Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 235

With the December 21 election day now imminent, Lithuanian presidential candidates Vytautas Landsbergis and Arturas Paulauskas sought and received Polish endorsements yesterday. Parliament chairman Landsbergis met in his native city of Kaunas with his Polish counterpart, Maciej Plazynski, spoke with him in Polish, and discussed bilateral relations and regional cooperation. The two also mapped out a common approach to the future of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast, the former German region adjacent to Lithuania and Poland. Paulauskas, for his part, met with Polish president Aleksandr Kwasniewski in Warsaw and discussed, inter alia, Polish support for Lithuania’s efforts to join NATO. (BNS, December 16) Landsbergis and Plazynski are identified with the "right," and Paulauskas and Kwasniewski with the "left-of-center" in their respective countries.

The Lithuanian candidates’ parallel quest for Polish support reflects far more than a short-term competition for the ethnic Polish vote in Lithuania. Both leaderships, across party lines, are in the process of institutionalizing close political, security, and economic cooperation between their countries. Observers will recall the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a major Central European and Baltic power historically. The Polish-Lithuanian territorial dispute over the Vilnius region was a product of modern nationalism, a phase that both nations have recently left behind them.

Ukraine-NATO Cooperation Intensifies.