|Do we still consider that Russia owes us?
The issue related to the damages of the soviet occupation is one of the major shadow problems in Lithuania, from time to time coming onto the surface of the local policy. Alongside the issues on gas and oil, in the sphere of foreign relations the above problem is still in the center of Lithuania‘s relationship with Russia. And though Lithuania and Russiaare able to reach agreements on oil and gas prices, Vilnius authorities still have no uniform position on damages of the soviet occupation.
Earlier the Lithuanian politicians were clearly divided into two groups on the above issue. One group was of the opinion that was necessary to lay claims to Russia on the damages and not sacrifice principles for the sake of pragmatic political interests. Another group considered the damages as an issue of secondary importance and did not include this problem into negotiation documents.
Inability to resolve at the state level has already stipulated legal precedents, when the Lithuanian citizens started bringing Russiato court on an individual basis requiring to compensate their moral damage because of their exiled parents, childhood spent in Siberia etc. Russia is not afraid of the above individual accusations, but these actions first of all reveal inefficiency of political authorities of Lithuania. This inefficiency showed itself recently, when the minister of foreign affairs of Lithuania publicly announced that our country should not lay claims to Russia on the soviet damages, since V. Putin‘s state could not be blamed for what was done by another country – the Soviet Union.
Such statements are astonishing, since hardly the minister of foreign affairs of Lithuaniaforgot the BelovezhForest agreements according to which the USSR was broken up. Then Russia declared taking over the international USSRrights and commitments. Consequently, it brought back the entire soviet nuclear armory to its territory without any obstacles.
However… having in mind that P.Vaitiekûnas was delegated to the position of the minister of foreign affairs by the party, the leader of which was not ashamed to accept the title of the Russian duchess, emotionally the above statements could be understood. But it is impossible to justify them from the political point of view, moreover that such statements affect not only the relationship between Lithuaniaand Russia, but also the approach of the West towards our country.
Of course, conversation with the current Kremlin should be completely different compared to the times when B.Yeltsin was Russia’s leader. We could only regret that during the democratization process in Russiadisagreements of Vilniusauthorities prevented from making this issue political priority No 1.
However, this does not mean that we must stop talking about that with the authoritarian Russia for fear of higher oil and gas prices or total „turn off the taps“. Moreover that Lithuania knows already how to show Russia that small country can also has its own „backbone“. Everybody remembers Estonia‘s behavior when its decision to remove monument of the soviet soldier from the center of Tallinn was followed by the inspired riots in the capital of Estonia, protests in Moscow and internet attacks. The Estonians neither made excuses nor apologized. Moreover, they did not return the monument to its former place; and the promised embargos, sanctions and instructions to the Russian citizens to boycott everything related to Estonia, fell flat and did not add to Russia‘s credit.
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