Lithuania’s political life diary. Russian historian sent back to Russia for whitewashing Soviet crimes; Scandalous book published
Alexander Dyukov, a Russian citizen who was denied entry to Lithuania earlier in the week, must be an operative of Russian special services, who tries to exonerate the Stalinist regime of its bloody crimes, a historian and Lithuanian parliamentarian Arvydas Anušauskas is convinced.
He insists that Dyukov is not recognized as a historian, but he has exceptional access to the Russian archives.
Dyukov’s book On the Eve of the Holocaust, whose Lithuanian translation was presented on August 14, relies on long-known documents, but their interpretation is doubtful and aims at justifying the Soviet deportations of 1941 and other Soviet repressions of people in Lithuania.
«Dyukov has set up a foundation for the revision of history, whitewashing Stalinism and the Soviet times. Most probably he alone knows who is funding this foundation. I believe it definitely involves the special services,» Anušauskas, who himself authored a book on the Soviet terror, The Terror of 1940-1958, told BNS on August 14.
The Lithuanian legislator insisted that Dyukov is trying to present as his historic works are documents that are well and long known for us, with the majority of them drawn up during KGB interrogations. They are used to purposefully demonize the Baltic States’ role during World War Two, demonize the resistance movement, the Lithuanian historian said.
In his words, the theme of the Holocaust is used in Dyukov’s publications in order «to cover up totally different things and the fate of the Jews is dealt with disingenuously, just as it was during the Soviet times when the Jewish tragedy was consciously suppressed.»
Dyukov writes in his book, presented in Vilnius, that the 1940-1941 events that followed the Soviet occupation of Lithuania do not in fact match the propaganda pattern of «good guys» fighting «bad guys », and that the Soviet security services «in fact had a legitimate goal» to crack down on the anti-Soviet movement in Lithuania.
On 14-18 June 1941, the Soviet occupation government in Lithuania authorised the first wave of deportations, sending to Siberia some 17,500 people, including members of the political, military and economic elite, former President Aleksandras Stulginskis, former Prime Minister Pranas Dovydaitis, many ministers, hundreds of teachers, 76 priests, leaders of ethnic minorities.
According to Anušauskas, Dyukov is trying to justify the deportation of Lithuanians by using the Holocaust which happened later. In his opinion, quite the opposite is true, that those Lithuanians who were deported by the Soviets could have convinced, through their authority, part of the population not to cooperate with the Nazis.
Dyukov has been declared persona non grata in Lithuania. He was not allowed to enter Lithuania after flying to Vilnius on August 13 night to attend a presentation of his book. He was stopped by Lithuanian border guards and returned to Moscow on the next flight.
Vaigutis Stancikas, translator who translated Dyukov’s book from Russian to Lithuanian, comments that the Russian national was not allowed into Lithuania because he “disagrees with Lithuania’s official position” on history.
Povilas Masilionis, director of Gairės publishing house that published the book in Lithuanian, says he does not consider the book a piece of propaganda. In his words, the book’s translation and publication in Lithuania was funded by Dyukov’s foundation which allocated 10,000 litas (EUR 2,885).
Lithuania calls on Russian government to distance itself from Zhirinovsky’s statements
Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on Russia’s government institutions to publicly distance themselves from statements made by member of the Duma Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who voiced threats against the Baltic States and Poland.
«The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania expresses its bewilderment at open intimidations by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a member of the Duma of the Russian Federation, directed at the Baltic States and Poland. The Ministry hopes that such intimidations do not reflect the official position of the Russian Federation. Constantly recurring statements of such kind by the above-mentioned Russian politician are provocations that instigate hostility between Russia and its neighbours, and increase tensions in the region. The ministry calls upon the institutions of the Russian Federation to publicly distance themselves and condemn such statements by Zhirinovsky,» the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
During his TV appearance on August 12, the controversial Russian politician threatened Poland and the Baltic States with military action and said the countries would be wiped out completely. He also said a decision on starting world war three had already been made.
In response to his statements, Latvia’s and Poland’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs summoned Russian ambassadors. The Lithuanian foreign minister told the Žinių Radijas news radio on Thursday that such statements should be ignored as «some politicians’ place is, let’s say, in a zoo and not in parliament ».
Zhirinovsky is the founder and leader the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and a member of the State Duma’s Security Committee.
Eight countries’ parliament speakers to meet in Palanga
On 18-20 August 2014, Lithuanian resort town Palanga will host the annual Conference of the Speakers of the NB8 (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) Parliaments, the press service of the Lithuanian Parliament announced.
Lithuania is expected to be visited by delegations led by Mogens Lykketoft, Speaker of the Folketing, Denmark; Eiki Nestor, President of the Riigikogu, Estonia; Einar Kristinn Gudfinnsson, Speaker of Althingi, Iceland; Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, Latvia; Olemic Thommessen, President of the Storting, Norway; Eero Heinaluoma, Speaker of the Eduskunta, Finland; and Per Westerberg, Speaker of the Riksdag, Sweden.
The event will begin with an opening address by Loreta Graužinienė, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. The speakers of the NB8 parliaments will exchange views on matters topical for the region. Special focus will be given to the Eastern Partnership prospects after the 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius while looking forward to the next summit to be held during the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (in the second half of 2015).
The politicians will also cover the latest security challenges to the region in the context of the events in Ukraine, the EU fiscal and monetary union, and matters pertaining to the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Arctic Strategy.
Effective implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and strengthened regional cooperation were among the top priorities within the programme of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Further discussion on this subject is expected to continue the dialogue which was previously launched.
Other items on the agenda: 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament to be held in New York in 2015; forthcoming visits of NB8 Speakers abroad; the venue of the next Conference of the Speakers of the NB8 Parliaments; etc.
Lithuania’s GDP up 0.7 percent
During the second quarter of 2014, Lithuania’s seasonally-adjusted GDP rose by 0.7 percent, while compared to the same quarter of 2013, it increased by 3.0 percent, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Seasonally-adjusted GDP remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.2 percent in the EU during the second quarter of 2014, compared with the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2014, GDP grew by 0.2 percent in the euro area and by 0.3 percent in the EU.
Volume of construction work in Lithuania up 16.8 percent
Lithuanian Statistics Department informed that in the second quarter of 2014, compared to the second quarter of 2013, the volume of construction work carried out increased by 16.8 percent and amounted to LTL 2.2 billion (EUR 637 million).
The construction work carried out within the country accounted for 94 percent (LTL 2.1 billion, or EUR 608 million) of the total construction work, outside the country – 6 percent (LTL 132 million, or EUR 38 million).
In the second quarter of 2014, against the first quarter of 2014, seasonally adjusted volume of construction work carried out within the country decreased by 3.5 percent at constant prices.
In the second quarter of 2014, against the first quarter of 2014, the volume of construction work carried out outside the country rose by 17.3 percent at constant prices.
The share of construction of civil engineering structures accounted for 52 percent of total construction work carried out within the country and amounted to LTL 1.1 billion (EUR 318.6 million), i.e. by 13.9 percent more than in the second quarter of 2013.
The share of construction of non-residential buildings accounted for 36 percent (LTL 768 million, or EUR 222 million) of total construction work carried out within the country, or by 12.5 percent more than in the second quarter of 2013.
The share of construction of residential buildings accounted for 12 percent of total construction work carried out within the country, i.e. by 70.2 percent (LTL 248 million, or EUR 72 million) more than in the second quarter of 2013.
Lithuania’s food exports to Russia fell nearly 6 percent
Lithuania’s exports of agricultural and food products to Russia fell by nearly 6 percent in the first half of this year to 2.353 billion litas (EUR 682m), from 2.504 billion litas in the same period last year, data made available by the Lithuanian Statistics Department shows.
Russia-bound exports of foods of Lithuanian origin, which accounted for 22 percent of total food exports, decreased by an annual 14.2 percent to 602.6 million litas.
Year-on-year, exports of meat and meat products to Russia fell by 30.7 percent to 94.6 million litas; of milk and dairy products, by 4.4 percent to 304 million litas; of vegetables, by 8.4 percent to 613 million litas; and of fruit and nuts, by 10.6 percent to 551.1 million litas.
At the same time, exports of fish and crustaceans nearly tripled to 15.4 million litas.
Meat products of Lithuanian origin accounted for 73.3 percent of Lithuania’s total exports of these products to Russia in January through June. The share of milk and dairy products of Lithuanian origin was 88.7 percent, that of vegetables, 0.9 percent, fruit and nuts, 0.2 percent, and fish, 50.7 percent.
In terms of overall national exposure to the Russian measures, the hardest-hit countries, in relation to their value of exports, will be Lithuania and Poland, some foreign media outlets have reported citing data from the European Commission and Eurostat. Last year, Lithuania exported 927 million euros of products that would have been hit by this year’s ban, and Poland exported 841 million euros-worth.
Lithuanian agriculture minister calls for extraordinary EU ministers meeting
To buffer the blow of Russia’s sanctions on food imports, Lithuania’s Minister of Agriculture Virginija Baltraitienė has appealed to Italian Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Minister Maurizio Martina, who holds the rotating presidency of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH), with a request to convene an extraordinary meeting of EU ministers of agriculture as soon as possible, possibly even in August.
In the address Lithuania expresses its concern about the ban on imports of the basic European agricultural products.
According to preliminary estimates, Lithuanian dairy, meat, fruit and vegetable companies will sustain losses amounting to LTL 160 million (EUR 46.3 million) due to the sanctions imposed by the Russian Federation.
On 7 August, Moscow announced a one-year-long embargo on most food products imported from the United States, the European Union and other Western countries that supported sanctions against Russia.