bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 22.10.2017 | Name days: Irīda, Īrisa
LithuaniaLithuania

Former Lithuanian State Security chief calls on riddance of ethnic minority schools

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

People march during a Polish minority protest about the autonomy of their schools in Vilnius March 17, 2012

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Calling ethnic minorities’ schools «education ghettos», Lithuania’s former State Security Department chief has proposed to get rid of them.

«Such schools do not foster public spirit because they are isolated and become education ghettos. Not surprisingly, therefore, we see the pupils attending militarized children camps in Russia. Over the years, nothing has changed and the problem persists,» Gediminas Grina, former director of Lithuanian State Security Department (VSD) says.

Former VSD head points to United States

When pressed what the state ought to do with its ethnic schools, he went on saying that that kind of schools should not be left as they are.

«If there is an organizational entity, there will always be someone to fund it. And in this case, there will never be a shortage for the financier, especially that the money keeps flowing from the East,» Grina added.

He, however, refused to say if Lithuania can proceed with the implementation of the idea without risking to breach its international commitments. The European Council’s Ethnical Minority Convention stipulates, for example, that, in territories traditionally populated with ethnic minorities, the state has to ensure «as much as possible» that persons belonging to them were provided necessary possibilities to learn the minority language and be able to use it when studying.

«I am really not a lawyer and international law pundit, but in the United States, for example, ethnic minorities go to minority schools on Saturdays and alltogether go to public schools on regular days,»  former VSD director argued.

EESC director: «Intellectual provocation»

Asked to comment Grina’s idea, Laurynas Kasčiūnas, interim director of the Eastern Europe Studies Center in Vilnius, could not withhold his laughter.

«Mildly speaking, I see it as an intellectual provocation, an explosive material, I’d say. It does contain potential of straining the relations with Poland and exacerbating them with Russia,» Kasčiūnas told BNN.

Describing himself as «patriotic conservative», who believes that all schools in the country have to aim to foster national identity, he, nevertheless, thinks that local ethnic minorities have to be allowed cherish their culture and language through ethnic schools among the other forms.

«The state, however, has to do its part in the integration,» he emphasized.

The political analyst is convinced that the preposition will not get any flesh on the parliamentary floor.

«I am sure it will not get registered there,» he insisted.

Politicians are not up to the political solution

Seemingly realizing that the lawmakers would not dare to resolve to such drastic measures in fears of an international outcry, former VSD head suggested that the idea he has brought up is for «giving a thought on the issue».

«It would be a very harsh political solution obviously (if passed). I really do not think that our politicians were up to it now, but there’s much food for thought. We all see that the problem is deepening,» Grina commented his outlandish proposal on Facebook.

Referring to the scandal last summer, when a dozen Lithuanian schoolboys went to Russia and enrolled a Soviet-era militarized boot camp, he insisted that Lithuania’s Education and Science Ministry is incapable of «reigning in the situation» and, therefore, the time has come for a political solution on riddance of «education ghettos»

«Ethnic culture has to be cherished in Saturday schools, churches and Orthodox churches. And if then someone founds a school for ethnic minorities, the diplomas should be invalidated, excluding those from NATO member states’ schools for diplomats’ children,» Grina ends his Facebook post.

Dignitaries denounce inflammatory idea

After it started garnering online tons of tweets, pro and con, some dignitaries weighed in, denouncing Grina’s idea and comparing it to «a ticking bomb» and «rhetoric bringing Lithuania closer to Hungary».

«Such a proposal means that the Polish minority schools have to be closed, too. It is equal to laying a bomb in the relations between the two countries. And we were consistent with the proposal, then we should proceed with shutting down Jewish schools, among them Sholom Aleichem gymnasium in Vilnius, one of the most prestigious schools in the capital. And if it remains open, how then to explain the others the logic – which schools have to be closed and which not,» Leonidas Donskus, a philosopher and former MEP, wondered.

Donskis believes that «a big problem» arose when a security officer begins to solve education system issues.

«All the recommendations (for education system) should be discussed with the president and the ministers, but an opinion by a security officer cannot be considered as expertise,» the former europarliamentarian emphasized.

Lithuania cannot follow Hungary’s path

If certain ethnic schools are closed and others left operational, then the teachers, he says, would file a lawsuit against state of Lithuania in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

«I have no doubt that the teachers would win it,» Donskis is convinced. He added: «And if Lithuania is consistent with the bid and closes all the ethnic schools out there, then its reputation will become worse than that of Orban-governed Hungary’s. I wish our Sate Security Department worked professionally and did not interfere with the schools’ affairs».

Meanwhile, Ginatutas Mažeikis, professor of Kaunas’ Vytautas Magnus University, equals former VSD chief’s proposal to « a provocation» that works for Lithuania’s exterior adversaries, who now can try to stir a tempest among the country’s ethnic minorities and embroil Lithuania in rows not only with Russia and Belarus, but also the neighbours in the European Union.

«Such reasoning as this one by Grina can be justified only in case if he was joking, or if he knows substantially more than we do about it,» the scholar pondered.

A lot of bad examples how things should not be done

Professor reminded of Ukrainian Parliament’s decision to strip Russian of status of a regional language after the ouster of President Viktor Janukovych in2014.

«Such a decree turned out to be extremely erroneous and, albeit repealed later, has triggered major confrontations in the country. It was in fact one of the major reasons for the infuriation of the Russian population in Donbas, which eventually led to war. We can find many bad examples around, but the proposal seems to me as a provocation by the Kremlin rather than a proposition by someone among us,» Mažeikis believes.

Olga Gorškova, of Slavic Lithuanian Mercy Society, confessed she got «slightly shocked» by the Grina statement.

«The first explanation to it that comes to my mind is that the electoral campaigning has started suspiciously early…Frankly speaking, the statement is extreme, because this kind of statement aims to ignite animosity between the (Russian) ethnic minority and the Lithuanian society,» she said.

Conservative parliamentarian Paulius Saudargas also thumbed down Grina’s proposal calling it «irresponsible».

«The (ethnic) schools need to be reformed- and some of the reforms are being carried out, albeit with the resistance- but it has to be done taking into account every aspect and heeding the sensitivity of the issue,» the MP told BNN. He added: «All legislators are entitled to submit any legislative proposal, but I doubt it very much whether this kind of proposal would ever reach the stage of adoption».

Ref: 020/111.111.111.2999


Leave a reply

Professor: by taking money away from science, the state shoots itself in the foot

The matter regarding insufficient funding for science has recently become more topical in the public space. President of Latvian Academy of Sciences Ojārs Spārītis is rather critical of the situation: Latvia has lied to the European Union and European Commission about making sure that funding for science reaches 1.5% of GDP by 2020.

To prevent fraud, audit of MPC recipients to be performed in Latvia

Latvian Economy Ministry intends to perform an audit of mandatory procurement component recipients and use new regulations to combat fraudulent activities, as confirmed by Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Rail Baltic procurements to be processed using Electronic Procurements System

Following the changes to Latvian Republic’s Public Procurements Law, all new procurements for Rail Baltica administered by RB RAIL will be processed using a free electronic information system and its e-contest subsystem.

Estonian construction price index pushed up by wages

The construction price index in Estonia has in July-September of 2017 increased by 0.9% in comparison to second quarter this year and by 1.7% from July-September of 2016, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Surplus of Latvia’s government budget reached 9.5 million euros in 2016

In 2016 general government budget surplus accounted for EUR 9.5 million or 0.04 % of the Gross Domestic Product, whereas general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 10 091.6 million or 40.6 % of the GDP.

Latvia to invest EUR 5.9 million into formation of unified port network

Ports of Riga planning region and Kurzeme planning region have commenced an important tourism project. The goal of this project is creating a unified yacht port network in Latvia and Estonia with quality services that would allow developing sailing tourism and attract foreign sailing enthusiasts in the future, reports the regions’ representative Inese Ozoliņa.

Graft-suspected Tartu deputy mayors resign

In Estonia's second largest city, Tartu, Deputy Mayors Artjom Suvorov and Valvo Semilarski have stepped down from office, Estonian press reported, after the politicians were arrested under suspicion of graft.

Expert: workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have high ‘burnout’ risk

Workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have a high burnout risk, said once the director of Providus Dace Akule in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Producer: many young people come to work in the film industry

Latvia’s film industry has been steadily growing these past several years, and it is especially gratifying that many young people are coming to work in the industry, says director and producer, representative of Film Angels Productions Jānis Kalējs.

Pollution blamed for every sixth premature death globally

Nine million premature deaths globally in 2015 are said to be related to pollution, a study has found pointing to presence of harmful matter in air, water and workplace as the three main risk factors.

Infectologist: influenza kills biologically the weakest, including children and pregnant women

Influenza is an infection that affects both children and adults. However, it kills those who are biologically weak, says Immunization State Council chairperson and infectologist of Children’s Vaccination Centre Dace Zavadska.

Investor activity made easier between Latvia and Vietnam

An intergovernmental agreement has been signed between the Republic of Latvia and Socialist Republic of Vietnam on prevention of double taxation and tax avoidance in relation to income tax.

Colder masses of air to enter Latvia in coming days; precipitation to be limited

Although high atmospheric pressure will be present above Latvia in the coming days, southern regions in Latvia will experience short-term precipitation on Saturday, 12 October, caused by the cyclone active above Poland. Colder masses of air will enter Latvia in the coming days.

Maltese journalist said to be killed by remotely-controlled explosive

Officials in Malta have unveiled it is assumed that investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by an explosive places under her car, which was detonated remotely.

Prime Minister: Latvia cannot accept additional asylum seekers

Latvia cannot afford to resettle additional asylum seekers, said Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis during his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, 19 October.

Scandinavians purchase tourism company in Lithuania; changes expected in Latvia too

Dutch Otravo online travel organization has expanded and has purchased Lithuanian online travel agency Interno Partneris, thereby entering the Baltic market.

Ombudsman: non-citizen status matter should be resolved in next decade

The next ten years may be the transition period to ‘put an end’ to the non-citizen status in Latvia, said ombudsman Juris Jansons in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Swedish Foreign Minister: harassment exists at highest political level

The Foreign Affairs Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, has commended the current sexual assault and harassment awareness campaign in social media and urged to fellow politicians to address the problem.

Latvenergo recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company for tenth time

Latvenergo has been recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company in 2017. Its value grew 34% in comparison with 2016, according to the TOP 101 list of Latvia’s most valuable companies compiled by Prudentia and Nasdaq Riga.

Number of births and number of deaths decline in Latvia

During the first nine months of this year 15,723 babies were born in Latvia, which is 1,113 children fewer than in the corresponding period of the last year.

CC applies binding conditions for the sale of MTG Broadcasting AB

Latvian Competition Council has decided to permit Bite Lietuva to purchase MTG Broadcasting AB group’s businesses in Latvia. CC has applied several binding conditions to prevent a possible impact on competition on the television services and advertisement market.

Eesti Energia warns: Limiting CO2 emissions on capacity could endanger energy supply

Estonian energy giant Eesti Energia has evaluated that a plan under discussion in the European Union to introduce a carbon dioxide release limit for capacity mechanisms to qualify for subsidies could adversely affect the security of supply in Estonia and the Baltic states.

Solidarity tax norm recognized as non-compliant with Latvia’s Constitution

On Thursday, 19 October, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia declared the Solidarity tax norm as non-compliant with the country’s Constitution.

Survey: Riga residents go to the doctor’s the most often

34% of residents undergo regular health checks, according to Mana Aptieka & Apotheka health index. In addition, women are twice as serious about health checks as men.

LG cozies up with idea of rebuilding railway tracks to Reņģe, Latvia

Lithuania‘s Lietuvos Geležinkeliai has sent a mixed message as to what it intends to do next following an EC fine of nearly 28 million against it over the dismantling a 19-km railway stretch with the Latvian village of Rengė.