Political analysts paid attention: the first foreign visit of the new Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausea made to Poland, although relations between Vilnius and Warsaw before that were very cool. And he found a full anti-Russian understanding with Warsaw.
Apparently, the previous president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite did not like Poland very much because of the hidden rivalry for the championship in the region. But what about comparing Poland with its military and economic potentials, influence and 38 million people with little Lithuania, where there are already less than 3 million inhabitants.
It must be assumed that the new president of Lithuania, not connected with the compromising Soviet past, as Grybauskaite, was with less geopolitical ambitions, and this was appreciated in Warsaw. “Geographically, we seem to be a security center for the Baltic states, as well as for Lithuania, we try to justify it and we strive to have as many allies in our part of Europe as possible,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda. According to him, the two countries should work together in the creation of transport and energy corridors, seeking to expand the presence of NATO forces. Warsaw is waiting for the installation of elements of the American missile defense. 500 U.S. servicemembers with Abrams tanks have just arrived in Lithuania. As they say, on Senka hat.
The lack of mutual love in Poland and Vilnius was still not only in regional rivalry, but mostly indifferent interpretations of the joint history. More precisely, the period of capture in 1920 by the Poles of the Vilnius region with the unspoken sanction of the head of Poland Jozef Pilsudski, by the way, a native of Vilnius county, the Polish occupation of Vilnius until the moment of his transfer to Lithuania by Stalin.18 September 1939 in accordance with the The Red Army entered Vilnius, which at that time belonged to Poland, and on October 28 the Lithuanian army solemnly entered its ancient capital, handed over to the Lithuanian Republic by Stalin. That is, these days Lithuania and Poland celebrate the 80th anniversary … What?
Poland – The Soviet occupation of the Vilen region as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, forgetting about its own Pilsudski-Hitler pact, signed five years earlier, in 1934. Lithuania is the return of its ancestral capital. However, Vilnius still condemns the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
And we will recall the message of the People’s Commissioner of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Vyacheslav Molotov to the Extraordinary and authorized Ambassador of Poland Vaclav Grzybovskiy on September 17, 1939, which states: “The Polish-German war revealed internal insolvency Polish state. During ten days of military operations, Poland lost all its industrial areas and cultural centres. Warsaw as the capital of Poland no longer exists. The Polish government has disintegrated and shows no signs of life. This means that the Polish state and its government have virtually ceased to exist. Thus, the treaty concluded between the USSR and Poland ceased its validity.”
“Provided to itself and left without leadership, Poland has become a convenient field for all sorts of accidents and surprises that could pose a threat to the USSR. Therefore, being previously neutral, the Soviet government can no longer be neutral about these facts, – said further in the message. “The Soviet government cannot also be indifferent to the fact that half-blooded Ukrainians and Belarusians living in Poland, abandoned to their fate, remain defenseless. In view of this situation, the Soviet government ordered the Red Army General Command to order troops to cross the border and take under their protection the lives and property of the people of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus.”
Yes, Stalin gave Vilnius to Lithuania, apparently in the run-up to the war with Hitler planning to do what happened later and is Lithuania’s accession to the USSR or, as they say in Lithuania, the first “Soviet occupation.” However, Vilnius became Lithuanian again. Poles still consider him as their own but lost because of Stalin. Lithuanians, on the contrary, – their ancient capital, which is clearly closer to the truth, as Prince Gedimin, who founded Vilnius, on January 25, 1323, called it his so-called city.
Yes, the question of the nationalities of the inhabitants of Vilnius is not easy, as, indeed, about the nationality of the great princes, who, judging by the clerical books of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, written in Old Belarusian or Western Russian, clearly had to do with Slavs. The same Gedimin in Lithuania is called Gyadiminas.
Wars, historical vicissitudes, the change of statehood of Vilnius changed and its national composition. In 1897, for example, the majority of them were Jews – 40%, almost all of their descendants were killed by local Nazi accomplices. Poles in 1987 made up 30.9% of the population of Vilnius, Russians – 20.1%, Belarusians – 4.2%, Lithuanians at all 2.1%. But we should not forget that Vilna lived for a long time and under the rule of the kings of Poland – the great princes of Lithuania, remaining as if Lithuanian. Wars have also affected.
Only one day during the Russo-Polish War of 1654-67 in the city was cut, as historical sources say, more than 20,000 inhabitants. And the plague epidemic of the 17th century, the large fires of 1610, 1737, 1748, 1749 have had their say. By the middle of the Polish occupation of the ancient capital of Lithuania, which began in 1920, in 1931, Poles already made up 65.9% of the population of Vilnius, Lithuanians 0.8%, Russians 3.8%.
Only under Soviet rule, or as it is now believed in Lithuania, the second “Soviet occupation” the number of Lithuanians began to grow dramatically. In 1959, there were 33.6% of them in Vilnius against 20% of Poles and 29.4% of Russians who “came here” to restore the national economy. In 1979, Vilnius became, in fact, Lithuanian – 47.3% against 22.2% of Russians and 18% of Poles. Lithuanians are now 63.2% in Vilnius, 12% Russian, 16.5%, Poles.
These numbers show the complex history of the Lithuanian capital, but in no way call into question its statehood, which Poland tried to change at the very end of the war.
In July 1944, the underground Army of Krayova, which was subordinate to the Polish government in exile, tried to take control of Vilnius: carried out an unsuccessful operation “Sharp bromine”, so named after one of the symbols of Vilnius – the gate “Sharp Brama” (“Sharp gate”). Vilnius was liberated from the Nazis (in Lithuania they write – “supplanted”) the troops of General Chernyakhovsky.
Even now, historical vicissitudes are poisoning relations. The modern Lithuanian authorities, according to the party “Electoral Action of Poles – Union of Christian Families” discriminate against the Polish population, prohibiting contrary to the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the protection of national minorities to the full use of their native language in the places of compact residence of Poles, distort their names in passports because of the lack of some letters of the Slavic alphabet in the Lithuanian language, with great difficulty return the land to former landowners and their descendants. In principle, apparently, Gitanas Nauseda decided to close the pages of misunderstanding between Poland and Lithuania, especially in the situation of aggravation of relations between the region and Russia against the background of warming relations between Moscow and Berlin and especially with Paris.
Andrzej Duda’s opinion about our country is well known and in principle dates back to the 17th century. The liberation of Moscow and Russia in general from the Polish-Lithuanian, and in fact the Polish occupation, we celebrate November 4 on the Day of Popular Unity. Poland always competed with Russia, hated it, was ready to betray Slavic unity, including Hitler and brutally paid.
And Nausea actively outlined his position, close to the Polish one, now at the session of the UN General Assembly. He said that “Russia has not done anything to earn trust.” It is as if Moscow “continues to destabilize neighboring countries.” That Lithuania “will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea” to Russian territory.
And, apparently, addressing the attack to the heads of France and Germany, said: “Some political leaders want to create a new geopolitical alliance from the Atlantic Ocean to Vladivostok with the participation of Russia. It sounds interesting, but do we have a common interest? The answer, unfortunately, is no. We need to remember history.”
Well, Russia remembers it, too. And Vilnius and Warsaw have clearly found common ground.