Geographia Polonica (2014) vol. 87, iss. 1

The contemporary situation of Polish minority in Lithuania and Lithuanian minority in Poland from the institutional perspective

Marek Barwiński, Katarzyna Leśniewska

Geographia Polonica (2014) vol. 87, iss. 1, pp. 27-46 | Full text

Contemporary Polish-Lithuanian relations are heavily burdened by radically different assessments of the situations of the national minorities in the two countries, i.e. Poles in Lithuania and Lithuanians in Poland. However, assessments are fraught with difficulties reflecting a complicated history and the different potentials of the two minorities, and also warped by a great many stereotypes. The main aim of this paper is to compare the situations of the Polish minority in Lithuania and the Lithuanian minority in Poland by reference to criteria that are objective (demographic potential, legal status, organisational activity, education) or subjective (the opinions of leaders of national organisations), as well as to attempt to determine how the different situations of the two minorities affects their relations with the authorities, the majority and the foreign homeland.

Keywords: ethnic geography, national minorities, interstate relations, Polish minority, Lithuanian minority, Polish-Lithuanian relations

Marek Barwiński, University of Łódź Faculty of Geographical Sciences Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland e-mail:
Katarzyna Leśniewska, Department of Political Geography and Regional Studies Faculty of Geographical Sciences, University of Lodz