Russian Charter bid may threaten Lithuania’s security

July 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm 2 comments

As the BNS informed a Russian NGO’s bid to start issuing so-called Russian Charters to nationals living in foreign states may come as a threat to Lithuania.

The Baltic state’s re-elected Member of European Parliament conservative Vytautas Landsbergis on Saturday thus commented to BNS news of the endeavour.  “This may become a dangerous thing, but this will depend on Russia’s policy and on how many people get tempted by this Russian Charter. It can lead to ample provocations,” the MEP said. 

The Russian Charter will act as a document confirming voluntary commitment to the state and people of Russia, the country’s regnum.ru web portal said on Friday.

Landsbergis picked at the notion of making commitments to a foreign state, when, in fact, one is a citizen of yet another.  “It would be strange if Lithuanian citizens would make commitments to the state of Russia. By undertaking such commitments the citizens would be hypocritical. This comes as a black-hearted move on their (Russia’s – BNS) part, one aimed at provoking and unsettling the state of Lithuania,” the conservative spoke. 

Landsbergis didn’t dismiss the possibility that the idea to start issuing the document in question was coordinated with the Russian authorities.

“I don’t think Russian authorities were kept in the dark. This should rouse anxiety among neighbouring states, especially Ukraine and Belarus,” said the MEP.

According to Landsbergis, the Polish Charter may have served as a poor example in this particular case.

The charters will be issued first of all to Russians living in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova and Kazakhstan, the Russian portal said.

It is necessary to take action that the approximately 30 million of Russians living outside the country maintain their ties with the historic homeland, are supported and defended, Leonid Shershnev, head of the foundation which initiated the bid, told the portal.

Recipients of the charter are likely to be eligible to certain privileges, including economic ones, like discounts.  The portal notes this practice as being in place in other countries as well, referring to the Polish Charter.

A number of Lithuanian poles living in the Vilnius region, including former MP and future MEP Valdemar Tomasevski and MP Michal Mackevic, have the Polish Charter.

News of Lithuania’s MPs having the Polish Charter spurred initiatives to question whether this document is compatible with an MP mandate and whether it is in line with the country’s Organic Law, however the Seimas voted against addressing the Constitutional Court over this matter.

The Polish Charter can be acquired by those who declare in writing their will to pertain to the Polish nation and who can prove that at least one of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents were of Polish origin or had Polish citizenship.

“The Polish Charter is a document proving your Polish origin. The charter provides its holders with the rights stipulated in the the Law on the Polish Charter adopted by the Polish Sejm on Sept. 7 2007,” reads an official brochure of the Polish Charter.

Persons holding the charter can receive long-term visas free of charge, get legal employment in Poland, carry out economic activities under the same conditions as Polish citizens, have rights to free education, emergency medical assistance, 37 percent discount off railway tickets, free access to state museums and priority right in applications for financial assistance from Polish state and municipal budgets for supporting Poles living abroad.

A brochure on the Polish Charter also underlines that having one is not the same as having Polish citizenship.

The Polish Charter can be acquired by those who declare in writing their will to pertain to the Polish nation and who can prove that at least one of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents were of Polish origin or had Polish citizenship.

Source BNS

Entry filed under: Baltic States, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Poland, Politics, Russia, Ukraine. Tags: .

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