YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Polish Consul General to Russia–Yezhi Rikhlik–who is on an unofficial visit in Yerevan announced that the Polish Embassy in Armenia that was scheduled to open by the end of 2000–is postponed and will take place in summer 2001. Before the opening of the Polish Embassy in Armenia–Rikhlik is fulfilling the duties of Polish Consul to Armenia.
During his December 5th meeting with the members of the Polonia Union of Poles–Rikhlik said that the Polish Seim adopted a law on repatriation which will become effective starting January 1–2001. The law applies to all the residents of the South Caucasus and Central Asia of Polish origin–including the Poles of Armenia.
According to the new law–the repatriation to Poland is simplified for those who have Polish roots at least in the third generation. To receive citizenship one must also have an invitation by his relatives–a place to live in and a job. If a person moving to Poland is at pensionable age (60 years old for males–and 55 for females)–the Ministry of Repatriation of Poland–which has a special fund–will provide the repatriates-pensioners with lodgings–and the Government pays them the minimal pension in Poland ($150-180).
According to unofficial information–more than 100,000 Armenia’s are illegally living in Poland. Many of them have dwellings and jobs–but as Rikhlik pointed out–the new law does not apply to them.
The Polonia Union currently has over 200 members–18 percent of them willing to leave for their historical homeland–as the new law applies to them.