Leonidas Donskis stand on political issues back
Culture and education

Although Leonidas Donskis has much admiration for the classical canon and for the legacy of Europe’s culture and art in general, he accepts a creative experiment and provocative forms of culture and art, provided it is not an intellectual or aesthetical vacuum that masquerades as a challenge to the canon.  Culture and liberal education contain an enormous potential of democratic and civic education which has yet to be revealed in Lithuania. As a country bound to remain in the periphery of economic and political power, Lithuania will always have to be an educated and creative nation to be able to secure its place in the family of European nations. Donskis regards the deformations of Lithuania’s system of high and higher education as a major threat to the democratic and Europe-oriented future of Lithuania. This threat even surpasses our geopolitical milieu. 

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Human rights

Human rights are more universal than the interests of a particular state, no matter how democratic that state could be. Otherwise, individuals and states would be confined to the bellum omnium contra omnes state forever. Everybody would fight everybody. If we still have a method at hand of how to provide a framework for a dialogue of all major religions and political systems of the world, the implementation of such a method would be possible as an undisputable recognition of the primacy, superiority, and universality of human rights over political ideologies, practices and all kinds of Realpolitik. Human rights have to be defended everywhere and by all means: If your country violates them, act as a patriot and challenge the stereotypes, clichés, or simplistic opinions embedded in your country’s politics; for an alternative to this is a regrettable opportunism with its miserable “my country, right or wrong” philosophy. If the Russian human rights defenders, such as Andrei Sakharov, Elena Bonner, or Sergei Kovalev, had never existed, we would never have become independent as a nation. Therefore, the defending of human rights in the world is a debt we owe to others for their courage, benevolence, and humanism.       

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Development and cooperation

We must help the countries and societies that are of similar fate – first and foremost, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova. In doing so, we greatly benefit not only strengthening the ties with our allies and partners but also better learning the crucial lessons of democracy and democratic partnership. Fostering of civil society, liberal values and democratic politics elsewhere allows us to make good use of those things in our own context, especially through setting the high standard and criteria both for ourselves and our partners. Our and other EU countries’ major future cooperation and civil partnership opportunities lie in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus. 

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Civil society

It is not merely a beautiful yet empty phrase. Instead, civil society is a necessity without which democracy may lose any foreseeable future and slip to political technocracy. Civil society is a silent daily referendum about a major social contract to be together making democracy work and shaping the future of one’s country.  Civil society appears as an undeclared, though real, solidarity and as a direct expression and manifestation of a common future project. The mundane forms of civil society are community, powers of association, and trust. In case the state is in crisis, civil society remains the most powerful antidote to it and the most reliable instrument to repair it due to its ability to organize individuals and groups as a committed political community. It is a form of silent patriotism whose essence lies in the ethics of commitment and critical attachment to one’s country.  

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Fostering of democratic values

Democratic values cannot be sustained and defended otherwise than through democratic and liberal leadership as an educational goal and political principle that does not allow us to use people as mere tools for our domination. This goal and principle is a potent reminder of the priority of free, fair elections and representation over power politics and domination of cliques.  Democracy is far from a sort of “democratorship” whose sole essence is revealed in the “50 + 1” logic. Instead, it appears in fundamental respect for minorities, clearly understanding that political majority is nothing but a constantly changing coalition of minorities. In a working democracy, a long-term, unchangeable, and fixated majority simply does not exist. For this reason, democracy is hardly possible not only without smooth and transparent transition of power, but without consulting and cooperating with all moderate political forces, including one’s own opponents. 

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What do you think?
Which of the activities of L. Donskis at the European Parliament proved to be the most effective?
Activities in the field of human rights
Work with Eastern Partnership and post-Soviet countries
Support of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU

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