Poland drops passport design that angered Lithuania and Ukraine

Poland drops passport design that angered Lithuania and Ukraine
The Gate of Dawn in Vilnius was one of the designs Poland proposed including in its new passports.
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw September 12, 2017

Poland has dropped its idea to feature depictions of the Ukrainian city of Lviv and Lithuanian capital Vilnius in the new passport design readied for next year to celebrate 100 years of Polish independence, the home affairs ministry said on September 11.

The decision follows uproar in Lithuania and Ukraine, which said it was unacceptable for official documents of one state to carry depictions of monuments of neighbouring states. Vilnius and Lviv were Polish cities until the end of the Second World War brought geopolitical changes in Central and Eastern Europe.

Poland planned originally for Lviv’s Lychakiv Cemetery, where Polish freedom fighters are buried, to be on one of the new passport pages. The Gate of Dawn in Vilnius was a proposal that the ministry wanted to be decided by online voting, with 12 other propositions competing.

Poland’s home affairs ministry said, however, that it will replace the Lviv and Vilnius depictions with a picture of a child freedom fighter - who died in Lviv - and an inscription from the Vilnius grave of Maria Pilsudska, the wife of Polish independence hero Jozef Pilsudski.

“If Poland does not have its own locations of note, we can lend them one,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius quipped in a reaction to the news that a Vilnius-related item will remain on the new Polish passports, PAP reported.

The third and the sixth largest Polish cities before the Second World War, Lviv and Vilnius ended up in the Soviet Union as an effect of the post-war deals between the victorious Allies. In the name of good relationships with independent Ukraine and Lithuania after communism collapsed, Warsaw has generally avoided any hint of revisionism.