Lithuania: Language watchdog chief sparks outrage over Polish signs

Lithuania’s State Commission of the Lithuanian Language (VLKK) recently ordered the authorities in Vilnius district municipality to remove bilingual Lithuanian-Polish signs in the villages of Azulauke and Bieliskes, LRT reports. The municipality refused to comply and took the issue to the Administrative Disputes Commission, which found that VLKK’s order was unlawful and unfounded. Audrius Valotka, head of VLKK, compared the areas with Polish minority population to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine, characterising the areas as “occupation zones” with “fierce Polonisation” of Lithuanians. Poland’s ambassador to Lithuania, Konstanty Radziwill, sent a letter to Lithuania’s Minister of Culture, Simonas Kairys, condemning Valotka’s “irresponsible statement.” The minister has ordered an assessment of Valotka’s statements.