Artur Ludkowski, the head of the Polish Culture House in Vilnius, Lithuania, has been appointed Lithuanian PM Ingrid Šimonytė’s aide for national minorities.
Mr Ludkowski was also an aide to the previous Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernalis.
He commented on his nomination saying that “it is good that the change of government in the country does not influence its minorities policy,” adding that “this will be the first right-wing government that will, from times immemorial, not worsen the situation of national minorities in Lithuania.”
The newly appointed aide said that a bill on national minorities was among the priorities of the new government. Work on the bill started two years ago, during the tenure of Mr Skvernalis. The bill envisages solutions to the question of using languages of national minorities in the public space, and also the state’s promise to finance culture, education and media by ensuring a separate funding pool for national minorities in the budget.
“It is fortunate that the head of the working group tasked with the draft’s preparation was Ewelina Dobrowolska, the current justice minister,” Mr Ludkowski recalled, adding that “the decisive say in this matter will be up to the justice ministry. It is presumed that the draft… will be handed over to the Lithuanian Lower House already this year.”
Another task the new government will have to handle is the bill on the spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames, including Polish ones, in Lithuanian documents. As many as seven drafts of this bill await review by the Lower House. The work on this matter is to start during the Summer session of the Lower House, Mr Ludkowski said.
Around 17 percent of Lithuania’s population are members of national minorities. Poles constitute 6.7 percent of Lithuania’s population thus forming the most sizeable minority group in the country.
The PM’s aide felt that there has been more and more understanding of the issues of national minorities, crediting this to the advent of new generations “with a different worldview.” He also recalled that some 12 years ago, when he became the Deputy Mayor of Vilnius, “general confusion and disbelief ensued. Today Poles man high positions in local governments, the government, the Lithuanian President’s Office and no one is surprised any longer.”
Artur Ludkowski’s education is in economics. Since 1989, he is a member of the Association of Poles in Lithuania. In 2001 he became the head of the Polish Culture House in Vilnius and a Vilnius local government councillor from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance (AWPL–ZCHR) in the years 2003-2019. He was also a representative of Lithuania’s national minorities in the Culture Council at Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture.