pupils come to the strike if the minister pays no regard to them or their parents? On 2 September, ninety percent of pupils in Polish schools were absent from school; a part of them came to the demonstration. It is a normal reaction.

There was no dialogue. It was told that this is how it is going to be, and that is it. Vytautas Landsbergis asserted that such a law must have been passed long time ago. Minister Steponavičius sent out the letters, with the second sentence declaring that the decision was taken under the programmes of political parties. Letters were written in Russian and Polish languages.

What does the minister’s saying “under the programmes of political parties” mean? Shouldn’t we take the requests of the interested parties into consideration, the more so that there were more than 60,000 of them? If the majority imposes its decisions on the minority, it is nothing else but Bolshevism.

Municipal elections were exceptionally successful to the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. The victory of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania in Vilnius and Šalčininkai districts, including the municipality of the capital, was convincing. Perhaps people were united by the policy led by the present government?

No. The decisive factor was an honest and competent work of our representatives led by the mayors Marija Rekst and Zdislavas Palevičius. It is the easiest way to show what has been done and what still can be done at the municipal level. People can see specific works accomplished.

Perhaps it was our fair policy which was the main factor inVilnius. I was among the first numbers in the list, but I openly declared that I would not take the position in the council. However, being among the first entries in the list, I am responsible for my team and I am guiding it throughout the term of office. People put their trust in us, and we gained a number of mandates.

Every year, our party holds conferences, with the implementation of the programme as the key item on the agenda. Not before the elections but every year, to make sure that there is still time to accelerate the implementation of the programme. Our programmes are real and very specific. People can see the results of the jobs accomplished and evaluate them.

Also, we monitor the people appointed to one or another position with great responsibility. There are cases when being in a certain position for a longer period a person changes. It is a very responsible moment; control is required. By the way, a number of Lithuanians hold offices inVilniusDistrictMunicipality. Five divisions are led by Lithuanians. They are not even the members of our party. But the party primarily evaluates the individuals by their honesty and competences. 

Your election to the European Parliament shows that people not only put their trust in you but also entrust you with their problems.

The presidential elections were held three weeks before the elections to the European Parliament. I believe that the result in the former elections was also considerably good. I gained 4.7% of the votes (the total of approx. 65,000 votes). I received about 50% of votes in Vilnius District and some 70% in Šalčininkai District. The President Dalia Grybauskaitė gained 20–25% of votes there. It is a proof that people support me, even though they could have voted otherwise.

I honestly agree that the President was definitely more competent at the time of elections. Of course, after two and a half years in the European Parliament my competence also boosted. However, despite that, people nevertheless put their confidence in me. I was second inVilnius. The representatives of large parties were behind me. It is an obligation for me to go on with my work. I gained votes across all regions inLithuania.

How do you feel in the European Parliament? We can hear some opinions that you are raising the wrong problems and uncover the weaknesses of the country. The Chief Official Ethics Commission had once declared that by his behaviour Valdemar Tomaševski did not show any respect to an individual. Ethics watchers later declared that not once was Valdemar Tomaševski asked to explain his words but received no answer. Do you agree with that?     

It is not true. The Ethics Commission adopted the decision that my activities (sic!) did neither do any honour to the individual nor the state. I was warned that I must not talk like that but they had not even had the text testifying my exact words at the European Parliament. I won because the commission was not competent enough to blame me under the treaty of the European Union and the spirit of European parliamentarism in general.

The European Parliament adopted a separate resolution to defend me. I simply asked a question in the meeting with the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. I was persecuted for that. I won against the so called ethics commission at the court of Lithuania as well. I recently talked about the rage of paedophile clans in Lithuania and I would not be surprised if I was accused again.

You have once asserted that energy issues are currently abandoned in our country?

Yes, I do not deny these words. Energy and agricultural sectors require new technological and economic decisions which would significantly strengthen the major economic sectors. One of such solutions – the production and use of biofuel; that is one of the items from my presidential election programme.

There cannot be any second thoughts about the links with Poland and Sweden; we vitally need them and we may only regret that nothing has essentially been done in 10 years since we started discussing these issues, even though several million litas dedicated to the preparatory works for the decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was spent.

In the face of the growing demand for electric power, the closure of the nuclear power plant considerably reduced our own capacities of electricity production. In the field of energy, I stand for a more active use of renewable energy sources and the development of micro-power. I strongly support the demonopolization of this sector and a free connection of power producers to the general network. Micro-power may be developed at the level of individual economic entities, and that would not only increase the energy independence of business (or individual households) but also create conditions for reducing production costs and contribute to the increase ofLithuania’s energy independence. I see broad prospects in this area also because considerable investments and the support at the EU level are provided for it, and that complies with the principles of organic farming.

You bring forward a number of problems at the European Parliament: which of them would you point out?

The issues of national minorities are relevant. One law was repealed in 2009, the second was amended because people were administered cash fines for the use of their language. If Samogitians were punished for that, I would also defend them. I am equally concerned with the problems of Vilnius Region, Samogitia and other Lithuanian regions.

I have registered my statement on the safety of nuclear energy; I expressed my position in favour of the lift of visa regime for the residents living at a distance of 50 km from the borderline with Belarus. I am a vice chairman of the Delegation for Relations with Belarus. It is a very important work as it is linked with our neighbours. My duty is to accelerate the decision-making because they are being delayed, especially as regards the visa-free regime. I work in the Committee on Human Rights, the Committee on Justice and Home Affairs, as well as the Committee on Agriculture. It is not a coincidence because I expressed my position on the unification of subsidies for land in my programme. I am making active efforts for our farmers to get higher subsidies. I brought forward draft amendments to the consideration of the resolution on the Common Agricultural Policy.    

I would like to return to interpersonal relations. I believe that humanity starts with simple things when people can understand each other without even knowing each other’s languages. What can you as a member of the European Parliament do for the two nations not to grow apart? As illustrated by the survey published in the weekly Veidas, 77% of the residents in Lithuanian cities blame the Electoral Action of the Poles in Lithuania for the impaired Lithuanian-Polish relations…

Unfortunately, the survey of Veidas magazine is not representative. Before the presidential elections they forecasted me (sic!) 0% of votes in the cities, though I gained 12% of votes inVilnius alone, which is home to approximately half of all residents of the largest cities.

In the European Parliament, I belong to a political group which is composed of 55 members from nine countries. In the beginning of March I held a circuit meeting of the group. Two issues were discussed – the human rights of national minorities and the policy of agriculture. It is a great achievement that the parliamentary political group held a four-day session inLithuania, and that was the first circuit meeting of the parliamentary political group after the membership of 7 years in the European Union.

The strategy of disabled politicians is “divide and conquer”. That is what the present Conservative-Liberal coalition is trying to do. I try to do everything that is in my power, sometimes even more. My duty is to help the person, irrespective of his nationality. And that’s what I do. However, there is a huge information machine which can turn an evil person into a hero, and sometimes picture a normal person in a dark light. Therefore, I try to communicate with people directly as much as I can.

I definitely want more joy and stability in our life but that depends on our collective efforts, our joint work. I support social solidarity, Christian values, family and justice. I am against the misuse of power by public officials and the exploitation of citizens. I have enough determination and competence to stand for my beliefs.

A spiritual state – faith – is a very important moment. A devotional person will never say that Poles or Lithuanians are bad. He will reject such accusations straightaway.

However, there is a part of those writing angry comments because they do not know the underlying foundations of the world: what is the man, what is the world. We should live by adhering to the Ten Commandments. To follow them, you have to know them. A generation is growing which feels happy about deceiving or robbing someone, and even boasts of that. If you do not know these commandments and do not follow them, you have the capacity to inflict pain and humiliate another.

Lessons of religious education should be compulsory; I would even offer to introduce an examination in this subject. In Polish schools, 100% of children attend the lessons of religion. It is a good example. Not once have I talked about such important issues from the platform of the European Parliament.

“Dear citizens of Lithuania, finally, I would like to call upon you – seniors and juniors, women and men, employed and unemployed – guided by the hope that things will soon get better and those who have already lost their hope and do not conceal their disappointment – be active and conscious. Despite all hardships and disappointments, do not lose hope and respect to yourself and our Homeland.” Do you recall these words? Hence, the last question: are you going to run for the presidency in the future?  

I received this question in the very first conference after the previous presidential elections. My answer was the following: “Why should I run for it if we are going to have a good President, and the office is no longer available.” Back then, Valdas Adamkus could not run for president, and there was a vacancy. Back then, I did not have a desire to run for this office either, but I was very much supported by my fellow party members.

If the President successfully finishes her term of office, her activities are principled rather than politically pragmatic, and there are good candidates in other elections, why to run for it? It is always more pleasant to support or to help others.

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