The article attempts to reveal the changes in the discourse about the Lithuanian freedom and the independent state after 1990. The aim is to explain what narrative about history was demanded by the dream visions of the past and how much the new passion of freedom influenced the historical thought. In the 20th century, Lithuanians lost their freedom and regained their state many times and that is why as many as three national holidays are related to the beginnings of the statehood. Attempting to explain the current manner of the representation of the historical experience of Lithuania in the 19th century as an epoch of demise, national bondage and liberation, one has to understand that it is not only the quarter of the century which has passed since the new independence of Lithuania and since the year of the restoration of the independent state (the 1990s) and not only the current political problems that could influence the changes in the representation of history. The long 19th century crossed the dimension of the cognitive memory, usually related to the lasting of 3-4 generations. It is so remote that it has become part of the cultural, mainly written, kingdom of memory. Twenty five years of freedom have brought a lot of arguments suggesting that the national consciousness, tainted with national bondage and occupation, begins to excessively fetishise the state and the statehood itself. In this vision, man, his privacy, the quality of democracy, valuable principles and symptoms of the primacy of law are pushed to the background or at least no in-depth research is being carried out on these problems and no effort is made to include the issues related to the whole heritage of the past in the concept of memory. In such an atmosphere, even the question of what is more important – statehood or human rights? – arouses at least public irritation if not outrage
Stanisław Narutowicz (1862-1932) was a talented lawyer, a distinguished representative of the Polish and Lithuanian political thought, an activist for the Polish-Lithuanian reconciliation. He can certainly be ranked among the first Polish-Lithuanian Europeans as with his ideals, he was much ahead of his time. His vision of the nation and citizenship did completely not fit in the narrow frames of nationalisms, characteristic of the beginning of the 20th century. He believed that it was not the language or the origin that determined the nationality but only an individual’s conscious choice. For this reason, he was misunderstood and unaccepted by the elites of Poland or Lithuania of the interwar period although he had close friendly relationships with politicians both in Kovno and Warsaw. Due to the situation at the beginning of the 20th century, the Narutowicz brothers acted in favour of different countries – Poland and Lithuania, at the same time keeping close family contacts. The political careers and private lives of both brothers ended tragically. There are few lives in the history of Europe that are so beautiful and unique as the history of the Narutowicz family. This article is to be a warning for all those who sow ethnic hate and political unruliness. It is also to remind of the unique spiritual heritage of the Commonwealth of Many Nations whose significance is often forgotten or even unknown.
The object of this article is the biography of Jonas Jonaitis Zaberezinskis (~1473-1538), by the end of his life – the palatine of Trakai and grand marshal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. His relations with other most influential high-rank noblemen of the period are considered, especially the meaning of marriages contracted by him and those fixed by him for his descendants. His itinerary and other relevant documents are analysed as well. Collected data shows that Jonas Jonaitis Zaberezinskis was perfectly integrated with the Lithuanian ruling elite, which included the capitaneus of Samogitia, Stanislovas Jonaitis Kęsgaila, the palatine of Vilnius and chancellor, duke Mikalojus Mikalojaitis Radvila, as well as Albertas Goštautas – the palatine of Vilnius and chancellor after Radvila. Less evidence is left of his connection with the castellan of Vilnius, Jurgis Radvila or the palatine of Trakai (until 1530), duke Konstantin of Ostrog. Despite claims on the contrary, present in literature, Jonas Jonaitis Zaberezinskis was not the supporter of the Polish-Lithuanian union. Rather, he kept a view similar to that of Albertas Goštautas, as a defender of political independence and different regime of the Grand Duchy. Formulations included in the letters of Jokūbas Zaberezinskis (who claimed to be a son of the Lithuanian marshal Jonas) to Jan Dantyszek, where he speaks of his patria, meaning Poland, should be explained most probably by his youth spent in Mazowsze next to his mother Itamiła Laszewska-Krupska, whose marriage with Jonas Jonaitis Zaberezinskis was pronounced invalid at the ecclesiastical court provided by the bishop of Płock, Erazm Ciołek.
The Polish military organisation Polska Organizacja Wojskowa (POW) was planning a political takeover in Lithuania with the aim to form a pro-Polish government and then make a federation with Poland. The POW members were tried by the Lithuanian army court on December 11-24, 1920. At that time, the functioning penal code was that of the Russian Empire of the year 1903. The POW members were accused of an attempt to overthrow the existing system of government, high treason and revolt. In court, both the defendants and their defenders (among the latter was a highly-qualified barrister Adolfas Grajevskis) stressed two important aspects: first, they had been fighting for independent historical Lithuania; second, they were not against independent Lithuania but against its pro-German government. Eight people found guilty got life sentence; others were sentenced to imprisonment for different periods of time. The first appeals of the sentenced POW members were written in February 1921. At the end of 1922, when the Western countries recognised Lithuania de jure, the majority of the convicts were released.
The article presents the history of the Polish-Lithuanian relations in the United States at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A few aspects have been included, related to acquiring the national identity by both ethnic groups. The development of nationalisms, sharpened by ethnic conflicts, is characteristic for this period in Europe. Some of these conflicts were transferred overseas and played a decisive role in the strengthening of the identities of European immigrants from East-Central Europe. In the article, an emphasis is put on the attitude of the leading Polish national organisation, Polish National Alliance, towards the Lithuanians and their aspirations for independence. The evolution in the attitude of the authorities of this organisation towards Lithuanian organisations as well as the attempts to start a political cooperation directed against Russia have been analysed. The aspirations of both nations, aimed at the creation of an autonomous national community, developed parallel to the assimilation processes. They reflected essential changes in the social and political life of ethnic groups from East-Central Europe.
This article addresses an important issue of the influence of the Polish minority in Lithuania on mutual relations between two neighbouring countries, Poland and Lithuania. Polish-Lithuanian bilateral relations are often classified as conflictual because the Polish minority in Lithuania feels discriminated and the Lithuanian government is not willing to provide it with the rights that correspond to the European standards and Lithuania‘s international obligations. Poland is very active in this conflict as it supports the Polish minority in Lithuania and puts its political pressure on Lithuanian politicians. In addition, historical connotations make it even more difficult to resolve the conflict as the Lithuanian government perceives Poland as a country which wants to dominate in bilateral relations.
This article is a review of Lithuanian-Polish cultural cooperation in 1990-2015. The article is divided into five chapters, according to the tasks. The first task is to define the context of Lithuanian–Polish cultural cooperation after the restoration of independence. The second task is to describe the legal framework of Lithuanian-Polish cultural cooperation. The third task is to discuss the development of Polish and Lithuanian cultural policy model and cultural diplomacy. The fourth task is to analyse Lithuanian-Polish cultural cooperation from 1990 till 2015. The fifth task is to define the factors limiting and promoting Lithuanian–Polish cultural cooperation. Consequently, the first chapter is focused on the discussion of the context of the bilateral relations until 1994. In the second chapter, the legal base of the cultural cooperation between Lithuania and Poland is presented. In the third chapter, the models of Polish and Lithuanian cultural policy and the state of the cultural diplomacy are discussed. The fourth chapter is dedicated to the assessment of the achievements of Lithuanian–Polish cultural cooperation. In the fifth chapter, the main obstacles preventing Lithuania and Poland from deep and effective cultural cooperation are presented. The essential conclusions show that Lithuanian-Polish cultural cooperation is minimal and will remain so because of the different stages of the cultural policy development, incomparable cultural diplomacy capacities and different vectors of the cultural diplomacy and foreign cultural policy.
The article seeks to assess the perspectives of cooperation between Lithuania and Poland by highlighting the dimensions of political dialogue development, energy cooperation, security and defence policy. This paper aims to: 1) analyse the development of a political dialogue between Lithuania and Poland in bilateral relations; 2) to assess the development of security and defence policy; 3) to find out the importance of energy projects in cooperation between the states. The following research methods are used in this article: public speeches of officials, analysis of documents and media content. The priorities of cooperation between Lithuania and Poland, and foreign policy, and their development are directed at bilateral, subregional, and regional cooperation. The directions of strategic partnerships and regional cooperation of Lithuania and Poland often intersect, overlap, or intertwine by causalities. Therefore, strategic partnership cannot be treated as an expression of more intensive cooperation than the current bilateral cooperation or implementation of the common policy in the regional context. The targets of regional cooperation between Lithuania and Poland are directed at the cooperation of the Baltic Sea region, Eastern, and Central Europe. The regional positions of countries are related with the EU, NATO, ESBO, and other international organisations. The development of regional and subregional cooperation is tied by bilateral relations of neighbouring countries and international communities. The directions of bilateral, subregional, and regional cooperation between Lithuania and Poland are similar. There is a lack of research on perspectives of cooperation between Lithuania and Poland, in particular, by highlighting the cooperation dimension.