A court in Minsk is looking at the legality of the so-called Karta Polaka (Polish Card) which has been cited on state Belarusian television as “a joker in international games.”
The card was initially launched by Poland's Foreign Ministry in September 2007. It is applicable to people of Polish descent living in former Soviet republics, yet who are unable to obtain dual citizenship. It provides the applicant with certain privileges in Poland, such as securing visas and work permits.
Belarus, which was not consulted before the card 's initial approval in the Polish parliament, reacted with distaste to the development, saying that it could “seriously destabilize relations between the two nations, increase tension in Belarusian society, and breed mistrust between Belarusian citizens of different nationalities.”
Now, following recent tension with Poland in the wake of the crackdown against dissidents in the December election, Belarus has challenged the card once more.
As it remains, the Association of Poles in Belarus has yet to secure official recognition by Lukashenko's government, and the Polish card was cited on state television as “dividing Belarusian Poles into good and bad according to their loyalties to Warsaw.”
Belarusian officials claim that the card promotes Poles that are “convenient” for Warsaw.
According to the televised programme, the forthcoming legal decision concerning the card “could become an argument in dialogue with neighbours, or a cause to turn towards international structures.”