RED DALIA: The hidden pages of Dalia Grybauskaitė‘s biography
Why? / 9
1 BOSS OF LITHUANIA / 13
At Home in Turniškės / 13
Close Circle /19
Rima / 22
“Beware of surveillance” / 26
2 WHERE DID YOU COME FROM, DALIA? / 33
“Kolya” Grzybowski and Other “Exiled“/ 34
Father in an NKVD sergeant uniform and red partisans / 42
Cinderella Flipping You the Bird When You‘re Yot Watching/ 53
“Piterskaya” / 57
Chekist Capitalism / 65
High Party Dalia: First lies and friends for life / 74
“No!” to Independence for 286 rubles and 18 kopeikas and Missing Years of Biography/ 84
Dalia‘s “Small War” / 87
3 INFILTRATION: RED DALIA CHANGES COLOR / 93
To Washington through Moscow? / 100
“Catacomb Period”: Instructor Evgeniy‘s Advice on Surviving Independence / 103
Washington ignores Grybauskaitė? Lithuania Will Take Her Back / 108
Meeting the Power Players: Victor / 117
Saved Uspaskichas Millions / 125
Creating a Lithuanian Khodorkovsky /129
Another Favor for Algirdas Mykolas: Lithuanian Shopkeepers get 79 million /134
4 THE BIRTH OF “LITHUANIAN DALIA” / 143
Who Repainted Red Dalia? / 144
On a “Witch‘s” Broom / 146
Forging the Professor’s Human Resources: Better “Red” Than a Rival / 150
A Creator Called “Uncle” / 156
5 GRYBAUSKAITĖ‘S LITHUANIA /161
Attack Your Own to Intimidate Others / 161
“They do not Obey” /168
The Compliant and Shameless in the Shadow of the Presidency / 180
The Purge /184
“Masked show” /199
Censorship / 203
KGB People…Everywhere… / 207
Grybauskaitė and the Color Purple / 211
Dear Lithuanian Dalia / 221
Documents from Lithuania‘s Special Archive / 225
“We came from the past to the present”, wrote Antanas Maceina when telling likeminded people to look for a man‘s origins in his past. It seems obvious. The past is not a sentence, but woe to those who do not learn from it. That‘s why on faded out pictures of out great-grandfathers we search for our traits and the traits of our children. Reading the letters of passed on relatives we do not feel ourselves as lonely passersby in history. We try to understand the bloodlines of our ancestors and, thus, give life to worn-out archives. That‘s just how we are… Avoiding loneliness even in the past times.
But no. Apparently, there are people who are immune to this rule. Why? Because the past of the chosen ones does not influence their present. Their past is like a snake’s shed skin. It was left somewhere on the outskirts of history. Does a snake’s breed change after shedding? Must it apologize for it or feel sorry? No.
Dalia Grybauskaitė is one of these. A woman who due her mission is above or even outside of the common rules. And that which is root to one, to her is a taboo: a father in NKVD uniform; months of her life missing from official documents; even the inherited writing of her family name can’t be an object of discussion.
Artists’ imaginations praise people rising above their own lives thanks to history’s whim to great poetic peaks. For example, Wagner’s Lohengrin. No one dare question the hero’s appearance of Lohengrin will turn around and disappear and dark forces will take hold of the country.
So everyone who digs in Grybauskaitė’s past while trying to understand her current actions or guess her future decisions are agents of these fiends. “Scammers, unite against the president!”, said she herself in a very brash manner to the people who merely friendly asked: “Where did you come from, Dalia?”
Turns out, with this book I am destroying a taboo. But in doing so I risk not only myself, but also all those who she must save. The consequences could be disastrous. What if she gets mad and does as Lohengrin – stands up and leaves without turning back? How will we ever get by without her?
She‘ll get mad for sure, but she definitely won‘t stand up. She‘ll retaliate, but she won‘t leave. This is a conclusion from an almost four-month intriguing and full of surprises journey through the past and present Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is quite different from her “Steel Magnolia” public image.
Because Grybauskaitė never agreed to give me an interview this is more of a detective investigation. It‘s based on witness stories; hidden documents which were almost destroyed; recreation of context in which she acted before and acts now. This‘ll be everything. There‘ll be unrelenting red partisans. Young economists backed by KGB will organize a coup. There‘ll be school bullying of a clumsy tomboy. Later she‘ll mature and make a decision. Then there‘ll be people. Not many, but they‘ll be important. They‘ll teach her to not sacrifice her goals because of someone‘s tears or grudges. Power will mesmerize her. But I‘m skipping ahead.
I shouldn‘t tell the book‘s contents in the beginning, but rather thank all those who helped. So I thank Pranas, Anele, Milda, Gintas, Petrus, Victoria, Anurpus and Dovile for detailed accounts of the Presidency‘s everyday life. For obvious reasons all names, genders, voices and identities are altered. I thank ex-advisor to Vytautas Landsbergis Ramūnas Bogdanas for his brutal honesty. I thank two Seimas Chairs – Irena Degutienė and Arūnas Valinskas. For what? For both their honesty and Arūnas also for his bravery. Vitalijus Gailius and Virginia Juromskaite for not being scared to tell the truth for the sake of their careers. Gailius also for winning. Vasiliy Popov for witnessing injustice and stepping in to protect the weak. Valerija Grybauskienė for her sharp wit.
I’m also thankful to all of my journalist colleagues who gathered the bits and pieces of scarce information on those who govern us. I tried to source every one of them.
I also want to thank my family. Algis for reading my drafts and not losing his sense of humor. For his observations that are all in this text. What is a journalist? As Vytautas Landsbergis once said, his job is to “report” and not analyze. Thanks to my daughters for their patience, understanding and an angel with HER face.
Also, I want to pat myself on the back for not being scared after reading Dalia Grybauskaitė’s first speech after the inauguration:
– Don’t forget: there may be only one step between criticizing power and the collapse of the country. Empty criticism won’t solve a single problem, she said.
I‘ll totally disagree with that phrase as it is the complete opposite. The condition of survival for a young, inexperienced and bleak democracy such as ours is freedom of speech. Freedom to see, hear, think, believe and not believe, make plans and talk about it publicly.
1 BOSS OF LITHUANIA
From the USA diplomat communications, published by WikiLeaks:
She positions herself as someone who makes all of the important decisions, – told us one of the advisors. – Grybauskaitė is proud of her straightforwardness and efficiency. She works a lot, plans only a handful of meetings and knows best in terms of what works (and what doesn‘t).
At Home in Turniškės.
Turniškės. Early morning. 5 AM, or maybe just after 4 AM.
– She‘s an early bird, – sighed the previous owl of the Presidency.
Grybauskaitė gets up early, quickly packs for work. Hasn‘t changed her hair or makeup in a long time.
– No wonder: blue eyeshadow, quick eyeliner and into the limo. – laughs the specialist, who did the make up for an actress parodying Grybauskaitė.
The cortege is already waiting. In the beginning of the presidential cadence they tried to play democracy. However, they avoided using the favorite post-Soviet elite trick of passing the traffic jams with the sirens only during the first few months. But right now, that‘s a lot less of a story. Grybauskaitė is now newbie. Relations with a part of the population are ruined. One day on the car‘s route in Turniškės on the fence of a store there was a “F…ck the President” sign. By the time of the evening cortege back it was taken down. Maybe someone thought it was personal.
Before seven Grybauskaitė is already at work.
– Before she even sits at the table the phone rings. “Have you read?”, they ask. No ratings – no power. So in the presidential residence of Turniškės every attack on the image or loss of the people’s love is felt greatly.
Grybauskaitė is the first resident of Turniškės. The Paksas family was supposed to occupy it, but they didn’t have the time. An accusation which ended with a life-long ban on holding an elected post.
The ghost of Paksas haunts Grybauskaitė too.
– Can’t help, otherwise they’ll do to me as they did with Paskas. – N. Venckienė quotes the president, the most scandalous hero of Grybauskaitė’s presidency.
Despite that after moving to Daukanto Square Grybauskaitė hung a portrait of Paskas alongside Grinius and Smetona.
Grybauskaitė summoned Venckienė to Daukanto Square. In her Turniškės residence she usually meets with Landsbergis. The residence’s doors are always open for the professor and former colleague from the Higher Party School Česlovas Juršėnas
Former employees of the Presidency talk about how after visits from Landsbergis the president came to work with a stack of notes with remarks. While reading them she gave assignments to her assistants.
– “Professor said this, professor said that” – recalls one of Grybausakaite’s numerous assistants. One of the ones who has a significant minus next to their name. She was more angry with Linas Balsys.
– Poor Linas… When he decided to leave the team and with a declaration that he’s leaving due to different views on the life of society and state, Grybauskaitė threatened Butkevičius: should he accept her former assistant into the ranks of the social democrats then he’ll never (get it? Never!) be Prime Minister.
This story is only part of the Seimas stories. Believe it or not, but that’s what the people say.
And the professor kept the status of informal yet very influential advisor through all of her presidency. As soon as the weekend arrives, they’re going to Turniškės, at “Lithuanian Dalia’s”.
From Turniškės starts what journalists call Lithuania’s “Rublevka”.
That’s also where the big business-owner and politician Jonas Jagminas lives. Down the road there’s the Degutienė family house – “three-in-one”. Three houses were built even though only one was approved for construction. “They promised to unite them with galleries, then it’ll be one house” said the bureaucrat in charge of construction.
Further than that there are the Laurai, where the Lithuanian oligarchs reside. The presiding members of Vilnius Trade, a group of young medical students who took a risk in privatization and then ascended to power as Lithuania’s second biggest business group.
Oh the Laurai. The LEO scandal made the new President fly to Lithuania from Brussels. Grybauskaitė.
– The top of the oligarchy! – The president said resentfully and the nation applauded.
That Dalia made promises just as big a Lenin did on the armored car.
By the way, she quoted Lenin after the Seimas election, but her tank turned out to be just cardboard. The fact that she settled in Turniškės was the first sign that her speeches and her deeds don’t always match. This is where those usually disliked by the common people live, after all. It was created in Soviet times as the residence of the highest powers. When riding across Nemenčinė you can clearly see what’s there for the people and what’s for the power. The newly made road ends as soon as you leave Turniškės.
But the new head of state did make a few claims to them.
In May 2009 Daila Grybauskaitė declared from her Turniškės residence gates:
– As you can see all the surroundings are in clear sight. The presidential residence doesn’t fit the security requirements, – a formal black blouse and by then thing face of the president showed that the situation needed to be fixed.
The order in Turniškės was ruined during the Valdas Adamkus years. Sporty citizens from the local proletarian Žirmūnai district jogged right to the borders of the state men estates.
Right after Grybauskaitė’s remarks the Vilnius city administration forbade gathering mushrooms and berries in Turniškės. And in the autumn they started deforesting the area around Turniškės. 160 perfectly healthy pines were chopped down so that they could erect a fence and add security checkpoints for Dalia Grybauskaitė’s security.
But, even blocked from random mushroom gatherers and children on bicycles Grybauskaitė wasn’t safe from neighbor’s sights. The village built in Soviet times was planned in a way that the leaders of the state could freely converse and mingle. But the new head of Turniškės and all of Lithuania is surrounded strictly by undependable people. Right across the street lives Kristina Brazauskienė.
Over a fence are the Adamkus. Old, yet dangerous. Valdas Amadkus spends his time writing memoirs instead of watching TV. These memoirs are annoyingly unpleasant. The State Security Department controlled by Grybauskaitė is even threatening to prosecute for announcing “secrets” of state officials.
So now the closest neighbors in Turniškės don’t talk to each other. Nobody has weekend barbeques with each other. Even Adamkus’ dog Sargis is locked in open-air cage. This is not because Grybauskaitė doesn’t like animals (there are no pets in her house), but more due to the dog Sargis’s relationship with the late Brazauskas’ dachshund Chikis. That arrogant wiener which Brazauskas let run loose loves raising his leg right in front of the leashed Sargis.
It made sense for the American Adakmus family to move into Turniškės because mister Valdas at the time of his election didn‘t have any real estate in Lithuania. Only those slippers near the bed in his relatives’ place in Šiauliai where he supposedly stayed when visiting Lithuania.
Why Grybauskaitė moved to that huge residence all alone was never really explained. Why didn‘t she stay in her private house on the outskirts of town near the Molėtų Road? The neighbors wouldn‘t mind. To them Grybauskaitė is one of their own. One of the neighbors told us how Dalia herself, while dressed in formless clothing chopped firewood in the yard.
– Like a man, with one chop. – recalled the neighbor.
And yet she left her house to a “friend” and moved to Turniškės.
But of course, she didn‘t set her foot inside until the columns built by Paksas‘s wife Laima were demolished. That didn‘t fit the new head‘s tastes.
And even so, Grybausakaite was right – no privacy at all.
In the evening, which Grybauskaitė spends alone, surrounded only by servants, the neighbors can see a silhouette out the window in a sports costume and Dviračio žinios comedy show on TV.
In the Presidency they know – if there‘ll be news stories about HER, the day will start with discussions on how it will impact the president‘s image. “No, she won‘t run for the second term or she‘ll grow mad from loneliness in Turniškės” – the president‘s lifestyle, the lack of children, no contact with relatives, the hiding of all the personal information are constantly the topic of gossip of Vilnius crème de la crème. Why doesn‘t she host receptions? Who does she celebrate Christmas with and does she celebrate it at all? She is a communist, right? Relatives are also taboo.
– She once said that she has a brother. But that‘s about the only time when she spoke of her close relatives. And one time visited the cemetery and that’s it, – said someone from her entourage.
– Drove past and didn‘t stop by. Dalite arrived to visit her parents’ grave. My neighbor was visiting the cemetery at that time. The President asked her whether anyone was taking care of the graves. She answered that Brone’s family was. Stunned by what she heard Dalite told her to send her regards to Brone. – Brone herself told us with sadness about this only cemetery visit.
Bronislava Grinvaldienė, Grybauskaitė’s childhood friend, her aunt-in-law, being the daughter of Dalia Grybauskaitė’s grandfather’s second wife complained about the country’s second president.
And the reason why she complained was because it was Brone who first publicly denied uncertain origins accusations of the President’s family name.
Stood there on the family cemetery and spoke of her father who married twice, the President’s grandfather, his nine children and life in poverty. On the other hand, Bronislava definitely wasn’t suited to officially appear alongside the President.
The weary mother of five children, living on the state benefits. In complete poverty, almost like all the relatives of the wealthy and lonely Grybauskaitė. In autumn 2011 out of grandfather’s nine children, the President’s aunts and uncles, only Danute and Brone survived. The other one just doesn’t tell anyone that Dalia is her niece. People will be surprised but nothing really to be envious of.
– They were Dalia’s relatives for as long as it was needed. When Vitaliy’s sister and her child came to the countryside from Vilnius and we filled baskets of treats for them and walked them to the bus, I was needed then. – said Bronislava to a Lietuvos rytas reporter during the second year of cadency.
Maybe it’s the poverty’s fault that caused the rift between Grybauskaitė and her relatives? She is a millionaire. A successful woman, who actually accepts only half of the Presidential salary.
The President doesn’t tolerate hardships. Which she clearly declared in January 2013.
– They are not burdened by intellect, – she told journalists when talking about people living on state benefits. You’re poor because you’re a fool. And that’s it.
She knows. Because she is poor too, but smart.
Grybauskaitė’s views on riches suddenly appeared after the first protesters appeared under her windows.
She fired Giržadas and Gailius, the heads of the Financial Crimes Investigation Department. But Darius Kuolys, Alvydas Medalinskas and hundreds of others under her window were already shouting: “Who are you with, President?”
Then she summoned for Medalinskas, as told by a witness of the Daukanto Square drama.
-She picked up the phone and called him herself?
– No, probably asked one of her assistants.
Grybauskaitė summoned a public figure who wanted to be become her advisor recently and declared that Vitalijus Gailius’ incompetence as head of the Financial Crimes Investigation Department can be seen through the fact during his long years in the police he couldn’t even build a house. Well this must be just some old wives’ tale? Somebody is trying to compromise the President’s reputation by linking these absurd words to her? Gailius was a cop to the core. All his life he was lying in ambush, catching crooks and locking up gangs. They get paid so little that you can’t buy an apartment, let alone a house.
– Sadly that’s not made up, – after a long pause Medalinskas continues. – These are terrifying things. And I was saddened by that talk with the President.
A house as a measure of a man’s worth. Maybe it’s…fair, common sense, but not for a president.
When not fighting herself Lithuanian Dalia talks more than one expects from a president.
– She can be very feminine, likes to gossip, sometimes a lot, – as told to us by her colleague who was in Grybauskaitė‘s entourage and whose work included coordinating interest to her actions during foreign visits.
After the official part was over and making sure all microphones and recorders were off she said what she thought about her political colleagues.
Others – yes. About herself – taboo. She made sure to avoid publicity about her.
– Asta called and said that you‘ll come, but said not to tell anyone because Dalia called and asked her not to, – said Dalia‘s father‘s first wife quite enthusiastically to the journalist.
This Asta is the president‘s cousin, a very mysterious figure. They say that the person in charge of her patronage was not the wisest choice of D. Valis. Grybauskaitė pulled him like a rabbit out of a hat and made him Prosecutor General. Asta may be invited to stay at Turniškės, but for the rest of family, the doors are closed.
When WikiLeaks published tons of secret documents among then was a number of letters about Grybauskaitė.
In a society where family ties are strong and people use their family to strengthen their positions Grybauskaitė is an anomaly. Unmarried, a president who has no relatives because her parents are dead and she has no children. Rumors of non-traditional orientation she debunked herself during the presidential campaign. Since then it‘s not a problem. Senior advisor on foreign politics Darius Semaška who worked with Grybauskaitė when she was assigned to the embassy in Washington she didn‘t converse with her coworkers informally, didn‘t have any friends and even now she has only one or two close friends. Despite her reluctance to intermingle she surprises her subordinates with an ability to talk tête-à-tête during her campaign which they think is part of her directive that the election campaign is “talking with a goal”.
I question Arūnas Valinskas, former Seimas Chairman:
– A reception is underway. Everyone arrives with their spouses, so who does she talk to? How do you solve this? Where did Inga Valinskienė (wife) go in times of these receptions where the President was present?
– She usually talked with Kubilius’ wife Rasa or with Mrs. Adamkus. It‘s the normal procedure when say foreign diplomats are present. People talk informally, I mean they can‘t always exchange formal phrases. And many times diplomats say that they miss simple human talks. Always official tone and manners…
Maybe that‘s how it‘s supposed to be, but so far the results show otherwise.
– Have you ever talked not about work? Of flowers or fishing?
– No, but with Kubilius we talked about everything.
– And with her?
– Only about business. Everything else either doesn‘t want to talk about it or shows that it‘s alien to her.
– Cats or dogs?
– I don‘t know, it would have been somewhere in press.
Valinskas told us one funny story from a diplomatic reception at the Presidency.
– Dalia was just elected head of Lithuania. The King of Spain arrived, I think. Everything was happening in the White hall of the Presidency. There is a table for the VIPs and their spouses. There was a spot for Grybauskaitė too. She walked up and looked at the name cards and quickly changed her place with Kubilius so she wouldn‘t have to sit at the side of the table. She reasoned that: “Can’t have the press taking pictures of me from the side”
In Valinskas‘ memory Grybauskaitė is akin to a rock against which all human weaknesses and passions crash. But her closest entourage sees her a bit differently:
– Emotional, indecisive, sensitive, ambitious, vengeful, – lists a man, who she once trusted more than others.
– Wait, wait… indecisive? Are you sane? Her?!..
– I wanted to say easily influenced. She frequently lacks her own opinion. Grybauskaitė lacks her own opinion… A joke!
So whose opinion can it be?
– All people to her are divided into two categories: those who she sees as plus and those who get the minus for all their lives. She selects personnel with ease: i worked with this one I know him, and this one I don‘t. With this one it was good, with this one – bad.
Continuing our talk with Valinskas.
Who are these people who Grybauskaitė trusts? There are rumors that the most influential out of them all is Jonas Markevičius, her National Security advisor. Supposedly he told her to fire “Lithuanian news” editor Vasiliauskas.
They say he told the LNK channel owners to watch the journalists who criticize the President. Markevičius is very influential, right?
– Completely wrong. She can‘t even trust her advisors. She has one, even closer circle of informal advisors, but I won‘t tell you their names.
– Ashamed to.
Well if you‘re ashamed to say then I will start guessing. Or actually just start browsing through named from various political gossip about Her.
Very unexpected names.
– Vidmantė Jasukaitytė? Founder of the Hot Comments portal Giedrė Gorienė?
My conversation partner smiles. “That‘s why I‘m ashamed”, he says. Then I say one more name.
– Rima Kaziliūnienė?
– Oh…that‘s a special connection, – he says.
More precisely he said “strong emotional connection”. And said it in a very serious tone. Rima Kaziliūnienė. I remember her as a pleasant freckled journalist with the face of a bothered honors student. We were even friends. I was even at her home in one of the residential districts of the capital. But later the editor made her the Finance Ministry curator. After a long time I met Rima in the old Seimas meeting hall in the journalist box. Grybauskaitė was saying something from the podium. “Awesome woman”, said I. Rima replied with double the enthusiasm.
Later the both disappeared in Brussels… Grybauskaitė with Brazauskas‘s help got the post of a European Commissioner and Rima became a “member of her cabinet”.
– But they returned to Lithuania separately? Rima only in 2012 appeared to the public as an advisor to the Bank of Lithuania council leader.
– Yes. Don’t ask any further and don‘t mention my name. Talks about Rima are taboo. Only after locking up in the cold reading room of the Special Archive I found out that the connection between these two women is not only “strong” but also long. And it started in 1987. There are many traces but the first one I found dates back to 1987. The committee meeting of the Vilnius Higher Party School of Central Committee of the Lithuanian SSR.
In 2012 a scandal broke out around the President’s communist past, or more precisely around the censorship of any journalist who tried to study it. Landsbergis‘s ex-advisor Ramūnas Bogdanas quickly ran to Lithuania‘s Special Archive and then reported with sigh of relief that protocols of the High Party School were not preserved.
“Sit down, Bogdanas. You get an “F”, that would probably be the grade Grybauskaitė would give him when she was the teacher at the Higher Party School and was known for her unrelenting nature and harsh grading. Loser Bogdanas… Oh, these advisors. Landsbergis and Grybauskaitė surround themselves with people who may not be the brightest, but are bootlickers.
They don’t do their job the best though and make mistakes. The archive actually did have those exact protocols and other traces Grybauskaitė didn’t want found.
So, November 1987. Vilnius Higher Party School. The Party committee gathered the editors of the Leninetz paper. The school teaches only in Russian. 99,9% of the documents in Grybauskaitė’s personal file is in Russian, right down to request to be sent to vacation in Druskininkai. And her last bonus of 140 rubles was paid out by the rector of the school Valentinas Lazutka. What else? The money was coming directly from Moscow. Control was also handled directly from Moscow. By the Academy of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. While working in that academy Grybauskaitė got her candidate of sciences degree. And later candidate of sciences became a doctor of sciences when the diploma was nostrified.
Well! And who will be entrusted with watching over the future party leader from the Leninets angle? Who will be the organizer, agitator and propagandist (Media requirements defined by Lenin)? Let’s look at page 151 of file 198: Kaziliūnienė R. I. First year student of the second year department, paper editor”
A certain Pranskus N. B., a teacher at the Socialist culture and languages department is assigned as deputy to the first-year Rima.
The two-year course was for students with higher education. After that – a clear road to power. Editors of Pravda or The Communist. Or leading the radio or TV which at the time was the only one in Lithuania. Kaziliūnienė without even finishing the party courses was allocated to the Trade Union council. On March 1, 1989 by the rector’s order she was allowed to finish her studies by an “individual plan”. That means that the school agreed that the editor of Leninets even without finishing her studies she was already climbing the career ladder.
In 1987 pockets of free-minded people started appearing in Lithuania in the form of ecological clubs. And so began talks of Moscow’s plan to ruin Lithuania’s ecology with terrifying energy industry. Specifically the plans to build a third block to the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant on a tectonic truncation and setting up an oil tower in D-6 across the Curonian Spit.
Soon all of Lithuania will know that name. Arvydas Juozaitis already decided to read lectures about Christian philosophy. There were six months until Sąjūdis.
Along with Sąjūdis came the birth of independent press. First it was Sąjūdis news and then “Rennaisance”. We argued with G. Tomkus about who was the third: my Green Lithuania or his Western Express. Lietuvos rytas started publishing the portraits of Lithuania’s historic leaders.
But the suspense didn’t bother the Higher Party School.
So, from Brussels Grybauskaitė and Rima came back separately. According the experts on Lithuania’s behind the scenes life Rima is not the kind of woman who would like the idea of her boss sacrificing herself for the sake of “that Lithuania”.
After working in the election campaign HQ (it was her who formulated the “anti-oligarchy” rhetoric of fighting the rich) Rima returned to Brussels. She decided to work with another boss – A. Semeta. It didn’t work out.
She said she didn’t like it.
When Grybauskaitė’s election campaign chief Vitas Vasiliauskas became head of bank of Lithuania, he “strongly asked” that Rima would be his advisor.
Grybauskaitė’s presidency managed to find a position for the barely graduated Rūta Kaziliūnaitė, Rima’s daughter in the first days of Grybauskaitė’s in office. The President’s advisor, the daughter of an advisor. The mass media will start dissecting this info when she’ll additionally be employed as teacher in the Mykolas Romeris University.
– Can’t say anything bad about Ruta. She came to us very green, but was very smart and learned fast, – told a man from the Presidency.
The President should be surrounded by close people and the second circle must be comprised of specialist. That’s what air balloon enthusiast Gintaras Šurkus said, who himself was part of Paksas inner circle.
Dalia Grybauskaitė’s circle initially consisted of close people. For example, Linas Balsys. He worked in Brussels as an officially accredited journalist. His voice announced of European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaitė’s actions, only the good ones to be precise.
Though there aren’t any actual friends in Grybauskaitė’s circle, unlike their abundance in Paskas and Adamkus administration. The close circle is outside of the President and that worries state advisors.
One of them told us that Kaziliūnienė refused to work in the Presidency for some reason, but her presence was felt everywhere.
The president would come in the morning with an edited speech and suddenly act differently from what we agreed upon together.
– So why don’t you hire her if she’s working anyway? –Balsys voice was heard once behind closed doors.
– She doesn’t want to, – she answered.
– They fight, or they make peace. Exchange messages, but Rima doesn’t visit the Presidency, – a former Presidency employee shared with us.
Emotional dependence – that’s how another described the two women’s relationship.
There are more friends like this around Grybauskaitė, but she doesn’t discuss her personal life with her employees.
– I think there is some kind of pharmacist, – said a man, who worked a number of years with the President. He probably means Aureliją Juškevičienę, her school friend, who she talks with to this day.
Also our conversation partner remembered that some woman who lived in Grybauskaitė’s house when she worked in Brussels was called a “friend”. The same one who lives in her house now that Grybauskaitė moved to Turniškės.
There’s also Vidmantė Jasukaitytė, who according to most Presidency dwellers keeps in contact with the president with the email@example.com email address. The President loves flowers.
“And my sources say…” is a phrase many of the President’s advisors heard.
There are those who she calls her “personnel”. This includes Vitas Vasiliauskas. He came to power from a shadowy area – one of the most influential attorney offices in Lithuania. That office legalized many controversial decisions of the government and businesses, especially linked to foreign capital income.
Even though there isn’t a lot of people like that in Grybauskaitė’s entourage, they crate havens of trust.
Grybauskaitė doesn’t have allies. She has employees who she keeps as long as they obey.
– Grybauskaitė is a businesswoman. And that says it all, -as was explained by one of her former employees. By the constitution, the President has to be lonely. A few advisors and the right to get information from other branches of the government. A President can be active only when they’re on good terms with the other branches.
People from Grybauskaitė’s election campaign HQ remember that her promotional materials, a sort of a program said that in her actions she’ll be relying on the people. The Presidency was supposed to form various community boards where everyone would find a place. Grybauskaitė would be a “President for everyone”. Why didn’t that happen? I ask a person who was with her during the elections and some time after them.
– It was Balsys who wrote about the community boards, she herself handles everything differently, – he said.
Tête-à-tête. Eye-to-eye. Talks to one. Then the other. Told one something bad about the other so they wouldn’t unite. The tête-à-tête art was perfected on Daukanto square. All of this was a “well known secret” until it was voiced by two former Seimas chairs. First Irena Degutienė and then Arūnas Valinskas.
“Beware of Surveillance!”
It happened like this. One time Degutienė and not Grybauskaitė gathered the “community board”. Darius Kuolys was there, so was Liudvika Pociūnienė. Romualdas Ozolas is tinkering with his recorder. But that surprises nobody. Because Ozolas records everything noteworthy that he says, and he rarely says something unremarkable. Among the invited guests is Audrius Nakas, an actor by trade and corruption fighter at heart. It’s in his recorder it’s documented how the Seimas head said after a sigh:
– Because this isn’t the first time I speak freely in the office, I will be free in my talk with you, but I warn you, this place is always under surveillance. That’s a start.
Wow! The Seimas chair’s office is “under surveillance”. By who? Aiming at who? Degutienė isn’t suspected in committing any severe or medium gravity crimes and that the only legal chance to “hook” her up with audio and video surveillance. But if she says so, that must mean she knows.
Degutienė works in the office which Algirgas Brazauskas strongly disliked. He called it a closet. All of the walls are furnished with wood. Hundreds of shelves, drawers and corners. You could place an army of “bugs” here. A historic office. Here someone followed Landsbergis’s orders and then Brazauskas’s. Also Viktoras Muntianas was here with some land property. Artūras Paulauskas left from here to report to Rolandas Paksas to report that the security department secretly spies on him, the President and suspects that he has sold out to the Russians.
Quite the kinks they have there, those at power… Degutienė’s meeting was happening right after the first organized protests outside the presidency. People were protesting against the firing of of the head of Financial Crimes Investigation Department Vitalijus Gailius and his deputyVytautas Giržadas, so this was the topic of discussion the Seimas head chose:
– If only you were witness to the events that happened and the actions that were taken, say during the firing of some high posts. We outlined one set of actions, but then you go to the White Hall (The Presidency) and live in blackmail.
“Live in blackmail? So that means that the Presidency uses blackmail, as in using compromising materials for control? Sighing, Irena said:
– When will our people open their eyes? This is not where the action is. You know what worries me a lot more? That the state is being taken over and we’re not walking the democratic route, we’re walking the way of Lukashenko. The authoritarian rule. When we’re invited one by one and intrigues are plotted. I’m get told about Kubilius, Kubilius gets told about me, someone else on some other person, everyone is pitted against each other. A very good method of divide and conquer. (…) It’s our fault that we let them get on our neck in these three years. We should admit that. They call and tell you to do this and that. And we did it. We did it all.
All your life in fear, – Degutienė continues, – after that… Because I didn’t comply – of course we didn’t publicly rattle, because publicly rattling isn’t normal, – but what are the consequences? I’m not even mentioning that we’re under surveillance…all my relatives are watched over. Even my 85-year old mother.
Somebody couldn’t take it and shouted:
-We should protest about this!
– Uh huh, I called the head of the State Security Department, who supposedly protects me. And I told him about my sister who works a simple saleswoman and has nothing to do with politics. Or my mother who is 85. Let me tell you an example. My mother lives with me. I come home and she’s making scones. We talk and she tells me what she’s going to use as filling…and suddenly the phone rings. It’s my sister. Tells me that she heard everything. I ask what she heard. She replies that she heard that we’re making scones and that I was happy about it… I ask how did she hear of this. She says that she heard it as soon as I came in. I look around and see my mother’s phone on the table… Quite the net: my mother is connected to it, and my sister, even without her phone ringing can hear our talk…
– Well that was a mistake on their part.
– That was their arrogance. A typical KGB method of instilling fear. As in, stop woman or begone. Another example. My daughter’s a lawyer, works in the Ministry of Justice. Thank god, she doesn’t sit in an office alone. She’s a common specialist and sits along with three colleagues. And she said that suddenly heard her cousin talking to his daughter, who lives in Brussels. She said all three of them were shocked that that could be happening. And I called the responsible people into my office, just like you are here now and you know what answer I got? They told me to try and talk to the operator…
Trying to get them to believe her Degutienė said that similar stories have happened to Arvydas Anusauskus, then head of Seimas committee on National security and defense.
After Seimas elections another former Seimas head Arūnas Valinskas talked about it.
In old town Vilnius on a narrow street and in a closed yard. „One of the three rulers of the country“ and now once again just a showman Arunas sat behind a counter which didn‘t see much guests and tried to get a hold of himself after the loss at the Seimas elections.
– Was what Degutienė‘s said news to you?
– Didn‘t surprise me.
– But what she talked about seemed more like blackmail. Someone listens in on your calls and after that you‘re pressured.
– I was one of the many whose conversations were taped and printed on the President‘s table, – said the former Seimas head.
– How do you know about this?
– I know…
– She quoted your conversations to you?
– No, but I know which conversations and which fragments were presented to her. And that must be true for everyone who they tried to pressure.
Valinskas spoke clearly and sternly. Didn‘t look like an improvised performance. And even before this conversation he was in one party with Dainiumus Dabašinskas, a former State Security Department (SSD) leader who hasn‘t lost his influence.
– So the rumors that she likes to read other people‘s conversations are true?
– I don‘t think these are empty rumors. Knowledge is power. And in politics information is key. Collecting specific information, hints, rumors, spreading them, pitting people against each other… It’s all very important.
– You quote a line from a conversation to someone… – I confirm the Daukanto square methods.
– Yes. And you say other things to others. But the ways this information is procured are questionable. It’s the medieval principle of divide and conquer. And I had to hear about this numerous times in talks with Degutienė, the ministers and Kublius. It’s a “well-known” secret that she one meets with her they talk about others. And vice versa.
– So they talk about it?
Valinskas’s and Degutienė’s compromising speeches were made publicly. After being accused of illegal surveillance materials, political blackmail and manipulations the President was silent.
Everything was done only to stay a afloat and remain in power for as long as she can and in a worst case scenario, change the post for a less powerful one. That’s the opinion of a man who was formerly in Grybauskaitė’s close circle.
– If this continues she will continue to degrade, – in the Presidency her remembered Linas Balsys’s words when he couldn’t take it and left slamming the door.
What does “degrade” mean here? I received this explanation:
– To degrade is to grab at power without any idea asto why you’re doing it.
– Somebody else always gets the blame. And when they need to back that guilt up they use law enforcement and prosecution it becomes similar to control in neighboring Belarus, – Valinskas added to Grybauskaitė’s evaluation.
– “Gryboshenko”? Right?
The web of intrigue scares away the smart and the brave. And words of Grybauskaitė’s KGB-like methods spread like an infection. There has to be somewhere she learned them? Could it be in the Higher Party School? There people were taught how to act in the rough power structure, interacting with other Soviet patriots and communists who spoke of the great goals of creating advanced socialism and spreading it over the world. For that goal you need power as a tool.
Why does Grybauskaitė need power?
Only six months after her election everyone’s attention was once again on her past, in hopes of finding an explanation for her unusually illogical behavior. With a weak spot in her past, lacking a firm (or visible) team to fall back on, lonesome and not burning with an idea (Grybauskaitė is definitely not a visionary leader) she merely demonstrates effort to remain in her position. In the name of what? Just for the sake of being there?
Conspiracy theorists deny the idea that it’s a mere heroic feat of a “perfect bureaucrat”. They raise the following questions:
Were Grybauskaitė’s parents really those who she named?
Should their names be written without the Lithuanian enders?
Did she finish only the political economy course when Soviet Leningrad.
Was that “Red Front” what she worked at after coming to study in Leningrad a cover for some kind of special school? Could that in fact be where she learned karate which was allowed only for secret services in Soviet times?
Why did Grybauskaitė remain in the rebel Burokevičiaus party when Lithuania declared independence?
Why did the United States meet Grybauskaitė quite coldly when she left to work at the Lithuanian embassy in Washington, and then supposedly unofficially asked to be called back?
Is it just a coincidence that during Grybauskaitė’s rule people have noted things that are beneficent to Belarus and Russia: Lukashenko and Putin have people from their opposition given back to them and the energy market has become dominated by Russian companies?
Let’s check all the theories, even the strangest ones. The questions will be far more intriguing than the answers.
2 WHERE DID YOU COME FROM, DALIA
We continue the idea of Antanas Maceinos who I quote in the beginning of the book. He wrote: “The present is the meeting of past and present which frames our own existence: we came from the past to the future. So we cannot create the future as if we have no past. To know where we‘re going, we must know where we came from”. My soul grows at the sight of what I‘ve accomplished and that what I will.
It seems so simple doesn‘t it? But as soon as someone tried to understand Grybauskaitė’s present by looking into her past it was met with discontent and fuss. It’s forbidden! Only bad and dirty people dig in the President’s past. Leave Dalia alone! And her creator Vytautas Landsbergis even included a new philosophy: “It doesn’t matter who you were, it matters who you became”. Well condescending is important. But before it there must be some repentance of at least an “oops”. A realization of a mistake. A turning point when a person understands that his previous path was a mistake.
I never heard Grybauskaitė talk about her past and say: “I made a mistake. Sorry”. On the contrary, she always tries to excuse her actions. She joined the communist party because you couldn’t not join. She went to the High Party School because she wanted to teach… And she stayed in it after the events of March 11th because she had “her own small wave”.
Where is the moment of going into a new state?
Can it be that this moment never happened? Maybe she just kept climbing and climbing with her Marxist-Leninist worldview, the communist-KGB methods of ruling a country, human manipulation skills and very undemocratic views.
Let’s travel back to the past to trace Grybauskaitė’s steps. But what to do when that traces disappears? White spots in politician’s biography do not bode well.
“Kolya” Grzibowskij and Other “Exiled”
Who was she? Only child. Mommy‘s girl. Could it have been any different?! “The daughter of saleswoman…” said one friend carelessly who was a son of Soviet diplomat. That must be someone she wanted to trade places with! All of the doors in the Soviet Union were open to him. Even the school of diplomacy of which she never even dreamed of.
“The daughter of a department store saleswoman” – said his wife, a simple woman who experienced all of the “fun” times of socialist economy when after work in a food shop you find empty shelves and venues, and when you buy threads you can‘t find a needle and the lines can choke you. “They didn‘t ship it” cuts the saleswoman.
The Vilnius department store is known to the people of Vilnius as “Kid‘s World” because it was host to very active children’s clothing sales. Rows of the same clothing, gray pants and jackets in the same boring style. There were also galleries and knitted goods. At those times a department store was a place where saleswomen could freely sell things no one ever needed.
In a country where even skinny blue chickens cost a ruble and some for a kilo, everything was in deficit and the sales lady was always right. Because the normal chickens and canned peas and mayonnaise were distributed by lists and not everyone was on them. These deficit kits called “rations” were given out before big holidays – New Year, October Revolution or WWII Victory anniversaries. In Vilnius they were given out through the special doors in the Draugystės hotel back yard.
We talk to another specialist – Goda Ferensienė, the second wife of the Soviet head of Trade Unions. Her husband in the end shot himself (by the way, in my first place of employment – the Work and Leisure journal)
It was her who exposed Kristina Brazauskene, the previous head of the “order table” at the Draugystes because after Goda’s husband’s death she didn’t give anything away in her “special store”. “Didn’t even turn around when I entered” she told us not hiding her anger while recounting the soviet nomenclature lifestyle.
So in those times a department store sales lady was the person would could have sold and could have chosen not to sell, say… stockings of high quality. Not those fat ones that wrinkle after the first time you sit, but the slim ones. Or Indian Milton’s jeans because the Soviet Union didn’t produce jeans at all. The devil’s work! American invention! They were worn only by those who got them from relatives abroad. Empty shelves at a store were common. Selling to your friends from under the counter was a norm.
We’ll never know if Dalia Grybauskaitė’s mother a typical saleslady of the time. The woman died without seeing an independent Lithuania. The first wife of Grybausakite’s father, Valerija Grybauskienė, saw that woman at least once.
– She worked in the sock department and saw how I went to pick up the child.
– Did you exchange words?
– No, only from afar.
– Was she angry?
– Short, thick. I don’t know whether she was angry or not. Albertas said she was a pinchpenny.
Doing some more reminiscing Mrs. Valeria added:
– Polikarpas’s sister told us that she was pretty harsh. Kept him in check as he drank occasionally. And also was no fool to women, – continued Valeria.
Dalia Grybauskaitė lived in the very center of the city on Vilniaus Street with a spoiled father and a harsh mother. She herself never talked publicly about herself, but apparently the family lived with across from Transport Ministry. Not a bad place for a worker family of a driver and a sales lady. But it turns out that the mischievous Polikarp finished his career as a driver in the Transport Ministry. They say he drove the vice-mayor around.
That’s the legend. But how was it really? There’s one man in Vilnius who never shies away from talking on this matter. It was his website that first published Grybauskaitė’s photo from her Party card. The one where she has fleecy hair after a perm and brunette for some reason. Aurimas Drižius, the daring journalist went up and did the “When did Grybauskaitė become blonde?”. If he was more thorough he would have noticed that she was blonde from birth. A fact that was confirmed by Bronislava Grinvaldienė, her aunt-in-law. She said that her childhood friend and nephew Dalite was small and brighthaired, but very commanding girl.
Also Drižius allowed to publish doubt in the president‘s Lithuanian origins. Saying that the her father‘s and mother‘s named were changed to a Lithuanian style. Simmilar comments are also present in Polish media: «Matka nazywa sie Vitalia Korsak, a ojciec Polikarp Grzybowski» (mother‘s name is Vitalija Korsak, and the father – Polikarp Gžybovski). This hint of a non-Lithuanian origin of Grybauskaitė was published by Drižius’ Laisvas laikraštis without any censorship. It was also laced with mention of KGB and theories like “what except hidden connections with another government would make it necessary to be silent about your origins”. And… they never did get a straight answer from Daukanto Square.
So I call. Aurimas quickly says that we should ask the President‘s brother‘s mother – Valeia Grybauskene from Šeduvą. Aurimas told us Mrs Valeria‘s phone number and a jeep of the Paskutinė instancijа rode off to Šeduvą to talk to the person who knew the President‘s father in the after-war years.
Staying back at the office I look around the net. The first result is very poor. If finding relatives of Grybauskaitė’s mother Korsakaitė is possible, then Polikarpas Grybauskas is big mystery. We can start with the very strange, totally not Lithuanian but quickly altered name. “Dalia Polikarpo” was how the wrote in Grybauskaitė‘s documents filed in Moscow, even when other Lithuanians became “Kazimerovich” (sons of Kazimeras), “Saulevich” (son of Sauliaus) and “Mindaugovich” (son of Mindaugas). And here we see not Poilkarpovna, but “Gribauskaite Dalia Polikarpo” 20.
But still the internet is quite the tool! I was in awe when on 15min.lt I found Sauliaus Chadasevičiaus’ interview with the man himself – Grybauskaitė‘s father. And they have photos. Chadasevičiaus wrote: „in the post-war period the pensioner who spent five years in exile in Krasnoyarsk region no longer hid the tattoos on his body. On our request to comment on the names Gribauskas replied: “Kolya – that was supposed to be my Russian name. Those times, I couldn‘t be Lithuanian… Young, strong. And also I had a specialization – communications man!“ Chuckling he added: “They thought I was an engineer!” 21
Wow! A communications man… I call to Šeduva. My colleague is already on Polikarpas Grybauskas’ first wife’s house. And here‘s the first information. After the war Polikarpas worked at a firefighter station in Vilnius, somewhere near the railroad station. Later he was a driver (And how did he combine that job with drinking?). Nobody knew of a “communications man” and exile in Šeduva.
Poilkarpas with the “KOLYA” tattoo. Ha! Just like the legendary Soviet comedy “Diamond hand”. The main hero is attacked by the aggressive house management head. And a man from the force arrived to cover for him. They house manager and the man from the force meet near a news stand where she‘s about to hang a poster criticizing the hero for his amoral ways. Then she sees the “Misha” tattoo on his hand. Cinematographers of that time paid attention to details.
Could it be that in “exile” he not only had a different personal name, but also a different family name? If Polikarpas was “Russian Kolya” in camp, then certainly he wasn‘t Grybauskas. Maybe Gribovskiy? Grybauskaitė herself during the election campaign told of her father and confirmed that in documents his name was written with a short “I”. So it was “Kolya” Gribovskiy (?) who arrived to Lithuania from Siberia. KOLYA!
But why didn‘t Grybauskaitė ever brag about being the daughter of the exiled Polikarpas (Kolya)? It would have been a good comeback at the accusations of her communistic career. But no. “My dad is from Kėdainiai region” – said the President dryly about her father during her election campaign. That line if still up on the Presidency‘s website. Her mother Vitalija is from Latveliai village of Biržai region where there are a lot Korsakas graves and her father is only “from the region”. Also Kėdainiai region…but he met Valerija, his first wife when he was a teenager in Šeduva. And the further into the woods, the darker it gets…
To the high-born Dalite it should have been noticeable. Dad is Polikarpas and the tattoo said “Kolya”. What did “Kolya” tell his little daughter about himself?
Grybauskaitė made a few mistakes herself. In the middle of discussion of her origins she gave the enemies a winning card – her birth certificate. It showed Polikarpas’s patronymic name – “Vlado”. Uh huh… There’s a site on the net called http://www.geni.com.
You can register there and see your genealogical tree. We sat down with historian Tomas Baranauskas over pizza. He’s a specialist on medieval times but his hobby is studying the reach of Soviet figures to power in independent Lithuania. For example, Tomas studied the people in the Anykščiai regional administration – two KGB reservists, one of which was a graduate of the High party school after the declaration of Independence. And get this, those two still govern the region taking turn to this day.
So me and Tomas are having a pizza. Tomas types “Grybauskas” into his tablet with just one finger and bingo! The only entry and also marked with black ribbon belongs to the deceased Polikarpas Grybauskas. Some kind of Aleksandras Fišeras worked on his page to fill out the genealogical tree of the Grybauskas-Korsakas. This tree has Polikarpas, Dalia and a lot of other relatives. First impression – the names. A lot of Slavic ones, among them are Polish – Kasia, etc. Second impression – a cemetery. Most of these people are dead.
Grybauskaitė‘s origins fit the philosophical thought that you shouldn‘t come back to the past because no one‘s waiting for you there…There are no witness left who could confirm or deny anything.
We‘re left with what we have. And according to Fišeras Polikarpas Grybauskas is not from Kėdainiai as his daughter said, but from the village of Liaubaru, Raseiniai region. And his father was not Vladas, but Vladislavas. Maybe she herself doesn‘t know who her father is? She said herself that after Polikarpas Grybauskas‘s death she looked through the papers and was surprised but the short “I” in his name.
Very peculiar. There‘s a Lithuanian word “grybas”. But “gribas”?
In Russian the phonemes are not defined by the length of their pronunciation and the “I” in “grib” is more short than long. So it‘s possible that once, for example before his first marriage Mr. Grybauskas wrote his name as Gribovskiy. Or Grzybowski if writing on the Polish matter. And the Vladislavovich patronymic could have been Vladimirovich. Polikarp Vladimirovich Gribovskiy or Nikolai (Kolya) Vladimirovich. If his real name was tattooed on his body.
Mother‘s maiden name Korsakaite for a historic point of view once did in fact sound like “Korsak” so the origins of the name are not Lithuanian.
Tomas and I continued mining the site. Apparently this “Aleksandras Fišeras” is someone close to the “Empress”. He began forging the Grybauskas-Korsakas family tree even before the presidential elections as soon as confusion arouse around the origins of Grybauskaitė. This man did the final touches around December 2012. And what do we see? One of the brothers of the father‘s mother Julijona Grybauskienė (Vainilavičiūtė) who died at 46 is none other than Tadeušas Vainila(o)vičius
Julijona, Tadeušas. Kasia. And no one to talk to. On the Polikarpas Grybauskas side his daughter Dalia had an aunt and four cousins in Šeduva. No one else. Not a single soul. And Polikarpas‘s first wife Valeria confirmed this when i visited her in Šeduva.
– Wasn‘t it strange that he had no relatives? No cousins?
– No, no. It wasn‘t.
– Did you ask where his relatives were?
– He never said.
To silence those who dig in Grybauskaitė’s past in search of her non-Lithuanian roots she published her birth certificate. That certificate has a very strange print mark. Dalia was born in 1956 got her USSR citizen passport at sixteen on March 17, 1972. Let’s check Grybauskaitė’s documents at the Higher Party School from the same time. It’s at this time that Dalia had her first trip abroad. To Poland. The file also states that the goal of the trip is “personal”. Prosecutor Zigmas Vaišvila, wonders about Grybauskaitė’s biography:
– What kind of “personal trip” can a minor have? Some kind of relative’s funeral.
Knowledge of the Polish language was listed in all of her official biographies. Nobody knew it in all of Vilnius’ Lithuanian schools. So there could have been only two possible sources of this knowledge – family or the Zhdanov Leningrad State University where Grybauskaitė went after she didn’t like studying economics in Vilnius University. There students were taught even multiple foreign languages.
But the family theory has more proof. The large number of Kasias, Mariannes, Vladislavs and other Polish-sounding names in her family tree and the short “I” in Polikarpas’s metrics signify that the ties to Poland are a lot deeper than officially told.
– The sister’s name is Wanda. He (Polikarpas Grybauskas) said that their father was a Pole, – confirmed Valeria Grybauskaitė.
A Pole who had the Russian name “Kolya” tattooed on his body. And also spoke of exile to Krasnoyarsk…Were I paranoid, I could have started a theory of stolen identities.
But another surprising find. Grybauskaitė does have a relative named Kolya, but in Russian in the city Kirov. How did that come up? From persistence. The President’s aunt Bronislava Grinvaldienė from Latveliai retorted on the criticism of the then newly-elected President’s origins. She said that Grybauskaitė’s mother Vitalia worked at a department store in the sock and string department and “Had a 60-70 ruble salary” – said Bronislava…
Don’t think that I’m nitpicking, but when Polikarpas Grybauskas gave an interview just before his death he said that they both got “around 120 rubles”. So they just pretended to be poor in front of relatives? What were they trying to hide? Just the income so not to share or the source of the income?
Giving the interview on the Latveliai cemetery Bronislava also said that mother cried a lot when sending Dalia to study in Russia. Supposedly the student didn’t get support from home and her relatives in Russia helped with that. “Our cousins helped. My father Adolfas Korsakas’ brother’s daughter Gertruda lives there and she married Nikolai who’s with the military”. Nikolai and Kolya for short. A coincidence?
Looking for something concrete. Relatives on her mother’s side. Grybauskaitė’s mother’s father – Petras Korsakas. Based on pure facts was an interesting man. After the President’s grandmother Elyana who bore him five children he re-married Marijoną, twice his age, who bore him four more. The last daughter Danute was born three months before Petras’ death.
And here’s where more confusion starts. It was Bronislava who said that Grybauskaitė’s grandfather was in the military and supposedly after 1940 he was sent to Siberia for “connections with partisans”. Hurrah, my granddad Benediktas Jocius fought against Bermondt’s forces too! Having a hero in the family is great!
During the second year of her presidency Dalia Grybauskaitė also spoke of her family hero.
– Exile touched upon almost every Lithuanian family. Mine too. My grandfather was exiled.
But is that really so? Aleksandras Fišeras while studying the Grybauskas-Korsakas family tree noted all of Petras Korsakas’s children and their date of birth. When cross-referencing theses dates with the exile papers there is a strange detail. In 1940 the partisan movement barely existed and started only in 1941. For “ties to partisans” people went to Siberia with decade long sentences but it appears Petras Korsakas was more fortunate. According to Fišeras in 1944 Petras already has his new wife Marijona and new child – Petras. Maybe he was born in exile?
Let’s again listen to Bronislave who says:
– Father was taken away when at the same time mother was freeing from Vilnius prison on the same charges. Upon returning after a few years in Siberia, father ended up in prison. This was around 1950-1953. Our father was a very straightforward person.
It seems that Marijona was waiting for him in Lithuania. So…In order for Pertras Korsakas jr. To be born he would need at least nine months. In 1941-1944 Lithuanian was „under the Germans“. Could it be that Petras Sr., was so badass that he crossed the frontline and returned from Siberia in the German-occupied country to make love to his wife?
There is no data on when exactly Petras Korsakas Jr. was born early 1944 or late 1944. But it would be logical to assume that his father, the future President‘s grandfather didn‘t cross the battlefield. And in 1944 returning the Lithuania meant you had to be with the Russians.
What do we conclude? Bronislava overdid it when painting Petras a a fighter for Lithuania‘s freedom. Petras’ exile probably wasn‘t involuntary. Say, went away with the Russians and came back with them.
It‘s obvious that Petras Korsakas second imprisonment which Bronislava dates as 1950-1953 was brief because during this time Marijona and Petras had two more children. In 1949 Flemena was born, and in 1954 – Bronislava herself. What did Petras serve time for if there was a maximum of a three-year window between making two children? Political prisoners got way longer cases after the war so he was most likely punished not for his views but an actual crime. Possibly a criminal offense like Dalia Grybauskaitė‘s father Polikarpas (Kolya) Grybauskas.
Father in an NKVD Sergeant Uniform and Red Partisans
A jolly old lady, living poorly in a small house. Polikarpas Grybauskas tried returning to his first love and wife Valeria.
– I kicked him out, – laughed Valeria.
– Miss Valeria, before death he said that after the war he was exiled. Is that true? – I ask, because Valeria Grybauskaitė was Polikarpas Grybauskaitė’s wife at that moment.
– He wasn’t exiled anywhere! What a story! He said so himself? When could have he been exiled? We met when we were young. We were both 18. He lived at Šeduva station with his sister. They weren’t locals. His sister got here when she married. Her husband is a railway worker.
Valeria just can’t get around the idea of Polikarpas’ bragging about his exile. Everything was different:
– We met during the German times. So he hid from the Germans for some reason. Ran to his sister’s buffet a lot.
– There were Russian partisans around here, around 10 km from Šeduva. So the Russian partisans came in singing songs. And he came to me and then left.
– With the partisans?
– They came with a red flag room that village and he came.
– Well yes. That‘s how he told me. Came to me, stayed a while and then left again. He was that kind of man, without a permanent place. To the bone… Like to brag, lazy and liked to pull people‘s legs…
Suddenly Valeria remembers:
– He got into prison! For weapon possession. He said so.
– How many years did he get?
– Four years
– Where did he serve the sentence?
– I don‘t know.
– In which year?
– In 1947. I found out when was looking for alimony. He was sentenced to four years. Whether he served exactly that time or not – I don‘t know. After that he moved back in with me. Our child was four years old. He said „Now will go and live“. He talked about going to Klaipeda to look for work and later we would join him. But when he left and got to Vilnius he met that Korsakaite.
Valeria gets the photos from the closet. A lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. Relatives who escaped to Australia during the war. And here‘s another round of memories – funerals.
– Here, look! This is Polikarpas‘s sister and her four daughters – Dalia‘s cousins, – said Valeria while pointing out the faces of the mourning women standing near the open casket. She stopped on one of them
– Asta. The one who called me after your show was banned…
Here she reminded me of a different interview she gave to „Final authority“ in November of 2012. The one that was never shown because the channel decided to gain Grybauskaitė‘s favor by keeping it off the air.
And that testimony from Valeria Grybauskaitė was not only on the President‘s origins. It was also about her very strange work methods. In the cancelled episode Polikarpas Grybauskas’ first wife testified and they tried to silence her:
– They called me and said: “Did anyone visit you?” and I said: “No, nobody yet”. Called just last week.
– Called and asked whether anyone from television came over? – this is surprising to us. Because I spoke of my plans to talk to Valerija Grybauskiene only and over the phone. There was only that one call, but the President’s cousin already warns her about keeping quiet?!
– They asked whether someone came from television?
– Uh huh. She scared that I might say something I shouldn’t have. I told her “Like there’s anything like that I could tell?”
– What else did this cousin tell you?
– That it was Dalia who called her and said that she’s afraid of me talking about things I shouldn’t.
– How did she know?
– Probably found out. Then called again. I said: “So where did you find out that someone’s going to visit? She said that Dalia called her.
And how does she know? There’s only one way to find out what people talked about over the phone. Listen in on their conversations.
So these are daughters of Polikarpas’ sister? – we once again look over the family photos along with Valeria.
– Sister’s daughters, – she confirmed and continued to look for traces of Polikarpas.
It’s even strange to her how little traces of him there are. Polikarpas appeared in her home in Šeduva without warning and then disappeared for long periods of time.
– Do you have wedding photos?
– No, he tore then.
Why tear wedding pictures? Valeria took another album from the shelf.
– Here! His metric!
On a page of a white album – P. Grybausko, birth certificate, “secondary” written in the corner, issued in 03.07.1952. Parents’ names in Lithuanian manner – Julijona, Vladas. Place of birth – Liaubarai village, 08.01.1928. Seems to be an inconspicuous document. The small photograph that showed when Valeria flipped the page is a lot more interesting. It has the matured Polikarpas staring right at the camera in NKVD sergeant’s uniform.
NKVD was also included bandits who chased partisans, the police forces and firefighters. And non-military law enforcement. Military uniform had additional marks of distinction, but NKVD didn’t flash theirs.
Valeria thinks that Polikarpas was a firefighter. Valeria places another photo on the table next to the one where he poses in a Sergeant’s uniform. Here he’s very young, presumably in 1946. By Russian classification, just a simple Red Army Man.
Between the span of these two photos is supposedly prison for weapons possession. Turns out prison won’t slow down your career. As soon as he was free he got promoted to sergeant.
Arvydas Anusauskas studied the after-war “feats” of NKVD-NKGB and said that certain operations were in fact conducted by sergeants. The historian also says that they were frequently sentenced. Anusauskas concluded that “NKVD’s best troops had all of Soviet society’s sins and faults, especially the ones that thrived in higher society: it consisted of thieves, robbers, drunkards and libertines”. But can you say the same about militarized firefighters?
– He disappeared. Went back after a few months and then disappeared again. That’s how we were, – said Valerija Grybauskienė about the time spent with Polikarpas Grybauskas.
Her words of the young man’s constant disappearances, supposed return to Šeduva with Russian partisans, prison and sergeant promotion afterwards tell us that Polikarpas Grybauskas’s lifestyle wasn’t all too different from any other man who didn’t shy away from cooperating with occupational forces.
– In 1946 we married and left for Vilnius. He worked at a fire station. Got an apartment.
– Where exactly?
– On Kalvarijų street, on Giedraičių Street from some Poles. He had a Pole girl there, – Valeria is more concerned about her husband cheating than she is with his “military achievements” which he never spoke of. – One day I was going to Šeduva to get something from there. I get there and see that all my things are gone. What could I do? I left him. Moved to Šeduva while pregnant. And he arrived only after six months.
– Did he have the KOLYA tattoo on his body by then?
– He didn’t have no tattoo. Maybe he got it later. Maybe when he was in prison. – pondered Valerija.
– Was he handsome?
– Well, I was very beautiful when I was young too, -winks Valeria and starts putting more photos on the table. But there are no wedding photos. Polikarpas tore and destroyed them…
– What kind of man was he?
– Not a hooligan or bully, but he really loved pranks and to cackling.
They separated on good term, but in a non-traditional way:
– We weren’t divorced when he married that Korsakaite. Tore a page from his passport or however he did it?
Valeria still doesn’t know “however he did it”. She only recalls that Polikarpas was fined for having two wives.
– When they discovered that he was already married then his new marriage was cancelled out and they left him with me. And then he got into court. We separated of our own free will, there were no fights or the like.
When their son Albertas was in 6th grade, his father took him to Vilnius.
– That’s how he (his son) met Dalia. He took her to kindergarten and him to school. But she got bored of it, so I took him back. We didn’t communicate after that. Only after his second wife died he came to me.
After VitalijaGrybauskienė’s death Polikarpas came to Šeduva with a bottle of vodka and offered his ex-wife to live together again. And again, in his own fashion. He wouldn’t actually live in Šeduva. He would live in Vilnius and work as a taxi driver.
– So I told him: “First you didn’t need me, now I don’t need you” – said Valeria.
– You say he was a simple driver?
– Yes, a simple driver.
– Grybauskaitė is a very smart woman. Did she get that from Polikarpas?
– Probably more of her mother. Though he also liked to…Joke, cackle and show everybody “just who the hell he is”.
– Did you vote for her during the presidential elections?
– I don’t know anymore how it was. It was a long time ago. It’s good that she’s not some sort of landlady. She’s from the workers. Let her work, but not stick her nose where it doesn’t belong.
– You mean forming coalitions?
– Maybe, – said Valerija with a smile. And then hastily made tea and gave us some sweets: – I’m really sorry when they told me that you lost your job…
You said it… Polikarpas Grybauskas’s past is a significant enough detail to for a politician to want unknown. NKVD uniform is a hard heritage.
Before leaving Valeria told us how we could find her son’s homestead, the president’s stepbrother. In her words, Albertas can tell us more about Dalia’s father’s life. He did after all live with the Polikarpas’s second family for a while.
This is place is far from Šeduva. In the countryside. I had to wander around until the neighbors showed me a fire glimmering in the distance. That’s where Albertas Grybauskas lives. Some kind of déjà vu. I feel like I’ve seen this place before. No, it can’t be! Of course! Some TV show announced a crazy story about a drunkard whose family locks him up in barn. Later it turned out I was wrong.
A house from white silicate bricks. I press the doorbell. No one opens. And a voice from beyond the door “Who?”
– Is this where the Grybauskas live?
– I won’t let you in.
– Mrs. Maryte? – that’s Albertas’s wife’s name.
– is this where Alberats Grybauskas lives?
– He’s not here?
– When will he be back?
– I don’t know.
– Are you his daughter?
– We wanted to ask about your father and his childhood.
– I don’t know anything and won’t say anything.
– Are you scared of something?
– Not scared of anything. He doesn’t allow it. One time journalists already broke into the yard. They were from “24 hours”.
– We‘re here about the President.
– This has nothing to do with the President.
– She‘s your aunt?
– You‘re Jolanta Grybauskaitė
– So what? Still not letting you in.
– We were at his mother‘s yesterday.
– I know. I know you were there.
– How do you know?
– They called and told me.
– Valeria or someone else?
– It‘s not important who called.
– Does your father talk to his sister?
After that the girl on the other side went away. After the two-bit TV crew she‘s not expecting anything good from the journalists. But I‘m curious, did my colleagues know that they were filming the President‘s stepbrother when they came in knocking? I think they at least suspected.
The neighbors were more talkative. Told us that the TV guys were looking for the man that lives in a garage.
– Lives in a garage?
– Well yeah, – said the neighbor and spilled the beans. – They kicked him out from where he lived. He stole or something…So he came here and lived in a garage.
– Did you see him living in a garage?
Then why are you telling this if you don’t know? You said, someone else retold it and you can’t find the truth anymore. Tell us what exactly you saw!
– So why didn’t they get him?
– He drinks. How could he not drink…
– Albertas. Right now he lives in the house after being visited by journalists.
– Albertas retired?
Well…Polikarpas Kolya’s genes seem to be a bad influence… Let’s try and make some conclusions.
When anonymous protectors of Grybauskaitė on the internet oppose the supposedly made-up identity of the President they point to three sources:
1) Fišeras’ efforts on building the President’s family tree of current and supposed relatives;
2) The first interview of the impoverished and abandoned aunt Brone right after the elections. The second interview where she complains about Grybauskaitė’s heartlessness is not brought up.
3) The Polikarpas Grybauskas interview where the “Kolya” tattoo pops up.
All of these sources, as sources of the ultimate truth of Grybauskaitė’s origins, all appeared right after some unnamed analysts from the Lithuanian army gave an interview about Kremlin trained internet-based anonymous commentators. On the next day an anonymous answer appeared to oppose those who doubted Grybauskaitė. Those who have only one piece of evidence – the “Most definitely, check it, I know for sure” – raise Grybauskaitė’s origins to the family of “Raisa Gaponova”, wife and cruel KGB man Gaponov and a KGB agent in her own right. Saying that this whole Korsakas-Grybauskas story is a legend…
A modern Russian writer who restored the spirit and customs of the Soviet times based on documents and witness accounts in the novel “Playing the Emperor” describes his hero’s thoughts: “Quitting the KGB they changed names, – said Zvinyagin, but actually more thought to himself than said out loud. We can’t say any careless words”
The times after the war were well suited for people disappearing and reappearing. So Kolya Grybauskas’s adventures that led to his transformation into Polikarpas Grunauskas make him quite the mystery. His constant disappearances from home, lack of relatives, “Kolya” tattoo, red partisan night walks which he told his wife about, sergeant’s uniform which he got after prison…All of this really makes it dramatic. Who was this man really? Was he truly just a taxi driver as his daughter says? A driver who got an apartment in the center of Vilnius overlooking the Transport Ministry, where he eventually ended up working until retirement. The Transport Ministry was a place where they’d let people in only after a KGB checkup. That means that the story of prison and “Kolya” must have been known and accepted by them.
On the other hand, the complicated biography of her grandfather (supposed arrest, exile for ties to partisans) didn’t get in the way of his granddaughter first getting into the elite Salomėja Nėris School in Vilnius and after that being employed in the staff department of the State Philharmonic hall (which looked over the artists as they toured abroad). Her ancestry also didn’t stop her from enrolling into the Zhdanov University in Leningrad, working at the High Party School and becoming a post-graduate student in the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and get the title of candidate of sciences in socialist economics there.
Cinderella Flipping You the Bird When You‘re Not Watching.
Dad’s a simple driver and mother‘s a saleslady. Polikarpas Grybauskas‘s first wife Valeria told us her future husband lived somewhere near the station in Vilnius. When Polikarpas decided to take his first marriage son in with his new wife and daughter Dalite for a while he was already across the Transport Ministry on Vilnius Street. Valeria Grybauskene showed us the exact spot where the future Lithuania’s Destiny (Lithuanian Dalia) lived despite never being invited inside. “Between Petras Cvirk and Liudas Giros” she said, letting us know that the proletarian Grybauskas were based in old Vilnius. The modern name of the streets on the crossing of Islandijos and Vilnius.
A beautiful XIX century house decorated with plasterwork with one wing right across the Radziwiłł Palace (Radvilų rūmai). Now it‘s home to prestigious commercial bureaus and fancy night clubs. In Soviet times it was a residential building. Polikarpas’ workplace in Transport Ministry is just across the street. Only a few hundred meters and you can see the mother behind the counter at the Department store.
Dalia went to the Salomėja Nėris School which as prestigious now as it was back then. Ministers, factory chiefs, famous artists and scientists all sent their children here. “The Golden Youth” of the Soviet times, in jeans and imported shoes. Everything from the foreign goods bases was meant for them. They have the latest vinyl records and the rock appropriately for the time. The Department store though, it got all of the local commodities meant for the simple folk.
The others in this school are those who came here due to residential assignment. The Old city wasn’t the place of residence for the elite back then. The apartments have stoves and some lack hot water. These poor children usually studied until the 8th grade and were then sent to the “Professional Technical Schools” where they got a worker’s specialty along with their diplomas. Dalia Grybauskaitė is the exception. From the workers, got into school due to residential assignment, got mediocre grades, but wasn’t sent to become a seamstress or an accountant.
In class and school the fashion was decided the crowd who valued people based on money, import shoes and the latest records. The teachers had to think twice before raising their voice or deciding to avoid trouble.
By the way, the teachers in Salomėjka were different. Especially the English teachers: expensive imported suits and perfume. Definitely from the Department store where Grybtse’s mother worked. And while leaning on the school wall with a foreign cigarette in hand (probably stolen from diplomat parent) the kids talked about making it big and escaping the surrounding grayness. A few of the actually gave it deep though. They would surely get republican places in prestigious Moscow universities: some on foreign language specialization, some on the diplomatic line, and if you’re an artist at heart then you’re meant for the Cinematographic institute.
There’s also another route – “the party line”. It’s the “through Russia” way. You start learning an ideological profession in Moscow or Leningrad, get into the party as soon as you can and try to get Soviet diplomatic work. That’s how one of Grybauskaitė’s school peer explained the thoughts of her contemporaries.
It seems no one in Dalite’s surroundings spent time catching radio “Liberty” on VEF. That’s the way of the losers. The cool ones adapt and make a career. It’s not war times, it’s the start of the 1980’s. The partisans have been captured. The dissidents are quietly taken care of. They usually “committed suicide” or were part of some horrible “accident”.
The autobiography handwritten in Russian by Dalia Grybauskaitė which is kept in the special archive talks briefly about the school years: “In 1970 was accepted into the VLKSM (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) and was elected into the school’s communist youth committee”
– I think Dalia chose to study in a Leningrad university because it opened up the road West – getting work in economic-diplomatic structures, international connections, – pondered Laima Laučkaitė, a classmate of Grybauskaitė from her school years.
A very important observation of her classmate. Dalia Grybauskaitė walked the career path outlined in talks of the Soviet elite’s children school talks. She went through it relentlessly during all of her life. And she got it.
The other question is, how did the only child of a “simple saleslady and a driver” feel in that elite school. What grudges did she endure in her teenage years. Her ego must have suffered a few blows. She’s there like a child of the master’s servants. Second rate. And also a bit masculine, a bit mean. Didn’t find herself a boyfriend. Grades were mediocre. But she did sports and read. In her last years tried to intensify her studies.
Her classmates with “documents of high birth” got settled in, some went to prestigious medicine, some went to Moscow to study Soviet diplomacy and languages. And all Dalite could was cram Marxism-Leninism in the then non-prestigious Vilnius university. The only worse alternative at the time would be becoming a librarian. It was the rock bottom. No prospects until you die. So Grybauskaitė turned to economics in Vilnius. Studied for a year and quit. On someone’s recommendation she became an staff inspector in the State Philharmonic Hall.
This is one of the turns where you must ask Vaišvila: what did the 19-year old girl do to earn such trust? Where did this 19-year-old inspector come from to inspect the free-minded world-touring artists? She had to demonstrate unwavering loyalty somewhere. Where? In communist youth committee inSalomėja Nėris School? Or maybe the Kolya-tattooed father asked his boss, the Transport vice-minister for protection? In Soviet times, just like today – connections, relations and favors were highly effective ways to get not only canned peas for New Year, but also your child’s career.
And here we have a staff inspector in the Philharmonic Hall almost fresh out of school. That’s no ordinary job. From there Lithuanian musicians left to represent the country all over the world. Algirdas Budrys, then a soloist-concertmaster of the symphonic orchestra told us funny, and sometimes scary, stories. During instructions on how to act abroad musicians were required to walk in pairs.
– Who instructed?
– Someone form the Party organizers or the KGB came by for a meeting and told us how to behave. At the start they didn’t even allow us to go into the city alone. They scared us by telling us that we might get kidnapped and the like.
– And in the political sense?
– We were supposed to say that everything is good. We must act like any other Soviet citizen. Those were the times.
– Were there people in the staff department who gave instructions?
– No, the staff department didn’t give us instructions. It was either party people or KGB people. Whoever went with us was the one responsible and the one informing.
– And you knew who that KGB person was?
– Of course we knew, how could we now?
Grybauskaitė started sending groups of Soviet citizens across the border when she already was working in the High Party School in Vilnius. “I wrote a claim and they allowed it” – she herself commented on this role in a short and phone-in fashion.
Budrys’ story is a classic. In Soviet times touring artists still can pinpoint their escorts who accompanied them in tours and later became politicians in independent Lithuania. The escorts wrote reports and all the information on actions, misdeeds and exemplary behavior was pooled to the staff department into personal files.
19-year-old Grybauskaitė among these notes on artistic paths and dead ends spent a year. And then – Leningrad and the Zhdanov State University. The course that opens all door – political economy.
– Political economy specialists were only taught in Moscow and Leningrad back then. – As explained by one of her Party bosses – Laurinavičius, the secretary of the Communist Party Committee of Vilnius High Party School.
The Nevsky Avenue was a special place in Leningrad of the 1980’s. One of the cafes based here, unofficially called “Saigon” became a place of gathering for poets, philosophers and dissidents from all over the Union. “Saigon” isn’t the actual name. The restaurant on the second floor opened a café on the first floor. It had seven or eight actual coffee machines which was already “cool” by Soviet standards. No one remembers its official name.
Free-minded people started gathering there in the end of the 1970’s. The war in Vietnam was underway and Saigon was the outpost of the French colonists in South Vietnam. Sadly after the colonists left the friends from across the border rushed in to help. Civil war between the North and South began. Communist North won and renamed Saigon in honor of Ho Chi Minh.
But in the cultural history of Leningrad “Saigon” remained because it sounded so exotic and so…Western to the ears of Soviet hippies. Jurga Ivanauskaitė wrote about it in her Children of the Moon. Remember? The heroine who idolizes the poet Blok comes to Leningrad in summer and can’t find a single familiar face in “Saigon”. Later she finds Gediminas sitting on the window sill trembling from the music playing inside and so similar to Blok.
“Excuse me, but you’re so like Blok…” – Ivanauskaitė’s lyrical heroine approaches the young man. “A block of Camel cigarettes or the NATO block?” – replied Gediminas in a “Saigon” fashion, making the girl blush. That’s from Children of the Moon. The meeting of the heroine and Gediminas on the window sill in “Saigon”.
The inspiration for the Gediminas still lives in Vilnius. He was actually pretty similar to Alexander Blok in his youth. At least that’s what you might think when looking at his son… That “Gediminas” works in one media organization. He handles foreign news because he knows multiple languages. He speaks six or seven of them but didn’t get a college decree because for going to “Saigons’” he was declared “schizophrenic” – that was the diagnosis for all Soviet dissidents.
It’s funny and at times scary: when the country became independent and “Gedeminas” tries to get rid of this diagnose, then the same doctors who found his “disease” in Soviet times told him that only a crazy person could learn so many languages. Why would a Soviet citizen learn those when he’s living behind the iron curtain? Where would you speak them?!
In the beginning of the 1970’s “Saigon” had tables, but they were later replaces with tall tables you could only stand near. They thought that the free minded people would dissipate, but they just sat on the window sills.
Boris Grebenshikov, Victor Tsoi, Tatiana Goricheva. In “Saigon” reminiscences there is also mention of Jonas Vaitkus. But a “name” didn’t matter there that much. People went to “Saigon” for the “dialogue”. Someone talks, others listen. The content of the talk – philosophical and dangerous. In “Saigon” they talked of God when the official religion was atheism. Many years later in the 1990’s those talks of God and Lithuania will be a catalyst of big changes. Not many mention Arvydas Juozaitis’s seminars on Christian philosophy at the eve of Sąjūdis. But it was only after that that Juozaitis left to Estonia and brought the idea of Sąjūdis from there.
But what does any of this have to do with Grybauskaitė? Patience! This is a crucial question!
Julia Vasilyeva made a book from memories of people who lived in that café and present an episode from “Old hags” by Daniel Charms. In Vasilyeva’s words the queue for bread is prototype of the coffee queues in “Saigon”:
Me: You like vodka? That’s good! I’d like to drink with you sometime.
She: I’d also like to drink some vodka with you.
Me: Sorry, but can I ask you about one thing?
She (while blushing): Of course, ask away.
Me: OK, I’ll ask. Do you believe in God?
She (surprised): In God? Of course.
Me: And how about if we buy some vodka and go to my place? I live nearby.
She (happily): Well I agree to that!
And again, you’re right to ask: what does this have to do with Grybauskaitė? Did she stand in that queue for bread? She was seen in “Saigon”? If they saw her, why didn’t they brag about it? And again, a good question. Ivanauskaitė was swept by the “Saigon” spirit and even wrote a novel about it. And this majestic city, its Italian architecture and streets, “lines”, gardens, its cultural spirit after 1917 even changed the sailors who were brought here by the revolution. They turned palaces into communal houses, but in the end, they started reading books. A city that won over the barbarians…
After spending so much time in this city of high culture Grybauskaitė never spoke fondly of it. And her university years were during the time the theatrical genius Georgiy Tovstonogov was active in Leningrad. And the Georgian Niko Pirosmanašvili had an exhibition at the Leningrad State Russian Museum. And the Hermitage or God’s sake. How could all this have flown by her? Did she not have any spare time for herself with her workload in the fur factory “Rote Front” or the people’s guard?
Dalia Grybauskaitė was not swept by the free minded spirit. In Leningrad she didn’t become a “Saigonaut” but instead a young communist. This is felt in her current manner of talking, so commanding. Like in the military.
In her life a “Saigon” déjà vu happened only after a few decades. That’s how much the cult “Saigonaut” question of God hit Grybauskaitė like the heroine of Charms: “Are you a deeply devout believer?” She was asked this by Justinas Argustas from the Balsas paper when already in the President’s position on a press-conference.
– Deeply or not and in what percentage is my personal matter. – she cut off in response. Grybauskaitė cut him off in that dangerous tone when her voice hits the higher notes.
Remember? How can you not…There was a scandal! In July 2010 when Lithuania buried its oak – Algirgas Mikolas Brazauskas. And the talk of God happened because the Church hierarchy didn’t allow the coffin with Brazauskas’s remains to be brought inside the Archcathedral. They said that he wasn’t an exemplary Christian because he married while engaged to another. Just like Grybauskaitė’s father Polikarpas. Grybauskaitė paid them back but in her own way. Didn’t show up in church and didn’t pray for the deceased’s soul.
And then Argustas asked on her relationship with the Church:
– You asked about my personal relationship to the Church and I leave it personal and give no comment, – said Grybauskaitė as she left.
No one ever found out if she’s a believer at all. During Christmas and Easter in her address to the nation she never mentions God. Just goes over on what the weather is at the moment and says that the holiday is a good time to visit your parents. And then stays in Turniškės instead of going to Latveliau.
A few years have passed since that incident with Argustas and something else happened. Representatives of the Bishop conference were called to the Presidency for a meeting, the kind of meeting your knees give out on. As it was later published on the internet they discussed two questions there: shouldn’t the clergymen pay for their own pensions and alcohol control (should alcohol advertisements be allowed on TV). It’s obvious that the President was on the side of her imagemakers, the TV companies who get 20% of their profit from those kind of advertisements.
But the priests were ready raise the portrait of Valančiaus, the soberer of Lithuania and hang out the lists of Seimas members who voted yes on the Church doors. And what? As soon as Grybauskaitė signs the “turning the nation in drunks” law and her name will be in that list. An image collapse: the President serves the oligarchs! Then the Presidency asked the Bishops: do you want your pensions to come from the budget?..
Both sides agreed that bans change nothing.
The Russians in this case say: “Old school”. Grybauskaitė showed that she did her homework on control and manipulation. A little later Seimas head Irena Dyagutene will call Grybauskaitė’s behavior “KGB methods”. Where did she learn them? On the window sills of “Saigon” these things were the absolute evil. Some of those who study the President’s biography point to Leningrad. The more daring point directly. (Probably out of anger, because there is no concrete proof). They think that the “Old School” could have used the “Rote Front” factory as a front.
But that’s just a misunderstanding. The fur factory Rote Front still exists in Leningrad. And Moscow has a candy manufacturer with the same name. The first Rote Front figures into Grybauskaitė’s official biography. She was employed there as a worker and later in the laboratory. If looking only at the official papers she was only ever a lab worker (lab chemist). Came in with staff inspector and became a chemist. Life sure has its ways!
Years spent by the future President in Leningrad is a time which is mostly unknown to the public. Rote Front, lectures, people’s guard, university union and that’s it.
But as soon as you go online you’ll find a lot of things about this Rote Front!.. Especially in the conspiracy theory department. There Rote Front is almost a cover organization to prepare spies. Like in spy flicks: the gates of the fur factory open and group of ninja jump out who do karate move forbidden to civilians – a deadly kick with the toes to the eye.
Did anyone see a college-age girl with wavy hair and piercing blue eyes? No. At least no one states that. They mention only the head of Uzbekistan state security service and that he remembers Grybauskaitė and actually disliked her. Sadly, only our grandchildren will know the truth, because these files are usually unclassified only in about a hundred years.
And concerning the circumstantial evidence then the karate black belt is one of them. In Soviet times karate and martial arts were banned to civilians, because it taught them methods of killing your enemy and was allowed exclusively to KGB, GRU and military special forces. Grybauskaitė is truly worthy of a “black belt”for her skill in turning your opponent into a doll by exploiting their weakness. But circumstantial evidence doesn’t count. You need facts.
And again, the internet is full of them. But this time the Russian one. This time not anonymous, but signed by names. There Leningrad of the 1980’s wasn’t just the romantic “Saigon” where a dissident could bump into a KGB agents who searched his house only yesterday. In Leningrad of “Grybauskaitė times” they were writing the script of what’s now called “Putinism”.
Listen! In the 1980’s Leningrad was controlled by a certain Grigoriy Romanov. A man described as “If the KGB guys aren’t quelled then they’ll start spreading dissidents themselves”. A horrible person, a real homo sovieticus. His daughter’s wedding was in the Tauride Palace and the guests ate from the Tsar’s silverware, which Romanov got from the USSR Ministry of Culture. And in 1976 under Grigoriy Romanov’s nose two processes began that had a great effect on the Soviet Union and Lithuania.
You’ve already guessed the first. In that time Dalia Grybauskaitė, the future President of an Independent Lithuania arrived to Leningrad to study political economics.
– Wanted to study political economics, – I think that was her detailed, and in her eyes complete, explanation on why she quit Vilnius University and went to Leningrad’s Zhdanov University which had a tendency to send its graduates abroad.
And the second process comes next. A club of economy students forms in Leningrad at the same time. It was headed by Anatoliy Chubais, the man who will introduce market economy in Russia. What do the young men and women discuss? Chubais’ seminars focus on one strategic goal: how to change Soviet economy from a deficit and planned model into a producing and proficient one. So he planned the downfall of USSR’s basis – planned economy. In 1976.
Romanov put people in to prison for less. Statistics of convicted political prisoners were the highest out of the Union in Leningrad.
– You could have been imprisoned for reading Solzhenitsyn. And discussing reform plans in academic circles happened loud and wasn’t entirely hidden. Coincidence? – asked KGB general Alexei Kondaurov, the chief analyst (and past Komsomol activist) of Khodorkovsky’s Yukos which was destroyed by Vladimir Putin.
Chubais and his followers weren’t persecuted and weren’t kept in KGB basements. Why? It all became clearer when in 1979 a VIP was sent to the city – KGB General Oleg Kalugin (called the first democrat of KGB), a trusted man of Andropov himself.
Judging by the official biography Yuri Andropov was a monster. In the 1960’s he worked in Hungary as a USSR ambassador and was one of the main organizers of the invasion when the anti-communist uprising happened. Moreover he actively helped suppress the Prague Spring and was a supporter of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
These achievements are listed in Andropov’s official biography. It says nothing about his ideas of change, which he obsessed over. He had a strong hand, but he was…a messenger of free market! In one hand freedom of business and baton to suppress democracy in the other. Andropov’s dream was to end the rotting and corrupt Communist Party that led the country to bankruptcy’s doorstep, take power and restore the Soviet Union as a superpower.
Unluckily for him, he made it to power only on his deathbed. But the whisper in agony was heard by Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who destroyed the Soviet Union. And it wasn’t just a whisper. It was a plan and people willing to act.
Who were these men? They can all be united by one trait. They are “Piterskie” so the core economy students from Leningrad’s university at late 1980’s and early 1990’s and united around Anatoliy Chubais and with KGB support.
Two of the Chubais “seminarists” Andrey Illarionov and Alexey Kudrin both studied alongside Dalia Grybauskaitė in the Zhdanov University. Becoming Putin’s left hand Illarionov bragged to the press that there was “a circle of people who spoke not in Marxist-Leninist jargon, but as economy professionals”
When Andropov became head of state – the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union he put Chubais along with Egor Gaidar into a secret group of economists who were preparing a reform of the Soviet economic system. It was called the Tikhonov-Ryzhkov Commission by the Politbureau.
In 2008 the politologist Sergey Kurginyan after digging through some documents reported to the Students in Moscow State University that the reform plan had two stages. First off, the liberals and democratically-minded politicians destroy the system. Then they are compromised and another group takes the scene.
That’s exactly how it happened in Russia. First the new Russian President Boris Yeltsin with Chubais and Gaidar’s help let go of the steering wheel and let oligarchs from KGB, party elite and military people take the high offices. Then in 2000 the “state figures” came with Putin in command. Putin’s presence is not accidental. He is also a “Piterskiy”, just not from the university: until 1984 he worked with General Kalugin in Leningrad KGB.
In Chubais’s club of young economists both groups gathered their strength. A part of those who didn’t show their face during the first stage later were the core of Putin’s entourage. And there we can see names which will be recited by people following the Moscow political scene on occasion of Grybauskaitė’s inauguration.
The cunning Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow radio seemed most pleased with Grybauskaitė. It was him, who with a smile (they do TV and online broadcasts) started listing the names:
– Oh, Grybauskaitė?.. She studied alongside Illarionov and Kudrin!
Alexey Kudrin during eleven years of Putin’s rule was the Deputy Prime Minster and Finance Minister. Andrey Illarionov was Putin’s advisor.
These are the things that started out in Leningrad while Grybauskaitė was studying there. Did she know about this plan? Did she assist somehow in its development or execution? There is no direct proof, but it’s a fact that Grybauskaitė in the fall, winter and partly spring of 1987-1988 disappeared from the employee list of Vilnius High Party School and spent time in Moscow in the Academy of Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. So she was not far off from the secret Tikhonov-Ryzhkov Commission at the Politburo. The Commission was secret, so it had more players. Plans on reforming the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Communist Party had avid opponents among the Generals of the Soviet army and of course within the Party. So with whom did Grybauskaitė “play” with? Or…who played with her?
It’ll be another twelve years until she achieved actual power. It’ll just so coincide that during Grybauskaitė’s rule Lithuania will become fully dependent on Russia’s energy and Lithuania will start giving Moscow and Minsk strange favors. Joint Russo-Lithuanian operations against internal enemies of your neighbors with reputation.
So the question: “What was Grybauskaitė up to in Leningrad while USSR’s reforms and plans of maintaining the Soviet Superpower were plotted under KGB cover?” is more than justified.
Grybauskaitė definitely wasn’t in “Saigon” where the dissidents gathered and most artistic souls from Lithuania were drawn to. Sitting on the windowsill and talking of god and the ceaselessness of human existence! That’s not to her taste. Those people never made careers! Just like Lithuanian dissidents. They remain extremists outside of power just like they were back then…
Tatiana Goricheva sat down to talk with us:
– I stood there (in “Saigon”) for ten years and women would come up and ask me: “So, still standing here?” As in, you don’t have a career… For the city folk that’s the rock bottom. I know many people who avoid “Saigon” specifically out of fear. Fear not of sinking to the depths… but fear of complete defenselessness… Personality deformation, losing face and social value.
It’s that kind of rock bottom. Goricheva was known among her comrades for keeping in touch with German philosopher Martin Heidegger via letters until his death in 1976.
Grybauskaitė as we know her definitely did waste her time on dissidents. Her defender Ramūnas Bogdanas when answering questions of those dig in her past admitted: she’s a careerist. There was only one chance of Grybauskaitė visiting “Saigon”. In 1980 during the Moscow Olympics. Part of the proceedings was happening in Leningrad. In her handwritten autobiography Grybauskaitė mentions that was an activist in the people’s control. Venediktov mentions her as a member of the people’s guard. During the Olympics people with red bands on their hands were just as common as simple pedestrians. “Saigon” dissidents were driven away mercilessly by their hand.
But these musings do not answer the question of what Grybauskaitė was actually doing in Leningrad. Did she go and listen what Chubais was telling her classmates Illarionov and Kudrin? Is she connected to Andropov’s plan: first the reformer come, then they are compromised and replaced with a “strong hand”?
Grybauskaitė explained that she had to do dirty work in Leningrad, because otherwise she couldn’t get residential registration, which you couldn’t go without in the Soviet Union. “Had to tow carts at a fur factory” she said. Worker Dalia had to work with pungent carcasses in the fur tanning factory?
– I knew all of the workers by face, Dalia was not among them. I could be wrong, but I’m almost certain that she worked in the factory laboratory from the first days. And how did a person without proper education get a job in the laboratory? – as said by Valentina, who worked in the Rote Front factory during the same time as Grybauskaitė.
Despite what Valentina said, but that’s the official legend. Grybauskaitė’s personal file in Lithuania’s Special Archive’s communist party section says “lab worker”. And the handwritten papers of party school say “lab chemist”.
Studying Marx at night, lectures in the evening and all morning and all day in a stinking fur factory. How did a young woman have that kind of strength and willpower? She apparently also had the strength to be chairwoman of the trade union on the University faculty at the same time.
When Grybauskaitė was elected President Venediktov joked with his colleague from “Echo of Moscow”: “You know, she was such an activist. She gave political economy courses for the factory workers. Helped with the wall newspaper. Was a Komsomol activist.”
In her handwritten autobiography Grybauskaitė notes that it was the Communist party organization of the Rote Front factory that took her in. 23 and already a communist. This may be pure coincidence, but in Leningrad and also at the age of 23 Vladimir Putin became a communist.
In Putin’s case it makes sense. Such a young man joining the Communist Party was due to the Intelligence school’s internal policy. Non-communists just didn’t study there.
In Grybauskaitė’s case joining the party was more about firm beliefs, being ideologically well-versed and the desire to make a career. Or else she’d have to wait in line to get the same ticket. People so young weren’t often taken in the party.
That black and white photo of a young communist’s piercing stare and that fashionable at the time perm is a testament of those times. The needed haircut. And the facial expression of Pavel Korchagin…
By the way, Grybauskaitė and Putin similarly said goodbye to their party documents. Along with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Do these coincidences mean anything? Well if not a similar path in life, then at least a similar understanding of history’s path.
– Oh, she was my favorite student. I remember her well. She knew all political subjects well and was very active. I don’t recall the names of organizations she was part of, but I remember us teachers being impressed and how well-versed she was ideologically when compared to our students even though she was from the supposedly foreign Baltic. – said Mikhail Alexeev, saying he was Grybauskaitė’s political economy teacher in an interview to The Republic.
This retired Leningrad man also said that Dalia was not only a good student, but also found time to be in various “social” organizations and clubs.
Was Chubais reform-plotting KGB backed economy club among them?
Remember? The first stage is a radical reform – shock therapy. When planned economy with controlled prices turns into a free market environment overnight. Then dividing the assets. And on the second stage the reformers are compromised and the “other group comes in”. That’s how it happened in Russia when Putin’s “strong hand” came to power.
His first visit as President of Russia was “home”, the KGB men. That’s where he said the now classic words:
– I would like to report that the group of FSB agents sent to work in the government has completed their task on the first stage.
Putin is considered to be part of the second group of reformers, who are supposed to take the country into their “strong hand” after it has been demoralized by liberals and shock therapy reforms.
And again, a coincidence. Grybauskaitė offered Lithuania the same “strong hand”. She commanded the Seimas and even the courts.
– Gryboshenko, – as the Seimas head Valinskas calls her.
But in all seriousness the question is whether the plan born in the 80s in Leningrad under KGB’s wing to reform the Soviet Union by dissolving the Communist part and the subsequent “strengthening” of democracy also aimed at all post-Soviet countries, including Lithuania? We should probably ask Algirdas Brazauskas, who Grybauskaitė called her teacher and Kazimira Prunskienė, who was part of creating plans for the Soviet Union’s economic reforms.
Arkadiy Volskiy, who worked with Andropov told us about the origin of that plan:
– He (Andropov) had a idėe fixe of liquidating the national basis of USSR’s composition. “We stop dividing the country on the national basis!” he said and demanded that I showed the map based on USA’s administrative divisions. I made fifteen variants! Not one was any good.
Prunskienė in 1989 was the Deputy Prime Minister of Soviet Lithuania and worked with Moscow on the reform plan. One of the plans was to turn the Baltic states and Kaliningrad region into one land unit where economic reforms were supposed to be executed the fastest.
Prunskienė was pressured by the case that showed her cooperating with the KGB and told of her connection to the reformers and that they started earlier during Andropov’s reign.
– For example, during my first long assignment from them (The KGB – author’s note) it was very interesting on how German scientists viewed our economy, how they thought the Soviet Union could have taken a different path. For example, my report mentioned professor Vedikin, a known sovetologist, who created multiple agricultural reform projects. So Andropov, who was already planning the reform policy, was interested on how he viewed this approach.
So again, Andropov and his economists. We already mentioned his team in Leningrad when young Dalia Grybauskaitė was learning political economy. And here his name is mentioned by Soviet economist Prunskienė when collecting data for the KGB. Two agriculture economists. Grybauskaitė did write a thesis on private property’s use in raising agricultural produce in the Soviet Union. Does this fit in with the Kremlin plans? Obviously yes!
Of course Prunskienė was a lot of levels higher than her young colleague. Dissident writer Bukovski joked in one interview:
– All national movements were infiltrated by the KGB. And it turned up that Prunskienė was “tied” a lot deeper than we thought. In Vadim Medvedev’s commission of Baltic matter found that she always wrote to Moscow on what a bastard Landsbergis was and how we couldn’t do anything about it. That’s what Prunskienė herself wrote!
Who are these “we” and what couldn’t Prunskienė do? Can’t return Lithuania to the initial plan of USSR’s reforms that was plotted in Leningrad and didn’t account for USSR collapsing?
The answer is “yes” and the source is Algirdas Brazauskas, Grybauskaitė’s teacher. His voice is heard on Romualdas Ozolas’ secret recordings made in March 1990, when Sąjūdis won the elections and planned to separate Lithuania from the Union. Brazauskas said that he threw a trump card on the independence obsessed Sąjūdis representative’s table. It was his last attempt to sway Sąjūdis from brash actions – declaring independence and separating from the USSR.
– I believe that Gorbachev’s wide authority will not affect our life, but they can have a positive effect through Gorbachev. He is a radical man, immeasurably radical. This is very confidential and I don’t want this going to the press or anywhere else: he is very radically charged. A lot more than his entourage. I believe the party questions will be settled quickly. He won’t be Secretary General (of the Communist Party – author’s note). He will be the head of state.
Exactly as Andropov planned. Dissolving the party and giving the state to the reformers he prepared. Gorbachev didn’t have the time to do that. This was done in 1991 by Yeltsin and the “piterskie”. Tsar Yeltsin who let the dogs of free market out and tsar Putin who will restore order and bring Russia back to her “natural borders” at the Baltic seas.
This plan was popularly known as “chekist capitalism”.
You could have read about it when a group of young economists lead by Chubais published the study “A stern course” where it outlined the “strong hand”:
The populace resisting the reforms is tied to the measures which inevitably lead to the fall and rise of living standards of most people. And the legalization of social inequality, legalization of wide-spread speculation and the connected wealth accumulation of some individuals and their groups, money laundering, eccentric traits of those who made it etc.
So the antagonized masses need to be quelled:
Resistance to the reforms will force cruel and unpopular measures like disbanding trade unions is they do not agree with the reforms made by the government. Also special laws will be needed to ban strikes. Another measure of the “strong hand” is control over all central media outlets etc.
Journalist Dmitry Kartsev from the Russian Reporter journal talked to a former counter-intelligence agent who saw those plans. And here’s what he told them:
– Of course it was considered that the government will decide the new owners of privatized property. It’s logical if you know that the country has no initial capital and nobody’s planning to let the foreigners in. It didn’t have to be people from the Committee (KGB), but they had to be controlled by them, trained and prepared by them.
A few important details. Kartsev’s interviewee pointed at the verdict on the first Yukos case:
– Both sides, the prosecution and the defendants ignored the fact that the main benefactor of Yukos activities was supposed to be the off-shore Jamblik company. The most interesting fact is that it was founded on November 8, 1984.
Those confused by the date, I’ll remind that in 1984 USSR was still the stronghold of socialism and planned economy.
There are other examples. Look at the Sibir Energy founded in 1996 in London on the basis of Pentex Energy plc. Pentex Energy plc existed from 1981 when it was created to attract investments from USSR.
In Russia they assume that these “Jumbliks” were created with knowledge that the Soviet rule will be dissolved and they were accumulating money for a restart. This money was gathered from selling Russia’s natural resources and were meant to buy out assets as they’re privatized.
There isn’t an oligarch in Russia who didn’t have at least one man in uniform in his inner circle. For example the last KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov worked in the Sistema corporation which owns a Bashkir oil company, advanced technology firms and media firms. Sistema’s profits for one quarter of 2012 are half a billion dollars.
Another influential KGB guy from Gorbachev’s times Filipp Bobkov was head of MOST security group which handled Vladimir Gusinky’s protection.
The head of the Defense Ministry’s public relations Alexey Kongaurov was head analyst for Mikhail Khodorkovski.
And here’s something that shouldn’t be surprising. When you starts looking through Lithuania’s latest history you can see their traces here too. General Romualdas Marcinkus, a USSR intelligence officer. With the start of privatization he became an advisor to the large privatizer Gintaras Petrikas, director of Economic Security Service and director of EBSW Security and Information Service. ESBW managed to privatize and bankrupt almost half of Lithuania’s industry. Intentionally or not?
And we should add Uspaskichas to this list of oligarchs with a KGB aftertaste. A simple welder who became a multimillionaire and suspected in ties with Russian intelligence agency SVR. Another protégé of the powers.
Former Soviet spies and chekists, officers of border patrol can be found among those who are called the oligarchs of Lithuania. Who needs them? These people always belong to “social network” of former colleagues (although they say that there is never and former KGB agent). And this net goes through the money spot of former USSR.
Aside from that, the men in uniform know how to professionally collect information and how to use it to pull people’s strings. At least two big media holdings in Lithuania are under the control of people like that. Who had control back then…still has it.
Random people didn’t get into the economic elite as it was being formed. For example, in Kaunas Vladimir Romanov, a sailor from a nuclear USSR submarine who came to Lithuania with his father, a Soviet officer, was competing with Petrikas or privatized assets. Romanov took on some of EBSW’s property.
Alongside Romanov was the big friend of Lithuanian basketball Sabtajus Kalmanovičius. These two have a on again off again relationship. Kalmanovičius is a “Lithuanian”, born in Kaunas, graduated from the local polytechnic college, then “went to the army” for a year. In truth he went to GRU’s spy school. When Sabtajus came back his family was allowed to immigrate to Israel.
In reality Kalmanovičius was a KGB agent, famed for his cruelty and member of the Russian mafia. One of his businesses was smuggling diamonds from Africa, but he spent time in a Israeli prison on charges of spying for USSR. He was introduced to the Lithuanian public as an honorary sponsor of the Žalgiris basketball club, which Adamkus in an exception gave Lithuanian citizenship.
In Soviet times Lithuania had an exclusive status, its KGB had ties to foreign intelligence. Kaunas had special closed instituted specializing in economic espionage. From one of them – Kaunas Radio-engineering Institute – brought us a few high-minded independence leaders.
I should remind you that the Zhdanov Leningrad University which Grybauskaitė finished also had a peculiar specialty. Bearded Lithuanian scholars were also sent there to learn their subject on a foreign language and then sent abroad to spread and gather information. That’s why Zhdanov University taught many “capitalistic” languages. Official CVs tell of Grybauskaitė’s education there. She speaks English, French, Polish and Russian. It was impossible to learn a second capitalistic language (in her case – French) in school.
We’ve discussed the spread of men in uniform, chekists and post-Soviet elite know-how. Only a few risked going into politics. She was left along with their old toys…agents and informant. Complaint because of the secrets they had on them.
The one initially spreading this idea of the collapse of the Soviet powers and creating the chekist capitalism in Lithuania was none other than Kazimira Danutė Prunskienė. The same one who in 2009 was brought out of the closet once more and once again demonized in order to make Grybauskaitė look good by comparison.
Charismatic, decisive, speaks a lot of languages… That’s me about Prunskienė. Men were around her only to carry her purse.
Oh how similar they seem to me…Kazimira Danutė and Dalia. Both economists, both speak a number of foreign languages and have good ties abroad. West and East. For many years it was considered that Prunskienė was not tied to Moscow, but to Germany. She wrote books there, received medals and awards there. Grybauskaitė’s imagemakers put her in Brussels, but she was brought up, raised and uplifted by Soviet Leningrad and Moscow.
Another similarity. They both got their strategic bonuses – ties to the West – not through Lithuania. One was sent for advanced training to Germany to do economic espionage for Andropov, sniffing out economic solutions, which could be used for USSR. The second went to Washington in 1991 for leader courses.
I already pointed out another similarity, but it bears repeating. Prunskienė specialized on agriculture economics in Soviet times. Grybauskaitė’s thesis in the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was also about agriculture economy. Grybauskaitė denies that she was a salaried post-graduate student in Moscow’s Communist Academy. She let them know that she doesn’t need such an honor. Maybe so. But documents show the opposite…she was salaried.
Was Grybauskaitė informed that her very progressive (this is the opinion of her colleague from the High Party School and close to Kremlin online portal regnum.ru M Korelov) thesis on private property in agriculture was part of something bigger?
High Party Dalia: First Lies and Friends for Life
When defending her opinion shows a certain hot-headedness – from Grybauskaitė’s letter of recommendation when joining as a post-graduate student in the Academy of Social Societies at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
– She was very stubborn, quite skilled and laborious, – Vytautas Lukoševičius, secretary of the party organization of the Vilnius Higher Party School praised his former colleague.
The high party school. Figuratively speaking, a red seminary of the holy Communist Party. Lectures are conducted in Russian and all of the correspondence in Russian. All accounting is in Russian. Even Patty meeting protocols are in Russian, even though it’s a Russian speaking minority.
Lithuanian is not used in this factory of Soviet Union bosses. Even the bathroom has signs in Russian only.
You’re surrounded by Russian chic. The spacious halls are decorated with communistic mottos and artistic visions of the leaders, the expensive rugs hush any noise. The offices have imported or custom made furniture. All of the “seminarists” are given rooms and even room service.
Among the list of staff of the communists bosses the job of “floor scrubber” is not the last. The floor is pretty nice woodblock actually. In 1987 on one of the Party Meeting they “tortured” prorector Rakštįs who along with his accomplice Baleiša “wrote in” (stole) that woodblock and other good for 2.200 rubles. You could buy a Zhiguli car with that. It was big, noisy and funny scandal. “How could you Rakštįs?” – growled the Party Org head Milto. “Guilty as charged, I’ll make amends. I was blind” – said the defendant.
I found evidence of this drama in the Special Archive of Lithuania along with other thick tomes of documents from the Party Organization of the High Party School. It’s a funny thing with these documents. When in 2013 Zigmas Vaišvila started asking about on whose side was Grybauskaitė when Brazauskas separated Lithuania’s Communist Party from the Soviet Union’s Party. He wondered whether she asked to be let into the Communist Party of Lithuania, etc. and the patriots were very pissed. Over a month later Landsbergis’s advisor Ramūnas Bogdanas rebutted the evil Zigmas: “The archive of the Party Organization of the High Party School is lost, so is Grybauskaitė’s written request”. Lied because he was lazy. Bogdanas was just shy of digging in deeper…There’s more than he hoped! And still no written request to leave the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. That’s that.
But let’s start from the beginning. So, the High Party School with the unstolen woodblocks and expensive carpets which muffle your movements. This is where working people are not collaborationists. They are the ones producing the occupants of Lithuania, loyal to Moscow and preaching communism. Teachers – communists, students – communists. Washing the floors, looking over the coats – also communists. A serious place which reports directly to Moscow.
In December 1996 Vytautas Landsbergis had no idea that a day would come and he would leave the Party board in shock by ordering that a teacher of that school, a docent (associate professor) and candidate of communistic sciences Dalia Grybauskaitė be elected president of the Lithuanian Republic.
In 1996 the Professor saw everything differently. After the successful elections for the right wing Landsbergis stood up to the podium and declared that all diplomas of the Communist Party School must be declared invalid. Because it was no school at all and it didn’t prepare professional it prepared bosses!
– In those times it was a special profession – a boss. In any field, you’re already a boss. Your profession is the boss, – said Professor Landsbergis. And he didn’t forget to mention that what he said was hard to hear for Gediminas Kirkilas and Česlovas Juršėnas, two graduates of the school who will soon be left with no education. The Seimas will vote and that’s it65… Two communist Hawks will be biting their nails.
The Professor was feeling very inspired that day. He called for the parliamentarians to clean out the trash after them. That’s how he called the High Party diplomas. He also outlined (better than anyone else!) the whole point of that uneducational organization and its dependence on the Kremlin:
– Only party members were allowed into the school, Party School programs did not match other higher education programs. Party schools were founded by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and they were affiliated to it. And in Vilnius High Party School by order of the Central Committee of the CPSU gave out diplomas about high party political education.
Former communist and future social-democrat Mykolas Pronckus doesn’t agree with the Professor.
– Do you think it would be suiting from a moral standpoint if these diplomas were taken away firstly from the ones who organized this “trash”? These “who left their trash behind” didn’t just acquire these diplomas on their own, they were handed to them by their teachers of Marxism-Leninism and elsewhere. So we must start with those “teachers of trash” and then starts “cleaning”
Pronckus’ words about teachers of Marxism-Leninism were aimed at Landsbergis himself, seeing as her was teaching Marxism-Leninism at one point. Landsbergis stopped for a moment:
– If you have thoughts on how to punish or disqualify the teachers of Higher Party Schools then you can write (…) a request. A wouldn’t recommend doing it.
That’s how Dalia Grybauskaitė first avoided lustrations. Probably found out about her lucky break only after the New Year because before that she was the authorized official of Lithuania’s embassy in USA. The Americans mostly ignored her so she spent too much time on leisure and meeting official guests coming to America from Lithuania. Landsbergis frequented Washington during that time. There were negotiations with Williams concerning Mažeikių naftа. The Professor stayed in the embassy. Grybauskaitė was very thorough and extra willing to oblige when preparing for visits from Vilnius, according to her coworkers at the time. One signatory bragged that she even drove him to the store. A great way to please the new rulers. And due to that she was called home early and got a place in the Ministry of Finances under the AmericanVytautas Dudėna, who was urgently appointed in place of the rebellious Paskasist Jonas Lionginas.
But let’s return to the Seimas where they were fighting over High Party School diplomas. In the historic hall where the parliamentarians resided, Juršėnas spoke:
– As a concerned party I must say that this is the second time they’re taking away my Party diploma and I don’t get dumber each time they do that. So keep trying, gentlemen!
The Seimas voted on the High Party diplomas being void. There’s a precedent for you. Grybauskaitė made sure that her academic title would be recognized in Lithuania. A candidate of socialism economic sciences became a Doctor of sciences in independent Lithuania. Doctor Dalia Grybauskaitė. And she didn’t write her thesis just anywhere, but in the center of all the high party schools in Moscow – the Academy of Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. If the diplomas are void, then why must a Doctor’s title of the same kind be legit? Let’s not look for logic here.
December 2012. The Special Archive, the Communist Party of Lithuania part. They don’t really heat the place. Service is just like in the Soviet times. You fill out a form by hand and when receiving the file you write into the papers. Every file has a “handed out” and “received”. Inside the files themselves another slip where you write who read it and why.
– There are no secrets here. You can read everything, – says the cute archivist.
That’s it… a few dozen files which I dived into. You couldn’t see me behind the stack. And every day like that for two weeks in a row.
File #28. Dated June 18, 1990. A list and files of the people fired due to the school closing down. Dalia Grybauskaitė’s personal file is here. It means she worked diligently without being distracted by any movements, independences or other things a communist wouldn’t trust. The new rulers will get Grybauskaitė’s trust only after the August 1991 putsch when the Union falls and it’ll be logical to turn the reins towards the office on Gedminas prospect. The Government.
OK, Grybauskaitė’s personal file. Let’s start by counting the pages. It’s missing pages 7 until 15. The official version is that this absence is that after her names was named as one of the candidates for Presidency in fall of 2008 and her file drew the interest of curious people. Then an entry appeared that it’s a numbering mistake. Like the archivist was tired and wrote 16 after 6 by mistake. A typo like that give the 12 chairs Varfolomey Korobeinikov a heart attack.
Further archive investigation will prove that this version isn’t valid because there is a lack of documents that are present in Grybauskaitė’s colleagues’ files. First, let’s cross-reference the facts left in documents and Grybauskaitė’s official biography.
The first thing that you notice is Grybauskaitė’s place of employment upon returning to Lithuania from Leningrad. All official documents say that she worked as the executive secretary in Lithuania’s Academy of Sciences. That’s what all the official sites say, from the European Commission to the Presidency. A very high and prestigious post. Academics hold that post and Grybauskaitė mentioned it.
But a document in her personal file shows that this is a small and daring discrepancy.
That document is the order of the “Knowledge” society which “fires Grybauskaitė from the post of executive secretary of the organizational department of the LSSR Academy of Sciences and is transferred to the High Party School. May 16, 1983. First deputy o the organization department A. Skrupskelis”
In her handwritten form Grybauskaitė wrote it even differently: she worked as an executive secretary not in the Academy of Sciences, but in the “Knowledge” society, aka the department of mass brain washing. But when you need to freshen it up for a career jump, Grybauskaitė does it without any shame: “Executive secretary of the Academy of Sciences. That lie still hangs on the site of the European Commission. Truth is nothing, image is everything.
By the way, Skrupskelis’s paper is one of the few in the file written in Lithuanian. From the point when the executive secretary of “Knowledge” was sent according to her vocation to the High Party School all of her documents are in Russian. And it makes sense, the High Party Schools answers to the Kremlin directly and the Kremlin didn’t trust the new generation of locals. The party’s eyes and ears. They must follow only the chief.
How was the “steel magnolia” tempered after that?
Fund 15863. Inventory 9, file 15.
“Personal cards of staff and workers of the Party School, courses and atheism institute.”
From them we see that from May 18, 1983 Grybauskaitė was taken as chief of the agriculture department in the High Party School. The temporary rector and professor of the school Kojala assigned her a salary of 125 rubles. It’s noted that the newbie isn’t married. First unpaid vacation. But the very next year she rises in rank. The agriculture department chief will become deputy trade union chair. After that she’ll be sent to Moscow for advanced training on Academy of Social Sciences courses.
That’s one hell of a number of acquaintances Grybauskaitė has!
Let’s start with the close ones.
– Juršėnas taught there! – said Grybauskaitė when TV3 “cut” the TV program which covered her biography’s hidden sides and national television announced an interview with the President during which she’ll say “everything”. And that “everything” was a threat to her opponent: “Scammers, unite against the President!”
Why did she mention Juršėnas but not Anicetas Ignotas? Strange because Ignotas was alongside Grybauskaitė for almost ten years. It was under his wing that she took her first steps of the career ladder – he was the chairman of the High Partol School union. She skillfully became his deputy. And Juršėnas was admitted only September 7th 1989 in the last year of her studies and in the middle of Sajudis as “very qualified”.
Did you forget who this Ignotas is?! After the declaration of independence he was vice-minister of economics handling energy questions. He made the energetics in such a way that it was very easy for the scandalous “Rubicon”. You can’t? You’re unable to? «Rubicon” has the right o even take your house. These are Ignotas classics.
Ignotas is also linked to Grybauskaitė’s first failure upon her return from Leningrad. He, along with the High Party School rector Tiškevič and Party Committee secretary Arvasevičus sign Grybauskaitė’s CV and recommendation to the post-graduate department of Vilnius University. The document is dated July 13, 1983. This document proves that Dalia didn’t waste time and tried to get an academic title.
But the odd part is that High Party School protection didn’t work! Grybauskaitė didn’t become a post-graduate student at Vilnius University. Vilnius University didn’t need a political economist with a High Party School seal of approval.
She handled that fail just like after school when she left Vilnius U and went to Russia. But this time her route wasn’t to Leningrad, but to Moscow. To the Academy of Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. To the center of all Higher Party Schools to write a thesis.
The personal cards in the Special Archive show how deep the teachers of Vilinus Higher Part School net of old communists dug into the restored Lithuania. Here! In 1984 Adolfas Šleževičius, future prime minister worked at the High Party School. Don’t pretend that you forgot this guy!
The happy milkman… He was elected Prime minister and then was taken down by Algirdas Brazauskas. The reason was petty. Šleževičius hurriedly took his savings of 135 000 litas from an investment bank right before it went bankrupt. O tempora, o mores! When politicians and their children start pulling their money out of “Snoras” bank in 2012 under Grybauskaitė’s rule only Degutienė will get burned for manipulating her son’s accounts after the bank’s closing. But she’ll shrug it off with the dash of public shame. And when Vitas Vasiliauskas, who got Bank of Lithuania for his accomplishments will be asked by journalists about morality and ethics he will denounce that measuring system when dealing with politicians: “Ethics and morality are not terms for this world”. This truth was told to us on February 19, 2013.
In those times of Šleževičiaus everyone talked of “Mr. 5 percent”. That’s how much you had to pay for the “gratuitous loans” that the state gave out. In our times this percentage has grown. Šleževičiaus was a businessman first and politician second. When arriving into the Arabian countries as part of a delegation he supposedly offered them milky powder in a careless whisper. This powder incident could have been foretold from his High Party days. His academic interest was…milk products. The powered milk business will be the foundation of Šleževičiaus’s wealth when independence takes the stage.
In 1984 Robertas Žiugžda was also at that school. A historian whose name is mentioned on Sajudis meeting as the one who warped Lithuania’s history. His daughter-in-law Julietta becomes the managing secretary of the Prime Minister in 1990. She’ll remain in Brazauskas’s administration and will be inherited by Kirkilas, another High Party Schooler.
But let’s return to our heroine. In 1986 Grybauskaitė is already a political economy teacher and a senior teacher. Where can a political economy teacher go for advanced training? The University, the Academy of Sciences? No, teachers of this school go to the Communist Party committees. Dalia spent a few weeks with the local Vilnius region communists.
Right after that a “carrot”. Grybauskaitė leaves as a group leader for Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary! Group leader! The one who will look after the entrusted travelers and write reports of their behavior. For the first time she’s not the one worrying, but the one worried about in this situation.
That trip was another anomaly of Grybauskaitė’s biography. She addressed it like this during her election campaign:
– We ask that you comment on the events of 1986 when you went abroad as group leader.
– I made a request to “Inturist” about leading a tourist group through the Warsaw pact countries.
What is this “Inturist?” Let’s open Wikipedia and find the answer. It’s the only and state-run tourist agency in the Soviet Union. It was founded in 1929 by Joseph Stalin and NKVD (and later KGB) handled it. “Inturist” was also responsible for all foreign tourists in the Soviet Union. Inturist was privatized in 1992, while Krychkov, the former head of the KGB kept a high post there. In 1972 the Canadian hockey team paid “Inturist” a fine of $ 3.800 because legendary hockey player Phil Esposito took a lamp apart in search of “bugs”. He said that the Canadian team found spying and recording devices everywhere: behind mirrors, in the bathroom, under the beds… “Inturist also owned the “Lithuania” hotel in Vilnius.
Writer Mikhail Veller in “Legends of the Nevsky Avenue” wrote that “All guides and drivers in “Inturist” were KGB informants without exception”. And considering foreign trip group leaders publicist-writer Evgenia Albatz wrote in her Delayed Explosion Mine wrote that they were in the KGB as “trusted people”. There was even a database of them, but not everyone was in it, probably had to do with trust. Albatz wrote “The KGB obviously didn’t pay them for this, but the trip was free for the group leader. From a moral point of view they weren’t doing anything wrong and writing reports was a typical thing. I bet most of them didn’t even know that the KGB viewed them as “trusted people”. And is someone knew why the chekists were interested in his opinion then he viewed this as a rule in the game where you wouldn’t have a career if you didn’t follow the rules”.
In Lithuania they wrongly assume that membership and career in the Communist Party already made you a trusted KGB man. But it was the other way around: party membership was sine qua non (Latin for perquisite) of a chekist. We already mentioned that Putin (and Grybauskaitė, what a coincidence!) joined the Party at 23.
Head of the Party Committee of the High Party School Lukoševičius told us:
-Well…The problem was there weren’t that many of these trips. You had to wait to go anywhere. You had to wait two to three years until you could go anywhere as a group leader, etc…
In March 1986 the iron curtain was listen Grybauskaitė for the third time. The first was when she was sixteen and left for Poland for personal reasons. Then in 1980 she went to Hungary, not from Lithuania, but from Leningrad. And now she’s the group leader.
Let me tread over this again and explain what it meant in Soviet times to go anywhere beyond the “iron curtain” to any, even a socialistic, foreign country.
When I went to school I knew only one person who crossed USSR’s border. My Lithuanian language teacher, she was to East Germany. For two months we gathered around her and begged her:
– Please, tell us more…
And she told us that you could buy anything there and more importantly – choose. And shops had a variety of shoes, not like in Lithuania where it’s all the same model. But different sizes. And clothing:
– Oh the clothing… the color…the materials…
The colors, smells and taste. And of course, freedom of choice. That’s what Soviet times lacked the most.
But comrade Grybauskaitė was not locked up on one side by the state. She traveled.
It’s strange but her personal file has no documents about that trip she led. Maybe they’re not supposed to be here? Nonsense! In other files there’s a whole set of documents on every trip. Here’s comrade Brazaitytė’s report on his trip to socialist Czechoslovakia and the pile of meticulously filled out forms. This leads us to believe that the lack of pages in Grybauskaitė’s file is not an archivist’s mistake.
And page 46 of Grybauskaitė’s file show the crossed out “36” and written as “46”. It’s a mess.
“No!” to Independence for 286 Rubles and 18 Kopeikas and Missing Years of Biography
Everyone has secrets. Some don’t like it when they’re reminded of their frivolous youth’s escapades. Others don’t want to remember violence and poverty from their childhood. Infidelity, debauchery, betrayal. As long as a man doesn’t aspire to power and controlling men’s destinies his personal stories are his private matter. But politicians have different requirements. Their privacy is respected as long as it doesn’t affect social life. So there’s not much left of it.
Society needs to know as much as they can about their leaders. If he cheats on his wife then he will lie to the people. Those who aim for a political career also can’t keep the promise of hiding their cooperation with other countries special services. But what to do with those, whose lives have gaping black holes? You have no idea what this man did for a year or more.
Of course the main mystery of this type is with Jesus Christ. Where did he spend his youth? There’s a guess of Egypt, but Christian literature says nothing of that.
Dalia Grybauskaitė has a year-long black hole in her biography. In 1987-1988 the traces in the High Party School documents are strangely blank, but she insists that she did not leave Vilnius.
The indirect quarrel between Grybauskaitė and those who study her biography happened over Moscow and the Academy of Social Sciences. Where she wrote her thesis.
– About the agricultural relations of that period… Actually Dalya (sorry for calling her that) wrote her thesis fairly quickly. She was on extra-mural, while I was on mural in Moscow’s Academy of Social Sciences. And she very quickly wrote the thesis, passed the exams In Moscow and got her title.
That’s what her Party School colleague Vytautas Lukoševičius said. That’s the same thingas the president said when denying that she was salaried post-grad student at the Academy of Social Sciences.
But the documents show otherwise. Here’s the Vilnius Party School report to Moscow from 1987-1988. A named staff list. Lukoševičius, Malinauskienė and Šustavičius…but no Grybauskaitė!
There’s only “Vacant spot of a candidate of sciences and 5 years of experience”. Grybauskaitė reappears in a similar report for Moscow, but in year.
Let’s check the other documents. Correspondence between the Vilnius High Party School and the Academy of Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It mentions Grybauskaitė as “salaried”. Grybauskaitė denies that.
Let’s sum up: she’s not in the staff list sent to Moscow. She’s not in Moscow either. This is like the Charmsian There Be Here. Where was she missing? Were was she studying and what was she studying? Her thesis was prepared externally, the documents say that are in the Special Archive.
Is Grybauskaitė is telling the truth and she wasn’t a salaried “post-grad student of the Academy then where was she in 1987-1988?
Moving on. In April 1988 Grybauskaitė receives a letter from Moscow to her Gelvonu address. She was given the candidate of sciences title which she’ll turn into a civilized doctor of sciences later.
In her thesis Grybauskaitė looked at how exactly did it happen that a sizable part of the agriculture was made in gardening companies. Is that good or bad? What do you do with it? How do you view this asMarxist-Leninist thing? What would hater of private property Lenin think of the small-bourgeois Lithuanians banding into gardening companies in order to build a bigger house and have more crops?
“A connection of social and personal property in the functioning of a personal homestead” – that’s her thesis’s name. Bu digging into this problematic field she was recognized by the Soviet socialist economic scientists.
When Grybauskaitė will be brave enough to put her candidacy for President a certain Modest Kolerov, a former Putin administration member, will applaud her thesis. And he’ll celebrate her victory on regnum.ru which is how the post-Soviet space is seen in Kremlin‘s lights. Regnum will be impressed with her struggle with the oligarchs and be disgusted by the “clans” efforts to stop her triumphant feat. Vaišvila digging in her past is all part of the “the clan’s” work and so on. Kolerov will warn Grybauskaitė that she must drop the American yoke after seizing power.
My god, some kind of “Almax”… But Grybauskaitė and not Paskas.
Let’s go back to the Special Archive. The plot thickens! As soon as Grybauskaitė is a docent(associate professor), a candidate of sciences and the first step of a serious career…and suddenly Sąjūdis.
There were people outside the Archcathedral. And one in Vingio Park that would make Lady Gaga cry. The whole square filled to the brim with people. A bit of thunder… This is it! The Finale! Socialism, dependence on Moscow, the Party’s power it all ends here. People hang their party tickets on spears mocking the fundamental Soviet values. Grybauskaitė just made the first step on the bridge that would have brought her into the bright future and these “bandits” blew the bridge up. The premature death of a young and healthy career… “Don’t cry over the grave…”
Easy now…Just don’t panic. No sudden movements. The career continues to grow and set roots. The Higher Party School is like a tank. You can’t even hear what’s outside. Even in December of 1989 when Algirdas Brazauskas divided the Lithuanian Communist Party from Moscow.
A scandal. Gorbachev himself is angry with them. He invited the USSR delegates from Lithuania to a special room with no windows and kept then there for a while until they were scared of never leaving. Then he came in and cursed on them using all the power and poetry of Russian language’s obscene part. Brazauskas was called to Moscow to explain.
– We didn’t know whether he was alive or not, – said the separated communists.
Hungary’s, Czech’s and just recently Poland’s attempts to escape Moscow grasp ended with tanks. And in Hungary they even shot people. But Brazauskas returned alive and a hero. He was like a pain in the…one place. Landsbergis already proposed his candidacy for the post of the permanent Sąjūdis chairman, even though it was considered that the posts should rotate until that point.
Does the Higher Party School feel the drama? Judging by the papers only morally stable people work there. They don’t run from the School of bosses. Quite the opposite, they gather there.
– Well hello, comrade Juozas Zaborskas, the future head of the anti-corruption department in the Specical Investigations Service, deputy director of Lithuanian Businesses Support Agency and candidate for Seimas from the Party of the people’s farmers!
When Sąjūdis was in full swing, future Lithuanian state figure Zaborskas was hired on the economics and management department of the Party School as a docent (associate professor).
And we’ve made it to the most delicious part of Grybauskaitė’s career. The choice of who to stay with? Who is the real power? Who to follow?
Grybauskaitė chose Moscow.
Dalia’s “Small War”
– Can you believe what the situation was back then? It was the Higher Party School, so everyone was part of the Party! Party members teaching other party members, – recalls Lukoševičius as he tried to call the school’s communists to discuss the current events of Brazauskas separating from Moscow. – It was hard to even get people to meet.
Brazauskas led Lithuanian communists out of Moscow’s control in mid-December 1989. In a month – January 1990 – the communists of the Higher Party School gathered to make a decision.
– And obviously we separated our party with me becoming the secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania in the Higher Party School. And the secretary of the other part, we called them “platformers”, was Merkelis. I don’t know how he’s doing right now because he later left for Israel.
– And Dalia Grybauskaitė stayed with which party?
– Ours of course. When the meeting was over I recall her saying:
“I am always with you!”
Let’s examine this situation closer.
The protocols of the Higher Party School’s council from 1989. Right before the Lithuanian communists separated from Moscow Grybauskaitė received her academic title of docent (associate professor). She continues to make her career and wham! – our heroine is now the scientific secretary of the holiest of the holy of communistic sciences, the second person after the rector. She now holds not only her career, but the careers of all who work here: who will arrested and who won’t, who will be given a higher title and who will have to keep trying.
All in a very Russian way. No reaction to CPL (Communist Party of Lithuania) from USSR. Nope! Somebody’s nerves gave out. Anicetas Ignotas moved to the institute of planning national economics at the Planning committee. Grybauskaitė will appear there too. But a lot later, only after the curtain call and the Higher Party School closes with the future January 13 Coup participant Valentinas Lazutka gives out the last bonuses.
For now the Higher Party School is readying for graduation of a new wave. In spring 1990 Grybauskaitė is one heading these student works:
- “Artoyas” Kolkhoz Party Organization’s Actions on Realizing the Socio-Economical Development Plans”;
- “Administration and Party Organization Actions of Solving Socio-Economical Problems in the Countryside”;
- “Party, Soviet and Economic Authorities’ Measure on Enhancing the Labor and Living Conditions of Countryside Workers”;
- “The Role of Party Organization in Mezheisk Region in Solving Worker Collectives Self-Sufficiency and Responsibility”
This is what the future President of Lithuania was thinking about when in Kaunas on a Sąjūdis meeting they decided that Sąjūdis will not only aim to declare independence from the dictatorship of the Communist Party, but also from Moscow. Hallelujah!
– I think she left entirely. She never joined any party. I can’t speak for her, but I think she decided to remain outside of any parties. – that’s what Lukoševičius thinks.
And what do the documents say? The Special Archive’s closing for the say and I need to study files page by page with the personal requests clipped in. Instead of bringing me the files the archivist gives me the journal:
– You didn’t sign here, here and here… – a few pages with numbers of the files which were from the funds. Also on another document a list of files I photocopied. Who would want that? A good question! Maybe in the next chronology:
1. In 2013 after celebrating the anniversary of the event of January 13 Zigmas Vaišvila will announce what Grybauskaitė was doing after the declaration of independence. He’ll cite a document which I found in the Special archive.
2. On January 14 the President will award the Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas to the head of the Genocide and resistance research center Terese Birute Burauskaite.
3. Burauskaite on January 15 will make the following statement: “Our historians have looked into”. Into what? Yes the files that were brought to my table in the Special Archive. Those historians believe that as far as Grybauskaitė’s collaboration is concerned that in the High Party School on March 11 than all is well (as in: the suspicions were wrong).
What a shameful lie from such a honored person! Arguments to follow.
It’s the end of the second week and I still dabble through the documents each day. My table is covered with Vilnius people’s requests on leaving the KPSS after the CPL separated. The whole process was a bit different than how Lukoševičius out it. For those who joined Brazauskas there were two form: one to leave the KPSS and one to join the CPL.
Where’s the document that would show comrade Grybauskaitė’s decision? I flipped through file after file. Here’s Eugenijus Maldeikis, the future minister of economy turning his Party ticket in. And here’s one signed by Jonas Prapiesčis, a one of the ones who signed the independence act and a judge of the Constitutional court.
There isn’t a request from Grybauskaitė. But there’s also good news. Her name isn’t among the “platformers” either. Hey…Maybe the train of history will pass by and she’ll go unnoticed? Or maybe I’m wrong? Lukoševičius wouldn’t lie.
– Did you sign any documents to the leave the Soviet Communists?
– How was it made official?
– There was a party meeting. I was barely able to organize it because everybody knew how it would end. Some left the meeting, and we stayed and reelected the powers. That’s how it ended.
The criminal offense case started because the events of January 13 has some other facts. For example, that one the Party Organization meeting of the Vilnius High party School when choosing delegates for the XX Congress of the CPL and after a candidate and teacher of Party and Soviet building Arvasevičius declared that he’s in favor of an independent CPL and the room filled with noise, whistling and people calling him a “nationalist” and “separatist. He was not elected candidate, but instead kicked out of his work. Grybauskaitė wasn’t fired by anyone. She continued to “hustle” with what she had.
Later a letter came from Moscow, from the Central Committee of the CPSU. It was five days until the declaration of independence. Sąjūdis decided that the whole country would separate. What are the Kremlin’s orders?
You’re to prepare a room where the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania (based on the KPSS platform) will reside. Also we inform you that you will be financed directly from USSR’s budget. SO please prepare the budget for the year 1990. Signed by the deputy head of the department of Party building and staff of Central Committee of the CPSU V. V. Suslinas.
And what? The “platformers” moved to the High Party School. Juonienė (one of the sillier propagandists among the platformers) polished the megaphones to a shine. What is Grybausakite doing? We read the answer in the “platformer” appointed rector’s, a future participant of the events of January 13, answer to Moscow in 1990:
“The work of the School staff was based on orders from higher Party authorities, the Central Committee of the CPSU Secretary General’s words and with note of the changes in society”
The report praises Grybausakaite as a scientific secretary for certifying a certain comrade Bachmetjeva. It also says that 60.000 rubles were invested into renovating the dormitories. Huge money by those times. They also mention that they raised student an teacher pay.
Grybauskaitė’s income rose during the changing times. In May 1990 it was 260 rubles a month. Probably for her work in the ideologically antagonists Lithuania which declared of its independence. The Lazutka report also mentions the future unchanging Chairman of the Main Election Committee Zenonas Vaigauskas. But the rebellious Lazutka mentions him in his report and that he was writing a thesis on Stalin or something.
Then Lazutka writes: “because the socio-political situation changed, the Comparty is splintered it led to part of the students leaving their studies, part refused to go on with their diplomas and pass stats exams. As a result the teachers’ workload has lightened”. Among those effected by the winds of history is Česlovas Juršėnas, who didn’t get to read 7 hours of lectures due to student shenanigans. Similarly Kęstučis Zaborskas couldn’t meet his planned hours. Grybauskaitė missed 76 hours of lectures because of students fleeing and her recuperation in Druskininkai. Truly a victim… But did she suffer materially along with morally?
The High Party Schools accounting was always nicely filled out;
You can go and have a look for yourself. File #176. Personal cards on pay from A to L. Started in January 1990 and ended on august of the same year. G section. Grigaliūnienė… Where’s Grybauskaitė? Where’s her personal card? Where is the information of her pay in 1990? The card isn’t in the Special Archive! Where did it go? No answers. Who else has their card missing? It’s not only Grybauskaitė’s card that’s missing, but also the rebel Lazutka’s. That’s bad. Very bad company for missing documents.
Maybe that means that she wasn’t working there anymore? No. The one who opened this file showed criminal carelessness. Here’s another file from accounting. In April 1990 Grybauskaitė sign a receipt for 286 rubles an 18 kopeikas (her pay and various bonuses). Money directly from KPSS’s budget in Moscow. And the same signature she now uses for state laws.
Now let’s read on what documents the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian Republic signed on March 11th 1990… Well these are well-known things. Here! The act closing down the High Party School and giving its’ building to the Educational Institute. The High Party School was closed down by the legitimate power of the Lithuanian Republic, and Grybauskaitė still works there and accepts money from Moscow.The future president disobeys the lawful Lithuanian authority. Or maybe she, along with Burokevičius, thought that “Landsbergis’s gang” is illegal?
– Is there really nothing I must know of those times? – asked Linas Balsys of his candidate during 2009 election campaign. Many heard her answer:
– I don’t even remember by now.
She lied because she wasn’t comfortable remembering?
But these things couldn’t have been easily forgettable. March 23, 1990. The building of the Higher Party School is taken by Soviet troops. At that time they too the CPL building on Gediminas avenue. They seized the printing shop. They kicked out the ones who separated from the KPSS and let the “platformers” were let go. And guards at the doors.
Vladimir Berezov who lived through the CPL building takeover (now the Government resides there) tells us:
– I come to the office and there’s this Asian looking young man, maybe a Tajik, at the door with a Kalashnikov. “I won’t let you in” he says. I walk by him and go forward. There documents and belongings in my office. He turns around with his gun at me – will he shoot or won’t he?
These same people will be hitting unarmed people with stocks of their guns on January 13 at the TV tower.
And what’s the situation near the Higher Party School? As always, Grybauskaitė arrives with first light of day. A discrepancy: she is supposedly with the CPL, but comes in for work on March 24 even though the head of CPL Brazauskas voted for the Act of closing down the High Party School. What does Grybauskaitė see at the doors of her workplace? A loaded Soviet commando. Speaks Russian. How did it go further?
– How were the lectures happening when the soldiers were here?
– Simple. Everyone had a permit to enter and a permit to leave. The lectures went on as usual. As far as I understand the building was occupied to protect it as Party property and save it for the “platformers” – said Lukoševičius.
– And where were they? How many soldiers were there? How did it look?
– The kept watch below, I think. In a cellar. Took a certain territory.
– And you come to work…
– I come to work and it’s guarded, you show permit and enter. We’re teachers, we do our job. Some on one side and some on the other, but educational process continues. That’s it. And because the school was closed down after they achieved independence they finished up on the lectures and everyone walked their separate way.
– When exactly was the School closed, when did you leave work?
– In June. We had the exams and that’s that.
Comrade Dalia won’t leave the Higher Party School until its last breath. The same as most of her colleagues. And it doesn’t matter if they are platformers or they wage their own “little war” as the President put it.
I’ll explain my opinion. By then Moscow fired Šimkus from the rector position and appointed Lazutka in his place. Even thoughŠimkus is fired, but he gathers the examination committees from the exact people that in Lazutka’s new School Council. For example the party committee head Merkelis and comrade Goris. A symbiotic relationship. Prorector of education Vaitauskas signed orders for Lazutka and Šimkus as the prorector of both.
In April Grybauskaitė asked for a vacation in Druskininkai. Comrade Dalia writes the request in Russian, even though majority ofSąjūdis in the…Oh wait, never mind. The past communist rule also declared Lithuanian as the only state language.
“Acting docent (associate professor) of the Department of Political Economy D. P. Grybauskaitė. I request a vacation due to receiving a medical tour to the “Lithuania” health resort in Druskininkai from 6 April until 4 May 1990”
The request is approved with two resolutions. One in Russian and one in Lithuanian. Both of the from prorector Vaitauskas, the servant of two masters. Lithuania’s authority closed the High Party School down, but comrade Dalia’s serviced and paid vacation is still covered (what was it that Suslin wrote?) “directly from the KPSS’s budget”!
– Vacation on account of uncertainty, – that’s how Grybauskaitė explained her trip to Ramunas Bogdanas, the advisor to Landsbergis who is the godfather of her Presidency. And he elaborated:
– After the vacation is was May and in the end of May the school was closed. Before that everyone was paid their bonuses. And people still attack her over that money. But the fashion of wasting all of the budget on bonuses or unneeded purchasesis present in state organizations to this day.
Maybe he hit his head? Landsbergis sign the Supreme Council act about disbanding the High Party School on 11 March! It’s a fault of both Landsbergis and Grybauskaitė, they value loyalty over competence.
Grybauskaitė upon returning on May 5 to the same guarded building finds that she received a raise. Now she’ll get 280 rubles of base income. The documents of oncoming exams and graduations mention Česlovas Juršėnas’s name. He’s in the thesis defense committee. He heads the committee on the theory of socialism. The orders establishing the committee are of course in Russian.
Juneof 1990. Examination committee protocols. What do they ask of the graduates? The questions on theory of socialism: “Engels on utopian socialism and its scientific surmounting. Additional question: what were Lenin’s thoughts on this?”. Another ticket: “Socialistic society: essence, disagreements, their solutions and historic purpose”. All in Russian.
The “products” of the Higher Party School take their exams while the building is a de facto rebellious stronghold guarded by the Soviet army. In 1990 the “Soviet Lithuania” radio station was broadcasting from the fourth floor of the School in Russian, Lithuanian and Polish. After the August 1991 putsch in Moscow and the attempt to take power from Gorbachev, the journalists from the Literary Newspaper captured Marshall Yazov’s notes from March 22 1990 about preparations on the Vilnius TV Center takeover. Television was to be handled to those in the fourth floor of the High Party School, while Grybauskaitė was a floor lower handling an exam.
– All lies. The High Party School was closed down by then. It was closed down by the Supreme Council and the building was given to the Educational Institute! – Karštasis komentaras rushed to defend Grybauskaitė from any collaboration accusations. It’s a curious internet newspaper that glorifies any squeak done by Grybauskaitė and socialist Algirdas Paleckis, defends Muammar Gaddafi and criticizes USA for supporting Syrian insurgents. A Lithuanian variant of the Kremlin’s view of the country and the world. And next to it is a panegyric of Grybauskaitė. Her strange decisions, for example not going to Poland, are protected by funny titles: “Grybauskaitė not going to Warsaw? Then that’s how it needs to be!” Like in the Vysotsky song: “The giraffe is big, he knows better”.
Really, how can that decision of the Supreme Council to give the High Party building over to the teachers of the Educational Institute? Students from Educational Institute once tried to go to the lectures there but the troopers kicked them out. The protesting youth started the lectures in the square outside the building. They also started a hunger strike. There is no word whether Grybauskaitė joined them.
In wasn’t just the students near the Higher Party School that were hungry. Half of Lithuania was hungry. My generation and older people should remember how suddenly there were no cars on Lithuanian streets because there was no gas on the stations. Not a single loaded truck on the road to Klaipėda. Moscow declared an economic blockade of Lithuania. But there was always gas in the Higher Party School garage.
And Grybauskaitė? She was writing reviews on professional communist’s graduation works. The reviews and exam protocols are all in Russian. On June 1 Grybauskaitė reviews Satorova R. P.’s work “Local Councils Experience in Guaranteeing Soviet Citizens Housing Rights”. June 2, she looks over Lithuanian communist Martinsonė’s work “People’s Delegates of Local Councils and Programs of Supplying USSR With Nonfood Goods Using Lithuanian SSR as an Example”.
Merkelis, Grigaliūnienė and Goris reside in the examination commission. That Grigaliūnienė will later be the director of the “Russian World” foundation. All of the people from the rebel Lazutka appointed council of the Higher Party School are “on the KPSS platform”. Ignotas made his last rubles from the KPSS too.
Only when all of the students graduate Grybauskaitė is fired “due to the High Party School closing down”. But this isn’t the same “closing down” as the Supreme Council declared. Central Committee of the CPSU decided to close down the school with the Act № 113/110 from March 16 1990. Citing that act Lazutka said that he will follow only the platformers’ orders in Lithuania. And following that decision from Moscow will Lazukta on June 18 1990 fire all of the staff and pay them their last bonuses.
But even after that the “scientists” of the communist part school didn’t scatter like bees. They all went to newly independent Lithuania’s authorities. After twenty years, they’re everywhere.
Česlovas Juršėnas even was in charge of the Seimas. Anicetas Ignotas made it to vice-minister of Economics. He is jokingly called the vice-minister of “Rubicon”. matters, but there is some degree of truth to that. Alvydas Rajunčius, associate professor of the Economics and management Department in the communist boss School is the head of the Seimas Purchasing Agency.
“Viktoras Muntianas I think even graduated from a High Party School in Leningrad. Who else? I can’t say for now” – Lukoševičius struggled to remember the man who assisted and rose alongside Victor Uspaskichas, the former head of the Seimas. When needed Viktoras Muntianas would run the subsidiary of the dead-bank “Ūkio” which accredited Uspaskichas’s operations. Uspaskichas signed the made-up “shady deals” as the vice-president of his Vikonda holdings. Well-informed people found it very easy to grab him by the throat when political intrigue demanded it.
The president of the Main Electoral Commission Zenonas Vaigauskas is also of that Higher Party School breed. He was fired from communist leader factory in August 1988, but not because he was on the frontline barricades but because he joined the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the CPSU to write a thesis on Joseph Stalin’s contribution to the industrialization of lagging agricultural outskirts that make up the Soviet Union.
People from the Higher Party School spread like an infection through all authorities and society of restored Lithuania. And all of them took high posts. All of their works will be nostrified unless someone didn’t have the time to defend his thesis. Pokormliakas will add “Dr.” to his credentials for “Economic analysis of the Soviet management process”. Vaclovas Davalga will do the same for his “Economic ties of kolkhozes and sovkhozes and their significance for social development”.
And Grybauskaitė shows up in the National Economy Planning Institute of the GosPlan (Planning committee) which the sajudists have renamed into the Economic Institute of the Ministry of Economy.
– Director Vasiliauskas was there, the one who kicked Algirdas Šemeta from work. I met Šemeta everyday on the smokers’ area on the stairwell because he didn’t work at that floor anymore. He was gymnastics master and showed how to properly do the handstand. I frequently saw Šerėnas at the cafeteria. Grybauskaitė was also supposed to be working in the Institute, but I don’t remember her at all, – wrote Jonas, who worked there at the time.
Remembering Grybauskaitė at that time wasn’t easy. She went for the exit and never spoke up. She hauled the rock of her career up the nomenclature hill like Sisyphus only to have it crash down… Later she’ll pretend she worked at the Institute right after returning from Leningrad. But she wasn’t needed there. So what to do? How to save your career from a disaster? Comrade Grybauskaitė will need to buy a ticket to Moscow for the third time.
3 INFILTRATION: RED DALIA CHANGES COLOR
The Americans have the American Dream. Grybauskaitė’s career up until March 11 1990 was the Soviet Dream coming true. Determined, inventive and iron-willed. Ideologically-versed. Should we add talented? Talent refers to the artistic skills of the person. Grybauskaitė was talented at building a career.
March 11 1990 was a dark day for Grybausakite. All gone overnight. The High Party School where she made it to the second-to-last step is now destroyed. Everything she believed in is trampled into the ground.
If she was a lone career climber with no reserves and connections then after that disaster we would have heard less of Dalia than the other High Party School teachers. She reanimated her career in half a year. A miracle?
And once again that fuzzy editor of the liberal Echo of Moscow Venediktov who once noted her Zhdanov University classmates as being Putin’s allies in the future said:
– I still can’t understand where she changed from a professor of the Higher Party School, a glorified Soviet economics teacher into this European bureaucrat who is skilled in European negotiations. Where did she learn that? A teacher’s work is very individual: you prepare for the lectures by yourself, you write it yourself and lead the class by yourself. So I’m very curious on when and where she turned into a negotiator? Never in 1990-1991 when Lithuania was fighting for indepence did we see her negotiate. And that’s a wholly different set of skills!
Venediktov raises a central question. A person can be a gifted negotiator from birth, maybe Grybauskaitė is one, but she jumped right into the big leagues with no special training or knowledge. Where did she train those mad skills? Venediktov hints to Moscow and Leningrad. Another man know the exact answer. His name is Vytautas Landsbergis. He started quietly utilizing Dalia Grybauskaitė during his years as president of the Supreme Council.
To Washington Through Moscow?
There are tanks on the streets of Vilnius. The Vilnius region declared autonomy. The Supreme Council is getting ready for an assault. Where’s Grybauskaitė? Maybe again in Druskininkai? In another leave of “uncertainty”?
There is a warm tie between the President and this city, or rather, the family that rules it. A lot warmed than with any Capital mayor. Which city does she go to and praises the construction of a water amusement park which was built on government money or money lent by the government’s name and then ended up being two times more expensive than the one in Vilnius? And on what other attraction does she take photos? She even tried the snow motorcycle in Druskininkai. Some think that it’s not the son Malinauskas – the mayor Richardas, but more Malinauskas father – the former president of the Viliumas kolkhoz.
– Comes in one day, shakes my hand in approval of building the new snow arena and on the next day closes the bank. – vents Raimondas Baranauskas the co-owner of the Snoras bank.
Why get mad? You went to the wrong one.
So where was Grybauskaitė on January 13, 1991? There are no concrete facts that state that it’s the same spot that Albertas Šimėnas hid in that dangerous time. Only guesses of one civil servant, who held a high post at the time:
– You’d have to look. She loves that place almost as much as Belarus’s KGB which sends its agents to Druskininkai for “business rest” he chuckled.
But there are facts on what Grybauskaitė did after January 13.
In 1991 Grybauskaitė spent six months in Washington in the prestigious Georgetown University on special program for appointed officials. Wow! One moment she’s spinning on the stairwell of the non-prestigious and blank-wall Institute of Economics and the next she’s in Washington learning to be big boss. Who recommended? Who sent her?
Ramūnas Bogdanas, the only one defending her decisions in 1990-1991 calls two dead men as his witnesses – academic Eduard Vilkas and Minster of Foreign Trade Relations Vytenis Aleškaitis. They both supposedly lent a hand to the efficient and professional Grybauskaitė and pulled her into the independent Lithuania bandwagon. Dead witnesses are the best kind.
Zigmas Vaišvila called me: “Hello, do you know…” these purring notes can’t be mistaken for anything else. We’re pretty close despite him being a signatory, the former vice-PM and first head of security of Lithuania. I know Zigmas ever since he was the leader of the “green” and I was “green” paper editor. We two almost caused a split in a Swedish green party. The “green” women wanted to send me to some event in Paris and Zigmas put a newspaper to the Swedes faces with my name in the list of newly elected USSR people’s delegates. Those people’s delegates from Lithuania made the whole Soviet Union shake with stunts in 1989. Gorbachev was pissed. I’m still mad that Zigmas got that trip to Paris to this day. And now he has a new version:
– Do you know who studied along with her in Washington? – the signatory laughs like some sort of conspirator.
– And who did Grybauskaitė study with?
– With Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission, who was part of an underground Maoist party in his youth.
Whoa! So that’s why she fit in so well in Brussels… They studied together.
But no! Grybauskaitė ran into a whole different set of celebrities on her way. In the Leningrad Zhdanov Univesity she studied alongside members of Putin’s inner circle. Also with Albinas Januška. He was studying genetics at the Zhdanov University but has since then become a diplomat and still can’t shake the title of a “Gray Cardinal” of Lithuania. Jose Manuel also passed the same courses as Grybauskaitė, but in 1998.
Check your facts! When checking you might fall off your chair when you find out how it really happened.
– So I noticed this detail, – Tomas Baranauskas, a fellow biography researcher wrote to me. – In November 2012 Grybauskaitė’s representatives explained to people the Lietuvos rytas TV show on how Grybauskaitė got into Georgetown: “The US embassy in Lithuania was also part of the selection process along with Georgetown University. The program was funded by the US government and it had scholarships”
– Ruta, USA entered diplomatic relations with USA only in 1991 and the embassy was established in 1992! That way the “US embassy in Lithuania” in the begging of 1991 didn’t even exist yet. But there was a USA embassy in Moscow…
Ofcourse! The US embassy appeared in Vilnius only on October 2 1991, but Grybaus aitė writes everywhere that she studied in USA for six months in 1991. It just doesn’t make any sense! Lies? Speaking untrue things! Why say a lie?.. To not give away whose protection it really was?
Tomas Baranauskas continues to confuse me:
– After some googling I found a CV of a former Soviet teacher Tatiana Zaslavskaya where it says that in 1989 she got an honorary doctor at Georgetown University. Doesn’t that prove that the university had times with USSR’s education system?
What can you do to Baranauskas? A historian. Likes facts and finds them.
The Soviet Union sent people to train in America even during the worst times of Stagnation. For example the famous Soviet defected spy Oleg Kalugin, who watched over the Chubais economy club trained in America’s Columbia University. Back when the KGB considered its secret channels with the CIA as secondary. The main goal back then was London. With Andropov’s arrival the Soviet Union’s secret services were aimed at America and Kalugin made a big career.
Concerning Grybauskaitė’s trip to Washington in 1991 then it’s totally logical to ask: who would want to offer a hand to political economy docent who worked in the High Party School until the last call from Moscow? It would be logical to assume that it would be the same people as before. For example someone from the Academy of Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the CPSU or from the Zhdanov University, which was known for sending its graduates all over the world to spread the word of scientifically proven victory of communism and steal Western secrets.
The KGB joked: “We never change beliefs. We only agree on trust”.
When Grybauskaitė arrives in Washington as the Lithuania Republic ambassador she’ll be met coldly. But more on that after a short excursion to the building on Gedimino 11, Vilnius right after the Soviet troopers left.
“Catacomb Period”: Instructor Evgeny’s Advice on Surviving Independence.
From the book of USSR KGB director Kryuchkov Personal File:
In the end of December 1990 during a meeting with Gorbachev it was decided to use armed forces in Lithuania and Latvia. Army regiments, USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs regiments and fighters of a designated special group of KGB…
Serious. Moscow strategists have been in similar situations before and have suppressed at least thrice. In 1956 when tank with bomber support entered Budapest and quelled the anti-Soviet uprising. Over 3000 people were killed. The leader of the Hungarian revolution Imre Nagy was hanged. Nagy naively thought that Hungary could leave the “brotherhood of nations” of the Warsaw Pact.
To Moscow Sąjūdis times Vilnius must have been like déjà vu with Budapest 1956. Mass protests of 300.000 people. Lenins being thrown off pedestals. But the Hungarians did throw over the copper Stalin. There were no Stalins in Vilnius because Khrushev times had him quietly removed from squares and parks. They added extra Lenins to compensate.
Then there was the Prague spring. Not as bloody but with the same consequences. An attempt to democratize socialism ended with thanks on streets of Prague. But the revolution leader Alexandr Dubček survived until the Velvet revolution when the Soviet regime finally fell.
In our case of the anti-Lithuanian coup that didn’t happen on January 13there are a lot of facts that the “singing revolution” was to be subdued by force. But this case turned into something more of a literary piece with the condemnation of too offensive communists – Jarmalavičiaus and Burokevičiaus.
What about all of the rest? Where are those fired the shots, thought the strategy through and planned it all? Where are those that were ready to come back to their workplaces and turn the sparks of the revolution down as freedoms were silenced in Budapest and Prague? There was a ton of documents gathered, but there was no political will.
After the September putsch of 1991 the platformers slipped out of the current Government building where they were based and left the secret recordings behind. Among them is the voice of the Central Committee of the CPSU emissary who arrived to instruct the “platformers”. Evgeniy. That’s how the instructed called the instructor. The topic was…actions of the Communist Party activists behind enemy lines. The enemy is the new independent power of Lithuania. Evgeny evaluated the situation and offered a new strategy:
– The following is the scariest part. I’m frightened by the split among the people who don’t have a strong social base and their confusion. We must fight for them. Aside from that, because you are in revolutionary, extreme conditions you must turn to using materials from the lowest class…
He was voicing the old wisdom of many Russian revolutions. It’s always easier manipulating the lumpens, the demoralized and uneducated poverty that’s lost its values.
The numbers of that poor mass will grow with each year of Independent Lithuania. Just as Chubais predicted, the wealth is accumulated in the hands of the few while about a fifth of the population in Lithuania is in poverty. Maybe that happened to Lithuania on its own? Maybe no one had a malicious intent on lumpenizing the Lithuanian masses which started out rather evenly developed and educated in 1990?
– Putting it simply, we need a clear leader and the masses, – said Evgeny, – raise new leaders and don’t wait for them to show up on their own. (…) What were you expecting – the party will still have to go through the catacomb period. That much is clear.
It’s been clear to me from 1988. This tragic, but objective reality of a civil war, a new reality.
“The Catacomb period”… I still remember the pages of Karštas komentaras with the panegyric to Grybauskaitė and…Algirdas Paleckis and his “new view” of the events of January 13. “Ours shot our own” – said Paleckis in 2012 and did get his applause, albeit moderate. And…oh how he’s sorry about the President’s friend who they call Vidmante Jasukaityte.
– The new reality of civil war, – said the Central Committee of the CPSU instructor Evgeny and looked into the strategic directions. – We must create parallel republics, republic-doppelgangers. Separate Vilnius region, Klaipėda region. Create associations of these republics and set a start for their political activity.
That was the first direction. Initially it was planned to realize it after announcing Vilnius’s autonomy. Didn’t work then. There was no leader. This was done later through the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and its leader Valdemar Tomaševski, who was openly financed by the Russians. Tomaševski will assist in Grybauskaitė’s rise to power when he will suddenly put his candidacy up for president, surprising even his party comrades. While saving Lithuania the Lithuanians will all vote for Grybauskaitė… So imagine 2009. The candidates debate. Grybauskaitė and Tomaševski are sitting alongside each other. She pays attention and smiles only at him.
What connects them together? One did everything her could so when going west from Vilnius you won’t feel like you’re in Lithuania. And the other? The other after getting the Presidential post had a fight with Warsaw and made it Tomaševski’s ally. Evgeny’s plan worked? Or maybe this is that old Leningrad plan made by Chubais from “Grybauskaitė times” under the KGB’s wing? The third option of this being the natural course of history is also there…
Concerning those recordings found in government palace after the coup activists left it? Evgeny explains:
– Let them fight each other a bit so the open wound won’t heal… Then support mercy, humanity and all that and then take power instead of fighting with them…
At the same time as Evgeny enlightened the platformers the Supreme Council of Lithuania was in a heated discussion: what to do with the Soviet nomenclature, what to do with the communists who came to power as a force almost equal to Sąjūdis, even voted “yes” on March 11.
Anatolis Lievenas in his book “Baltic revolution” quotes the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Algirdas Saudargas: “Even if these people didn’t want to be traitors Moscow had a lot of information and could force them to collaborate”.
This London’s The Times journalist was a real spectacle for his colleagues who hung out at the Supreme Council in those shaky times. They set up a press center for foreign journalists. Nothing special, simple tables with phones to call and report. Lievenas was unique. He was the only one who knew how to without any papers, but deeply concentrated, dictate an article while pacing around the phone. An “impromptu wizard” as his foreign colleague from Sweden John joked.
We locals were pissed that those foreign journalists had all the highest leaders available at the snap of a finger. Why are we less important? Because we’re heard only in Lithuania and they are heard by the whole world? Turns out that way. All those Lievenas, Lukaszes and others were a guarantee that news of Russian aggression would be all over the world news in 10 minutes. At estimates the Supreme Council would stand out for 7 minutes in an event of a serious military attack.
It wasn’t catacomb period for just Evgeny’s communists. It was also for the new independent Lithuanian powers in just the same way. January 1991. The new PM Gediminas Vagnorius hastily presents a program in the Seimas. It’s dead silent with only Vagnorius’s voice outlining the Lithuanian economy prospects. Suddenly the doors open and Aušra Maldeikienė, then a Lietuvos rytas reporter, walks in late. She listened to the speech for a few minutes, then noisily stood up and barked “Probably better of at the editorial” and walked off clicking her heels. Waiting for the end of the speech I fly to the editorial. I come in and realize that I didn’t get something from Vagnorius’s speech. I call Maldeikienė and she’s not there. Gone for an hour. Then she finally showed up. All dirty, stockings torn and a broken knee.
-Where were you?!
– I was walking and then I fell into an anti-tank pit, couldn’t get out. Even cried, – that explanation is still a legend around journalists of that time. But there were pits around the Seimas building because the ones doubting that the Russians will attack were in the minority.
But Saudargas’ thought on collaborationists – former members of the nomenclature – were not popular at the time. People trusted Brazauskas’s communists and the ratings of the sajudisis who seized power were slowly falling. Why? To put it simple, always “the rightest Landsbergis”. He never could win the common people over and the cold word “state” always meant more to him than the citizens. In addition, he always went against those who the people liked. He clashed with Brazauakas and he handled the very popular back then Kazimira Prunskienė. He pushed the other popular Sąjūdis leaders out of the way so they wouldn’t compete with him.
Sąjūdis’ reputation was finally broken by the pragmatic Aleksandras Abišala who in winter of 1992 turned the heating off. Even in nurseries the temperature didn’t go over 10 °C. The Supreme Council resigned. In 1992 Lithuania gave its power to Brazauskas.
It was a good time for those who the sajudists kept at a distance with threats of lustrations to try and sneak into power. That’s when Grybauskaitė’s career started gaining speed again.
Although she got into civil service a few months earlier. One of her biographies says that she got into the restored Lithuanian government authorities in early 1991 as director of government programs.
– She wasn’t there, – swears Vaišvila who states that he had total control over who was at the government. Then he’ll recall a few days when he wasn’t in Vilnius. The first vague recollections of Grybauskaitė in the government are such:
– She came in with Aleškaičis and they had some serious quarrel. They demanded that the PM (Vagnorius at the time) settled their argument.
So in 1992 the doors of power were open wide for former nomenclature. Alongside Grybauskaitė Algirdas Paleckis slipped in. The grandson of Vincas Paleckis (the one who in 1940 brought “Stalin’s sun” to Lithuania) in taken into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and urgently sent to the West for training. But Paris Administration Institute instead of Georgetown University. Then he rises in the career super-elevator. A one and a two and he’s head of the Western Countries Department at the Ministry.
Grybauskaitė rose just as quickly. Pushing her shoulders and elbow she’s already director of the Foreign Economy ties of the MFA. From branch to branch. She changed posts annually. And always sup. Lithuania’s relations with the EU end up in Grybauskaitė’s hands. She leads the delegation during negotiations. Here’s another person who you need to thank for the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant shutting down and that we’re now choking on our dependency on Russia electricity, gas and oil!
And then… America.
Washington Ignores Grybauskaitė? Lithuania Will Take Her Back
Finally she’s made it there where she wanted to be since her school years, according to her classmate Aurelia. “Grybtse” is in Washington and has a diplomatic rank! Lined up her career trajectory that was shaken by historic changes, but now she’s going up again.
And what is the 43 year old careerist doing in the capital of America? Her subordinate at the Lithuanian embassy Ramūnas Astrauskas praises her business qualities, sternness, discipline and told of a few of Grybauskaitė’s habits when he talked about her daily schedule. A very strange daily schedule.
She talked to colleagues only as work and after work no evening hangouts with fellow embassy Lithuanians. Disappeared right after finishing her work. Very long trips on her weekends.
– On weekends she traveled as much as she could, – said Astrauskas. He recalls how once Grybauskaitė took her personal car to the picturesque state of Vermont. It’s more that 900 km from Washington.
– Upon returning she complained that the speed limits stopped her from enjoying the ride, – smiled Astrauskas. – One time I also experienced her need for speed and thrill of driving…I felt like I was on a race track.
Grybauskaitė didn’t like to be driven around. She said: “No need, I’ll drive on my own”. The embassy car got a ton of mileage. A suspicious person would ask…Who did she meet? How did she choose the route of those trips?
The same thing during workdays. When work’s done – then bye-bye! All of her free time is devoted to sport. A kimono in her trunk. Grybauskaitė knows karate.
There in Washington, according to the official version, she reached the highest of her sports achievements – from a white belt to a black belt. There’s even a slightly blurry photo prove it with her standing next to some square-faced mulatto. White jacket, black belt and black pants.
The only one who found out something concrete is Česlovas Iškauskas. After Grybauskaitė’s meeting with Putin in 2010 he said with a lot of irony: “Another similar trait they share, which give many opportunities to liken them, is their love of Eastern martial arts. They both have black belts. As “Karate World” writes many other famous people have black belts too, like former mayor of Moscow Luzhkov, the mayor of Saint-Petersburg Matviyenko, Turkmenistan President Berdimuhamedow, Uzbekistan’s President’s daughter Gulnara Karimova and others.”
Grybauskaitė got her “black belt in karate” in the category of self-defense in Washington Martial Arts Academy. Her the “master of the martial art who was achieved the highest level of physical and spiritual perfection” gets a certificate which you have to buy-out for around $ 6000”
A black belt for $ 6000. That’s a lot of money for a budget-paid diplomat. Iškauskas theorizes that it sounds like a legend. One Lithuanian journalist visited and called hundreds of Washington sport clubs, but never found Grybauskaitė’s name in any visitor database. Maybe she visited the one hundred and first club?
Karate is a very specific martial art which demands meticulous polish of your techniques and moves. It’s not easy getting a belt like that. You must take part in competitions. Best many opponents and climb this “level of physical and spiritual perfection” step by step.
Grybauskaitė’s imagemakers when crafting her image of “master with “black belts” in all areas” don’t mention her defeated opponents. To them it makes sense that a 43 year old woman of the medium weight category tackles a new very technical sport and becomes close to a professional in it. In three years. But enough jokes!
There can be two versions. One that mentions Iškauskas mentions of her not earning the black belt, but earning enough to buy it. Well, she went there for three years and bought it. And Linas Balsys turned that black belt into a “strong hand” and “steel magnolia” image trait.
Another version that has not the slightest piece of evidence is more stern. Let’s assume that Grybauskaitė is in truth a karate fighter, but then it means that she must have stepped on the tatami in Soviet Times and just officialized her mad skills in America. She had to start somewhere between Leningrad and Moscow? There where she was spotted by the current Uzbekistan head of security. Along with people of a stern profession.
With karate and special forces is another series of coincidences. Andropov was the one who made karate the martial art of the secret services. But that wasn’t just karate anymore, it was a mix of karate with wrestling elements from sambo. The KGB first used it as the basis of young KGB agents physical training. But around 1974 karate was added to sambo. This mix gave the trainee a certain walk, let’s say a bear walk where it looks like the person is rowing forward with well-developed shoulders.
Even today if you decide to choose this martial art there’s a slight chance that your sensei will have a slight Russian accent. From that moment Andropov reserved karate for KGB agents and it was forbidden for civilians to train in this martial art. It was trained only to KGB men, the military and special police forces.
The internet says that in 1978 when the USSR Karate Federation was founded its head was KGB Colonel Viktor Kupriyanov.
In my teenage years I got a samizdat (underground printing) karate instruction where all of the moves are done by a man in military uniform. I still have it today. From page 10 it explains on where to hit to knock your opponent down or take him out entirely.
I don’t believe that Grybauskaitė also learned these things from a photocopied brochure. Reads lectures at the High Party School and then comes into her home on Gelvonu street and rolls out the carpet to…
What did we stop on? Oh Yes! The 43-year-old distinguished minister Grybauskaitė at the Lithuanian embassy in Washington doesn’t waste time of hangouts with fellow embassy members, but studies karate and spends her weekends riding hundreds of kilometers in trips which she takes alone.
There were rumors the USA’s security agents who watched over all post-Soviet diplomats very closely didn’t like one of Grybauskaitė’s karate teachers who she spent too much time with. Others say that it was all about Grybauskaitė’s imperiousness and constant conflicts about her “improper” subordinates. Whatever it was, her Lithuanian diplomatic service in USA career didn’t last long. Only about three years. Others spent a lot more time there.
But there are those who insist that American side insisted that Miss Dalia be sent back to Lithuania.
– You were the PM when she was called back. Can you remember how it all went down and why she was recalled?
Gediminas Vagnorius was the PM back then and knew everything. If he wanted to, he’d tell how it will happened. Now he’s retired and lives on signatory’s rent and doesn’t depend on anyone.
– Maybe I could remember, but I don’t want to. I don’t think that would be correct.
– These are work and service things and I usually avoid commenting on the inner workings.
– Was it USA that asked for her to be called back?
– No, other countries never stick their nose in our state’s internal affairs and this has nothing to with any third country.
Vagnorius didn’t want to tell the truth. But the theory of Washington meeting the Lithuanian ambassador coldly is proven by the leaked US diplomat communications courtesy of WikiLeaks. Discussing the coldness of the newly-elected President Grybauskaitė to the charm of the United States they wrote:
Only the most senior USG officials. We understand the president is a quick study and very bright, and at the same time has a long memory and does not forget slights.
The last word “slights” could be interpreted as “ignoring”. That means that Grybauskaitė was ignored in Washington. And there’s not much you can do when you’re ignored. And when there’s not much you can do you get recalled. The next question is why she was ignored when other Lithuanian ambassadors were met with warm hugs during the transfer of Mažeikių nafta oil company to Williams as practically a gift by the conservators and Landsbergis himself? How was Grybauskaitė different from the others? Was she against Williams? Not one bit! How would she get into the government that as formed after Paksas’ resignation? That usually happens when the person is not viable due to the information about them, that can’t be proven entirely, but still making you cautious around them. Ignoring them.
One of the Lithuanian politicians who visited the Lithuanian embassy in USA, a signatory of the Act of independence told us that Grybauskaitė was handling work not suited to her rank.
– Drove me to the store, drove me around town, – said the politician who was a simple Seimas member back then.
But in 1999 Vytautas Landsbergis arrived to Washington. According to her coworkers, Grybauskaitė went to great lengths to make a good impression on the guests from Vilnius.
Landsbergis likes it and the Americans didn’t. Why didn’t Grybauskaitė’s diplomatic work stick? That quoted WikiLeaks diplomat didn’t give reasons, but stated the consequences:
7 (C) Grybauskaitė’s Washington experience, and her dealings with the United States on trade issues, did not leave her as pro-American as her predecessor Valdas Adamkus. Nor is she as openly anti-Russian as Adamkus, believing that inflammatory anti-Russian rhetoric damages Lithuania’s standing in EU councils. She has sought to reorient Lithuanian foreign policy towards greater cooperation with the EU (her early trips as president were to Brussels, Berlin, and Paris) and away from Adamkus’ high-profile support for countries like Georgia and Ukraine. To enhance…
When I asked Valinskas, the Seimas president and had access to secret information on whether she was recalled due to the American side’s request he said “yes”.
– Have you heard this information?
– I have heard it. Why that happened? Well in the world of diplomacy you usually see only the results without the reasons being announced. So you can only guess at the reasons, but the fact speaks volumes.
But the one who was ignored “doesn’t forget slights”. Is that why after Grybauskaitė’s inauguration Lithuania has had cooler relations with most of its former strategic partners, mainly with America?
During her election campaign no one say a document that could be described as Grybauskaitė’s presidential program and where this turn of events was outlined and explained. Nobody was warned that Grybauskaitė planned to change course until one day it just happened.
Relations were frozen not only with America, but also countries who were considered a particular interest. With Georgia and Poland. With opposition in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. It was pretty gruesome sight with Georgia in particular. Russian tanks are riding through our friends country, driving people away and sinking their battleships and Vilnius is silent.
– This is strictly a “like – don’t like” thing?
– Georgian President Saakashvili, who I talked with personally on several occasions, expressed disappointment that our Presidents views and attitudes changed. There’s now a line between us and those who we used to protect. And our relations with Poland. She said that all of our friendship ended with the poor. All of these orphans are of no concern to Lithuania now. So I ask, will we be of any concern to anyone?
Grybauskaitė’s exact answer was:
– We (the Lithuanian power) sign contracts with the poor and with countries making the decisions we enter confrontation.
Confirmation of these words was soon seen inside Lithuania itself. The Chechen Gatajevas, who the Kremlin wanted so badly got refuge from Lithuania’s law enforcement in Finland. Our country “acquired” its first official terrorist thanks to the FSB – Egle Kusaite. She was charged with preparations of bombing somewhere in Russia. Lukashenko’s opposition’s finances were shown to him.
And in 2012 FSB agents from Russia with no resistance from Lithuania’s SSD recorded the Russian opposition leaders training in Trakai. These materials were used in the making of the Kremlin ordered Anatomy of a Protest movie where Russians were accused of training in Lithuania to overthrow the Putin regime. FSB’s materials in Lithuania gave the Investigation Commission an excuse to make a massive arrest of people from the anti-Putin opposition in Trakai and prosecute them. Again, is this a random coincidence?
– That kind of behavior is a result of the worldview, – said Valinskas who as many people with eyes and ears watched and was amazed as the ship of Lithuanian foreign policy did a 180. Like that fairy tale about Baba Yaga and the young Ivan. “Izbushka, Izbushka, face Ivan and turn your arse to…” And the arse was turned to America and their foreign interests in the post-Soviet countries.
With that she also fired people from high state posts for thinking differently of Lithuania’s friends and enemies.
The first victim of that was Vygaudas Ušackas. What did he do wrong? In the beginning of Grybauskaitė’s presidency she supposedly agreed to search for CIA’s secret prisons around Vilnius. There were supposedly illegally detained people there under terrorism charges. The news was run by ABC alleging Russian sources.
Grybauskaitė immediately demanded all of her departments to search for the prison and present evidence. Ušackas, being the MFA publicly announced that nothing like that happened.
– Yes. No secret there.
– How does she avenge?
– If she considers someone bad then I doubt you can wash that stain off. The most emotional was the firing of Ušackas.
Ušackas was fired with a “wolf ticket”. He later found work on his own in the EU mission in Afghanistan. American diplomats commented on the situation thusly:
On homosexuality to minors. She has a good relationship with Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, but her feud with Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas has become very open, and some Seimas (parliament) members lament her lack o political acumen. She can be very prickly in reacting to public criticism. Unlike many senior Lithuanian officials…
…business aspects from her planned trip to America. She can be prickly when criticized, especially in public, and the personal quality of her attacks on people she dislikes or disagrees with, such as FM Usackas, former VSD head Povilas Makalauskas and several ambassadors, has been noted. No Special Warmth for the U.S.
Ušackas, Malakauskas. This one also got heat for the secret CIA prison because he didn’t search well enough and didn’t find.
This period of President Grybauskaitė’s life is noted with her extreme confidence in her own power. Having started that storm about secret CIA prisons she ordered to prepare a visit to Washington. Maybe she was hoping that the wide geography of trips will mask her newly pro-Russian actions?
A few months later in the end of May 2012 it was known that US President Obama doesn’t have time to meet with Grybauskaitė in the White House. The well advertised preparations for the visit ended with Grybauskaitė receiving an invitation to a meeting in Prague where the US President will meet all of the Central and East European leaders. Grybauskaitė refused to go.
The Economist’s Edward Lucas quoted one of the NSA executives on the matter that – supposedly the only way for her, a former European Commission star to get into the white House is through the tourist entrance.
It was a negotiation fiasco, which went on for a few months. The visit that was supposed to fix Grybauskaitė’s reputation of pro-Slavic politician failed. She got that reputation after the first visit of a foreign country leader to Lithuania. As we know, Alexander Lukashenko visited the newly elected President. He brought lots of food and drinks and…fixed his image of the last European dictator ignored by the rest of the civilized world. Then there was an invitation to Moscow that Medvedev was expecting her in a time suitable for her.
And all of this just because Washington rubbed “Grybtse” the wrong way? It’s hard to believe that such significant decisions are made just because of insulted ambitions. Emotions must be a cover, a veil, for the well-hidden and thought-through plan.
By the way the failed Washington period had a solid monetary result. After becoming President Grybauskaitė said her firm “no” when Andriaus Kubiliaus’s government was deciding whether to loan money to compensate for the crisis. That “no” was said to the cheap IMF credits. Lithuania loaned money from commercial banks and paid out a more that 10% interest rate on billion sums and these loans are still hanging on the taxpayers’ necks.
By economist Norberto Penkaičis’s estimates every person in Lithuania old and young pays 700 litas of it every day. What makes up this sum?
As mentioned before, after the financial crisis struck Dalia Grybauskaitė made sure that Lithuania would cover budget deficits from commercial banks instead of the IMF. In 2009 Lithuania was loaning for 9% or more of interest. Latvia loaned from the IMF for 2.23%. Over the course of a few years of her and Kubiliaus’s rule the state debt rose exponentially. In that regard, Lithuania’s numbers were the highest in Europe, along with the lowest pay and biggest social divides and emigration.
The decision to loan money “expensively” Grybauskaitė explained with the country’s reputation:
– When a country is forced to turn to international organizations it shows that the state can’t handle it on its own, – said the President.
An inherently false point – we all know that Latvia paid off its debt to the IMF and was the first to declare bringing Euro in.
For these achievements for the European commercial banks and for quelling the crisis with internal reserves (pensions, social support, internal consumption) Dalia Grybauskaitė was awarded the Charlemagne Prize!
And all because Grybauskaitė had a bad time in Washington?!
The fact remains: Grybauskaitė’s diplomatic career was stopped in Washington. Since then she’s into finances.
– She doesn’t like MFA. She said that she worked there and knows everyone. – said a former Presidency worker.
Meeting the Power Players: Victor.
After the not so successful time in Washington Grybauskaitė returned right to the Ministry of Finances. First as Deputy Minister and the Minister. And only Valdas Adamkus lamented helping his comrade do the career leap master:
– Calling for Grybausakite and offering her to be the Minister of Finance I inadvertently opened her path to Brussels.
Grybauskaitė was the Finance Minister for three years. There are two long stories from that period. In total it cost Lithuania 80 million litas. I’ll explain.
In fall 2012 after the Seimas elections there was this impression that there was room only for one on Lithuania’s political arena. Either Grybausakite or Uspaskichas. You choose, Lithuania! She was such a tough opponent for Victor Victorovich. But in reality Grybauskaitė was big benefactor to Uspaskichas. Let’s start with the fact that as Minister of Finances she pull the Russian welder from the case that would have destroyed him before he would have spread his wings.
It isn’t easy finding people in Lithuania who could easily say things that Grybauskaitė wouldn’t like. They’rescared.
Vasilijus Papovas could have been her career twin-brother. They were born in the same year. Papovas also started his career “on the party line”: starter from Komsomol and worked his way up. Was the first secretary of Kaunas’s Comparty department. Here’s where the similarity ends because he chose Brazauskas’s CPL from the first day.
I watch him leave the Kaunas administration and approaches me looking in the camera. Haven’t seen him in a while. Probably since 2004 when his run as a Seimas member ended and he based himself in Kaunas.
– Hello, Vasilijus
He knows why I’m here. I wait for him to confirm or deny Grybauskaitė’s part in once dirty story.
– Bad timing…
– It’ll never be good. Tell me and we separate. Who decided that Virginija Žuromskaitė could be fired with a wolf ticket? – I ask and see how Vasilijus sighs and looks at the mic. Sighsa gain. Will he speak? – Who got rid of the civil servant who was just doing her duty?
– Oh this will be bad for me… Grybauskaitė! Our President. I was the only one Virginija had left. Everyone else turned away from her. But even I couldn’t do anything.
A woman of middle age and usual height. Not slim, nor fat. Has a pleasant smile. If you see her at a shop you’d think she’s a doctor. In 2007 when the Paskutinė instancijаcrew broke into Virginija Žuromskaitė’s office she was no longer the head of the Tax Inspection of Kaunas region. Žuromskaitė by then was…noone. Just a person.
– Finally we’ve reached the line when… you realize that the forces aren’t equal and you have to strength… – there are her words from 2012 when her boss Dalia Grybauskaitė already declared the victor. Not her, but Victor Uspaskichas. And also allowed a bucket of fecal matter to be poured on her head.
Those words of Virginija weren’t recorded by me, but by Vytautas Matulevičius. He interviewed Virginija on her last day of work as the head of the Tax Inspection. He tried to joke in that strange Cheshire Cat style where you can’t tell if he sympathizes with you or is mocking you: “So that means you lost?” Maybe he felt that it was his turn. Victor Victorovich later decided to silence Vytautas too. He declared it publicly on a press conference. That’s how it happened later. Matulevičius was kicked from Television.
Before his trip to Kaunas the unemployed Vytautas warned me:
– Don’t call and warn her. Maybe if caught off guard she’ll talk for a bit.
The yard of the old city of Kaunas. We knock:
– Can we?
– Yes please.
– You know, we came to talk about old times. – Virginija sees the TV crew. I hope she won’t send us away…
– Memories are a painful thing, – she says and smiles. A sad and ironic smile. Not a sign of fear on her face, just a lot of disappointment. – I don’t know I should remember these things…
To a tax inspector it’s a simple and clear story. The Lithuanian government buys gas, but the Lithuanian seller doesn’t pay any taxes. Žuromskaitė went and arrested 271 million litas on Jangila’s company account registered on the Virgin Islands and demanded that they pay 7 million in tax. Victor Uspaskichas howled from pain.
It couldn’t have happened any other way. Uspaskichas was the intermediate between Gazprom and Lithuaniaat the time. What does that mean? It means that you can call the PM or any minister at any time of day. The power of a man like that is like the Garbaravičius family’s influence. Remember the picture? Grybauskaitė’s HQ is celebrating her victory on the Presidential elections. Whose sitting on the table to the right of the victor? Jonas Garbaravičius, the intermediate of the Russian electromonopoly.
The story of Uspaskichas became the intermediate along with a group of companies in Klaipeda is outright creepy. Whoever didn’t guess to get out of the way was hit on the head with a baseball bat and then throw into roundhouse for three days while the men negotiated.
Before Uspaskichas and co this business belong to the Kaunasian Gintaras Čepas. When he came to me in the Verslo žinios editorial I saw a silent man with weary eyes. He moaned and moaned and didn’t say how he got into the gas business. I guess knowing how to keep your mouth shut is in the job description.
You don’t need a lot of brains for the business itself. Along with a few Gazprom bosses’ relatives you start a private limited company, buy gas, throw the price up on the Lithuania border and the split the excess. About 60% of the income goes to the Russians of course.
But there came a time for change and its name was – Stella vitae. The ones in control of the company to replace Čepas are now know to the populace from the Žmonės journal: Antanas Bosas, Rimandas Stonys, Raimundas Paliukas, Sigitas Paulauskas and Viktoras Uspaskichas. After becoming gas-men half of them switches to younger wives. Another step in life, you now have the winds of the world blowing through your hair…
Uspaskichas was the biggest of the three. He also had the separate machine of boiling gas money called Jangila. In gas-men folklore there’s a story of how Uspaskichas got into the business because he married his classmate, who was the daughter of Nikolay Guslistyi, who later became the deputy head of Gazprom.
According to one written source, which was submitted to my editorial, Uspaskichas got a lot of assets in Russia with that classmate. A 214 m apartment in Moscow on Nametkin and an countryside villa in the “Gazprom” village “Gorki-4”. The neighbors include former mayor of Moscow Luzhkov and the family of former Soviet PM Chernomyrdin. And also an influential business man by the nickname of “Mikhas” dealing with him supposedly got Uspaskichas into a lot of trouble. Or so the source says.
Algirdas Brazauskas was also standing behind these men shaking up the gas import business. The President was just relaxing on the Lithuanian beachside when the then new Rėmas Viachirev of Gazprom came by for approval.
But Viachirev had to be pulled from Čepas by force. Before that Čepas and the head of Gazprom were to meet together. But what a pinch! Right before the meeting Čepas was hit by a baseball bat upon leaving his house. When he woke up Viachirev was in Moscow and the police never found the assailants.
Then Čepas was invited to an audience at the Gazprom Black Sea Mansion. Čepas was packing his bags when suddenly the police come knocking on his door. “Hands above your head!” and three days in the roundhouse. “You are suspected in massive metal smuggling!” and after three days: “Sorry, our suspicions didn’t pay off. Free to go!!” Viachirev had dinner alone again.
The finale of this story was hastened by Russian PM Victor Chernomyrdin, the initiator and supporter of Gazprom when someone of the Stella Vitae managed to slither to him. He suspected that Viachirev won’t leave Čepas so easily so… “You know, I got ahold of some information. Čepas is suspected of serious crimes – smuggling” – said the Russian PM to the head of Gazprom. Čepas has left the gas business.
– Say what you will, but random welders don’t get to these places! – Viktoras Muntianas who worked for Uspaskichas for few long years and having run away later.
“Not random” means that he has Kremlin backing and maybe a rank in some secret service.
The most sloppy was Uspaskichas’s own version. Supposedly he came to Lietuvos dujоs as a simple welder. Saw a Russian letter on a boss’s table and read it. The letter explained the idea of exсhanging gas for various deficit good. He liked the idea:
– I couldn’t read Lithuanian at the time.
– Couldn’t at the time?
– How could I? I only got to Lithuania at the start of its independence.
– You came to the boss’s office as a welder and read the letter. That’s how it all started?
– No, I won’t talk to you then! Because I wasn’t there as just a welder. I was the chief of a welding company. I wouldn’t be interested in talking with you!
– You said that you drove the cash back to Moscow?
– Why should I tell you the intricacies of business? Especially those not connected to Lithuania?
– Are these really intricacies?
– Yes, they are.
There was also another story. From earlier times when Uspaskichas was in SSD’s sights. His Lithuanian pronunciation was even funnier than it is now:
– Well, you know, we in Vikonda have connections as an in-between and we made deal, as Gazprom wanted it, for 300 million. We make the deal with foreign companies and we need to pay them immediately so Jangila. We could have done that. But I can’t tell you everything, it’s a trade secret.
Only around 2005 when Uspaskichas was a real thorn in the authority’s tail – when he started demanding a bigger piece of the pie, – did the serious people get a hold of him. The SSD got a new folder for him titled: “Grant”. They started spying on Uspaskichas when they suspected that he was no “svarshik” (welder), but a SVaRshik. That’s how the secret services call people from the SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki).
I was told of the “Svarshiks” by Algimantas Matulevičius at his office on Kaštonų Street. We talked on an old balcony, which probably wasn’t reinforced in a while:
– Go, go. It probably won’t break off and fall today, – joked Matulevičius, quite the character.
Once an active Komsomol member and now a businessman who still has hopes of returning to the Seimas. No chance! Who’d take him? He has a loose tongue like no other. We’re talking in May. Some Matulevičius’s party member brought us coffee. It’s hot outside and pretty grim inside the office.
– Even Lubys couldn’t have that kind of business with Russia. When he was in Moscow once, at Gazprom. He said that he could do it like Uspaskichas and give Lithuanian pork in exchange for gas he was told: “Not our problem!” and pointed at Lubyanka where the orders were coming from.
Lubyanka is this place in the center of Moscow where the KGB HQ resides. AndMatulevičiussaid that the late Bronislavus Lubys was told by the Gazprom people to go there if he wants to be as big as Uspaskichas.
I take a picture of Matulevičius on that balcony with a birch in the background. We both have no idea how this cooperation would haunt us:
– Will you say?
– I will. Our SSD saw it for a long time… Not that he was 100% grabbed by the hand, but his contacts and ties with Russian special services, among then specifically with the SVR.
– Intentional ties? Did he realize he was dealing with intelligence officers?
– We’re talking about the whole project with him and his financing is tied.
Well hot damn! And what if Matulevičius is making this up? What if no one ever looked into Uspaskichas’s ties with Russia’s secret services?
I found a man who confirmed that Matulevičius didn’t make anything up. A former KGB agent. But scared like a bunny.
– Just do everything so they wouldn’t recognize me, – asked that person.
– Don’t worry, we’ll also change your voice, just tell us. – And they told us:
– People were questioned. About Uspaskichas’s party and about earlier Prunskienė parties. And about Paulauskas.
– Who was questioned?
– Let’s say we had people who infiltrated as members… And secondly, we dug in various directions. Damulis department was working with the embassies with secret wiretapping, etc. Pociūnai department was working on economic ties: how the money trails traveled. And another department was handling parties, NGOs, national minorities, media. Digging from all angles we got similar results.
And so? They watched and they saw. They found that Uspaskichas’s confidantes took big sums in cash from Latvian banks and then drove then to Lithuania. There were telephone conversations recorded. Where are these materials? Matulevičius said what happened later. When it was found out that Uspaskichas was not just a charismatic Russian guy who used dance and song to woo the Lithuanian female electorate who haven’t had an energetic man in a while, the KGB people took this materials to the politicians.
– Kirkilas and Januška in the USA embassy bragged that they had a plan to split the Labor Party!
If not the WikiLeaks scandal where a ton materials from the American diplomats’ secret correspondence was leaked then the “Grant” would still remain unknown. Why? Because the KGB file on the “secret account books” of the Party weren’t there. Let’s all shrug as to why?
But the KGB people’s hands were untied when the Social-democrats allowed them to shake the “Laborers” up. The Party split. Muntianas was declared a hero. He became the Seimas chairman and gave me this interview:
– The biggest mystery of the gas business is how much was given away. I knew he had to give the money to someone to pay the cut…
Everybody knew that.
Everybody includes the Panevėžio region prosecutor Justinas Pupka. When the Paskutinė instancija was first interested in the Jangila con Justinas spilled the beansL
– They brought in money from that Latvia…
– In cash?
– Yes mostly…
– Those operations were huge?
– Yes, huge. About a million a week.
Well I’ll be damned… A million in cash…One precise hit of an unidentified assailant’s baseball bat to Čepas’s head and the well-timed police raid on his house and the simple welder Victor is getting richer by the hour.
Saved Uspaskichas Millions
Money. A lot of unaccounted money with which you could buy everyone. Zuromskaitė saw this in 2002 and warned everyone:
– I went to all of the higher levels. First the reaction was pretty positive…And then there was a significant turn – it was decided to forget about this whole situation and all that. I was to all of the important figures, civil servants and government agencies that were concerned and who should have acted to solve this problem, but I was denied by only two high posts.
– The President and the PM. I just didn’t get an audience… The Presidency declined, saying it wasn’t their problem and not their matter…
– And did you go to Grybauskaitė about this question?
– She didn’t meet with me. Just didn’t let me in…
– Did she explain it?
– If she didn’t let me in than she didn’t explain anything. That’s that, – said Virginija sighing and then asked:
– And now explain to me in what kind of country are we living in!
The Jangila con was briefly and clearly explained by journalist Audrius Bačiulis in Veidas: “The Uspaskichas controlled private firm Vikonda made a deal with the international commercial firm Jangila incorporated with which it conceded that firm its gas in-between business. As state inspectors later discovered Jangila got 271 million Lt. from Vikonda’s conceded business during the 1995-1997 period. But Jangila’s director hid the income by not registering Jangila as a tax payer”
Virginija Zuromskaitė, head of Kaunas region tax inspection got that letter from the state inspection.
– Arrest the accounts! – she commanded.
And that’s when the thriller starts: searches, tax theft suspicions. But the consequences of those actions did catch up to Uspaskichas, but Zuromskaitė herself. In the end she was fired.
Uspaskichas was celebrating a double victory. He considered Zuromskaitė a personal foe and gloated of her defeat in the chair of the Seimas economic committee president. The one who got him that post was Artūras Paulauskas, former Prosecutor General. It’s a joke. Uspaskichas is a the Seimas economic committee president! It wasn’t funny at all when it turned out that during his time there his family’s business got almost 20% of the SAPARD support funds meant for all of Lithuania.
– I have records where it openly says, calling me by name, that “she must not work, she must be imprisoned”. Imprisoned for what? They tried to start a case criminal against me on his order and request. For what? These kind of people are fairly simple in that regard, if they need a reason, they’ll find it. They tried finding a reason. – said Zuromskaitė.
Grybauskaitė as Zuromskaitė’s boss allowed Uspaskichas to have his victory over that woman, who was just trying to protect government interests:
– There was revision in the inspection… I was purposefully fired, – said the former fighter feeling sorry that “those people who were part of that story forgot about the state’s interests behind their backs”.
Virginija Zuromskaitė was fired with the baggage of a criminal case against her, where she supposedly organized the inspection’s meal system in an improper way. When everything silenced down that case disappeared.
The culmination of the confrontation between the civil servant and Uspaskichas is hard to explain. Zuromskaitė was under surveillance.
– I once wondered whether I could be killed or not, – said the woman. – These aren’t just words: you feel how someone’s watching you when everywhere you go there’s a car with few men inside who are always watching. You got to a newspaper HQ and then run away through the backdoor.
– They were watching a civil servant?
– Yes, a civil servant.
– And no one warned you that it would be bad?
– In many ways…there were hints of influential people that I had to back down. You know, various signals… But I honestly trusted in the transparency of power…even more when it came to higher powers. That they would protect me, – said Zuromskaitė.
First it seemed that it would be so. Algimantas Salamakinas, president of the Seimas’s ethics and procedures commission demanded that the Finance Minister hand him the documents gathered by Zuromskaitė. There was a vote in the Seimas. Papovas said that Brazauskas’s vote was the tie-breaker… In the Jangila case the criminal charges were swapped out form administrative ones. Then the expiration date came. The Supreme Court senate decided that the case was not even in Lithuania’s jurisdiction because Jangila was registered on the Virgin islands.
After that joint defeat the prosecutor who tried to help Zuromskaitė told me:
– We tried to initiate changes to the law…through Grybauskaitė…to change the laws, but…we were denied. It seemed like the state didn’t want the money.
In reality in this story Grybauskaitė acted like she was ordered to by the man who her career depended on – Algirdas Brazauskas. She managed to tame Brazauskas, even if he was scared of her at first. Valdas Adamkus told us about that:
– I was talking to PM Brazauskas about candidates for the Finance Minister post. I proposed Grybauskaitė who Brazauskas at the time didn’t want, preferring Butkevičius. I thought that Grybauskaitė had more experience. That’s the only reason I didn’t agree with Brazauskas’s offer of Butkevičius. We needed someone experienced in the Finance Ministry at that time. We discussed it and in the end the PM agreed. He said we’ll go talk to Grybauskaitė.
By “we” Adamkus here means his advisors Januška, Kuolys and co… Back then they honestly believed that “cool woman” Grybauskaitė could control the state’s finances and protect them from the politician’s appetites. But Grybauskaitė used that appetite as a sort of trampoline. She handled the cases of figures who has a political homefront, and in return got the recommendation for Brussels.
Algirdas Brazauskaswas a pragmatic. All these Russian advisors were part of the reality he himself was creating. When he allowed all of these uspaskichases, stoniuses, and bosases and other speculators into the energy market they said that you could meet one of his son-in-laws in Klaipeda.
They came in regularly, like the pat… – said Juozas Paliakas, who worked for such figures and then exposed them. He told us that a homemade bomb “went of due to negligence”
I remember Zuromskaitė’s words when she walked us after that long and tiring talk:
– This is not just the actions of individuals, this is fertile soil for more of these people to appear. Not one, then the other. They find loopholes to climb in.
And Grybauskaitė learned from Brazauskas:
– I am his student, – she said at his funeral. Brazauskas thanked her by putting her candidacy up for European commissioner. While others say that he wanted to get rid of her with that. Brazauskas never liked manly and noisy women who were also prone to intrigue.
The social democrats are whispering among themselves that Brazauskas enslaved Grybauskaitė also with a personal interest. That during their cooperation she was building a house, but was…stuck. The PM supposedly felt sorry and led her to the right people. They also say that from that moment typing parcels for excised goods was given to a specific company. Nothing changes when you find out that there was enough parcels for contraband…
It all happened in 2001-2002. The SSD still didn’t have the “Grant” file. So the leaders of the state had no idea that by hurting Zuromskaitė and helping Uspaskichas they were helping a “SVaRshik”.
But no. When state inspection studied Jangila, Uspaskichas being a big businessman (only Jangila hid 271 million of litas) became the president of the National small and medium business confederation. And his first action on the official post – a threat of a mass strike.
– I’ll just ask the workers to stop working, – he said.
He also said that this won’t be like a market meeting or a picket of a few dozen farmers.
– It’ll encompass all of Lithuania! – said the 39 year old Uspaskichas.
More than ten years later history repeats itself. Only it was the Labor party that threatened to take to the streets. That’s when for the first time the SSD started studying the schemes of Uspaskichas and his friends.
– Nothing serious, we’re studying a social phenomenon, – said Mečys Laurinkus.
– It’s all aimed at acquiring wealth – unimaginable wealth, at any cost. And on the other hand we count how many people leave the country each week – hundreds of thousands, – said Zuromskaitė.
– Have you ever felt that you’re fighting one person?
– Yes, I thought so occasionally…
– About what?
– That he’s acting with huge overconfidence. There are more stories of him destroying people who stand in his way. And it all ended with his victory. And his appetites grew…These defeats weigh on a person. It’s not easy to get up afterwards. Only with God’s and the people’s help. And the ones to help, just as the ones to sell you out, are the ones you least expect it from.
If you’re thinking of finding this woman now, then you probably won’t be able to. After changing numerous places of work Zuromskaitė now works in a small office in a government organization and you can’t walk in on her with a camera:
– I’ve fought my share and lost. I won’t say anything else. Leave.
You have the right to choose. But there are those who don’t. It’s a strange breed. If they see someone steal – they call the police. What are you doing? Can’t you see that it’s the powers that are stealing?.. When a man like that loses it’s hard to look at them – like proud wolfhound who was sold out by its master. He’s sitting there faithfully and realizes what will happen.
Creating a Lithuanian Khodorkovsky
Victor Uspaskichas was late as always. There was new girl in his audience hall. She didn’t remember the special agents in their masks dragging the files and computers away. Most of the personnel changed because it turned out that part of those who he trusted were coaxed into helping the SSD gather information on him. They told them of how enormous sums of money from foreign countries (supposedly sanctioned by the Russian special services) flowed here. That’s how the “secret accounting” of the Labor Party case was born.
And finally the Mercedes rolls to a building in the center of Vilnius and Uspaskichas exits the car, beat up but not beaten.
– You haven’t lost your appreciation of beautiful women, – I nod at the secretary, sitting behind the fancy table.
– Nah, I’m still young! Right now to man with all the advantages any woman is sexual object. Everything else was proven before. No secrets, – Uspaskichas enters his office when we already set up a filming crew.
Uspaskichas demonstrates his existing and presumed sexuality shamelessly, like Kubilius shows his skill in taking a retired old man’s things so that Lithuania can prosper. Like in that Lithuanian proverb: “One lets the goat drink milk, while the other feeds the cock some eggs” (“Vienas ožio pienu girdo, kitas – gaidžio kiaušiniais vaišina”)… Uspaskichas demonstrates his masculinity with implied excapades with younger women. It works better for the elections than “good deeds”.
But in 2012 it was time to repay the kindness. The President demands the oligarch’s scalp! The Prosecutor’s office changed the demanded punishment for Uspaskichas to a more severe one before the second tour of the elections. He will do time! The Prosecutors explain that it’s a coincidence, but it’s obvious that she ordered them to! SHE did! Grybauskaitė will be president under who oligarchs will be scared of prosecution.
But despite those talks both Uspaskichas and Grybauskaitė know one thing: the Party’s case made it to court in the “castrated state”. It doesn’t have the “Grant” part which shows his SVR ties. He is Grybauskaitė’s personal Khodorkovsky, a victim of the system, a martyr of the “rotten justice system”.
…My secret interviewee, a former KGB agent keeps looking around and checking whether his face will really be obscured:
– In Lithuania, like in other post-Soviet countries where Russia aims to keep everything in its hand, they are preparing a socialistic struggle of a kind. They finance a few parties and politicians at once. The one who works the best gets more funding. Therefore, rivals, although getting money from the same source, fight and bicker on screen…
Uspaskichas doesn’t like answering my questions. He wants to have his monologue going:
– Did you hear about the operational case “Grant”?
Uspaskichas shakes his head.
– You haven’t heard? It’s an old case where you, Stonys, Bosas and all those tied to Russian gas were checked for tied with Russians secret services. Heard of it?
He shakes his head again. The he sniffles (a habit that got his political opponents to suspect him of drug use) and pushes his lower jaw forward as he answers:
– All those operational case they can take with them to the bathroom. Who needs them if they falsify them.
– Not all of it…
– How do you know? Are you SSD?
– No. I want to ask on whether you and Paulauskas, who is now your deputy in the party thought that you were linked to Russian special services when he was the Seimas president?
He lowers his head:
– He said…so he was behind this all.
Talking with Uspaskichas I got the feeling that he knows of that SSD case and its contents. He also knows on whose orders it was never put into motion. And this reminds a similar situation when Dujotekana company which took over after Stella Vitae’s gas in-between business wasn’t declared a Russian secret service front. Even though it was prepared by Vytautas Pociūnas of the SSD. But in Lithuania that’s just how it goes. There wasn’t a single spy caught here. There were spied caught in Estonia and Latvia, but Lithuania pretends no one is spying on it.
– You didn’t know? You were secretly under surveillance and the those people who brought the “black cash” from Latvia were also under surveillance.
– I have talked over the phone with Grybauskaitė, Brazauskas and Adamkus many times.
– Well enough, what if those talks were publicized?
– They don’t have the right to. Why?
– If they don’t include it into the case…
– That the party’s finances went through Latvian banks?
– That’s stupid and the work of scammers and I’ll tell it to the camera: those who talk about it are scammers. Tell me their names…
– Matulevičius. If he says that then he is a scammers and a liar. Let him sue me.
– And will you sue him for saying that?
– Never. Did you ever hear about me suing anyone over any information?
I did. Algimantas Matulevičiaus’s brother Vytautas lost his TV show due to being sued by you.
– He tells even scarier thing, – I continue Matulevičiaus words on the SVR connection, but he ignored my words.
When Grybauskaitė became Presidents her previous benevolence of Uspaskichas was viewed as a forced measure. As proof of that after seizing power she tried to mend that. Just look at her behavior and actions after the 2012 Seimas elections.
– She’s the only one who tried to stop the pro-Russian forces who falsified the elections results! – from the anonymous internet folklore.
On words – yes. In actions – no. The opposite actually. The most crucial piece of evidence that could had given the Constitutional court the right to nullify the voting results in the monomandate district disappeared in the most important moment.
– We asked if they (the prosecutors) could give us the evidence, but they said that the case was being investigated and they didn’t know when the investigation would end, – said Zenonas Vaigauskas.
Everyone interested saw a part of that evidence. It was a recording of the secret negotiations on a mass purchase of votes for the Labor Party in the monomandate district. The middle-men were a bunch of “thugs” – men with colorful criminal biographies. They videotaped it on professional gear from the start.
– They filmed it in case the “Laborers” would refuse to pay, – that was the “legend”
The “thugs” were lucky and the “client” didn’t suspect a thing. They recorded the process of how they got advance payment and negotiations of the final payment.
But the smooth process during which the evidence could be gathered on buying votes was interrupted by the prosecutors. There was a search in one the “thugs” apartments. The Police took his PC and all of the recordings.
Let’s think logically: if there was a search that means they knew what was happening. They knew the process was interrupted during the most pivotal phase – the elections during which the voices would be bought. Was why it interrupted? They needed to just watch them until the end and the Labor party would have been done for!
– They didn’t know that there was another copy, – told the vote buying middle-man in a fake voice.
“They” means the state figures, who the “gangsters” never trust. “You’re a journalist, it’s different” I hear the shady compliment.
But those recommended that he bring the material to me missed slightly. They didn’t know that TV3 banned the topic of elections during their course… Stupid, absurd, but that was the decision. So in the last broadcast of Paskutinė instancijа before the elections those records weren’t shown.
Then they appeared on the Delfi portal. Liberal-centrist Algis Čaplikas’s assistant brought the recording to the journalists. She probably got it from Liberal-centrist Dainius Dabašinskas and he was supplied with it by his former subordinate Romualdas Vaišnoras, deputy director of the SSD. The man who gave Grybauskaitė the idea of secret CIA prisons in Antaviliai. A man who she trusts. That’s just a theory though.
How those records got to the KGB and politicians isn’t all that important. At that same moment the criminal case became “blackmail material”
– A provocation… – Uspaskichas waved it off.
– You ruined the case! – I told the detective who called me to testify on this case.
– You’re wrong, we were following this case for a long while, – replied the civil servant.
– Then you were cruelly deceived!
– Think what you want. Your right.
We exchanged phrases after the Constitutional Court decided that it can’t nullify the monomandate district’s votes.
The finale showed that I was right. Prosecution will hand this case to court and the laborers will accomplices to the “thugs” for attempting to buy votes. That means that instead of tracing the laborers and catching their hands the law enforcement saved the Labor party from the election results reset.
This isn’t just my opinion, this is publicly declared opinion of a certified lawyer Tomas Chochrinas: “The Seimas and Presidency representatives based all of their claims on the fact that interfering with the election process and the Constitutional Court’s presumption that: “If there is a proven situation of mass or systematic vote buying then it is presumed that these violations had a significant effect on the elections results.” Almost all of claims by G. Songailos, and I. Pukanasytė are “could have been” and “Presumably”, etc.”
Laucius could punish someone for an opportunity to commit a crime of “terrorism” in the Eglė Kusaitė case which he made up with the FSB. In other cases you need evidence and the KGB (I assume) and the police didn’t gather all of those.
Later the President will say one thing and do the other. She said that there will be Labor Party Ministers. And then she made as many Labor party ministers as the elected majority allowed her to.
Another Favor for Algirdas Mykolas: Lithuanian Shopkeepers get 79 million
Let’s return to the chronology. Grybauskaitė is the Finance Minister in the left’s government.
– If I did that, I’d be in jail, – said Uspaskichas.
It was barely a few weeks from the final moments of the Jangila scandal and the Seimas economic committee president took the new righteous man role. He faceplamed when VP Market made a deal with Grybauskaitė that her Finance Ministry would return 79 024 339 litas of tax to Vilnius shopkeepers.
– Miss Dalia, do you remember that?
That was one of two times when Dalia Grybauskaitė talked to me. Both times she was making excuses for the state’s compliance to the nine Vilnius shopkeepers. It was right before the Presidential elections. Grybauskaitė was answering via phone from Brussels. And recalled that story:
– (They) used the tax privileges of employing invalids and set the papers to the State Tax Inspection. 103 million. I was informed of the situation as Finance Minister and I immediately told them to study the case carefully and challenge the sum itself. The State Tax Inspection negotiated with the group (VP) and managed to challenge one third of the sum. But sadly we had to agree to 76 million.
“Had to agree” meant that every taxpayer took 23 litas from his pocket and gave it to the nice shopkeepers. Just like in the Jangila case Grybauskaitė was going this not of her own will, but as an executive of the “higher will”
– After a live TV government meeting in 2002 I declared that sadly the tax benefit and the law itself were not violated.
Ha! When simple Lithuanian women will start using a different tax benefit – getting maximum maternity leave benefits – then they’ll open start mass persecution for con. So in case of VP Market it was widely spoken of corruption. The Finance Minister, Prosecutor’s office and tax inspection will all be on the shopkeepers’ side. “There’s no crime here” said the prosecutors. They were deaf and blind just as the one who saw and allowed it, saying “it’s legal”.
Who are these men who made the passionate Grybausakite into a docile lamb? What powers stand behind them? If I was asked I’d say that because they were doctors they brilliantly diagnosed the main diseases of Lithuanian politicians – greed. But instead of curing them they nurtured it. But differently from others, they never shared their business with them. Service – cash. That’s the legend.
Those men’s story is no different from other cases of quick wealth. Until they found their “cover” they were simple workers.
“The VP nine” was how they called themselves. When these men will break the lucky number bad go for a “ten” everything will fall apart. But then in 2002 there was nine of them and it seemed the whole world would lie at their feet.
– “Come and open a shop for us!” An then can do it themselves, but they don’t think about it. This slightly surprises me, – said Ignas Staškevičius once.
Back then Staškevičius was the head of the VP nine’s crown jewel – the trade network. Looking at him you’d think that his blood runs twice as fast. Always tight, maybe stressed. A marathon runner. You can’t beat him. An ace. He bragged that during Ukraine’s President’s visit to the “acropolis” he asked:
– Build one at our place!
Of course. In Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria… After that their plans of expansion disappeared. The Poles protested. Belarus started opening up only after the shopkeepers’ fist started getting weak and the assets gatherer over almost ten years was divided.
Staškevičius met with me right after his victory over Grybauskaitė. They had 79 million in the register, which they got by selling their own property to an invalid company hosted by one the stockholder’s wife.
– What happened? – I ask.
– Nothing special. Vilniaus prekyba stockholders agreed to sell their estate to Spindulis and after that VP Market didn’t pay the tax to the state.
All the money and estate were still in a company that was headed by an honestly blind sister of one of the stockholders and wife of another stockholder. Details. The stockholders estate was given to an NGO. Later VP Market bought part of the sold estate.
Because the invalid organization isn’t supposed to pay VAT then VP Market demanded the 79 million Lt. back. They say they inflated their own stock sevenfold.
Is it wise to give you money and assets to an NGO, even if it’s “Yours”. Staškevičius’s clarification was unusual:
– You’ll have to talk to Nerijus about that. He has a vision on how to make sure that Vilniaus Prekyba’s assets were not separated by inheritance or it would be Lithuania’s Nokia, which is successful because the capital is divided. The answer is…NGOs. Their assets can’t be split between members who would just buy themselves Ferrari’s – said Staškevičius.
He couldn’t even guess that Lithuania’s Nokia would be destroyed by their greed. Business partners will separate, families will fall part, and their illustrious living quarters meant for themselves will be populated by others.
– Nerijus is the most important out of us. There were more groups like ours, but the stockholders there fought, shot and destroyed each other’s business. But Nerijus hold us together with, I’d say, charisma. And we’re all individuals, yet some of us are tied with familial ties. Those are even harder to control.
– How does Numavičius do it?
– Don’t think me sentimental, but I think he’s very honest.
Uh huh…In the early years of independence the future owners of Vilniaus prekybа were called the “medic gang”. Guys, classmates from the medical faculty bought out all the investment checks which the first Lithuanian millionaires needed to legalize their assets through privatization . The biggest purchase was the sugar factories of Lithuania’s stock.
They say that they used the legal loopholes and had many privatizers empty their pockets to them – came right before the auction and offered a price “too big”. Want them to call their offer off? Pay them.
– What’s wrong if that’s the order? – shrugged Staškevičius. Later their skills in interpreting the laws will help them seize the government’s pocket.
Staškevičius’s voice changed when I changed the conversation towards authorities’ protectionism. Everyone in Lithuania “knows” that the Vilniaus prekybа is under Gediminas Vagnorius’s wing. The Uspaskichas story was told as proof of that assumption. This seemingly unstoppable master of Kėdainiai was supposed to sell his Vikonda sales network because he couldn’t best Vilniaus prekybа in a struggle for the expanding market.
– It’s all very simple. When Uspaskichas came into town and expressed his desire to start a shop he wasn’t given permission. Vilniaus prekybа showed up and suddenly all bureaucratic barriers vanished, – noted someone who watched this process up close. In his words Vilniaus prekybа would have never expanded passed the barracks near Vilnius railway if not for government protection.
– What protections? For a normal businessman to not get hit in the head during his legal activities? Then I’ll agree, we had that protection. Silly talk, – angrily barked Staškevičius, when I explained my theory of the politician’s protection.
However protection alone wouldn’t be enough if Vilniaus prekybа didn’t have a huge starting capital. Staškevičius admitted that the foundation of Vilniaus prekybа is sugar. Or more precisely – the Lithuanian sugar factories stocks sold at a high price. That high price is still remembered by the current heads of Danisco sugar
The Danish sugarers felt cheated. They were promised from the very highest posts of Vagnorius’s government that half of the factories will be allowed to close down, the production modernized and most of the workers fired. Then the sugar industry in Lithuania would be worth the money the Danish paid Vilniaus prekybа. Unfortunately for them the government resigned without fulfilling its promises and the successors had no intention of completing their predecessors’ promises. And the farmers started swinging their hoes too.
With Staškevičius we also talked of a lot of small shops which closed down when Vilniaus prekybа came into the cities and towns of Lithuania. I remember Staškevičius said that supposedly they’re “guilty” of many people living Lithuania.
The masters of destiny! Conductors of the future state…These nine men got so used to the role that when it wasn’t them doing the tempting, they couldn’t refuse and bought what they thought were money printing machines. A monopoly of Lithuania’s energetics. Two tempting “snakes” – Kubilius and Kirkilas – got the idea of putting Lithuanian capital into the basket of energy independence. That’s how it looked from the outside. However, it was rotten in the core.
First, the shopkeepers were sold the West Distribution Nets (VST). Algimantas Matulevičius explained how it happened:
– During privatization, of VST the “boys” from Maxima used financial equilibristics: first they paid 680 million Lt. and then it turns out they overestimated energy assets and made it that income “out of thin air” brought everything back. As a result – VST, a huge piece of Lithuanian energy given to Maxima as a gift!
The militant politician didn;’t forget to mention who was Finance Minister during the privatization:
– Grybauskaitė! And she said nothing.
It is so: Grybauskaitė’s words (and silence) frequently mismatch what she’s doing. When in 2009 she turned her ship back in Lithuania’s direction, the LEO LT crisis was already underway. Grybauskaitė’s old clients from Vilniaus prekybа with two of Lithuania’s political parties (the conservators and the social-democrats) were creating a state and privatizers energy monopoly. The LEO – an energy lion – was supposed to build a new nuclear power plant and free Lithuania from Russia’s energy prison. Not a bad thought, but the execution…
“The oligarchic top!” – those ere Grybauskaitė’s words. And her actions? The opposite of course.
In Valdas Adamkus’s team the main LEO player was Nerijus Udrėnas. He represented the president at the round table where everyone was gathered: the ruling, the opposition and Daukanto Square.
– Udrėnas assured us the Seimas needed to pass the legislation batch from LEO because they were short on time: they needed to order new nuclear reactors. We already showed that law where no one said a word about constructing a nuclear power plant, but he still pushed his wagon, – said a member of the meeting.
Then this happened. The Seimas passed the LEO law, Adamkus signed it and Kubilius advised his own not to interfere.
– It would be unwise to pull the breaks on this project, it’s best to make sure that the “energy lion” reached its greatest goals, – he said.
But suddenly breaking news. Udrėnas, the main propagator of LEO, leaves Adamkus’s team while shutting the door. Why?
– Natural process, – he said. And 2009 came. Grybauskaitė became president and who did she call into her team from Adamkus’s team of advisors? Udrėnas! The economics advisor with a historian’s education.
A bright man, politician and lawyer Kęstutis Čilinskas, who abandoned his parliamentary mandate and refused to go to the Seimas with the conservators because the latter supported LEO, naively hoped that Grybauskaitė, who was so avidly against LEO before the election will stick to her guns. The whole deal will be declared illegal from the moment it was made and the shopkeepers will be escorted out with empty pockets. But they still managed to gain back millions on accounting machinations for VST.
Grybauskaitė again compensating VP Market from the treasury. But this time they got a lot more than the VAT scheme.
680 000 000 Lt.! That’s how much the Vilnius shopkeepers got on the split. The company fell apart. But nobody made any legal demands.
– Nobody will start a court case, – said Arvydas Sekmokas, Energy Minister protected by Grybauskaitė like a prized goose. Him and Simonytę.
Let’s sum it up. Arithmetic is easy. 7 048 029 Lt. VAT, which the government didn’t receive from Uspaskichas’s Jangila, and 79 014 339 Lt. lost by the government to the Vilnius shopkeepers. That adds up to 86 063 368 Lt. lost by the state and the ticket to Brussels is in Grybauskaitė’s pocket. Celebrating the return to Lithuania and the destruction of LEO for the privatizers was nine times was nine times more expensive.
– She re-e-ally likes it in Brussels, – shared a colleague, who visited Grybauskaitė frequently.
I immediately remembered how Algirdas Brazauskas went to Brussels to sign that Agreement on Partnership in the name of peach and a group of journalists flew with him. Returning home Brazauskas poured Whiskey for his crew and wondered:
– I feel strange. Before I went to Moscow. Now to Brussels. And no difference. In both place I have to beg.
And what did Grybauskaitė like in Brussels? The feeling of being in charge of everyone who’s left in Lithuania?
The post of the commissioner of budget matters was never considered prestigious. All the decisions on how European money is to be used is made the leaders of the big countries. The commissioner only has to officialize it. Not many want such a post – a lot of technical work and not enough independence, – said a diplomat, who worked with Grybauskaitė in Brussels.
During her time Brussels Grybauskaitė was very conscious of her image in Lithuania. The journalists loved the European Commissioner Dalia.
– Those who don’t know her think she’s dry and unfriendly. But she actually knows how to be very feminine. Like a busybody, talking and gossiping. She can talk “about nothing”. She once told me that she once went to Lithuania and was part of the President’s reception. The point of the story:
“I walked by them…And I had the best dress!” – said the fellow journalist, who Grybauskaitė invited to Brussels.
A few months in Brussels made Grybauskaitė something of a last authority, who never missed a chance to scold, to investigate, and very rarely politely praise official Vilnius. Good news or nothing. That’s how they wrote about Grybauskaitė, how she was shown and how she was talked about in Lithuania. And this picture contrasted with the one seen from Brussels.
Marta Andreasen, a professional auditor from Argentina doesn’t remember what Grybauskaitė was wearing on September 29 2004 when until her exclusion she was trying to explain the situation to her and 24 other commissioners.
All of the European journalists knew that woman. She was called the European whistleblower. The one who alerts everyone when she says that the European pockets have holes in them and that money disappears into those holes. Marta won the social competition and was made senior finances exec.
After checking the Commission’s accounts she refused to sign them:
– The accounting system doesn’t encompass everything and that means that it doesn’t reflect all of the financial operations with the budget. So in certain cases money is paid out, but nobody reports it. The computer system which uses financial operations can be manipulated. It means that financial operations can be changed retroactively and without any traced of when and why the accounting was changed.
That’s a harsh accusation. They mean that you could just steal from Europe’s cashier and hide all of the traces. Auditor Andreasen talked publicly about it from all of the major TV channels. The scandal shaked the continent: Europe could be stealing taxpayer money!
Then Marta was accused of discrediting the Commission’s reputation. European Commissioners reacted to Marta Andreasen’s remarks “with little regard”. And what of Grybauskaitė? How is our holy fighter, responsible for Europe’s budget and finances?
– Grybauskaitė not once opened her mouth for a comment or question. It was in her power to stop my suspension and demand an investigation, – said Andreasen.
All of the time Grybauskaitė spent in the European commission and was commissioner on Finances and budget, the European Court of Auditors not once gave it the status of full trustworthiness. Andreasen thought poorly of Grybauskaitė:
– She never spoke up to protect the interest of European taxpayers and that means Lithuanian taxpayers too. If I was a Lithuanian, I wouldn’t vote for her.
Lithuania was of a different point of view.
4 THE BIRTH OF “LITHUANIAN DALIA”
Right before the presidential elections in 2009 a sudden turn happened which would have given a more sensitive politician motion sickness. A person form Brazauskas’s team – Grybauskaitė – started hanging out along with the conservators for some reason or other. Vytautas Landsbergis goes to her office almost like into his own. Chu! and Vitas Matuzas appears! Rasa Juknevičienė pops by for a visit and then Andrius Kubilius. What’s happening? And there really isn’t anyone you can ask! The meetings happened in secrecy.
The news of Brazauskas’s student, the worked of the Higher Party School of the rebel Lazutka, the devout communist Grybauskaitė became Vytautas Landsbergis’s favorite and found the patriots of Lithuania like that meteor caught the dinosaurs in prehistoric times.
It was March 7 2009. A conservator meeting. Everyone’s waiting for Landsbergis but he is late as always. In the end it turns out Landsbergis won’t be showing , but he sent a letter.
There’ll be no debate on the Council supporting my candidacy. Resolve to support Dalia Grybauskaitė. We’ll to make it so there won’t be second tour. We need as little noise as possible.
– Surprise! It was as if a murky pond had a block of concrete thrown into it, – said Naglis Puteikis, one the two who dared to voice a different opinion. “All of Lithuania is buying a cat in a bad” – he tried to oppose. The other one was the Christian-Democrat Jonas Šimėnas.
– We didn’t know all of the things of her work in Higher Party School and after March 11. We only knew that she was Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas’s student. Somebody in the corner whispered: “Hey, it’s the one who approved the con with the ten VP and returning the VAT of 70 million to them from the state budget” – said Puteikis and added that party discipline won out. – We shorty watched what would the political prisoners and exiled think, what would the old patriots think, who are most of our voters. But Kublius was very resolute. He told us to think of Lithuania and to vote “yes”. Rasa Juknevičienė assured us that the presidium studied her views for a long time: “Our kind of woman”. And the conservators like hypnotized monkeys raised their hands.
– Her ratings were so high that we just accepted it as a fact, – as justified by Rytas Kupčinskas.
The election campaign went pretty bleakly. The main candidate didn’t debate with anyone. She didn’t give interviews unless the journalists sent in and approved their questions first.
– Bo-o-oring! – sighed political reported about her election campaign and were gravely wrong. In the backdrop of the elections there as a real drama going on, if only they could have connected the dots. But it came to mind to someone in Landsbergis’s entourage. Maybe even himself. The thought was thus: “Europe vs Russia!»
Nobody really but them in confrontation really and that’s strange. But Kazimira Prunskienė played an important role in transforming the docent of the Higher Party School Grybauskaitė into “Lithuania’s Destiny” (Lithuanian Dalia). It was decided to act like this: she’s “married to Lithuania”, against the “witch”. The future versus the past.
In terms of Grybauskaitė’s election campaign the only one to be on Prunskienė’s level was Valdemar Tomaševski. But he showed only when they needed to mobilize the voters for feat: elect the president in the first tour.
She couldn’t have thought this up on her own while looking in the mirror of a well polished desktop? Or someone advised her to?
Who Repainted Red Dalia?
Grybauskaitė is ironically called the professor’s last project.
The leaders of Homeland Union, supported by Landsbergis started making roads to Brussels in 2008. Andrius Kubilius, Rasa Juknevičienė, and Vitas Matuzas left to discuss election details. After Landsbergis’s rule the Homeland Union was a barren wasteland – not one exceptional or someone the people would cling to. The first ten party members are helpers, assistants, the professor’s secretaries who got power behind the curtains and not from the people. “Why is a conservator like me letting Brazauskas’s favorite and a Higher Party School docent go?” “And who will vote for me, Laimute?” – joked they on Laima Andrikienė, who decided to compete with Grybauskaitė.
– Laima Lucija was mad, but relaxed later. Then Grybauskaitė was mad. When Andrikienė asked to meet her, then Daukanto sent back a resolute “no” – said one of the Grybauskaitė election HQ members.
Andrikienė, just like Vaišvila, was outraged with the inconsistencies between the public and actual biographies of Grybauskaitė.
Laima might have not known that Landsbergis has chosen long ago. In the first years of independence. Since then should she make a misstep he would help her up,
Grybauskaitė was in Landsbergis’s entourage almost immediately after returning from Georgetown. “I was called my minister Aleškaitis. (…) He introduced me to a young light-haired woman who just started working as the director of the European Department. That was D.Grybauskaitė” – wrote Ramunas Bogdanas, one of Landsbergis’s advisors in the Supreme Council in 1991-1992
He says that Grybauskaitė was gathering information for Landsbergis’s foreign visits.
– There was a shortage of people with new, western skills. (…) The materials I got from her weren’t just detailed, they were thought through with conclusions and recommendations, – said Bogdanas.
What a load of bull. A docent of the Higher Party School who just defended her thesis about Lithuanians on their gardens in the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the CPSU is now in Landsbergis’s entourage as the one going his foreign policy! Where is knowledge of foreign politics? Grybauskaitė’s official biography has no hints of her ever being taught that.
Later she got a post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And immediately she’s the negotiator with the European Union, an international trade organization. Quite the transformation! Today she teaches at the Higher Party School and tomorrow she’s a diplomat and negotiator.
But Bogdanas recounts it, so that means he knows. Grybauskaitė was forming the “de facto head of state’s” foreign policy. And who controls the information sent to the leader controls the leader.
– I never thought to dig and find out who this Grybauskaitė was before, – Bogdanas makes excuses for giving the lady in red his hand and helping her cross from the communist shore to the tricolored one.
She found a protector in Landsbergis and in 1999 when she was called back from her useless log in Washington Lithuanian embassy. In Vilnius she turned from diplomat into a finance exec. Became the Minister of Finance Vytautas Dudėnas’s deputy.
First Dudenas, an American Lithuanian who appeared only around 1990 was businessman and then became a member of the Seimas. During Grybauskaitė’s time in Washington he was the Seimas foreign affairs committee president. She probably greeted him nicely during his visit to USA as she did with Landsbergis. Dudenas became a minister when Paskas’s government resigned not agreeing to sign the sale of Mažeikių naftа and Grybauskaitė got a post in the Ministry of Finance.
But Dudenas didn’t spent a lot of time in the Ministry chair when the Williams scandal happened and the left came to power. Only Grybauskaitė remained on her post. Adamkus applied some pressure and she became Minister of Finance.
On a “Witch’s” Broom
Having decided to take the presidential post Grybauskaitė was to clearly understand that if she is to compete with the conservators then all of her communist past and service to house Brazauskas will be examined thoroughly. And vice versa: the right who support here will shut themselves up.
But why does she need great power? Power is only an instrument.
Dalia Grybauskaitė never really announced anything similar to a proper election program. So a scene happened right after the elections. And to fill the void Valdemar Tomaševski offered to use his election program:
– I didn’t win, so I won’t need it, – he said, probably realizing better that anyone else that every joke has a bit of truth in it.
Grybauskaitė’s elections were strange. She didn’t participate in debates, but she did ride all over Lithuania and knocked on the “oligarchs”. And those who she got funding from and those who she pulled out trouble while she was the Minister of Finance.
But the most interesting trick in building her image was the appearance of Kazimira Prunskienė’s ghost.
It was a process with one witness and one participant with me involved. Before the presidential elections no one knew of Landsbergis’s plans to bring Dalia Grybauskaitė to victory, so his team was going some pretty strange things.
Kazimira Prunskienė was the absolute zero in politics at that time. A played card. A noble woman with a medal from a shoebox. But that’s not how it works. One mammal can be eaten multiple times. That mammal is man.
So once before the presidential elections a strange woman started wandering around near the LNK TV building, where I worked at the time and she demanded to meet me. We meet her and we roll cameras. She only begged us not to call her real name or she will deported from Germany for ties with the KGB…
Let’s call her Onute. And Onute “lets it rip.” The “Witch” case is going to courts for almost ten years and here’s the first proper witness! She tells the absolutely true story of Prunskienė’s trips to Germany in Soviet time. She brought photos where the young Kazimira Danute is on a banquet in West Germany with some KGB from some Tėviškė fellowship.
The Tėviškė fellowship in Soviet times was a KGB subsidiary which curated ties with foreign Lithuanians. The fellowship also published the weekly Gimtasis kraštas which was headed by the very charismatic journalists Algimantas Cekuolis. In Vilnius on Tilto street. Tėviškė–was on the second floor and Cekuolis on the first floor. After the declaration of independence this Cekuolis moaned something about his collaborationism on TV and fully rehabilitated. But until that confession he was in the Sajudis initiative group and proposed Vytautas Landsbergis as its leader. It was exactly him…
Future Adamkus press secretary and Lithuanians diplomat and former Communist editor Violeta Gaižauskaitė worked in Cekuolis’s Gimtasis kraštas right in the middle of Sajudis. I think it was her who once in Supreme Council’s over coffee urged all of us to support Prunskienė in her fight with the “patriots”. When you think about it, a crazy string of coincidences….
But German Onute wasn’t think of stopping as soon as she started talking into the Paskutinė instancija mic: according to her not only Prunskienė. But also a number of other high minded people at the foundation of independent Lithuania sat at her banquets.
I was given a compact disc. Laima Pangonytė’s interview with Prunskiene. For some reason Laima never publicized that interview, but instead shipped it to Italy and saved it for later. And on that disc – Prunskiene in her own words talks about working with the soviet KGB before her trip to West Germany:
– I had to think up some code word which I could use to introduce myself with without mentioning my name when making a phone call. So even back then I had to tell that person who would supposedly…who I will have to be in contact with which city I would be going to… I got an idea that a symbol of a witch would work well for this. So I say to myself that I can now pick something so that my name or any other things won’t be used. I say: I know one witch – it’s a Witch from the Šatrija mountain.
That’s what Prunskiene wrote in her promise to cooperate with the KGB, that she would sign her messages with “Šatrija”. She also told Laima Pangonytė about her connection in Germany:
– His name was Blagov, a science attaché. He said that if need arises I must call him and he will my only contact.
Of course such a story wouldn’t be covered in dust. It’s a sensation: journalists close the case of the century! The first PM of independent Lithuania confesses that she worked for the KGB! Next week it was already on the news.
It so happened that right before our report we showed the news, Grybauskaitė saying something about Europe and Lithuania’s integration into the West. White isn’t as white unless you put it next to a black thing.
In the “chekist capitalism” I already compared Kazimira and Dalia. Two economists who worked on studying ways to rebuild the Soviet Union’s agriculture. Kazimira even confessed to stealing ideas from German geniuses for Andropov. And Dalia, in creating her opus magnum – a thesis on the effects of private property on agricultural production even disappeared from the Higher Party School’s lists and for some reason this is being hidden. Why cover it up if the documents still testify to the time she spent in Moscow next to the place where the Soviet Union reformers were creating their plans.
And both of them – Prunskiene and Grybauskaitė were moved up the career ladder and given a hand by the same man – Vytautas Landsbergis, who is called “grandpa” by his opponents. More than that, the professor’s advisor Ramunas Bogdanas said that Grybauskaitė met up with Landsbergis before they were both in Brussels. One as a europarliamentary and one as a European commissioner. No, she started servicing the professor right after her “cleaning” from communist stench in Georgetown University, Washington around the end of 1991
But Prunskiene’s start in independent Lithuania’s power was a lot more smooth, as she never was the virgin “red” like Grybauskaitė. Prunskiene also didn’t have difficulties with explaining her origins. She was born in a village in Švenčionių region, her parents and brothers are all there.
When she rolled down from the top, the other was climbing up. But you can see the director’s hand in that career fluctuation. Prunskiene’s charm and connections did wonders for a long time. Even when her handwritten confession of cooperating with the KGB appeared in the public space she was still a force to be reckoned with in the world of Lithuanian politics. Grybauskaitė rose among Prunskeine’s final downfall.
The first actress grew old, her reputation wrinkled up and she got the other role…the role of the scarecrow. Not an exact comparison but in Russia then a Vladimir Zhirinovsky around scare the voters. His party is a scarecrow to show the voters when they need a good backdrop for the only candidate. According to some rumors Zhirinovsky also has some experience working with USSR’s secret services. I guess he’s a controlled ghost.
Prunskiene fit the role of the ghost, because right before the election campaign she allied herself with Putin’s “United Russia” party. Why? Maybe in a critical moment she no longer has resources for conspiracy. Such political alliances are certainly not there just in case you get into trouble (Prunskiene suffered a stroke in 2012) and you’d end up in a Moscow clinic and upon exiting coma you would speak Portuguese. A language not listed in any of Prunskiene’s official biographies.
A former colleague of Prunskiene in the first government of restored Lithuania told me that when comparing the two Prunskiene seems to him like the weaker figure:
– Maybe she did slip up, but after she became PM, the “amber lady” really liked the international attention and the ability to create a new Lithuania. She definitely wouldn’t have taken the Kremlin route if not for the endless mockery and demonization.
Forging the Professor’s Human Resources: Better “Red” Than a Rival.
I would like to address the first head of the restored Lithuanian state Vytautas Landsbergis…
From Dalia Grybauskaitė’s inaugural speech.
Vytautas Landsbergis’s grudge.
– It’s important to Vytautas Landsbergis and he is sensitive about it. But the Constitutional court has looked into calling the president of the Supreme Council the head of the Lithuanian Republic and decided that it was impossible. Everybody knows that he de facto was it, but… – said one of Landsbergis’s allies since the independence days.
The Constitutional court has flipped him off. His portrait won’t hang in the president picture gallery in the Presidency.
Dalia Grybauskaitė know this weakness of Landsbergis, so why not I use it? “I award the Order of the Grand Cross of Vytis to Vytautas LANDSBERGIS – the first head of restored independent Lithuanian Republic.”It was a present from Grybauskaitė to the professor on account of his 80th birthday. Not much the Grand cross, but the text of the decree that remembered and ignored the Constitutional Court’s interpretation. But as politologist Lauras Bielinis noted, the President acts and talks as if she is the final authority on all questions. This time she is higher than the Constitution.
And the Cross itself is an award that is usually given to heroes who died for the country. The Grand Cross was given to partisan leader Jonas Žemaitis and the people who died on the events of January 13th.
The Professor go the cross while alive. He celebrated his 80th anniversary in the National Philharmonic Hall. In a family circle, but with a pompous style. The Professor enjoyed his glorification. Posing for photographs her leaned on his protégé Dalia. And she holds him, while hugging his shoulder. Or like a baby on the back of the head?
Worried about his historic image and getting sentimental with his old age the professor is weak to compliments. And nothing surprising. Despite the undeniable achievements in restoring the state he was always followed by dislike from the masses and hate of his fellow politicians. “Tartiufas”, “despicable man” and “manipulator”, as a classmate called him “traitor”.
And the title of “head of state” was not given to him out of principle, but more out of revenge for those painful strikes on the self-esteem of the people who voted “yes”. The “fifth column” – is for those who argued not over strategy, but over tactics. And how about the phrase “who could deny that…”. Well and later go “servants of the others”, “agents of Gazprom”, “pack of dogs”, “challenged”. Who’s not with me is against Lithuania. In the long-term perspective that was most of the Sajudists. In the end, even in Kubilius’s entourage they started whispering on one day Landsbergis will need to be thrown out of the conservator party.
And Grybauskaitė took his side. She was obedient and businesslike. To him she’s a student, not a President. A former advisor says that she takes notes when the professor speaks and hands then to her subordinates on Mondays.
And the professor feels good because he knows.
Really, that kind of behavior when people are pushed away or humiliated and power goes to “the one who it has to go” was formed in the Sajudis forge. Professor was known for known for kicking out possible rivals out of his allies and instead nestled those who had colorful biographies. Čepaitis, Prunskienė, Kuzmickas. He made Paulauskas Prosecutor-General even though he wanted to be KGB just a while ago.
Nothing is new under the sun… “fear your friends and take your enemies into your service” as Machiavelli said. Your enemies will try to flatter you for you warming them up and will be better servants than friends would be. Friends consider you an equal, grow envious of your fame and wait for an opportunity to push you aside.
Romualdas Ozolas always carries at least once recorder. He records anything that he says or someone else says in his presence. Thanks to that habit there are priceless pages of Lithuania’s history waiting for their hour on his attic. The voices of those who created said history.
In 1992 the Professor finally kicked Ozolas out of power, which angered the latter. I guess that’s why all of his houses “hidden treasure” is entrusted to me. A whole suitcase full of audio cassettes, numbered in way only Ozolas would understand. That numeration is preserved on the secret recording transcripts – 101, 102…106 and so on. The Sajūdist in the Supreme Council divide the authority.
The thought that the podiums of the revolution – the sajūdists can’t control the country was already then implanted by the Vilnius professors, who there was a lot of at the start…The ones to rule were supposed to be the experienced “red” and the patriots were to rule from behind the scenes. With that in mind power was given to Algirdas Brazauskas:
– My firm belief is to ask Brazauskas. To do so with humility instead of giving it away, how some of you here say. To ask in the most humble way possible that he start forming the government of the Lithuanian republic, – declared Kazimieras Antanavičius.
– From a political standpoint in this moment it would good for Lithuania to demonstrate unity and agreement (…) It’s clear that Brazauskas went into full opposition and half of the parliament is in awaiting that the map will become heavier and that Brazauskas will at least be called in to save the people until hardships overcome us. Who knows if it is needed? – said Landsbergis who was stopped by the communists in his struggle to be Supreme Council president.
19 years later in 2009 similar words will sound in the Homeland union when Brazauskas’s student Grybauskaitė will be chosen as the presidential candidate.
– We ratings are so high, you can’t beat that.
That’s how the conservators kept whispering until the elections. And back then in March 1990 Vidmantė Jasukaitytė used almost the exact words when trying to hold back the Sajudists. Asukaitytė will later become Grybauskaitė’s arms-bearer.
– I want to testify on how people view Brazauskas in Lithuania, because this hall in not objective. Maybe someone somewhere carries lists, but in reality a lot of women and housewives are madly in love with Brazauskas. You can interpret that however you want, but it’s the truth.
But back then the Young wing of the right was ambitious and determined. They didn’t shake in the knees when faced by Brazauskas’s ratings.
– The only way to calm the housewives down is to make Brazauskas your deputy.
Čepaitis was against this:
– The world will be confused if Sajudis wins on the elections and puts its opponents in the government. It will seem like Sajudis is a communist agency organized to fool the society.
– I think that Brazauskas was blown out of proportion by radio and TV. We need to give him less shows and a post of, say, community facilities or industry.
If Birutė was alive she probably would have repeated the same thine in 2009 when Kubilius was in shock and awe of Landsbergis’s letter to make comrade Grybauskaitė the presidential candidate. They were all pushed aside and humiliated and if someone disagreed then her got a puff of slander and was gone. Until the 2009 presidential elections from the brave Sajudists only the club of Sajudis delegates survived and promised Vaišvila to “do something”. Inspired by the this promise Vaišvila went to wake his former team while waving Grybauskaitė’s personal file from the High Part School in their faces…. Whoa now…
– Child’s play, – said Landsbergis from around a corner.
Vaišvila also fought in 1990.
– You say the “Arazauskas political capital”. Well, kind friends, tell me at least proposal or decision that earned him his capital. Do I really have to explain to you what mass media are?
The same way conservators will be whispering when they’re given Grybauskaitė. But the patriots battle spirit is long gone. And on May 9, 1990 the noise of sharing the vote with the communists didn’t just protect the newly gained power. Opponents of the “Vilnius professor” stood up for the idea of declaring the idea of an Independent Lithuania when Algirdas Brazauskas came to their meeting:
– There is a program of restoring the independence, but do we really have to put it on international discussion? (…) The document must be prepared and hidden in safe and be taken out only when we need to act and cooperate our actions and the forward.
Brazauskas proposed the sajūdists not to be hasty with declaring independence, prepare a referendum and the phone Moscow. And threatened
– We can’t even imagine on what kind of coup this might be. We think too little about the working class and when we make political…economic cases might decide Havel’s fate (the president of Czech republic) as a popular leader. He already was to Moscow and lacks oil and this and that… His goal was this…”Stood on his knees”. Life sometimes makes you hide your beliefs into you back pocket.
How can you not remember the words of the secret American correspondence from the end of 2009 about Grybauskaitė’s views on Russia: (…) believes that discord spreading anti-Russian rhetoric hurts Lithuania’s position in the Council of Europe.” The theory of betrayal in a democratic dress?
Grybauskaitė during the elections didn’t inform anyone that she’s planning to fight with her Lithuanian friends and will start doing favor for her recent adversaries. But when she started acting, those who could resist were already thrown into the political outskirts as screamers, street politicians and even traitors.
Grybauskaitė’s presidency was like the medal to the professor for many years of destroying former allies.
Let’s remember then and take out hats off in a moment of silence.
Arvydas Juozaitis, a charismatic Sajudis tribune who was the first sacrifice. He was taken out of Algirdas Brazauskas’s way. “I was in the countryside all day and when I returned it was over.” – said Juozaitis of the surprise decision of his fellow Sajudists gave his district to the opposing leader.
Juozaitis was one the most popular o the Sajudists was sacrificed like a pawn. So that he wouldn’t resist they threw in a collaborationists rumor in.
By the way, the one talking of KGB ties and collaborationism was Virgilijus Čepaitis, the sworn arms-bearer of Landsbergis. In the Supreme Council they said that professor kept a stack of Čepaitis’s letters to the KGB about various culture workers transgressions. Čepaitis burned out only when he himself stopped being obedient. Then everyone found out that his KGB nickname was Juozas.
In a similar fashion but less painfully the professor got rid of any possible Sajudis rivals. ‘I they elect Ozolas, then has the Sajudis lost?” – wondered a philosopher near the Sajudis podium. He listened and was supposed to swallow the harsh truth when the professor for “some reason” didn’t offer him the post of deputy president of the Supreme Council.
It was especially sick when the kicked poet Justinas Marcinkevičius out. The poet was part of Sajudis and its moral authority. A man whose talent broke through the concrete wall of Soviet censorship with his “Mažvydas”, „Katedra”, his Lithuania “as a tear in God’s eye” for Soviet generation of Lithuanians is as a holy scripture. But suddenly Tomas Venclova and Aleksandras Štromas accuse the poet of cooperating with the KGB. Saying that “Pine that laughed” was created by a request from the Soviet security services.The accusation was given on TV.
Nothing new here from the times of the Roman empire. In the world of politics hits on your rivals like this, manipulating people and struggles are a common thing. But if only they knew that the poet would never aim for a high post or even agree to one. – said Valentinas Sventickas after the poet’s death.
Marcinkevičius was the frightened by the this injustice and disappeared from the public eye. And nobody needed him during the state holidays as he was dying in hospital in Vilnius. I was there at the time. The patients whispered that the top doctors left somewhere, to courses or something.
The play started when he died. The highest posts mourning, state funeral, an honorable guard at his casket. But only there wasn’t room on the Antakalnio hill cemetery where all the artists were buried. The new nomenclature had those placed booked.
Dalia Grybauskaitė was at the theatric funeral as the President of the Lithuanian Republic.
A Creator Called “Uncle”
In spring of 2009, there were people in the conservator’s council that didn’t know who Grybauskaitė was, but her essence was no mystery to Landsbergis. However when she jumped out of the bad on the elections the professor’s camp said the Aesopian phrase: “It doesn’t matter who you were. It matters who you became.”
As if he was watching into a mirror… because the detective story of the Landsbergis-Žemkalnis allows for all of them to be suspect of “nasty” compromises with the Soviet powers.
Vytautas Landsbergis’s father, Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis was the minister of community services in the Temporary government. Soviet history demonized this government for supposedly collaborating with the Germans and Minister Landsbergis-Žemkalnis supposedly even helped plan the Vilnius ghetto. But that government existed only a little over a month – six weeks and then was closed down by the Germans and its members emigrated from Lithuania. Soviet court tried them in absentia and sentenced them to capital punishment.
And in summer of 2012 there are news. By Landsbergis’s initiative Ambrazevičiaus’s remains will be reinterred in Lithuania and the President posthumously awards him the The Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis. The same one that she awarded the professor in October 2012 while calling him the first head of the state of restored Lithuania… Small presents make your friendship better…
After reinterring Ambrazevičiaus the Kremlin shuddered: “Lithuania is honoring a nazi!” But more arguments broke out over not that Ambrazevičiaus’s government had no real power to hurt or save anyone. The mystery is Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, the professor’s father return to Lithuanian from Australia during the grim Soviet times and the Soviets warm welcome. This warmth was demonstrated even by the former Lithuanian communists. The order supposedly came from Moscow.
Maybe this is Kremlin’s sneaky plan to show the world that it changed after Stalin’s death? Maybe. But the scale is surprising. In a country where private property is a sin, the Landsbergis were returned their property in Kaunas and Kačerginė. The condemned Ambrazevičiaus government minister Landsbergis-Žemkalnis is given the title of distinguished architect of LSSR in 1973.
Even people living in those times (and us today) are confused by the foreign trips done Vytautas Landsbergis, son of the “nazi” Ambrazevičiaus government minister in Soviet times. A musicologist who had such a free-minded father and anti-Soviet minded brother Gabrielius (who didn’t return to Lithuania until it was independent) in Soviet time traveled abroad, even though an exiled grandfather would be a enough to stop others.
Then the “suspicions” snowball. Please tell me how the young Landsbergis spoke so freely with the emigrants visiting Lithuania? This photo from 1970 with Almas Šalčiumus is proof of those meetings.
And now a bit of context. Journalist Grečneveckis when evaluating changes of the Soviet by watching special services activities said that the soviet intelligence operated in the Baltic through emigrants who had relatives on the other side of the iron curtain. Apply pressure on the relatives and the emigrant is docile. A rule that made people look at the Landsbergis-Žemkalnis family with suspicion.
Andthat Aloyzas Sakalas is giving them the stink-eye: we as Landsbergis’s classmate, betrayed by one of his own and exiled to a KGB camp. There are protocols of all of the classmates’ interrogations…except Landsbergis. And they sat at one desk together! Why not? Maybe because he testified against Aloyzas?
The professor himself added oil to this fire. Landsbergis told the press that the KGB took him to some secret apartment and interrogated him…Well what do you know… Only tested people were talked to secret apartments. What kind of secret is it if random people just walk in?
My god… Sometimes it is way easier to keep quiet then explain. The story of the secret apartment in its strangeness rivals only Grybauskaitė’s “small war” which she fought in the Higher Party School.
Even though there is no documented proof that the Landsbergis family collaborated in some nasty way or reported someone there is still a glaring fact. In Soviet times they had the authority’s favor which simple soviet patriots never knew. There are those saying that the protection came not from Vilnius, but from Moscow.
And there’s this cozy café on Gedimino avenue that’s between the Seimas and Ministry of Foreign Affairs that sells chocolate. Whenever people find out I’m gathering info on Grybauskaitė I am invited here. A strange place for secret meetings. Big windows. Everything is easily seen. But various people from the behind the scenes of politics come to “Chocolate”. And where is my interviewee? He managed to hide in a far corner behind a coat hanger:
– Find Dušanskis report. It’s all written there, – I get advice from someone who disliked Landsbergis longer that Lithuania has been occupied.
We still talk about Grybauskaitė’s adventures in the Foreign Affairs ministry. When I’m shooed away.
– Another man will come here, so you leave.
There’s no familiarity here, He knows me from childhood. I recall a time when he was exceptionally handsome. But now he’s physically not the same and doesn’t let go of the political intrigue.
He told me to find Dušanskis’s report… Nachmanas Dušanskis is grim persona on his own. And officer of the secret NKVD service who captured and killed partisans in Lithuanian after the war. He lived in Lithuania, but managed to disappear at the most opportune moment and even sold of his belongings.
Landsbergis probably won’t like remembering Dušanskis. A former KGB agent Gulbin told Dalia Gudavičiūte about a local KGB agent under the codename “Uncle”, who’s last name was Landsbergis. There was a slander charge placed on Gulbin for that remark, but Vilnius Region Prosecution stopped the process.
Because they stopped it many assumed that these rumors were true. If so then writer Vytautas Petkevičius wrote the truth in his scandalous opus Durnių laivas (A Ship of Fools). Landsbergis was making excuses again. Not protecting his honor, but his fathers. Petkevičius called him an agent of all kind, a Jew exterminator etc. Landsbergis won the lawsuit and protected his wright to have the his family’s story during Soviet times be considered normal and within moral standards.
But how do you change the story of Grybauskaitė’s collaboration into an object of admiration? It’s pleasing chees match the professor is having with himself. How to salvage someone whose origin, surrounding and beliefs you systematically threw dirt on throughout your political career. It would have been easier to destroy her with a vocabulary: “a collaborationist with a brain, damaged by Soviet times” or “the fifth column”
A slippery case. There are a lot of rumors about the Landsbergis, but Grybauskaitė acted out in the open. You could get dirty trying to clean her off. Ramunas Bogdanas tried to clean her off:
– Most of Lithuania’s population was like Grybauskaitė. Not many go out as fighters. When that minority gains size, it pulls the country towards change like a locomotive. Then those who don’t want to lose the past rise, but also just those who were worried about their everyday job.
These words were trying to change the classic Lithuania betrayal motif – “stand under the tree” and watch your neighbor and his children be sent to Siberia is a virtue.
But where do those people go from the locomotive Bogdanas mentioned? Where do Antanas Terleckas, Viktoras Petkus, nun Nijole Sadūnaite, priest Robertas Grigas and bishop Sigitas Tamkevičius go? All of them would still be dissidents while standing under the tree of Lithuania. Sadūnaite was suing KGB agent Klimaičis for slander. Terleckas was considered extremist even by the right and could sell his books only outside of the political playground.
That’s how the government was open to former party figures, KGB agents, their children and close ones. I’m writing that not because I don’t want to share my state with them, but because these people were never attracted by the idea of a free Lithuania. They never dreamed of it, they just adapted to it. The fit it into their understanding, which as it turns out is more egocentric:
– He couldn’t even build himself a house! – said Grybauskaitė to the gasping Medalinskas when dividing people into worthy and unworthy.
The Estonians act differently. The Czech too. Then they decided to elect the former communist or dissident Havel, they chose Havel. The one who dreamed of and was hungry for freedom. So now he can tell his success story. And what of Lithuania? Get happy at Brussels’s praise and knows how to save money during the crisis.
What did that man from the Presidency say of “Lithuania’s Destiny?” “Emotional, sensitive, ambitious, vengeful, indecisive but quickly figures out a path”. Dalia found a path very quickly because the new independent Lithuania didn’t really change. Just Moscow moved to Brussels. And morals and ethics are not for this world.
Bogdanas wrote in defense of Grybauskaitė’s choice of continuing to collaborate with the KPSS after March 11, he wrote:
– An idea purist will accuse her of choosing to remain working at the schoolafter March 11th 1990. I can remind him that the law enforcement was also funded by Moscow. Or maybe all of the policemen should have just quit and left without catching criminals and regulating traffic?
He likens communist exams in Russian and the trick question of “What did Lenin think of this?” to keeping peace and order. What can I add?… Maybe just that picking loyalty first and talent second is not only the Higher Party School docent’s fault, but the professor of musicology too?
But the professor’s nose failed him. His student had other teachers too.
5 GRYBAUSKAITĖ’S LITHUANIA
SHE’s one at day and different at night. Says one thing and does the other.
On her words, she’s against the oligarchs. During the celebratory dinner she is surrounded by them.
She calls the shaved head the national youth and praises them; in neighboring Belarus, young free-minded people like them are given to Lukashenko for destruction.
She announced saving here and everywhere, but makes the state loan money more expensively that the IMF is offering.
She holds hands with the pensioners, but then signs the law that makes the pensions below living standards.
She voices displeasure at corruption and immediately fires people who fought bribes too well..
She teaches the politicians morals, but at Daukanto Square, according to the politicians, recorded conversations of innocent people pop up.
She stands for energy independence from Russia, but just ruins relations with Poland, who is vital to that strategy.
She speaks of the Gazprom monster, but doesn’t protest that a Gazprom man is given the second biggest thermofixation power plant in Kaunas. And to who? Rimandas Stonius, one those who the SSD never brought the memo in.
Attack Your Own to Intimidate Others.
Vilnius, May 17 2009. The sudden arrival of spring. The square between the Ministry of Defense and the Presidency park. The Lietuvos rytas TV cameraman is behind the Artis hotel window. This is where Dalia Grybauskaitė awaited the election results with her inner circle. The closest to her sat at her table. The camera zoomed in on the face and here’s Grybauskaitė. Smiling and looking pleased. And how can you not be pleased when you won the elections in the first round.
Who’s that on her right hand side? Jonas Garbaravičius! And the other conservator Ramūnas Garbaravičius. A little further is the less important son – also a Garbaravičius. Her back to the camera crew, Rima Kaziliūnienė, Grybauskaitė’s personal friend, officially a “member of the cabinet”. Further up Andrius Kubilius with Rasa Kubiliene and Vitas Matuzas.
The Garbaravičius family is missing only the slightly mad uncle Arvydas, who is pretending to be in opposition (just remember his Kaunas speeches). And along with that Garbaravičius are the hand of Russian energetics on Lithuania’s thin neck. They resell about 90% of the electricity and that’s Russian electricity.
The official version is such: The Garbaravičius family is an old dynasty of energy businessmen, so they’ve somehow connected to Russia. One of the variants of this “somehow” I outlined in “Meeting the Power players: Victor.”
The family gives all of the fame to magazine cover frequenting Jonas. Another Garbaravičius success story is linked to him. Supposedly Jonukas was in the state Lietuvos energija and being a very witty boy he figured (or was told to) that the crown jewel of all of Lithuanian energy system – the electricity made by the Kruonis hydro power plant – needs to be sold through an in-between. And then a miracle. Jonas got an offer by the Kremlin controlled Russian state company an offer of cooperation.
So what the Garbaravičius owned because partly Russian, de facto – the same with Putin and the Kremlin. Huzzah!.. The joint company got the monopolistic right to import Russian energy into Lithuania. A small detail. Anatoliy Chubais was handling all of the Russian energy systems. The man who was busy in Leningrad 1987 planning reforms for the Soviet Union (see chapters “Piterskaya” and “Chekist capitalism”)
Next to the Garbaravičius office in Kaunas one time, as I walked by there was a lot of Lexuses parked near it. And why not? The job isn’t dusty, as the Russians say, count the percentage and watch the energy go. It’s nice that the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is closed and there won’t be a new one. Čekuolis and Kubilius made sure of that. The pandering advertising made the people go “no” on the referendum.
Grybauskaitė also voiced her opinion right after the elections when she wondered if Lithuania needs to tackle such a project.
– Will Lithuania remand a Nuclear Energy state will depend on the strategy evaluations on investments, – said Grybauskaitė in fall 2009. Some kind of persuasion like, we won’t die without a power plant was in mind, so as not to seem too pro-Russian.
And why should Lithuania build one if the Russians are already building one in Kaliningrad, and they already gave the Garbaravičius an exclusive right to sell energy of the future Kaliningrad power plant in Lithuania. Imagine all of the goods? You don’t even have to send the tanks in: Lithuania is enslaved through energy and the people of its patriotic party, can’t even catch a breather! Didn’t I mention? Ramūnas Garbaravičius was in the Homeland Union, even in the Presidency.
Is it clear now, why patriots only negotiated and negotiated? Inadequate but important for Grybauskaitė minister Sekmokas was shaking and for four years produced a lot of paper and failed referendum on the issue of Nuclear Power Plant.
So, during election night Garbaravičius brothers are sitting and celebrating Dalia Grybauskaitė’s victory. Why did she celebrate with this company? Did it just happened, that she got seated but didn’t really wanted to be there?
Yeah right, you won’t force Grybauskaitė to seat at one the table if she wants to seat at another. She even refused to join president Obama’s table when he called her for acquaintance. She didn’t arrive. And there, in that restaurant it was her territory and her game. So, we have her sitting with Garbaravičius brothers, celebrating the victory, and as the pictures show, she’s having a good time.
Although half a year shall pass after Dalia Grybauskaitė’s inauguration and Ramūnas Garbaravičius will appear in Seimas, at Irena Degutienė’s cabinet. He’ll complain that Kubilius doesn’t hang out with him, just asks for help and assistance. What happened? Why did their relations fade? You’re allowed to Daukanto Square, but to the Government – nope.
Under one theory, Garbaravičius were reminded when Presidency sent a message to Prosecutor’s General to “jail the conservative’s treasurer”, meaning Matuzas. It’s seem legit, because before the incident with Vitas Matuzas and his wife, locked in confinement, Ramūnas Garbaravičius’ head was often leaning towards PM’s head during the party’s top leadership meeting. Witnesses saw this after successful for conservatives 2008 elections.
– They used sit together all the time and talking during party councils, – said Naglis Puteikis about relations in Homeland Union headquarters.
That May night, celebrating Grybauskaitė victory like his own, Kubilius could even suspect what’ll begin soon. Surveillance devices were installed in his party HQ’s courtyard, in the tree near which conservative make confidential conversations. His man Vitas Matuzas became a suspect in corruption case and his wife was locked in confinement. Kubilius had no doubts, it happened with HER consent.
Though, no one was in a mood to joke. New boss of Lithuania likes special effects. Law enforcement broke through shut doors with a bang – with masks, handcuffs, cameras. If the case vanished, at least we’ll roll the reputation just like Artūras Zuokas on Gedimino Avenue rolled over a car on a tank.
During first years of Kubilius’ premiership Matuzas looks symbolized success. I met him drastically changes on January, 2013, near the Seimas: he had a grey, grim, worn out face like a dissident…
– My countryside neighbor complained that during a rainy autumn stranger’s cars ruined a road around her house, that didn’t happen before. There was no need to explain to me who were those guests every time “following” me all the way to the house on late evenings or cause my dig to bark. Several times I had to wrap myself in warm clothing and go outside with a searchlight, where I dumped in cars “just like that” standing on duty near out fence. And concerning “accidental” lover of tea and coffee, who sat next to me in Babilonas coffee, I remember not only their faces but license plates. Today I almost understand why nearly a year ago bizarre things started happening. I got accused. I got arrested. I was held two days in confinement, it’s not some tale of a smuggler from Gariūnai. That’s was the wife of conservative treasurer Vitas Matuzas.
From his first days in the Government Kubilius didn’t hide that Matuzas was an ace in the hole. They even brought his secretary Jarda Paukštienė from Panevėžys, who became his press secretary. Her husband built a house on the land down the Nemenčinės Road. After losing the election Kubilius settles in that house, though he got construction loans under his son’s name. Conspirator…
Men had no idea, that along with the wall of PM’s house, just like the mold which is never cleaned at the kitchen in a certain editorial office (I’ll deliberately won’t tell where), grew case against Matuzas. Though, there’s plenty of cases, which grow, inflate and pop in every corner of Lithuania. Facts are solid, but there’ no political will to believe them. And here political will suddenly emerged. Why?
– Not a single suitable decision for Garbaravičius was accepted! – ensured Kubilius’ wife Rasa Juknevičienė.
Maybe, this was a mistake?
It extremely difficult to spy on who, how, through who, with whom and why negotiating in the labyrinths of power. There’s a version, that President, allowing the sinking of Matuzas, not necessarily attempted to punish or scare someone; she initiated changes in the party, who assumed power. She decided to clean the working horse after a hard labor. In the name of its own health…
I think there also was an egoistic motive. Without the structure covering the whole state, without “electoral machine” a president is merely a toy in larger hands and more informed structures. This “machine” is the political party.
Hilter told another truth:
– The better the agitation, the lesser organization required to assume power.
Assuming power, president of Lithuania became a marionette. Information is presented to her by the KGB men. They say what they want and what they don’t they remain silent about. On subjects of national security and foreign affairs president consults with people delegated by Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They advise what’s needed by their superiors.
Paksas, to whom Grybauskaitė constantly compares herself, on first days of Presidency understood, that a president without a party, sitting in Seimas, is an orphan, who Seimas can squish like a mosquito. Order and Justice party was born from that understanding which reached Paksas through impeachment.
Grybauskaitė was made President by the Homeland Union. But to be further called “presidential party” it had to change. How? Faces must change.
Kubilius, for example. His entourage is crowded by young successful lads with shiny polished shoes and chemically whitened teeth. They don’t suit the barracks of the Presidency. It needs submissive and meek. Like Irena Degutienė. The curtain of that front was open by Liudvika Pociūnienė, widow of Vytautas Pociūnas deceased SSD officer in Belarus.
It’s highly possible, that she, just like Venckienė, went to the Presidency on the grounds of advocacy of her deceased husband, SSD official, and left deeply frustrated with tears in eyes, understanding Grybauskaitė like a woman, lonely fighter and patriot. Pociūnienė began talking about it when plan to replace Kubilius with a more loyal figure came under a threat. Community leader Audrius Nakas publish Mrs. Irena’s tale about Grybauskaitė degrading conservatives. That’s when Liudvika broke down:
– Now I just have to publish my own dialogue with the President in March which had the tunes of powerlessness resounding, – though a journalist and immediately got herself together. – I won’t uncover any details, because the satisfaction of my curiosity would bring the country more damage than good. I believe that disseminating the information of little importance which makes two influential women collide was the exact final goal.
Liudvika ended her monologue with a dramatic address to Dalia and Irena:
– Dear women, in the name of Lithuania I ask you to make a simple move – leave all intrigues, especially irrelevant ones like those published files, talk to each other and shake hands. Separately you really can’t do much. It’s a completely different story, if you come together. Trust me, someone is really scared of that, and the publishing of the files confirms it.
Mrs. Irena is foremost a wife and a mother, only afterwards a politician. It makes her part of the system. Son married a rich girl. Family built a house. Instead of one house on a secured area appeared three. It had to be done that three houses were registered as one but consisting of three parts, that’ll someday be connected with galleries… I’m not making this up, I’m quoting in Paskutinė instancijа a member of a permanent construction commission of Vilnius local government. She also has a daughter, who got promoted, when she got pregnant and received quite a large maternity allowance. Prosecutor had to check the case to confirm that “all was fine”, cause in similar cases pregnant women were charged with fraud.
Finally, Snoras collapsed. Mrs. Irena’s son had to pull the money out of a bankrupt bank. No one doubted that it was illegal. Bank of Lithuania was ruled by Grybauskaitė’s campaign manager. Degutienė’s son made it out of the swamp dry and arrogant. He even tried to sue Algirdas Butkevičius who published the documents.
15 year ago, a sum several times smaller taken by Šleževičius out of a collapsing bank, made the President demand his resignation. And here is “all legal”. We can guess, whether Degutienė would have got away that easily if she didn’t owe a large favor. Degutienė isn’t just Grybauskaitė’s favorite but Lansbergis’ too, and ran for the new leader of Homeland Union. She just had to wait until election results.
But Irena Degutienė stepped down. The party’s folklorists claim Kubilius talked her out of it, telling that Degutienė should be secured for presidential campaign. She trusted him, later Kubilius announced that his presidential candidate in 2014 campaign would be Grybauskaitė… Who’ll trust him? Vytautas Landsbergis decided not to risk and took matters in his own hands. He’ll turn the party to the suffering people of Lithuania! It was his vocal promise. While silently little people had doubt that actual conservatives are going to be shackled to the Presidency’s doors.
«They don’t obey»
Grybauskaitė’s “honeymoon” with the people who elected her lasted almost two years. Presidency’s PR department managed to seal deals with nearly every large media outlet on the rules of the game. The main rule enshrined was: “You may criticize everybody except the President”. And still in summer of 2011 processes began getting out of control.
– We didn’t grow out of white-collar corruption, – Dalia Grybauskaitė got the facts on her fourth year into the term. Yet, she didn’t bother explaining why. My answer is simple: we didn’t grow out of it because it wasn’t our goal.
February 18, 2012. A phone rang in the chief’s Of Financial Crimes Investigation Service (FNTT) office. Who is it? “D. Grybauskaitė” – was written on the screen.
– Giržadas must be fired, – demanded voice known to whole Lithuania.
– I briefly replied: “No”, – Gailius started his story.
Not long ago he was in his “element” – catching criminals. And now he’s in politics. Gailius is president of Seimas anti-corruption commission and the TV is always on his office.
– Let them listen, – he smiles.
“They” is actually just “he” – Romualdas Vaišnoras, deputy director of SSD. Vaišnoras was one those people who under false pretense fired the two heads of Financial crimes investigation service – Vitalijaus Gailiaus and Vytauto Giržado. They supposedly gave out secret plans of Snoras’s bankruptcy
The next day after the president’s call, Raimundas Palaitis, Interior Minister, single-handedly took the FNTT bosses’ rights to work with confidential information and then fired them. Fired them clumsily while breaking the laws and in a frenzy: “If we’re wrong let the courts look at it”
– I don’t control the courts, – these words of Grybauskaitė were quoted by one the Seimas president’s advisor.
The phrase was allegedly said when discussing beheading FNTT. Irene shivered and Dalia consoled her.
– They were absolutely sure that Gailius and Giržadas wouldn’t win anything in court because the Presidency controls the situation through phone calls. – said the politician, an advisor of the ruling majority.
A few days later Darius Kuolys, Alvydas Medalinskas, Bronius Genzelis, Audrius Nakas gathered to consult on their actions.
– We need to go to Daukanto Square. The President came to power while waving the flag of fighting corruption. But the apostles of corruptions overpowered her. We must gather and support the President, – said one of them.
– What were you thinking? – Alvydas and told the story that took his friends breaths away.
Medalinskas told us that a few days before this happened, so just as the activists heard that there’ll be a meeting in support of the FNTT people he was called “by President’s request”. He was invited to a meeting. The Audience was in the evening. They talked alone, with no witnesses.
– She can be friendly, – he repeated the same trait I’ve heard thrown Grybauskaitė’s way more than once:
– Seimas member X told us that after a talk with her like this he once left with tears in his eyes convinced that she’s unfortunate, lonely and powerless. He realized how much acting smoke and mirrors was used only later. She acts like that with everyone: she’s a lone warrior “and only you can help me…” Maybe she doesn’t get that were talk to each other?
The talk in the Presidency with Medalinskas started with who the hell Medalinskas was. There were two types of activists: the good and the bad. The good ones “throw in some information”, they get the podiums of the biggest internet portals and TV channels.
– And what happens to bad activists? – wondered Medalinskas. It turns out that bad activists turn into “street politicians” who no one talks to, they have no influence and never get funding.
And then Medalinskas, as potential good activist was given information that Raimundas Palaitis had “nothing to with it” because it was the Presidency that fired Gailius ir Giržadas. Medalinskas is shocked. They almost started a new movement in support of Grybauskaitė! The want to support her on the square like Gorbachev in Perestroika times. And she tells them that it’s her job and Palaitis “had nothing to do with it.”
Brazauskas, who Uspaskichas pulled out of the Jangila con with his bare hands and later awarded the Vilniaus prekybа boys. He knew the iron rule of power: no job is too dirty, if you’re having someone else do it. Grybauskaitė merely let Medalinskas smell hers.
– Why, Miss President, they’re great professionals? – Medalinskas shared his surprise with his colleagues .
– They do not obey, – that was the President’s reply. In support of her arguments on Gailius’s professional incompatibility Grybauskaitė added:
– Can you imagine that he’s been on the service for so many years and still couldn’t build himself a house.
I tell this story to Gailius. He bores me with his expressionless policeman stare (“do you know, Miss Rūta how many years I spend fighting organized crime? Twenty”) and then he speaks.
– I don’t know. I still have a bit of diplomacy in me. I’ve been an executive since 1988. And Giržadas… way over that. He only had competence and no diplomacy, – Gailius tries to explain his colleagues relations with the management and Presidency advisors. Giržadas’ competence is very specific. His specialty in Criminal Police Bureau was unjust enrichment. Commissars, unable to build a house (policeman’s salary isn’t enough for a house – you have to take bribes), were always annoyed by the fact that some smuggler Vilius Karalius is being caught. While the court just declares that despite the large amount of a crime and millions of losses suffered by the state, Karalius’ activity only accidentally looks like organized crime, really is simple small misdemeanor. Criminal gets released on probation and returns to his stone mansion for several dozen millions, which is, by the way, towering near Turniškės, Svajonių St. That’s how it was intended to grab criminals on their most sensitive spot by getting interest in their poverty. You don’t have to explain the state where you got it from – just give it back to the state. That was Giržadas’ plan.
Bonding at FNTT, both men decided to test that plan on white-collars – politicians, top state officials.
According to Gailius, except competence, Giržadas also have blue eyes to his colleagues’ delight. But that’s details, more annoying than uniting the habitants of Daukanto Square.
And here these two lay their hand on an instrument to fight corruption, the Financial Crimes Investigation Service. They get it through blood and tears shed by Raimundas Palaitis, Interior Minister with a bright reputation.
Gailius won the post by public contest. It was his time to choose a deputy. And here it came.
– Take Jucevičius. He’s a man inside the system, he’ll help to get around, – advised Mindaugas Ladyga, Vice-Minister of Interior, a man from so-called “state figures” environment.
They even amended the official FNTT order of appointing the deputy for that instance. Kęstutis Jucevičius was supposed to be appointed without contest. This Jucevičius will later become the Head of FNTT, thus completing the formation of “law enforcement armor” of Daukanto Square. Grina, Jucevičius, Palaitis, Valys. All achieved heights incompetence under my watch.
But Gailius was stubborn. Contest is on its way. Giržadas won, though Ladyga gave him “7” on oral exam. Other commission members gave him highest scores.
– Maybe, we’ll be working together… – said Ladyga as if admitting defeat. Vytautas Gailius got his first case soon afterwards.
– I received a request concerning the assets of Belarus Ales Bialiatski located in Lithuanian Banks, – told Gailius.
Bialiatski, an opponent of Belarusian regime, indeed had bank accounts in Lithuania, where international organizations supporting democracy transferred money. That’s how the activities of Belarusian opposition were funded. Guilius tossed the request of Belarusian KGB in the trash bin.
– Maybe, they hoped that I’d “screw up”? That I’ll transfer the data and be fired fiercely. Two birds with one stones? – speculates Gailius.
And what’s important. He completely had no doubt that his opponents in Lithuania have close ties with Belarusian secret services. And this connection if dragging all the way from the times when someone in Lithuanian MIA and, most surely, in SSD started providing Minks with info on foreign support of Belarusian opposition.
– Or, maybe, opposition just didn’t pay, that’s why it was decided to punish it? – applying corruption slang wonders Gailius, who wasn’t mistaken and didn’t give a cause to get fired.
Still Bialiatski will be apprehended anyway. The info about the money on his accounts will be retrieved through the courts by Ministry of Justice servant, whose husband had contacts connected with Belarus. A scandal will erupt and acquittal will appear. Allegedly they did it via legal assistance contract. Lie! Data can be provided under such contract in instance of criminal case, Bialiatski has suit brought against him and was jailed for seven year only after receiving info from Lithuania.
So what? Ministry of Justice servant Aušra Bernotienė, who forces commercial banks to provide Belarus with data about the assets in Bialiatski’s private accounts, was cautioned and got a new job at National Justice Administration. Presidency didn’t mind.
On his private account Bialiatski kept the money of the Viasna fund. The fund is dedicated to support families of people and political prisoners persecuted by Lukashenko. The info recovered from the banks by Lithuanian Ministry of Justice through the courts showed, that fund amassed around $ 200.000.
The whole story of Ales Bialiatski’s imprisonment by joint efforts of Vilnius and Minsks completely baffles. Vilnius didn’t give Minsk bank account data of two Lukashenko opponents, Bialiatski and Valentin Stefanovich. Vilnius gave bank account data of 400 Belarusians in exchange for similar data of 500 Lithuanians.
Journalist Nikolai Khalezin also noted that two years before that Lithuania banned citizen of Belarus to open accounts in Lithuanian banks. Exceptions were made for only for human rights activists and NGO’s. Several hundred Belarusians given away by Vilnius managed to flee abroad. Minsk waited, whether Bialiatski flees – in that case it would be possible to declare him a fraud evading taxes and to blacken his reputation. Foreseeing this, Bialiatski didn’t flee, but was sentenced and jailed for seven years.
Concerning case, Vice-Premier of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Paval Syaveryniets declared, that is was a “Lithuanian knife stab at the back of Belarusian opposition”. Furthermore, he added, that he doesn’t believe official clarification of Lithuania that it was “a technical mistake”.
– It was no mistake, it was the execution of Dalia Grybauskaitė’s will, – Syaveryniets was blunt. And Belarusian politologist Jury Chaščavacki, citing own sources in Vilnius, said that it was the execution Lithuanian financial groups’ will.
– Undoubtedly, she made her friends a favor, – said Chaščavacki about Grybauskaitė
Looking for reasons of the betrayal, Belarusian news portal tut.by gathered data about businessmen with interests in Belarus. Presumed will of Grybauskaitė to give away info about Belarusian opposition to Lukashenko is linked to Mebelain furniture company, built by SBA corporation in Belarus.
– Everything changed, when they began building, – says Chaščavacki.
Yet, there’s more “oligarchs seeking assistance. For example, brothers Gintaras and Mindaugas Marcinkevičius, who separated from the Vilniaus prekybаdozen after LEOLT dissolution. They founded a retail chain in Belarus. They already bought dozens land lots.
Big interests in Belarus have Bronislavas Lubys’ creation Achema and Vidmantas Kučinskas’ creation Arvi. According to Belarusian news portal, Kučinskas who has Belarusian technical salt export contract, has tried to build a potassium fertilizer factor together with the local community, but didn’t get the deal. An agricultural company in Belarus was registered by Ramūnas Karbauskis, Lithuania’s largest landlord. Visvaldas Matijošaitis’ Viči has two companies in Misnk.
Vladimiras Romanovas, one of the brightest businessmen from Lithuania, also prospered in Belarus. Men from former Rubikon are also there – biofuel from wooden waste is produced in Belarus and expensively sold in Lithuania. Arvydas Avulis also has business with the Belarusians.
If Chaščavacki’s right, someone of these oligarchs was crucial in decision on Bialiaski’s giveaway? By the way, a completely the opposite theory exists – allegedly, Bialiatski was sacrificed for info about Lithuanian businesses in Belarus. Allegedly, number of these businessmen felt themselves too free, began involving with politics, and Daukanto Square requires cooperation with Lukashenko to grab them by the throats. Apparently, both interests met. You kill one, the other benefits.
In first and in second instances Vitalijus Gailius demonstrated disobedience, refusing giving the data to Minsk. Maybe, that’s when reputation played its part, of which Grybauskaitė told Medalinskas brief and clear:
– They won’t obey!
Second time Gailius came under fire, when no one was covering behind secret operations.
– Colleagues, we won’t reveal classified info in my cabinet. For some reason a surveillance device had been installed here, – said Gailius during some of FNTT morning meetings.
It was mid November, 2011. Bank of Lithuania just ceased Snoras bank’s activities. Surveillance of Vitalijus Gailius commenced because Vaišnoras, SSD Deputy Director filed false information suspecting Gailius to be connected with information leaks of planned operation to the media.
– Information was leaked the same week when the Prosecutor’s Office started investigation of Snoras case. On first week of November Vasiliauskas visited the Prosecutor’s Office and in the middle of the month the information got leaked, – ironically laughed Gailius.
Vitas Vasiliauskas, head of the Bank of Lithunia, negotiated with him about the Snoras case since spring. He asked FNTT to initiate an operational investigation due to the fact, Snoras securities amounted to more than a billion already rested in Swiss bank.
– What operational investigation in Switzerland? Do you hear, what you’re saying? – Gailius was utterly surprised at the head of Bank of Lithuania, who believed FNTT could conduct operations in friendly European countries.
Prosecutor’s Office needs to initiate pre-trial investigation and sent an official request. There’s no other way. There really what to investigate, and we offered it to be a single case in the hands of the Prosecutor’s Office, but its separate components would be investigated by investigators from different services.
According to Gailius, it was particularly dispute with Giržadas on the grounds of investigation tactics became a lead to harsh measures. Daukanto Suqare received wiretapped conversations between Gailius and Giržadas, during which they criticized Bank of Lithuania’s decision concerning Snoras:
– We could jail these guys (Snoras stockholders), but were offered to act just like Latvians did with Parex bank.
Parex bank got nationalized and turned into state bank Citadele, which exists today. But Vasiliauskas got another order – the bank had to be destroyed. Where did the order come from?
Decisions are often evaluated by those who benefit from them. Data about hundreds of thousands deposits held by citizens in Snoras got transferred to SEB bank. Majority of depositors were left in that bank with state compensations paid for ensured deposits. Compensation money, more than 2 bn. Lt. with nearly 7% interest rate, was loaned by the state. It disseminated around other commercial banks, former rivals of Snoras, who severely suffered during crisis.
That’s why conspiracy theories spread quickly in Lithuania, that Snoras, allegedly, was destroyed not only because it had unamendable problems, but so the other banks could profit.
– Remember, where Grybauskaitė rushed right after getting elected, – hinted one such “conspirator”.
And once again we have to dive into the internet. July 16, 2009. Whole media’s covering Dalia Grybauskaitė’s first trip overseas. President went on a working visit to Sweden. What’s she doing there?
– Don’t know, they didn’t let me in, – told journalist Linas Balsys, back then President’s adviser.
The Embassy of Lithuanian Republic in Stockholm was attended by the heads of Swedbank и SEB. Grybauskaitė talked to them in private more than two hours. What are they talking about? What’re they expecting? That time Swedish banks inflicted 3 billion Lt. losses on Lithuanian banks. Nothing good was expected from the next year either.
Economy analyst Stasys Jakeliūnas is connected with the activity of Swedish banks by Lithuanian version of the world-shaking financial crisis:
What’s the anatomy of Lithuanian crisis in a nutshell? Main point is the effect of Swedish Druzhba. In 2005-2008 currency flow of 10-12 bn. Lt. went from Sweden to Lithuania, That surplus of Swedish money landed on the accounts of citizens and companies of Lithuania in form of loans. Due competition among banks loans were distributed freely. During money surplus banks acting in Lithuania funded loans at 100%. It was enough for the return of one loan to amount to 600-650 Lt. per month for family member. Mortgage price (MP) in Lithuania for period of 2004-2007 annually grew 30% up. Majority of the money “imported” from Sweden ended up in MP sector, 15% went on buyers credits. This prompted high consumption and demand in the country. Due increasing MP costs 4 bn. Lt. of loans were given.
Thus, for several years Swedish banks took over Lithuanian market. Although, the erupted crisis forced them to change the currency river’s stream. Scandinavian banks since the beginning of the crisis in 2008 till the mid 2012 pulled more than 15 bn. Lt. from Lithuania, because they had to assist their own main banks, who were also suffocated by the crisis.
So, in summer of 2009 in the room of Lithuanian embassy in Stockholm Swedish bankers and Grybauskaitė behind closed doors had to perfectly understand that everyone’s conditions were bad. And it got worse. The head on Central Bank of Sweden made a forecast what in 2010 losses of banks in Baltic States will equate to 9 bn. Lt.
When in 2011 Bank of Lithuania declared Snoras bankrupt, Swedish banks jumped to dismember its body, depositors with state-guaranteed compensations as if they hadn’t eaten for eternity. Was such trajectory envisaged two years prior in Stockholm? We’ll find out about that if someone of the participants of that secret meeting will spill some truth serum into a glass of wine.
We can estimate only what’s impossible to hide. In fall of 2009 Grybauskaitė upon returning from Stockholm was met by the president of SEB bank. The women again negotiated about something behind shut doors.
Grybauskaitė must have felt certain responsibility for Swedish investments in Lithuania’s banking sphere, since she was heading the privatization of Savings Bank of Lithuania. Sole participant in the contest Hansabank, later called Swedbank, acquired State Savings Banks for 150 mln. Lt. During Grybauskaitė’s rule over state finances Lithuanian banking got virtually transferred into the hands of Scandinavians.
What I’ll say right now will be a slight divergence from the story. But this divergence eloquently shows that Grybauskaitė frequently tells one and does completely the opposite.
2009. Grybauskaitė is already President and preparing to visit USA. Americans diplomats don’t really understand what’s going on. Grybauskaitė cancels all meetings with representatives of US business who could invest in Lithuania. Why? What happened?
The story is detailed in classified correspondence of US diplomats published by WikiLeaks:
Country‘s future economic growth. Semaska told us that Grybauskaitė does not want to be associated with businessmen (noting she rejeсted his advice to lead of a group of Lithuanian businessmen on a visit to Estonia and Finland earlier in the fall). Her refusal reflects her view that suсh businessmen would want to accompany her only to ask her for favors and to curry political influence, damaging the independence from special interest groups that has helped underpin her popularity.
Weird speech. I mean, Grybauskaitė’s tied with Garbaravičius family, controlling import of Russian electricity, was a secret for no one. Her favor for Vilniaus prekyba and assistance to Uspaskichas on saving Jangila’s money were also known. And more, on recently banging presidential elections her campaign was assisted by a man from possibly the most influential law firm LAVVIN. That’s where a man of large stature, Vitas Vasiliauskas is from. Grybauskaitė’s favorite, Kubilius’ Cabinet Minister of Energy Arvydas Sekmokas couldn’t make a single step without expensive advises of that firm.
Now we’ll return to Vitalijus Gailius, 45-year-old detective, who had dissenting opinion on how to investigate what Snoras’ stockholder have done.
– Giržadas argued with them, insisted not to enter the bank in mask to conduct a search. I wasn’t there but that evening Vytautas was in my cabinet telling me about that argument, then Vasiliauskas called angry and declared: “Your guys are against our planned actions”. What do you mean “against”? We’re against the fact that seven separate cases would be initiated!
Next day Lietuvos rytas has an article. It tells about the meeting and plans of tackling “Lithuanians banks”. Prosecutor’s Office calls another meeting. Who leaked the info?
– Oh, we don’t have to investigate, – remembers Gailius the word of deputy of prosecutor Raulušaitis. – They must of listened through the windows.
– What windows, idiot…
By the evening Giržadas had gathered information on who, through whom and how delivered the news about operation against Snoras to the magazines. From the source at the Prosecutor’s Office through agent, former prosecutor still has the most attentive ears among his colleagues.
– He pointed out too many details, maybe he’s connected with the leak, – wrote Vaišnoras an internal report, and Gailius’ cabinet got “bugged”.
Since then Gailius day and night keeps the TV and radio on.
– Let them listen.
Only the reader must not jump to conclusion out of these words of a commissar, that if you’ll place a cell phone next to operating radio transmitter, you can now freely give all secrets away. It’s just that while TV’s on, the screen of KGB man’s computer by the sound graph can’t tell the difference when you speak and the TV does. To listen 10 minutes of your priceless confession detectives have to go through long hours of a TV show.
– Resign. I mean, you’ve already earned yourself a retirement. We’ll let you go honorably. Won’t nitpick, – said Palaitis, having summoned Gailius.
– Don’t you tell me what to do. It wasn’t you who earned me this retirement, – broke off Gailius and, of course, didn’t resign. And didn’t allow Giržadas to do it.
Then the lie detectors story began. The operating specialist called Gailius and Giržadas liars. Gailius demanded a second test.
One morning he was summoned before the President’s Adviser on Security and Defense Jonas Markevičius. Along with Vaišnoras, who practically ruled SSD, Mindaugas Ladyga, who’s puppet, presumably, was Minister of Interior, and Dainius Dabašinskas, who controlled the whole process from the cabinet of Seimas Vice-Speaker Algis Čaplikas. Jonas was a man directly speaking into the President’s ear. Yet, he was “totally blend” in appearance. If he was to snatch my valet, I’d hardly describe his looks. Well, medium height. Nothing stands out in moves, speech, clothes.
– I won’t talk to you, – says him Gailius.
Markevičius rushed “up”:
– President will now meet with you.
Gailius is telling:
– We spoke for about an hour. Conversation was calm, friendly. I don’t tolerate anyone yelling at me. She told me that I was acting suspicious when criticized the tactics employed in Snoras operation. “You and Giržadas were against this format of handling the bank”, – that’s about how she phrased it. I laid out my version how everything happened. “Information from advisers reaches me in distorted fashion”, – she said. That’s it. She said: “Do your job”. She also named the cases we had to continue.
After the announcement that Gailius’ second run on lie detector was fortunate for him, another call from the Prosecutor’s Office took place. Markevičius wants to meet again. But not in the Presidency, but rather down the Gedemino Avenue near an old bookstore, whose angle was become a wonderful pancake café. Next hour – next meeting on a new place. This time behind the Archcathedral.
– What constipation? – wonders Gailius but hints that it’s closer to jog to Palaitis. Ministry’s doors are right in front of the meeting place.
– What, she really told you to continue working?
Gailius thought it would be all. Not so fast.
After several days Palaitis:
– Fire Giržadas.
– Go to hell!..
Next week Grybauskaitė:
– I won’t.
FNTT head got fired after they were stripped of the right to work with classified data. Files for firing were prepared by Vaišnoras from SSD. “Palaitis here has nothing to do with it”, – Grybauskaitė was convincing the journalist and added a heated tirade about reputation of a civil servant, which must be “flawless”. Court ruled that Giržadas and Gailius were fired unlawfully.
Two months Gailius lived off insurance dedicated to children’s educations. Then I won the case against MIA, what fired him under a direct order from Grybauskaitė.
“Those sissies will never get jobs again!”
According to observers of Vilnius policy, President got mad that the judges panel dared to rule against their employer. She’s the one signing decrees appointing the judges! But the judges guild that time already held a grudge on Grybauskaitė. Maybe, more on her advisers, who, allegedly, tell her what and how the case must be resolved.
The Compliant and Shameless in the Shadow of the Presidency
– Reputation must not bear any doubts! – with these words, briefly and sharp as always, Grybauskaitė outlaid her position concerning firing officials at FNTT.
Many lost breath from such injustice…But she herself patronizes legion of fraudsters!
Valinskas again has to add.
– Divide and rule. It’s the only time I heard this during conversations with Degutienė, Kubilius… It’s a commonly known secret, that after meeting one, she’s saying something about another, but after meeting that other she’s saying different things about the one she previously met.
– She’s spreading rumors?
– For example?
– The FNTT scandal. SSD issued a letter. President knew about its content, and decision to fire the service’s heads, undoubtedly, was blessed on Daukanto Square. After came fuss, resistance. Minister Palaitis got thrown as cannon fodder. She initiates the process, then withholds from further actions. The same is with Minister of Culture. For certain “loyalty” he was promised a post of envoy to UNESCO in Paris. President used him like a chess pawn in that giant game.
Then Valinskas told about the largest defection he ever experienced. There was a situation when Valinskas, who everyone sacrifices, decided to become opposition, but in that case it meant that they had to recalled minister nominated by him.
Kubilius Cabinet would again had to test confidence in the Seimas, the confidence which already was melted down a bit.
And here Arūnas Gelūnas, Minister of Culture, delegated by National Resurrection Party, states that from now on he’ll follow Eligijus Masiulis and his Liberal Movement. Power was sustained. What happened with Gelūnas? Got bribed…
– It’s a fact. President said that all questions were settled with Kubilius. Government did what the President told it.
– Was she grateful?
– Yes, I believe, yes.
Mission to UNESCO lacked its head for a long time since Ina Marčiulionytė was recalled, also by Grybauskaitė’s will. Supporters of Lithuanian historical heritage were ready to kiss Ina’s hand – that’s what a helper she was to them. She could protect Curonian Spit from invasion of wealthy magnates covered up by state officials. She secured Old Town of Vilnius. She was a real thorn in elites’ soft spot.
Grybauskaitė removed the thorn. Three Baltic States nominated Marčiulionytė for UNESCO General Secretary. After the first round Lithuania recalled it candidate. Estonians and Latvians left unhappy, that their candidate was stolen. And how – attention! During the elections Lithuania had supported European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, associate of Grybauskaitė, who later flopped. Though, small favors strengthen friendship. That time it was no secret that Grybauskaitė is going to receive if not a second presidential spot, but some sort of high office in Brussels.
– We’ll save up, – said someone from MFA. And they saved up until the office in Paris as a pylon became needed for Gelūnas. Suddenly no one needed to save up.
Gelūnas is a fine chap. It looks like he got total freedom of action. For the past several months of him in office governments post with good salaries were occupied by main suspects in cultural theft in VECC (Vilnius – European Capital of Culture), and Gintautas Kėvišas, a symbol of corruption in culture sector, won the contest to continue serving as the head of National Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Regardless to the presented suspicions what he “robbed” the theatre.
– So what? And after Kėvišas was presented with suspicions, the President went to theatre, sat in the lounge. Had a good time.
That’s the ones aware of President’s daily schedule say.
– I’ve got no complaints on him as an administrator, – said Grybauskaitė, the society was discussing Kėvišas’ appointment for a third term straight.
Flawless reputation… Kėvišas case was ready to head off to court when suddenly the Presidency’s request fired both, Gailius and Giržadas. Gailius told, that, arriving to FNTT, he found a dusty case about the repairing the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet’s wall for about 30 mln. Lt.
– It was given to an official, who never investigated it due lack of competence.
Gailius then gave the case to an official with a more brighter mind, and after few days a very unpleasant for the suspect financial examination report appeared.
Then this happened.
Imagine an early morning in Laurai district. The same one, created by people from Vilniaus prekybа for themselves. The dew is evaporating on pines’ threads, touched by first rays of rising sun… Neries is covered with fog. Servants are quietly going to work on tiptoes. Oh, the blessing hours of morning sleep. Then suddenly:
– Open up, it’s the police!
Loud sound, the stench of engine gases from not so good police cars, dirty boots on a Persian rug. Kėvišas’ estates are being searched. Two-story building stacked with antique and designer furniture. A chair made from some unborn beasts’ skin…
He began settling here when the very Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas favored him, both destroyed the Saulius Sondeckis’ life’s creation – the Cameral Orchestra of Lithuania. Sondeckis, a social democrat, publicly urged against Brazauskas, and it was enough for his orchestra to be liquidated. It was restored later, under a new chief.
Kėvišas moved to his estate in the pine forest near Neries when Grybauskaitė favored him as well. Enjoying enormous salary all his life and inviting Russian celebrities in Lithuania for giant fees (covered from the state’s pocket), with his “difficult” job Kėvišas earned his house in Laurai with a swimming pool in a separate wing. Designer took care of the home’s interior, who only for one square meter asks as many a policeman conducting a search there earns for a month. And he had to search more than 300 square meter.
The morning ritual of Laurai is disturbed. There won’t be a ritual swim in the pool. Obviously, the search was conducted late. If we’d be nitpicking, we’d say that the goal of invasion was humiliation rather, not finding evidence for the case. Humiliation of somebody who for long years humiliated the law, turning crime just into “good administration”.
– From a business point of view I surely was no problems with Mr. Kėvišas, and he is really one of those managers who can work with quality, – said Grybauskaitė while being asked, what will become now of that mold covered up by “resonance” cases.
What’s that? A mistake maybe? Or, maybe, it’s a know how, which’s clearly seen in Putin’s Russia? President is surrounded by own state property raiders, own oligarchs, to whom common rules don’t apply.
Another explanation exists. Grybauskaitė protects Kėvišas like the conductor of “soft power” of Russia. “Soft power” or impact on the “former USSR territory” through spreading of Russian culture is a term of Kremlin propagandists. Kėvišas allowed this force to appear by praising and adoring Russian celebrities. From violinist Yuri Bashmet to scandalous Valery Gergiev. You may not know how a violin looks like, but you most certainly heard of Yuri Bashmet from an ad on TV.
Kėvišas was the first to stretch an arm to conductor Gergiev, when in 2008 he performed a concert in occupied by Russians Georgian town of Tskhinvali. He performed Symphony No. 7 by Dmitry Shostakokovich, gave a speech praising Russian intervention.
And suddenly Gergiev appears in the program of an event at Vilnius – European Capital of Culture, in opera festival. Kremlin’s megaphone Gergiev is an honorary guest in a European capital of culture.
An assistant from the Theatre of Opera and Ballet hall told me about another coincidence.
– I see, our director is drinking coffee with Russian Culture Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy!
Shvydkoy isn’t some ordinary Kremlin’s aide. He managed to serve up to reaching the post of special envoy in international cultural cooperation after he led a Russian TV channel. Conducted by Shvydkoy, that channel helped Putin to remove Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov: they showed a film lost by secret services, where a man looking like Skuratov is bathing with two prostitutes. Little bit later establishment used an apartment with prostitutes to compromise journalists and opposition politicians.
Journalists in tiny detail described, what groups and how are they struggling for control of Daukanto Square. Dismissing of Gailius and Giržadas was a plain story that forces everyone to show their cards. Nothing unsuspecting. FNTT was never before left for ordinary policemen, who’d view theft from the Treasury very simply as just crimes. It’s not important, who you are and who’s covering you up. Are you stealing? Then you’ll go to prison!
Such view acted like bait luring jackfish and catfish of political life, who’d under different instances prefer to hide deep underwater.
Journalist Rimvydas Valatka once referred to one of these groups as “state figures”, people, who express interest in state affairs. The phrase stuck to them like a wet leaf to a naked buttock. Most often, obviously, nickname “state figures” was pronounced with a great dose of irony. You should understand who the state figures are. They’re bunch of drinking buddies with ideas to usurp the state.
Actually, it was a group of very experienced politicians and top state officials, who found each other during Valdas Adamkus’ first term. “Grey cardinals of the state”, whose goal was noble at first – securing the state’s direction. Ride on a roller coaster of luck and misfortunes a bit later made some of them lazy. Turned them into cynics, who only strived for profit.
First, they were individual people, every one terrified in their cabinets from the fact, that political leaders are being tossed by waves of democracy from a decaying depth of society. They were terrified of the methods of Brazauskas’ work. They were afraid of Sleževičius. Uspaskichas’ triumphant ascension to power to them seemed to be a complete abyss. Men were sipping beer and something more strong and thought, what to do so “the state’s ship wouldn’t decline of its course” under the volatile will of His Majesty Electorate.
– “Paksogate” gave them wings. They saw that they are a real force when acting together, – one man told me, who knew nearly all “state figures” up close and personal.
Albinas Januška is always called the leader of “state figures”. He’s a Sąjūdis member, a signatory of the Independence Act, for a long time he worked in Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was an adviser to Valdas Adamkus for five years. What else can be said about him? He studied biology in Leningrad, in Zhdanov University, at the same time Dalia Grybauskaitė worked at Rote Front. Both deny that they knew each other back then.
Also once Januška tried to become a leader of Lithuanian social democrats, not the ones calling themselves communists, but those who ex-communists consumed at the end together with the name. Januška has spent so much time roaming political backstages, that could make a living conducting excursions. Signatory’s value is enough for him.
Januška’s alleged right hand man Dainius Dabašinskas had a less famous persona. He’s a KGB man. Before the controversy surrounding Vytautas Pociūnas and the parliamentary security department’s scrutiny of SSD he was SSD Deputy Director.
According to an unverifiable source, Dabašinskas practically ruled the department, got involved into unclear ties with Russian gas agents, mostly Rimandas Stonius. Also he wasn’t the last one who sent Vytautas Pociūnas to Belarus, where he died under mysterious circumstances. There’s an opinion going around that it happened in connection with the investigation of financial support of Belarusian opposition lost in Lithuania.
Another man attached with the “leadership” of this company is Darius Jurgelevičius. Also a KGB man. He had to leave service and became a businessman in Georgia. There he bought a TV company for several millions. Question, where an ex-civil servant got such a sum from, remains unanswered.
The house of cards of “state figures” influence fell apart after a loud buzz arose concerning circumstances of Vytautas Pociūnas’ death. Right now it’s possible to present theories why did it happen. Maybe, men believed it their own invincibility? Or, maybe, they just got too lazy, lost vigilance and made a mistake. Instead of taming passions, added some oil into the fire.
“Careless urination of a drunk old man deprived of a lover done through a window”, – this theory of Pociūnas’ death was unofficially tossed in by the State Security Department. And thus it began… Pociūnas was in then-opposition, among the conservatives. Prior to exile to Belarus he visited his friend Kęstutys Masiulis. He refused to treat himself with tea or coffee, sat on swings in a vast yard of Masiulis’ country house and delivered a long speech about how he’ll take over the state. Masuilis was frightened, though began talking about it only after friend’s death.
I swear, the guiltiest in that buzz is then-head of SSD, a KGB reservist Arvydas Pocius. It’s merely a myth that KGB only allowed the smartest to join its lines. Oh, no… The biggest chances of getting there belonged to careerists, greedy people or people with special demands, not always legal and reluctantly made public. And when complicated situation formed, when they had to control public opinion, they make mistakes.
Example is a controversy in Russia around the so-called “Magnitsky Act”. Pocius is no way connected but this case eloquently exposes the very same school he graduated. It shows their fostered professional stupidity. So, the back story goes like this: Moscow made feud with Washington about the murder of a lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a confinement. Two versions of what Magnitsky has done exist. Kremlin offers the version that he designed a scheme, that helped a small group of foreigners to become main shareholders of Gazprom. According to Washington’s version, he uncovered how Russians officials steal and launder country’s money. Then Moscow finds a reason to put a lawyer in prison confinement and, presumably, kill him. Washington issues “Magnitsky Act” listing everyone who was tied with the lawyer’s death, and bans their entry to US territory.
Putin’s reply – ban of adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens. And here’s the latest tune of that revenge using babies. FSB agents somewhere found a woman, washed her up, drove to the capital, there she stated that her child is being in custody of Americans and she wants to return him. Loves him a lot, missed him, cries… Cameras turn off. Woman gets her money and goes home. She got so drunk on the train, that she sparked a scandal and the engine driver had to lay her off on the way…
Some propagandist, these KGB men are…
As for Pocius with his presumably “careless urination”, it turned out later that they tried to cover up the case with the foundation only on data provided by Belarusian KGB. Seimas secured the case. Even louder noise rose. They had to sacrifice Pocius. Later they had to make an even bigger sacrifice… It seemed, that “state figures” house of card fell apart and will never be restored.
But nothing inspires for gallant deeds like a real threat.
“State figures” in the Presidency again appeared during second year of Grybauskaitė’s rule. How? Where from? She was the one who removed them from offices like Karabas Barabas did with his dolls. Your paint faded, don’t serve that well? To the oven with you with your curvy stick.
And here they… returned. The real return can be marked on the day Grybauskaitė left Gailius and Giržadas jobless.
Why did these two mobilized “state figures” old guard? Their target was Giržadas, not Gailius. Blue-eyed policeman without diploma, an unjust enrichment specialist. He wasn’t hit because of his activity in FNTT, but cause while working in Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau he received an assignment from Artūras Urbelis of Prosecutor’s Office.
Vytautas Pociūnas assassination case, who was a State Security Department officer dead in Belarus, had many different forms. In the end after several losses in courts Prosecutor’s Office assigned the case to Urbelis – he began verifying all theories (not only accident-related). One theory claimed that someone from Lithuania contacted someone in Lukashenko’s inner circle and “snatched” financial aid from foreign states intended for Belorussian opposition. Pociūnas had a hunch, who that “someone” is. He gave the last names away Masiulis, who in heat of passion forgot them, though “someone” wouldn’t give a damn since Masiulis fell out of the window.
During Grybauskaitė’s rule cooperation between Belorussian and Lithuanian state institutions, when money intended for opposition gets dragged into criminal activity, from being underground became sort of official. But back then the process was secret and dangerous. There’s a guess, thought in innuendo fashion, on that it cost Pociūnas life.
Thus, Urbelis got a thought on whether the “state figures” were involved. He sanctioned a particularly secret investigation. This included wiretapping of “state figures”. Since this group of serious men is neither a party, nor sing and dance band, yet – through the narrowed eyes of a prosecutor – has features of an organized and, possibly, criminal gang, investigation was handed over to Gailius. Gailius, Deputy Chief of Criminal Police Bureau at that time, attached the case to Giržadas. “State figures” were placed under surveillance, the witnesses in Belarus appeared.
But the “button” activating the secret surveillance is in the State Security Department!
The information about the secret investigation quickly leaked to the same people, who were supposed to be surveillanced.
– What “state figures” clan? It’s a bunch of drinking companions. That’s how I call them – drinking companions! – said Vitalijus Gailius, treating me with Joniškio bakery cookies in Seimas Anticorruption Commission President’s cabinet. They threw him out. Intuition’s whispering, that Palaitis really “had nothing to do with it”, but someone had to put suspicion about the intentions of those two into the President’s head? Someone she really trusts. Like Romualdas Vaišnoras whom she met in Brussels and later appointed Deputy Chief of State Security Department.
So… What did Giržadas uncover, being placed by prosecutor Urbelis to spy on “state figures”? And why did this prompt “state figures” to mobilize and fight back? We flip through old records. The beginning ain’t bad:
The members of “state figures” group were surveillanced. Covert control was placed on the information transferred via telecommunications networks.
Even high officials of The Prosecutor’s Office weren’t aware of this. Only Algimantas Valantinas, Prosecutor General, personally known about it, who sanctioned secret surveillance of said persons. Including the wiretapping of former President Valdas Adamkus’ national security adviser Albinas Januška. Other influential members of “state figures” group were also controlled.
It gets spicier further:
There have been recorded constant meetings in public saunas located on Algirdo St. and Trinapolio St., Vilnius, discussions and even votes for “removal” or appointment of state officials, many of whom, by the way, were appointed by decrees of current President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
Criminal Police Bureau recorded meetings in saunas, who’s constant participants included Dainius Dabašinskas, Seimas Deputy PM’s adviser and president of Algis Čaplikas Union of Liberals and Center; Audrius Siaurusevičius, director-general of Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT), also known as Siauras (Lithuanian for “Tight”); Egidijus Kūris, former president of Constitutional Court; Albinas Januška, former co-head of MFA; Mečys Laurinkus, former longstanding director of SSD; Vidmantas Kučinskas, businessman and honorary consul of Russia in Marijampolė; professor Raimundas Lopata, other identified state officials and politicians, currently or formerly occupying high positions.
So yea-a-ah. Turns out, the spot where fates of state officials are decided is situated near capital’s train stations, on Algirdo Street… Of course, that’s no crime, yet it’s interesting for everyone.
“State figures” soon showed, that they weren’t so weak to be arrogantly spied on with impunity. Newspapers write that about half a year before the elections one of “state figures” Dainius Dabašinskas (hierarchically second behind Albinas Januška), SSD Deputy Chief in Vilnius back then, was taking a walk with some “state official” on Lukiškės Square.
It doesn’t say, with whom exactly, but their meeting place allows to assume, the man was from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They talked about the upcoming presidential elections and almost unquestionable victory of Grybauskaitė. Dabašinskas allegedly said, that they’ve already discussed that electoral case and were considering two possibilities: to compromise the candidate with the data SSD had on her or to tame her.
Grybauskaitė’s popularity could destroy plan A. Once our people love, they do so blindly. I guess, it may be the horned devil himself, but Lithuanian will freeze from his every sight and get intoxicated, when he farts. (Wasn’t that with Uspaskichas?). Which left B – to tame. “We’re already working with her”, – bragged Dabašinskas.
The “work” amounted to small gifts – everyone knows, they make friendship stronger. Let’s say, some disgusting detail from not the most transparent lifeof Prunskienė. Nothing much, yet pleasant. Twice as pleasant, when gifts are made before the victory, that means, the giver believes.
After the victory, they took care of the President’s team formation, so it included as many advisers, closely associated with “state figures”, as possible. It wasn’t that hard to do, since it became common for quite some time that our president don’t select key advisers independently. They’re being delegated by Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That’s how Jonas Markevičius, manager of Defense Ministry’s Second Depart, appeared near Grybauskaitė. Oh, Jonas… He looked tidy, disciplined. “Army pinhead”, – with disdain said “civilians” among the new Presidency. And Markevičius had “tails”, one of them called “public procurement” classified by Ministry of Defense.
“You may look as mush you like. Nothing’s there”, – swore Jonas to his new colleagues, but no one watched. And how would you? It’s impolite.
At first it seemed, Grybauskaitė dared to drive “state figures” away.
Acquiring power, she immediately busted out their backbones in authority. Dainius Dabašinskas and Darius Jurgelevičius lost jobs at SSD.
BBL was pushed into private labor market like into Coliseum, for long ago it controlled law enforcement services and, as some observers note, “acquired” a group of friends.
– Can you elaborate on BBL? – journalist quotes Grybauskaitė.
BBL is an abbreviation of first letters of last names. The last names belong to Romualdas Boreika, longstanding FNTT chief, Vytautas Barkauskas, Deputy Prosecutor General, and Stanislovas Liutkevičiaus, Vice-Minister of Interior. All three very quickly became civilians.
It seemed, the “state figures” house of cards is toppling. Many people lost offices thanks to exploitation of high resonance cases. Not a single case after that will be solved, rather it’ll cover with dust without answers to what really happened, who’s guilty and who’s offended. A scandal was merely raised, heads fell, the case forgotten. Technique? O, yes! It was well effective.
For example: Lithuania is in danger! In Vilnius, almost near Turniškes, just on the opposite side of the highway the secret American CIA prison operates with Al-Qaeda martyrs captive with knowledge of SSD! At least one! Let’s say, well, it occurs within SSD training facility. World demands Lithuania to tell the truth! The news gets announced with a link to US media, which in turn allege on other sources. The traces of latter lead to Moscow.
During the scandal State Security was led by Povilas Malakauskas, a man completely dependent from conservatives, who got the office when he announces from Seimas floor that he think only with a half of his head – with the right brain hemisphere. He got SSD after the failure of KGB reservist Pociaus.
Malakauskas squiggled like on a frying pan removing suspicions about him covering up his deputies, who organized secret prisons for Americans. Tension became so high Malakauskas couldn’t take it. He resigned.
And once again controversial WikiLeaks shall be our source of info, it contains secret correspondence of US diplomats.
15. (C) Her handling of the ABС News story alleging the CIA ran secret prisons in Lithuania, and its effect on U.S. relations, appeared uncertain. When the story first broke, she expressed to the Ambassador her concern that it could harm U.S. – Lithuanian relations. Shortly afterwards, following a meeting with Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, she seemed to allow herself to be provoked in a press conference and called publicly for an investigation that many thought ill-advised. Some members of the American caucus in the Seimas also told us that they were upset that Grybauskaitė reignited the secret CIA prison story, which caused a somewhat-reluctant Seimas to launch an investigation; these MPs worry that the investigation could damage Lithuania’s vital relationship with the U.S. She also appeared to use the alleged prisons as a reason to force out the VSD director and call for more accountability. She did not seem to be aware of how this could affect relations with the U.S.
Her actions connected with the story ABC channel covered, where CIA was accused in establishment of illegal prisons in Lithuania, appear unclear. When the story just popped up, she informed the ambassador, that it’ll damage US-Lithuania relations. Shorty afterwards, having met European Commissioner for Human Right Thomas Hammarberg, apparently she allowed herself to be provoked on a press conference and demanded public scrutiny; it hardly seemed to be outcome of bad advice.
Various Seimas members were concerned about her bringing up secret CIA prisons topic again, so the Seimas investigation commenced. Those Seimas members thought that the investigation would hurt vital Lithuania-US relations. Also it’s seems, that she’s using the subject of presumed prisons to ouster SSD director. Apparently she’s even unaware of how this’ll affect relations with USA.
After a recommendation from conservative Rasa Juknevičienė Dalia Grybauskaitė appointed a new man to lead SSD – Gediminas Grina, concessive, soft and obedient. (Juknevičienė had an exceptional right to make offers, because she was “Lietuvos Dalios” midwife). The secret prisons controversy silenced down as if someone switched the radio off. Was there a prison or wasn’t, was someone incarcerated or not? Who the hell gives a damn now…
By the way, Grina became the first presidential appointee, who Grybauskaitė protects like herself. Two journalists lost jobs when touching him – Valdas Vasiliauskas and Tomas Dapkus.
“You’ve got no right to criticize not only the President, but her appointed officials too!” – was stated to the newspaper’s shareholders, and they complied. That’s how things work.
Next Grybauskaitė grabbed the Prosecutor’s Office. It was Algimantas Valantinas’ domain. Although it only seemed that way, cause much more prominent force in law enforcement was the BBL. One of the B’s is Vytautas Barkauskas, longstanding deputy of Prosecutors General. Along with rising tensions around the Garliava case Barkauskas-Valantinas tandem was destroyed.
The “purge” was assisted by conservative-controlled Seimas. Its commission investigated the case, and then whole Lithuania was captured by fear: Garliava case, “killer case”, it wasn’t investigated from the beginning! Pedophile certificates were issued even without determining the crime scenes. Complaints sent by enraged family met no reaction. Including the ones containing pleas for life protection from violent threats. Seven prosecutors were sanctioned with different degrees.
Prosecutor General Algimantas Valantinas resigned, yet not him, but his circle fell under Daukanto Square’s crosshairs. That’s why Valantinas, who cracked the ice, was promised a swift judiciary career. His deputies attempted to protest. We won’t go. You ain’t have to. Terms expired, and nothing left of Barkauskas.
Then construction of the new house of justice began…
After long searches, aided by national security adviser Jonas Markevičiaus, Grybauskaitė chose new prosecutors’ chief – Darius Valys. A man from Naujoji Akmenė, who became famous only for one case: investigating one lady’s lawsuit about her foreigner friend who raped her pet. The story gained extensive coverage in “Lietuvos žinios”, owned by Valdas Vasiliauskas.
Media back than didn’t have a simple rule beaten in the head: it’s forbidden to criticize not only the President, but her appointed officials as well. Darius Valys is one of them.
Worth noting, this rule was crossed not by just some journalist, but the husband of Seimas Speaker Degutienė. Degutienė told the public about it:
– Concerning giving or not giving credence to the Prosecutor’s Office, I’ve lost all hope long ago. What I can’t actually say, my husband said. The Seimas President gets approached by an ignorant Prosecutor General, or if you call Head of SSD – who descends from high cabinets – it’s like, what do you want from me? You aren’t my boss and don’t tell me fairytales… There are men working with me, they’re witnesses.
Degutienė’s predecessor also wasn’t found of Valys and Grina. Valinskas said:
– Their main pro – loyalty and total commitment to the President.
– How does it happen? They get summoned or an adviser runs to the prosecutor’s office and orders?
– Undoubtedly, yes.
Presidency got the easiest way with letter L in BBL group. Stanislovas Liutkevičius was regarded normal until it turned out he was very rich. With a giant house in Vilnius’ luxury borough, where only one land lot costs a million. Another house is in Kaunas, Liutkevičius’ native town. “From where?”– I asked together with my colleague Rasa Kalinauskaite.
– Well, we weren’t lazy, we bred nutrias… – responded longstanding Head of Interior Ministry’s Investigative Service. It was very funny. Liutkevičius is the only one from that company who really wasn’t lucky, because his son’s presumed unjust enrichment is still investigated.
Romualdas Boreika held his post the longest. Finally he retired. He had accusations thrown in his beck, alleging that during his tenure embezzlers used Treasury’s assets to bribe themselves out of prosecution. Only 100.000 euros and you’re innocent! I personally told on TV about one man, who testified that his business associates bribed the court in such fashion. Boreika had several charges brought against him, but as time went on they got dropped one by one due statute of limitation or “lack of crime elements”.
Then FNTT fell in the hands of vagabonds Gailius and Giržadas. These two appointments completely rendered the well-adjusted since BBL times justice ship out of balance. Greatest power fell into the hand of “cops” – the Criminal Police Bureau. For the time they were tackling traditional gangs – “Cucumbers” (аgurkiniai), “Doctors” (daktarai), “Tulips” (tulpiniai) and other criminal flora and fauna. But with Gailius’ appointment criminalistics began taking interest in so-called “white-collar” crimes, like unjust enrichment of politicians, civil servants, their corporate interests, bribery.
It seemed, the influence of “state figures” is waning. Small group of influential second-degree state officials, who created a parallel structure of authority in Lithuania, went flop. Rumors spread that Albinas Januška, the group’s ideological leader, slid into drinking problems and doesn’t wish to work anymore. He is living in grief. “State figures” relocated their headquarters to the sauna on a remote Vilnius street. That’s where Giržadas found them…
And then on Daukanto Square someone shook in fear. They realized up there that allowing Gailius and Giržadas to punish “white-collars” like some swindlers was a mistake. The main instrument of control and manipulation, compromising materials, had slipped out of their hands.
How do you control a state, if those who’re supposed to carry out politicians’ requests out of fear of being jailed, suddenly begin to get trialed like some sort of ordinary people? Fear is the leverage of the establishment, exercised justice only serves as satisfactions of the crowd. Cause it can’t be that after the battle the losing side has no one left. Who’ll receive orders then? What will become of those, who by the words of Bogdanas, Landsbergis’ adviser, “fight for new everyday job”?
Being practical after personally making a mistake with two policemen Grybauskaitė had them disposed the same way. Her surrounding had no more vagabonds with different opinion and different information.
So what? Because of Markevičius or new presidential “cadre” Grina along with his deputy Vaišnoras, Grybauskaitė, apparently, fell victim to the game beloved by KGB agents from all over the world. The game’s quite simple: isolating a politician from all external sources of information and confining his into a fairytale, which can be traced via secret records, where everybody has roles assigned, indentions clarified.
Speaking of which, Aidis Mieželis, one of those being called “state figures”, became the coordinator of SSD operational units. That’s the man, to whom all spies are obliged to present everything they heard, secretly listened, interrogated, etc. This info, accordingly systemized, properly laid out, tied with a rose ribbon, is delivered to Daukanto Square to help the President make a right decision. That’s what journalist, who pulled the info out of “state figures”, said first under the pen name Mindaugas Velička and, after losing his job, under the name of Valdas Vasiliauskas.
The most horrific in this story isn’t him losing his job. The most horrific thing is that the exceptionally secret investigation sanctioned by prosecutor Urbelis estimated, that Pociūnas died only a few hours after had given the Western partners gathered info about alleged corruption among the heads of Lithuanian MFA and SSD, who presumably misappropriated gigantic sums intended for Belorussian human right activists and Belorussian opposition. This is the claim of his former colleague no one ever tried to debunk.
How did we end up with our President, despite promising to combat oligarchs and their servants in power, decided to join their lines?
First of all, it’s nothing new. That’s exactly what happened with Valdas Adamkus, who was nominated by Artūras Zuokas’ liberal centrist, later crowded by his advisors. In the end, even campaign manager Darius Gudelis lost his post in the President’s staff. Zuokas’ place was occupied by men with more experience and wit, the future “state figures”.
Yet, Adamkus is different. He’s got friends, he’s sociable. His wife from time to time hosts cepelinai evenings with journalists invited. They attend parties together. And Grybauskaitė? In public events she’s accompanied by her friend Kaziliūnienė, who avoids the attention, and former classmate Aurelija Juškevičienė, currently CEO of Eli Lilly Lietuva pharmaceutical company.
There’s another friend left alone at home along the Molėtų road. Well, there’s also Vidmantė Jasukaitytė, though her connection with the spiritual world is stronger than with real people (judging by her letters). Also there’s Asta, her sister once removed. Yep, that pretty much covers her social life. She’s lonely. Though, occasionally Juršėnas and Landsbergis pay her visits. But that’s strictly formal.
– She’s got no close associates, no fellows. She’s either frightening or hated, or… is the one to hate, – told a man, who was near and thinks, he know what’s he talking about.
And then through all loopholes a whole army of witted, educated, complacent, well-informed and, thus, capable to harm others surges towards her.
I’m to believe, peace talks between Grybauskaitė and those aligned people started somewhere near national radio and TV altogether with a handshake with Audrius Siaurusevičius.
– It’s time to end Siaurusevičius’ blockade. We have nothing to broadcast national values through, – those’ll be Grybauskaitė’s words remembered by the adviser the Seimas conservative fraction. – I nearly fell from my chair, – told the man.
And President actually started to patronize Siaurusevičius, she provided him with a separate budget line. President began occasionally hearing what was considered on Algirdo and Trinapolio Streets, as well as Kristina Brazauskienė’s hotel Crown Plaza. Grybauskaitė integrated, broadening her game field. Successful career of great height was her talent.
– Why are they afraid of her? She’s lonely. Are they sacred of explosive temper? She’s supposed to be easily manipulated? – I asked former Seimas Speaker Valinskas. I asked Valinskas specifically, cause he was the one who claimed to understand Grybauskaitė as good as himself, ambitious, ardent, not loving to dispute.
– That’s why: “People come here and while awaiting meetings with me their ankles shake”. This phrase, addressed to “children”, that woman’s bragging shows that she’s proud of that and respect isn’t important for her, fear is. Understand: they come and fear cause they may be fired, not appointed, etc.
– President is a complete bureaucrat, a person strongly distanced from reality. Due her character she isn’t much about finding out, she already knows everything. Well, certain people are born equipped with knowledge, they don’t have to study. She isn’t curious, she isn’t social. Her surrounding is endlessly infantile. Critically-thinking people won’t work with a person like that, the cases of Nugaraitė and Balsys. They’re both very smart, types who don’t kiss one’s hands and feet. It’s various “children” (not in the sense of age, but obedience), who enlist themselves. Under President’s mindset only the obedient are suitable. The heads relying on the obedient subordinates are incapable to lift the society on another moral level. They aren’t leaders in a broad sense. Thus, I don’t have any hope. Though, I’d like a lot to be wrong, – once said Aušra Maldeikienė, who, by the way, is a political economist, just like Grybauskaitė.
– It’s not a team of advisers. It’s a team of yes-men. Adamkus had advisers. President listened them and made decisions. Here it’s the opposite: decision is already made, yes-men just need to say “Yea”, – that’s what Valinskas says.
– To formalize, you mean?
– Yes, to formalize.
– Her goal is not hold onto power without having any understanding why does she need it. I though, she got frustrated because she ascended to power knowing, that she doesn’t see a distinct picture of the country’s development, – told me politician who was near her, but got couldn’t take it. – “Udrėnas, remove a billion from the shade!” – she orders during a meeting. But Udrėnas is lazy and is thinking narrowly. He clings to her with different nonsense: “You know, one association is saying…” “Oh, go to hell, Udrėnas”. And Udrėnas strolls down the corridor. Maybe after that: “It’s been coordinated and approved, everything is fine”.
Nerijus Udrėnas became President’s Senior Adviser replacing Audronė Nugaraitė. A historical by diploma, later he re-qualified and became an Adviser on Ecomony.
Nugaraitė couldn’t even come close to compete with people, who were real decision-makers. She didn’t have the slightest awareness of what was occurring in saunas, where, as publish and not refuted, prominent lawyers were sweating along with KGB agents and diplomats, who decided on what will be undertaken in Lithuania in nearest future. All Nugaraitė was able to do is to have decent people united around the President, people who don’t decide anything for a very long time.
Udrėnas is different. He’s smart and practical. He built a house on government salary. The house is located on a fitting, prestigious place in Vilnius along Nemenčinės road, on the other side from the turn for Turniškes. Youdriveandsee an enormous stone mansion standing on the slope of the hill in Valakupių forests. You see gates, security. When you start filming, immediately from the balcony on the second floor they’re filming you. That’s not Udrėnas’ house, that’s the house of the wealthiest Lithuanian judge Laima Gerasičkinienė and her attorney husband. Udrėnas settled lower near the road. When I visited that place, he didn’t yet have time to side himself with a fence.
Don’t bother wondering, how an average salary earning civil servant together with a wife with approximately equal pay managed to build a house in a pine forest in Vilnius suburbs, and in vicinity of such neighbors.
There’re rumors roaming Vilnius, that Mr. Gerasičkinas has one of the finest cognac collections at his house cellar. Neighbors visit each other, they say, tasting cognac, meeting other influential people. But it’s not circled around cognac. It’s about influence and power of these people.
Udrėnas landed in Grybauskaitė’s surroundings after a rather peculiar maneuver. Long time he worked in Valdas Adamkus team. He was the man, who was convincing other influential people in LEO LT advantages. They explained, that there was no time for debates, reactors must be transported. A little detail: like I already mentioned, that time the decision about LEO constructing new power plant wasn’t yet adopted. Later Udrėnas abruptly left Adamkus’ team and did it precisely after the President signed laws founding LEO. Many got the idea that Udrėnas left with a bang cause he couldn’t cope with LEO arrogance.
When Grybauskaitė won, Udrėnas was re-called. Assumedly recommendation of Rytis Muraška. Who is this Muraška? He held the post of National Security Adviser under Adamkus, before that worked in SSD. But he got famous not cause of that.
Two friends, Muraška and Edvinas Bagdonas, another adviser of Adamkus, bought cottages in Turniškės near government residences. It turned out afterwards, those cottages were built under mortgage of Presidential residence. Since the place was state-owned, the joint-stock company managing Turniškės cottages built them with a status of vacation resorts. If high guests will visit Lithuania, it won’t be shameful to accommodate them. Yet, they were occupied by a group of friends.
After settling down they were noticed by someone. He complained. Seimas established a commission to investigate the case. All buyers were called for questioning. Among the called was Dabašinskas, former chief of Muraška, SSD Deputy Director. The same one, who with Januška, Kurius, Siaurusevičius, allegedly voted, who’d be appointed on crucial offices in Lithuania. It was revealed that he also lives in Turniškės. He purchased an apartment there.
– Online. I browsed online and found the info, – Dabašinskas told a tale after buying a cottage only for 590.000 Lt.
Speaking about his cottage, Muraška mentioned a sum twice higher. Seimas made some noise and that was it. None of the residents were evicted. All’s legal. We’re left with the pride for the state, that transforms civil servants into rich people.
Lietuvos žinios paper, before journalists Vasiliauskas and Dapkus got expelled, discovered that through Udrėnas’ influence on Grybauskaitė’s decisions people, who lost her in connection with aforementioned scandals and purges, returned to power. Yet, journalists called Udrėnas and bluntly asked:
– Do you provide Muraška with info of the President’s actions…
– …and her future decisions?
– No, never.
They were going to “take” a bank in masks. Many agents. Everything had to be filmed. Suspects are dragged outside handcuffed. This “holiday” is known as “masked show”. “Masked show” as slang borrowed from Putin’s Russia. Actually it’s a special service operation, during which a suspected building is stormed in a blitz, and the agents wear masks with holes for eyes, nose and mouth, cause they’re operative officer, who no one must identify.
I heard jokes, that militant enjoyment from “masked shows” felt by the current Daukanto Squate dwellers was originally taken from the very walls of the Presidential Palace, which prior to becoming president’s location served not only as butcher Muravyov’s residence, but likewise a home to Soviet officer.
“Masked show” is a very effective way to tarnish one’s reputation, even if no one will be sent to prison afterwards. That’s why even oligarchs are afraid.
– It’s a living organism, which must be constantly taken care of and one can interfere with, that’s what we’re trying to do, – Grybauskaitė made a point during one of her rare interviews to Lithuanian media. That’s how she characterized Presidency’s relations with oligarchs.
How does the process of controlling the oligarchs work? Presidential advisers don’t make their meeting schedules public and people of the business world after such meetings don’t issue press releases. They only talk amongst themselves, but anyone who has ears to hear should listen.
And they imposed new rules of behavior. First, you’ll get a “masked show” if you don’t behave. Second, you’ll get a “masked show” if you’ll go into politics.
Don’t involve with politics. It was the main news Grybauskaitė sent to big businessmen if they don’t wish to be damaged. But it’s not that easy to do so. Largest part of Lithuanian media is in the hands of Lithuanian shareholders.
Gedvydas Vainauskas, editor-in-chief of Lietuvos rytas, was the first and last, who publicly and openly spoke about strange phone calls from the Presidency. Snoras bank was declared bankrupt, Vainauskas got summoned to Seimas for a testimony before its Anticorruption Commission, investigating bankruptcy’s circumstances. Editor testified, he heard that the Head of Bank of Lithuania Vitas Vasiliauskas was encouraging bank’s stockholders to apply influence on the newspaper, so it wouldn’t criticize the President. That time Vasiliauskas already wasn’t serving as Grybauskaitė’s campaign organizer. He was awarded with the post of Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
– Sole condition was pushed: you can criticize everybody except the President, – Vasiliauskas told the Anticorruption Commission.
Later more exact testimonies had risen, though, to be fair, with requests not to state any last names.
– She was sitting in front of me, just like you are now, and told that there’ll be “masked shows” unless we comply, – a head of another large media corporation told me.
– What does “comply” mean?
– To comply mean not to criticize not only her, but her appointed officials!
Similar story is being told about the threats to Bronislovas Lubys’ widow Lida. “You may rule Lubys’ empire for the rest of your life, it can be nationalized afterwards”. This quote is attributed to President’s advisers.
Businessmen told, they heard that Lubiene had a Law on Joint-Stock Companies shown for persuasion, that, “just in case”, provided property seizure. Nerijus Udrėnas may be a witness to whether that actually happened or didn’t happen.
By the way, Valinskas testified, that politicians get the same treatment:
– I used to hear, that in Seimas her advisers occasionally approached, supposedly, mentioned, and not a single time, but during conversations with numerous people, what things would happened if certain actions took place.
– Did they issue threats? With what?
– No, they merely mentioned, what may happen if this and that. They described scenarios and what’ll happen, if they don’t occur.
One incident with late Lubys’s successor was specifically sad.
– Imagine this, President’s adviser summons the new head of Lubys’ business empire “to her feet”… – a colleague, at that moment working in one of Achemos grupė titles. – Prior to the meeting the man deliberately watched Lietuvos žiniоs. Everything’s fine! There was not a single word ABOUT HER. He came back numb and told, that adviser shouted at him all the time.
Turned out, the fuss was about an article in Lietuvos žinios called Medininkai Case: Russia Spies on Everything and Controls Everything. Tomas Dapkus criticized SSD for Russian troops choreographing the trial. The article was illustrated by a photo of Riga riot troops near Vilnius District Court negotiating with the defendant’s attorney.
– I thought, I made it clear: it’ prohibited to criticize neither President, nor her appointed officials!
Those officials are the heads of HER Prosecutor’s Office, Special Investigation Service, Financial Crimes Investigation Service, State Security Department. It was SSD Chief Grida’s turn to defend himself.
Another instruction delivered from Daukanto Square – firing of editors for alleged “visible common work with LBK” by one of the largest TV channels in the country. The article about twists and turns of the Medininkai massacre case was posted on the web site owned by MG Baltic corporate group, later publication’s author covered the same story for LNK TV channel. And Dapkus’ head was claimed on the spot.
That’s then they dictated the rule on how Lietuvos žiniоs should behave.
– Write about business!
Editor-in-chief Valdas Vasiliauskas got fired with severance package.
Lubys’ successors and MG Baltic media group stockholders were grabbed the same way as Putin “grabbed” disobedient oligarchs in Russia. Privatization. Lubys, the head of Achema, region’s largest nitrate fertilizer producer, in his capacity of PM in 1992-1993 adapted laws for company’s privatization and bought it. Later during Brazauskas rule he additionally bought a cargo company in Klaipėda. MG Baltic, once modest alcohol-importing company, became a real force upon receiving the possibility of privatization of alcohol factories.
For the sake of facilitation of the conquered territories both began creating media corporations as firewalls. Lubys declared it openly: he required unprofitable newspapers, TV and radio only to defend his business in case of danger.
– Why do you need it?
– In times of troubles my media will defend me, – Lithuania oligarch No. 1 clarified.
Many times Lubys heard advices from politicians on what his journalists have to write and broadcast. But that was a man of another kind – Independence Act signatory with a firm character. He knew what and how he must strive for.
Bronislovas Lubys died suddenly and… just at the right time. Exactly when he came to construction of a liquefied natural gas transportation terminal, aimed to simplified his and Lithuanian negotiations with Russian Gazprom. Achema, the spine of Lubys’ business empire, was second gas importer into the state from Russia. So here Lubys is negotiating with the establishment, still social democrats, about the joint construction of gas-import terminal. But elections pass, conservatives gain power and kick business magnate out of the game. He then fights for the constructions of the terminal solemnly, without government aid. And suddenly dies.
– Dies while going on a bicycle ride. And get this, he’s found fallen down on the stomach in the outskirts of Druskininkai. Specifically fallen down. Lay sprawled at full length on the ground, instead of being hunched up like people struck by cardiac arrest are usually found, – that’s was at first loudly spoken and later only whispered in the lobbies of authority.
It’s been speculated, that cardiac arrest starts with severe pain, which causes a man to bend at maximum, to hunch up into fetal pose… While his body was found completely straight… Arisen storm was calmed down by the Prosecutor’s Office. At its initiative remains of deceased Lubys immediately got sent to forensics. Sunday, October 23 the body was found, and October 25 the Prosecutor’s Office representative had already informed the press that it was non-violent death. The king of Lithuanian business passed away from coronary heart disease.
This rush reminded of another accident, when under horrible circumstances Juozas Paliakas suddenly died in Klaipėda. He died from explosion. He had a bag from somewhere, it exploded. That’s how the widow of the deceased testified, she drove him to the place of a business meeting and let him out of the car without any bags in his hands.
Paliakas too died at a very good hour, cause he had just begun giving public testimony about business and establishment energy deals. Thanks to him society found out about the “peculiarities” of Russian gas import through brokers. The broker was Stella vitae. Everyone was in that corporation – Antanas Bosas, Viktoras Uspaskichas, Rimandas Stonys, who later became boss of Dujotekanа company, and several other people currently in power. Paliakas too. He was a very peaceful man. Regardless to the strong risk when opening his mouth, he didn’t even bother acquiring a weapon for self-defense. And here he goes literally exploding. The event gets instantly investigated. Based on a testimony of a Russian with criminal past, who fled Lithuania, police interrupted the investigation with a conclusion that Paliakas died by his own fault. He was simply carrying a homemade explosive with him but couldn’t use it.
I remember this story that Sunday in October, where sudden death of Lubys was announced. Dead unexpected, yet for many beneficial, and, besides the point, intertwined with strange circumstances. For example, the first to report the fact of death was not someone from the deceased’s close circle, but a press secretary of Energy Ministry Kęstutis Jauniškis. Or, maybe, it’s normal for such important things for the energy industry to be announced by him?
Because on Friday, two days before Lubys’ death, another “energy” tragedy took place. Director of controversy-shaken Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant Šarūnas Vasiliauskas fell from a yacht and drowned. Didn’t have a life vest on, there foredrowned. “Impossible!” – exclaimed my colleague, sailing enthusiast. It’s impossible for a man to get on a yacht without a life vest under high-level waves, and Vasiliauskas certainly wasn’t some amateur.
Yet, since long ago people in Lithuania are getting used to weird tragic deaths without the guilty, except, for, maybe, the dead themselves. That’s why what’s left is to observe at what happens next.
Conservatives, upon destroying the “conspiracy” of Lubys and social democrats about the gas terminal construction, didn’t manage to begin the construction themselves till their failure at the Seimas elections in 2012. Another, less notable process emerged. New Achema owners, following advices of the people from Presidents surrounding, started selling off media-shield created by Lubys and his empire.
And now about myself. Back when colleagues jumped in horror because of journalists being fired under the instructions of the Presidency, I felt myself like behind a stone wall. Cause I’m working in a company made up of non-Lithuanian capital. TV3 headquarters is in London. That’s where people truly understand the value of freedom of speech!
First alarming lights shined out of a totally unpredictable place. The annoying not only to audience, but to organizers as well dance contest Šok su manimi was on its way. It was the turn of Veronika Gordievskaya from Belarus to hit the dance floor. About how she managed to appear under Lithuania skies, you ought to rather ask Viktoras Uspaskichas. Announcing Veronika, producers decided to employ relevant news. That time community was boiling with discussions over the teddy bears landing. Remember, two Swedes loaded an airplane up with teddy bears, demanding freedom of speech in Belarus, and dropped them on Aleksander Lukashenko’s territory. So Veronika went on stage wearing a pilot’s helmet, the dance floor had a pile of teddy bears.
Next week the project’s behind the scenes was boiling from another “hot news”. Somebody from TV3 management called producers and scolded them for sticking their nose into the country’s foreign policy. You can’t poke fun and cackle at the new strategic partner of Daukanto Square!
Stashing that scandal into the nonsense list, I was developing an investigation series about Grybauskaitė’s past in form of a TV show, but was a typical shoemaker without shoes: I could tell a lot of stories about others, but was unaware of what’s happening right in front of my nose.
– A man from TV3 showed up in the Presidency right after elections, asked for help in handling his business with the Seimas. We told him, that he had to admire Grybauskaitė, – former Presidency official was telling me. He also mentioned the man’s from TV3 last name.
Also I didn’t know, that my allegedly West-controlled employer at TV3 or, to be more precise, his fellow in terms of ownership, Russian TV channel STS had thrown out two journalists, who “didn’t live up to expectations” that year – Mikhail Shatz an Tatiana Lazareva. They hosted entertainment shows, though in their free time they took part in Russian Opposition Coordination Council. When journalists got elected in the opposition council, STS fired them. First Mikhail, then Tatiana.
When TV3 got rid of my journalistic investigation team, we too were told: “You didn’t live up to hope”.
The info about the Russian basis of my then-employers was spreading in whispers during the whole conservative rule of 2008-2012: MP’s who had rights to look at classified documents went to a special room, where they were given paper with the names of MTG-controlled companies’ owners. The last names weren’t exclusively Swedish. We’ll note, they control STS together with gas agent Itera.
And so my personal acquaintance with Lietuvos Dalia began. And I wasn’t the first “victim” in this list of curious people. Till then colleagues from the show – savaitė, also broadcast on TV3, also risked to dig in the pages of Grybauskaitė’s biography. Before the Presidential elections they prepared a story covering different lies in the candidates’ official biographies. Turned out, candidates can write anything they wish about themselves – no one’s checks the facts, and you don’t get punished for lies.
So, the Presidential election. Colleagues are preparing the show. Dalia Grybauskaitė didn’t like uncontrolled publicity, she didn’t respond to questions without prior arrangement, avoided contact with unpredictable journalists. What was she scared of? What question she tried to dodge?
She told about this completely unexpectedly, suddenly declared that someone, apparently, a bad person, is contemplating to publish hell know what papers about her. But his intentions weren’t stopping her. Journalists wondered what these papers might have been… Possibly, something from candidate’s meticulously concealed personal life? After pondering a bit, colleagues got interested in not so private story of Grybauskaitė.
Kristina Toleikienė from the VT3 show Balsas.lt savaitė told that the topic was offered by Zigmas Vaišvila. The same one who told me to end a career at TV3, simply when a pack of document will be brought in, including a photo of a young 23-year-old Grybauskaitė from the Communist Party ID.
Then, before the Presidential election, everything went exactly like with the Paskutinė instancijа show, taken off the air November, 2012. They even broadcast a teaser: Dalia Grybauskaitė flees from online newspaper balsas.lt, whose journalist wants to ask her a non-pre-planned question about hidden facts of her bio.
Journalist, producing the show, remembered, that’s it’s quite difficult to find guests knowing something and able to confirm.
– Vaidotas Žukas, first victim of the journalist community under the future president’s boot (he dared to remind about Grybauskaitė’s alleged non-traditional sexual orientation), advised us not to even think of beginning an investigation, because he wouldn’t wish for anyone to experience what he did, – the show’s editor told me.
After that careless phrase in a matter of days Žukas was banned from radio. It took him time to find a new job. I heard an opinion, that the said hint slipped of Žukas’ tongue totally naturally, cause his wife used to attend school with Grybauskaitė, where classmates with typical teenage cruelty bashed her for very unwomanly demeanor and manners. It may have been remember at homecomings when Grybauskaitė started climbing up to career heights and appearing in newspapers.
Besides, as a European Commissioner, Grybauskaitė expresses very modern views on sexual relations.
6. (C) Grybauskaitė has also been a force for moderation and universal values within Lithuania. She appointed a commission to address the homophobic aspects of a law on information to minors, and defused a highly contentious issue. She was key in securing the establishment of the EU Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius and attended its opening.
Grybauskaitė redirected Žukas’ phrase concerning her sexual orientation to journalist’s dignity and culture. During elections when the buzz about her sexual orientation became hard to ignore, she publicly declared:
– No, I’m not a lesbian.
That’s how it goes…
Balsas.lt savaitė investigation wasn’t that intimate. Journalists assembled respectable commentators who evaluated Grybauskaitė’s communist past in Higher Party School. Show was in post-production when suddenly turned out, that colleagues at LNK have the same material
– Wanting our channel to surpass colleagues we took everything and gave it to Indrė Makaraitytė, her show was to air nearest Sunday, – shared my colleague.
Journalist faced a cruel surprise that Sunday. Turning the TV on, she found out from the screen that “someone driven by unclear goals” has collected certain case with unclear documents on a presidential candidate. Then Grybauskaitė emerged on air and generously replied to all Makaraitytė had.
When I jumped in researching Grybauskaitė’s bio “from a scratch”, that story managed to fly by my attention.
But I’d be a liar, if I argued that I didn’t have signals sent to me of how it all might end. When about a day was left before the show’s airing, a dialogue took place in TV3 director’s office, its content I’ll try to convey:
– Don’t you have a different story to report?
– Your “freedom of speech” will cost me millions.
– I don’t understand.
– We attempted to buy Baltijos televizijа, rivals offered higher price, but we had HER funding.
– How would I know of that?
Two weeks later my whole team got left with no job and with no income amidst TV season. Catastrophe?
KGB People… Everywhere…
99.9% of TV shows producers would compare the situation with then-upcoming “end of the world”. If someone had looked more attentively at income and assets declarations of top TV execs, running for Seimas in 2008, he’d see that television is a profitable business, divided between few dozen producers, who’re sick of each other.
They’re all rich people with enough money for private jets and other extravagant leisure activities.
– So how many new execs we had in last 10 years? – likes to sigh Rolandas Skaisgirys. He was the first, by the way, to make his entertainment business to gain traction, occupying political post.
– Do you know, do you know, who instructed us how to do reporting?! Albinas Januška! – my former student lost breath, emotionally sharing her impressions after sneaking backstage of one TV production.
In case you might forget, Januška is believed to be leading the so-called “state figures” clan.
Approximately at the same time emerged information that Januška’s friend, also “state figure”, former Deputy Head of SSD Darius Jurgelevičius acquired a Russian-language TV channel in Georgia, where he intended to invest 2.5 mln. Lt. in Georgian currency.
– Skaisgirys was “nothing to do with it”? – thought I back then. He was producing TV series and reality showd for TV3 channel in Georgia the very same time, during which he had dozens of hours on air given for him to fill.
Why are those “KGB people” getting their hand on the media, especially TV3? I’m finger-counting: TV3 news department is led by ex-SSD worker Sigitas Babilius. His wife Makaraitytė censors Grybauskaitė’s image… It’s confusing.
FormerSSD worker Babilius appeared on the channel just when TV execs was severely scared by certain evil encroaching from the left side, wanting to control the TV content. That’s when a quiet-spoken, always ready to give an advise man appeared – Makaraitytė’s husband, who herself started working there not long ago.
It’s possibly to say, that they were life-changing couple for the media development united by an exceptional story. They, the people who you couldn’t see behind the barricades of Independence, managed to acquire the Independence-times herald of freedom – weekly paper Atgimimas. The paper belonged to Sąjūdis and once started belonging to Makaraitytė with Babilius. KGB man Babilius for some reason pretended to be a journalist over there.
Atgimimas in their hands became the only media where SSD agents publish opinions on different matters important for the government. In other media outlets SSD agents send their press secretaries, who’re always saying that SSD won’t comment. Never and ever. Atgimimas is an exception.
Upon receiving special treatment from the KGB men, Atgimimas sparked one of the funny controversies. It’s known as a “KGB reservists scandal” and occurred after Makaraitytė revealed to the people that maintaining state security is led by KGB reservist Arvydas Pocius! The news swept through political backstage, politicians were swallowing saliva from pleasure, awaiting for Pocius to be robbed, chewed up and thrown out in the dump of history. But… my colleague Indrė jumped ahead. She published the new first and did it cleverly.
SSD director Pocius has never explained anything to anyone, but decided to open up before Indrė. Doing so, he leaked a word that not only he was a reservist, but Interior Minister Antanas Valionis too… Politicians didn’t like Pocius a lot, Valionis was a different case. Even conservatives respected him. What’s to do now?
And again Atgimimas gave a hint with a very eloquent text by Makaraitytė, where she defended Pocius and his team from internal and external enemies. Sort of unintentionally it was mentioned that minister Valionis has a better political rearward (Makaraitytė mentioned Januška with Jurgelevičius as its soldiers) used like shield aimed to cover Pocius.
It was 2005. Back then no stranger knew about Indrė’s close ties with Babilius, future head of TV3 news department. Furthermore, no one was aware of Bebilius’ affiliation with secret service, because as a co-owner of Atgimimas he modestly called himself “journalist”.
It gets bigger further. TV hired Andrius Romanovskis, good friend of Babilius and notorious lobbyist. Again, it was Atgimimas what brought him together with Babilius-Makaraitytė family. Andriuswas very active in Centre Union, then led by Romualdas Ozolas. Latter controlled Atgimimas. Circle closes.
Romanovskis was getting convoluted TV relations with establishment in order. TV was attacked that time by not only ethic guardians. FNTT brought fraud charges because TV aired an expensive series made with Ministry of Environment’s money and later paid for a side product once again, this time with TV3 money. FNTT suspected double fraud. First of all, the state was fooled when Kelias namo series was resold for a second time. You could assume, channel’s shareholders got left fooled as well. I mean, who might deny that about a million litas would be divided somehow among someone a bit later?
Half of that money blown off wasn’t even from Lithuania, it was from the European Union. Authority didn’t have such influence on media while it didn’t have those millions EU annually distributes for its good deeds coverage. Landing in the hands of ministries, state agencies, these millions became subject of negotiations. Do you want “coverage? Get used to the fact that it’s not allowed to criticize. Ironically, but the control over Lithuanian public medium and media was bought with Europe’s money. 20-minute episode cost 25.000 Lt. The series, by the way, passed by the audience’s attention. That’s the prices over there. Who wouldn’t be tempted?
The ice of fraud suspicions melted right after Grybauskaitė fired FNTT leadership. Case got dismissed due “lack of crime elements”. Again, little services make people closer… By late 2012 Grybauskaitė was already shining on the TV screen in a role of charity event patron for needy children…
But a state is a very complicated organism. In the beginning of the previous century philosophers shook heads observing Bolshevik effort to build planned economy and society, controlled from sole center. It won’t survive, it’ll fall to pieces under the weight of own mistakes. A sole dictator cannot grasp everything and control everything. Something will inevitably escape the eye.
That’s what happened with Grybauskaitė’s tender friendship with TV. Lobbyist Romanivskis gets jailed suspected with bribing a Seimas member. Law enforcement officials have excerpts of Romanovskis’ phone conversations on their tables. Babilius is questioned in bribery case.
The story got repeated again. Again it’s TV project Lietuvos garbė. Again the President is on screen. Again the suspect is freed, suspicions weaken. But few moths pass and TV3 gets searched. Is it possible to provide the audience with ordinary journalism amidst such medley of interests?
When TV3 didn’t air Paskutinė instancija show about hidden facts in Grybauskaitė’s bio, we, journalists and creators of the show, still had a choice. We could stay silent, nod as if the show wasn’t completely ethical, and we would’ve been spared. For what? Cause we just made an honest show.
But there was another choice. To say and tell people what’s really going on with our democracy and justice. To return to origins, to simple journalism. These origins were most convincingly explained by Aurelijus Katkevičius. We sat once in Veidas magazine editorial office and thought about our mission in narrow and broad senses, and Aurelijus roughly told this:
– So who is a journalist?.. Men are sitting around the fire and sharing stories how they were chasing mammoth. Good story-telling skills are crucial, who’ll the tribe follows next day depends on them.
Aurelijus was an excellent chief of journalist gang from the day Veidas ran with a title: “V. Langsbergis: I received money accordingly with the treaty”. Text was mine, I wrote about a broke businessman, currently deceased Jonas Urka. He brought a debt security in our office, which ended with the mentioned words of allegedly received 400.000 Lt. Aurelijus was thrown off the job the next day. They say, it was after the hero of the story to the owner. We, Katkevičiaus’ team, packed our bags out of solidarity. By the way, this was the last departure from the paper connected with political pressure, that I’m aware of. We were left to ourselves, and the Prosecutor’s Office under the request of Landsbergis started suing Ukra. All ended with latter’s death. Exactly the same way, till opponent’s death, Landsbergis sued Vytautas Petkevičius.
Grybauskaitė and the Color Purple
Though the “masked show” perspective was clarified to oligarchs in great detail, the first to experience it on themselves were purple activists from Garliava. The Presidential hand covering them up disappeared as soon as people from Vilnius assembled on Klonio Street, and a threat appeared that potential energy of purple discontent might become political movement.
Society still ponders on what happened here and why publicly declared support in a single day became an armed masked police raid on one family’s yard. Demonstrated force was many times bigger than resistance. Only the last nincompoop can believe the story that subordinates of an appointed by Dalia Grybauskaitė official, namely general police commissioner, acted without her consent.
I’ll tell what I experienced and understood.
Detective or even better – a murder – is the best story. That’s how it’s written in PR and journalism textbooks for sophomores. Murder is a superstory because it’s dramatic, it has a conflict programmed from the start. It always contains a villain and a victim. Unlike the story of changing course of Lithuanian foreign policy, murder is a story about ordinary people in whom any viewer is able to recognize himself. You simply need to toss a few lumps of wood in the script’s oven and this story can capture the minds of public medium for a year or so. For example, the crime of child killer Alma Bružaitė can still ignite discussion, journalists just need to express interest in her life in Lukiškės Prison solitary confinement. “What if she didn’t kill?..” And here goes the conspiracy theories train.
Firstly, stories are fabricated so they’d control the attention of society and allow the establishment to calmly handle its business, just like Germans did under Hitler. Russians taught them. Such stories are like magicians’ semi-nude assistants who step upfront of the stage when there’s a need to conceal deception.
I already told about an alcoholic mother from Russia whose one son allegedly was killed by American stepmom and now she’s demanding to return her second son from America. On Russian streets they say that Americans and shipping Russian children for clinical experiments like rabbits. And almost no one remembers that those adopted children started bothering Kremlin only when Washington approved so-called “Magnitsky Act”.
The gullibility of the people lulls vigilance of the designers of presumed events, and then white threads get surfaced. Same story occurred in Russia with a derailed train. Disaster was immediately qualified as activity of “Chechen terrorists” who placed “7 kg of TNT” under the rails. FSB told this, while understanding people shook heads. If it was so, there would’ve been a giant pit after the explosion. But there was no pit. There was a rail, which looked ripped off on first photos and beautifully cut off on the latter ones.
Then “blacks” (people from Caucasus) for a long time beaten on the streets, because it was remembered that “Chechen terrorists” blew up two residential buildings at the time of Putin’s ascension to power. Whether it were really “Chechen terrorists”, no one researched. Yet, in a long-term perspective people struggling for independence became synonymous to terrorism suffered by Russia.
Wave of that “struggle” reached Lithuania, where the most shameful trial goes on for two years now. Trial is held on a teenager (currently a young woman), to who’s yard our once friendly with Chechen authority has moved and housed refugees of that awful war. The girl fell in love, her mom was against. For her the “blacks” were dangerous, so she gave the away to local KGB men. They just had received large funding for combating terrorism. If there are assets, you have to take them. But you need a terrorist. That’s how Eglė Rusaitė’s story was created.
KGB men started patronizing the girl, accommodated her, paid her rent, housed her with their agents posing as radical Muslims leaning towards terrorism. In Lithuania teenager listened to them with eyes wide open until she was apprehended with charges of planning bombing a military base in Chechnya. Her intentions got known right after Moscow Metro bombing. This was the first joint operation of Lithuanian SSD and Russian FSB. Russia newspaper also informed that the explosion taking many lives in Moscow was allegedly connected with a terrorist from Lithuania.
That story appeared right in the middle of LEO LT affairs’ highlights and developed at the same time as authority in Vilnius and Moscow comfortably resolved more important questions. On the sly state’s energy freedom was entrusted to an energy monopoly of our Eastern neighbor, whose representatives in Lithuania were people (Garbaravičius family) close to the leadership of the Homeland Union and Dalia Grybauskaitė herself… And that time Dautanko Square headmistress entered a feud with former friends of the state and began carrying out strange servicesto the enemies, those talking about Eurasian Union “natural” border of Russia, extending to the Baltic Sea…
But the screen made up of thick and suffocating smoke for Lithuanian authority was provided by another detective story, from which no one could take an eye off, or a heart for that matter. And how would you, if right in front of your eyes a helpless victim is being offended – a child? And it’s done publicly, cruelly, disgustingly.
For quite some time they say in Vilnius that Gorliava drama – not the story per se, but a cynical instance of political and public ties, whose tool was been chosen to be a sacrifice. It’s believed, that on Klonio Street they were as many infiltrated agents as in the room rented for a teenager Rusaitė, where the studied to become a suicide bomber.
As soon as the public attention to this story waters down, you can pull a string and reset the circle: victim’s weeping along with the “righteous”. How else can be explained the presence of a nun Sister Nijolė Sadūnaitė and a dissident priest Robertas Grigas? The victim is completely real and totally harmless. The victim, who testified against her offenders! To make it evident for everybody to the end a “Stop the Pedophiles!” poster was hung on the door to eight-year-old’s room.
Live broadcast of the girl’s rescue at Garliava was a show Lithuania hasn’t seen before. The people gathered to “protect the girl” are shouting. Deployed policemen act as extras posing as monsters, the thing missing might be Zuokas’ tank. Who’s pulling the strings? VT3 camera, prepared beforehand, is placed in the eyes of a permanent police post duty attendants. It’s a sight capable of making one’s hear stop. Ordinary man feels powerless before the system, the clan.
Executives will turn away certain cameras but won’t interrupt live broadcast – it’s a coincidence looking like ill-researched pattern. And later they’ll disseminate recorded videos on through mobile devices, so a child will now be close “with that witch from a far fairytale land”.
And that girl, living child, not some doll, will be punished every time when public attention will to seek new stories, like to whom they want to give the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant away or to whose pocket does money for Russian electricity illuminating Lithuanian homes flow?
Worthy of serene memory Seimas member Kęstutis Čilinskas, who relinquished the mandate, when his party, conservatives, raised hands for LEO, once said:
– This quarrel is very lucrative for the political top. Because instead of being interested what authority’s doing and where the billions flow, people are left divided among two camps and engage into fights with each other. And authority was given free hands for any decision. It’s done deliberately.
“Lost Lithuania” (it’s an impression Kubilius got from Lithuanian countryside during a bicycle trip with Vitas Matuzas) requires simple entertainment, so it would stick themselves in other people’s business.
– I can give you examples of ten such children straight away, but you won’t be interested, – I was told by Arnoldas Valkauskas, Lithuanian army chaplain serving as a priest in impoverished town of Rukla. The told this when I tried to show him shots of the girl’s rescue from Garliava, being broadcast live on TV from a rooftop. Only later I’ve been informed that both, the girl and her mother, achieved peace under priest Valkauskas’ services.
Valkauskas is right. Lithuania doesn’t care much about offended, beaten, underfed or raped children in orphanages. I know this from a very simple source – TV ratings, which remain quite mediocre if you run a story about another, less “famous” beloved child. Lithuania does watch it, its head doesn’t ache even the suffering of the said child aren’t smaller. Lithuania cares only about that girl, her mom, her deceased father and the struggle of her aunt Neringa Venckienė.
It cares about the struggle most of all. And doesn’t care whether the girl survives this struggle.
– Well… apparently, there’s no more girl already, – one man will tell be in the heat of Seimas campaign, who’ll later be sitting in the Seimas with a purple flag.
Venckienė became a symbol of struggle with the blooming injustice in Lithuania. She was the one who sacrificed everything in the name of her brother’s deceased daughter. She lost career, almost lost family, but didn’t surrender and went till the end…
But that’s what always surprised me: Venckienė’s senselessness towards all other stories. For example, for Eglė Rusaitė, who crooked and clumsy SSD in collaboration with FSB made a terrorist. No one ever saw Venckienė in the court during Rusaitė trial or anywhere else talking to her, expressing solidarity. Venckienė didn’t even care about presumed associates of her brother – blind singer Raimundas Ivanauskas and his friend.
– WhatdoIknow… And what if he’ll say something wrong? – Venckienė speculated because she still didn’t call neither Ivanauskas, nor his sister. Though there’s also a child suffering, Ivanauskas’ little son, who police ripped out of parents’ arms while seizing his mom and dad. Child later trembled and cried for a long time calling dad.
– She has enough of her own pain! – what’s how fans explained awkward senselessness of Venckienė in regard to children who also suffer but lack such a circle of helpers.
– And what can I do..? – she justified herself.
Yet, the strangest behavior of Venckienė is connected with oncology professor Laima Bloznelyte. Professor was the only witness who could confirm to the court, psychologists and her father in his cell that the girl was telling the truth. Both, the girl and the doctor, testified about certain specifics of suspected man’s pedophilia. The girl “saw it” while she, allegedly, was raped. And the doctor claimed to see the same thing when the man, allegedly, wanted to get rid of that feature. And this is what the professor told me:
– It was stain which needed to be hidden. And when the suspect was still alive when I found out about it, I drove to Garliava and continued to testify. Kedys was already killed. I told the woman who collected signatures to inform Venckienė. But no one needed it anymore.
Bloznelyte wanted to be useful for the case investigation and could do it in time and without scandals, news crews and publicity. But Venckienė, who’ve written tons of complaints, ignored her. Interesting, isn’t it? For testifying “too late” professor got charged with perjury. Prosecutor explained that Bloznelyte screwed up when she had to identify a post mortem photo of a man’s intimate place among four corpse photos. Didn’t identify, therefore, lied…
– Have you heard the girl’s testimony at that point?
– No. That’s why I was heading to Venckienė, in case the girl told…
– And do you know what she did say about the stain during her initial testimony?
– It’s too bad than, that my testimony wasn’t used like I wanted and offered it. I believe, it would be a lot better that way.
Why was professor Bloznelyte pushed away when her testimony could help to put an end to that whole story? I asked Venckienė. She waved her hand:
– Jeez, lots of people came by that time…
Venckienė, having written hundreds complaints concerning various proceedings violations, suddenly decided to ignore a witness who was the only one capable of confirming or denying the authenticity of the girl’s testimony. Maybe, that second option was what Venckienė feared most? Maybe, the judges were right, ruling that those disgusting details were made up by adult and place into the child’s mouth? No one will find out right now. Thanks to joint efforts of justice and Venckienė in delaying the case, this story can go both ways.
– Aw, Rūta… I don’t have strength anymore, my brother got killed, I’ll get jailed soon…
But she had enough strength to run for Seimas.
Detective story also has one wonderful trait attracting audience. The hero there is always right, even if he acts bad, if he betrays, if he’s senseless, if he inflicts pains on others. He’s right cause he fight universal evil, a dragon. Fighting the dragon is, of course, exhausting, that’s why hero get’s everything forgiven. Even treason is forgiven.
Bloznelyte isn’t some kind of TV series celebrity, though she could’ve been one. Crowds appear during her visiting hours at Oncology Institute. She develops cancer curing technique alternative to chemotherapy. Yet, doctor never advertised herself on TV, didn’t pose for magazines.
Bloznelyte is exceptionally honest and God-fearing person. A mother of many children, who didn’t amass any wealth. That she decided to stand under TV camera and speak is an exception, not typical behavior of a professor.
– You mentioned your father, how you were taught to cherish what you say.
– We grew in Soviet times, our father was convicted and he prepared us to address the Motherland with following words: “Children, you’ll be speaking twice in your life, so think good what you really want to say. First time you’ll be saying what you think. Second time you can repeat it in court when requesting last words”. And I cherished these words a lot in Soviet times but didn’t doubt that someday I’ll be able to speak. But it never occurred to me that I’ll have to speak in independent Lithuania. I would have never thought about it. And now we’re all, apparently, those “drunkards” and “bums”, don’t have our court in this country, we hardly have our own Seimas, Government. And it would be so great to have our own President.
Bloznelyte said this then testifying for the first time, alas, only before TV camera. She understood that it was too late. But she was stripped of the right of well-timed testimony by the one who plays the most important role in this story. Neringa Venckienė
Bloznelyte testified seated next to a piano warmed up by fingers of her children. It’s standing in the room where the whole family prays. Professor spoke already knowing that now only God could confirm her truth, because her well-timed testimony wasn’t required. I ask again – why?
Maybe, because then the story could have been brought to an end. But why ending it? And who, whose will made this story happen, has a heart and can accept guilt, so the nightmare would end once? Nightmare for a child first of all. Who’s this king Oedipus accepting guilt to protect the city from plague? Thatr ole is from another play.
– Rūta, I lied to you when you asked whether I tried to meet the President, – Venckienė confessed to me in spring of 2012. – I saw her. We talked. She said, that I’ll remain a judge but she can’t help with the girl, or else they do to her what they did to Paksas, – Venckienė was sitting on a couch in a room at her parent’s house right after assault in Garliava.
Mother has just carried her barefoot out of the house. Unarmed people gathered to protect the girl were dragged half naked on the pavement. Man with no resistance gets grabbed by the hands and gun-batted in the groin. In front of those placed stationary cameras broadcasting the image live as if it’s a specially orchestrated demonstration of horrible cruelty of authority towards its own people. Who wanted Lithuania to feel horror from its own state?
When people who saw it all will go out on the street, when they’ll start getting prosecuted, trialed, accused with fake stories, Venckienė won’t be among them. Why? That’s not included in the script? Everything competing with the general storyline gets cut and thrown out. We don’t need justice for all, we need only this story.
Garliava was on Grybauskaitė’s agenda since the first day of her presidency. By the words of one of President’s advisers, her boss first spoke we well of the girl’s mom. Later, possibly, after a phone conversation with Landsbergis Grybauskaitė changed her opinion.
– I offered her to resolve the case as quickly as possible, – told me former member of her team.
– And if what all Garliava’s under Presidency’s windows? – I replied.
Actually the first to knock their fists on President’s windows will begin free people – American Lithuanians. On assault day President managed not to be in Lithuania. She headed to America that time when it was planned to take action.
President, who, barely stepping on the Daukanto Square, underlined that she’s making decisions on most important matters, missed such an operation? And those, who not long ago in another story was named the ones who “had nothing to do with it”, covered it up? Who’d believe that!..
– We’re guarding here and waiting till she comes out. Imagine this, she was supposed to enter the building through the front entrance but upon noticing us she drove around the building and entered through the place where garbage containers are standing, – second-generation American émigré Saulius streamed the events to my cell phone.
That’s how it was. In Lemont house, Chicago, Grybauskaitė, who chatting with old emigrants of Lithuanian World Center, escaped from that meeting through garbage containers not to bump into crowd of people coming there from all over America.
– People drove for three-four hours to see their President but she didn’t come out of her armored vehicle, – told Saulius.
American police didn’t arrest any participants of the “incident”. No one got laid down on the ground, no one got smacked with a rubber baton.
– This event was discussed with US liable officials, – informed Ministry of Foreign Affairs right after the incident.
Journalists cited sources claiming that Grybauskaitė was, allegedly, dissatisfied with how USA secret services sent, her estimate, too little security personnel, what were supposed to push the protesting Lithuanians away.
Was 240 officers enough?
Why does the cool shower of popular dislike pour on the President and not, for instance, on police chiefs and prosecutors in whose cabinets the Garliava scenario was signed? Grybauskaitė by various means demonstrated that she’s on Venckienė’s side. President even backed her up in a dispute with court marshal:
– Venckienė is executing the court’s decision, but softy.
Why after the Garliava assault people got enraged on her, on the President? Explanation may seem trivial. Grybauskaitė knew what will happen on March 17, cause the assault date was synchronized with her visit… and coincided with the third anniversary of her presidency.
– President called the Interior Minister but he didn’t pick the phone up, – was delivered to Gintaras Songaila, who managed to reach her via phone by morning.
That’s something from a scariest nightmare of all presidents in the world: they’re making calls but no one picks the phone up. One president, Mikhail Gorbachev lived through this when in August of 1991 putschist locked him with his family in governmental villa at Foros.
Protesters of Klonio Street gathered on Daukanto Square, because this was the last bastion of their (like the assumed) power.
Upon returning to Vilnius Grybauskaitė, maybe, viewed this action through the cuts in curtains. She wasn’t the only one who didn’t communicate with people protesting against violence in Garliava. Venckienė also didn’t involve. Formal explanation – judge cannot participate in political activity. That judging had several weeks left.
True reason is different. During Venckienė’s visit to the Presidency she was asked to get involved into politics.
– There must be an exchange. Venckienė will gain Presidency’s “protection” as long as wouldn’t get into politics. When she didn’t comply, assault happened.
Dear Lithuania Dalia
Our dear Lithuania Dalia…
2013: approximately 1670 Lt. from every Lithuanian citizen’s pocket for banking crisis.
2009-2011: 700 Lt. annually from every Lithuanian citizen’s pocket for debts accumulated during financial crisis.
2009: 680 mln.Lt. compensation to VP for unrealized LEO LT project.
2002: 25 Lt. from every Lithuanian citizen’s pocket for VAT manipulations of Vilnius traders.
2001: 270.890.627 Lt. returned Viktoras Uspaskichas’ gas company. 7.048.029 Lt. – taxes unpaid by that company.
Shortly after assuming power Grybauskaitė left everyone without doubt that there won’t be made any somewhat important decision without her. But how does she decide what’ll be, on what values and goals goes she base it?
Now not to leave any doubt. My intuition gives me a hint that Dalia Grybauskaitė is at best was and stays the way she was fostered by the Higher Party School and education in Academy of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of CPSU. She’s a “administrator”, whose workplace is will polished and empty. Empty not because she’s a good administrator but because he simply has nothing to put on top. She doesn’t have an image of free Lithuania before her eyes.
What’s concerning values, again my intuition whispers that she would bond well with Algirdas Paleckis in terms of who shot who and about the advantages of socialism. On one February 16 anniversary she said: “Vytis burns in our hearts”. In Soviet time on meeting they said the same about the red star. In one concrete heart Vytis has to be forged from red star. Just like how thieves remake the car engines’ serial numbers…
When Dalia Grybauskaitė speaks about the future of Lithuania, she divides it on financial perspective of the European Union the way in Soviet time life was divided on Fine-Year Plans. We’ll strive, we’ll succeed… The only difference is that the border is open and people leaving Lithuania from these perspectives annually amount to a small city.
And where is the idea, common development plan, the vision of how people must live? What needs to be done? What talent does Lithuania have?
Grybauskaitė has no plan, never did and never will. She was just fulfilling career because she didn’t have another goal in life. Well, she did it. She climbed up. Climbing up was her goal. Nothing to nitpick there.
Lithuania sought a leader, got an administrator. With a firm hand she gives treats to the obedient and punishes the guilty before her. You were bad, stood up? You’ll go to bed without dinner! And you’ll be jailed if again try to play independently. The committed on the other hand are able to act openly not fearing retribution.
She came threatening with changes but, utilizing the established order, most efforts she spends on which her former subordinate called with disgusting word “degradation”. That’s how the called Dalia Grybauskaitė’s efforts to remain on the top of bureaucratic pyramid at any cost.
In the name of what? Maybe, career? I get the impression that for Grybauskaitė career is the goal as well as the means. Striving for it, she’s sort of achieving completeness. That’s a big master of careerism. You don’t see that many people with Lithuanian last names as high as she climbed up. Valdas Adamkus and Vygaudas Ušackas. Who else? Maybe, partially Linas Linkevičius, who managed to become the doyen of NATO diplomatic corps. Also Gintaras Bagdonas, former chief of EU military headquarters. I guess, Ina Marčiulionytė could’ve become one, but Grybauskaitė ordered not to…
Though it would’ve been a grave mistake to assume that career is her sole goal, that there’s no goal in the name of which she climbed up so high.
Even during campaign Dalia Grybauskaitė spoke scarcely of her goals. Something similar to a program, she revealed only in 2010 while reading annual report:
The priorities of my presidency are:
– further active and business-minded eurointegration as well as consistent protection of the state interests within European Union;
– implementation of Euro-Atlantic agenda together with active action on strengthening territorial, energy and technological security of Lithuania with the means of maximum utilization of international organizations capabilities;
– constructive relations with neighbors based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
Translating this from bureaucratic slang we get that she won’t change anything.
Though four years of power collapsed into a chain of action, showing that words essentially contravened with deeds. In first years in office, Grybauskaitė ruined Lithuanian relations with traditional strategic partners. Ties with USA, Poland, Georgia were frozen. Later began friendly favors for those who till then were enemies. Lukashenko got Bialiatski head as a gift. Lithuania’s voice was silent when support was needed for “Magnitsky Act”, which hit the Kremlin associates’ wellbeing in the West.
Did she really thought all this up by herself while looking at her reflection in the well-polished workplace table?
Slogans of fight corruption and oligarchs only served to cover her people in courts and law enforcement. Not a single of the so-called resonance cases landed in court. Political opponents started complaining about total surveillance and even blackmail.
The morals seemed to be borrowed from Putin’s Russia.
But that’s an optimistic foreshadowing.
There is a pessimistic one. Intuition is whispering that blind spots in President’s biography and her actions, seemingly synchronized with Putin’s policy and powdered up with empty, pseudo-patriotic speeches, indicate that our heroine isn’t just a product of the time – a sort of pulled over by three colors (like some couch) homo sovieticus with no values and no goals, just with a good grip.
Over the years the state quickly gains many debts. By his treasons Vilnius severed a connection with democratic forces in Russian, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia. Is it an accidental chain of events? Did it just turned out that way?
So in a worst sense the right are the people, who upon her ascension to power warned that she was a “dark horse” and a “Trojan horse”.
But I… categorically disagree with my inner voice and intuition. Furthermore, I condemn my inner voice and reject everything it dictated me here. I AM SORRY. The main thing is apologizing. That what my old friend says, who I believe.
Now that’s all.
Metric of Polikarpas Grybauskas
Polikarpas Grybauskas here photographed during the times when, according to his first wife, he bragged about his friendship with the partisans. Photograph dated 1945. Uniform and shoulder boards are identical to the NKVD uniform description.
Photo from V. Grybauskiene’s personal archive.
Polikarpas Grybauskas. This photo fell out of the new birth certificate issued 1952.
Photo from V.Grybauskiene’s personal archive.
1 – Red Army Soldier (Krasnoarmeec), 2 – Efreitor, 3 – Junior Sergeant, 4 – Sergeant, 5 – Senior Sergeant, 6 – Sergeant Major (Starshina)
Military NKVD officers wore special army type shoulder emblems to be distinguishable from other NKVD structures and state security servicemen. State security servicemen did not wear any emblems. (iremember.ru).
You can see this on photos from that time. The shoulder boards of murderer Nachman Dušanski and his colleagues applied here show that they wore uniforms just like that – without distinction signs.
Soldiers and sergeants of NKVD‘s internal forces also didn‘t wear emblems on their shoulder boards.
On Polikarpas Grybauskas‘ photo from 1945 (see above, e.45) the shoulder boards and uniform fit the NKVD soldier description.
On the photo made after 1950, so after, as his wife put it, he served his time in prison, his uniform shows that he has been promoted: his uniform and shoulder boards fit the description of a NKVD sergeant uniform.
Polikarpas Grybauskas (in the middle) photographed around 1950, in Grybauskiene‘s words after his prison sentence. Uniform fits the NKVD sergeant uniform description.
Photo from V.Grybauskiene‘s personal archives.
I‘ll also present a few photographs of NKVD security personnel from after the war, so the reader could compare their uniforms and emblems with photos of Polikarpas Grybauskas.
|Afanasyeva with her husband, both were part of NKVD.
|Nachman Dušanski, NKVD and SMERSH – NKVD counter intelligence “dead to spies”.
DOCUMENTS FROM SPECIAL ARCHIVE OF LITHUANIA
I, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Polikarpo, was born in Vilnius city, 1956, in a family of doctors. Till 1963 I attended kindergarten. In 1963 I began studying in Salomėja Nėris Middle School. In 1974 I graduated school. In 1970 I was enrolled in the Faculty of Economics of Vilnius University and finished one year. But I aspired to major in political economy, so in 1977 I was enrolled in evening department of Faculty of Economics of Leningrad State University. At the same time from 1976 I worked in Fur Factory № 1 as a worker and a laboratory assistant. And in 1979 factory’s party organization accepted me in Communist Party.
I carried out the following party assignments: was a member of a factory newspaper editorial board, was a lecture organizing for workers, was a member of people’s control. At Leningrad State University I was a President of Student Academic Council on Faculty of Economics. In 1983 I graduated from the university and returned to Vilnius. I began working in Žinija Society.
Family members: mother – Grybauskenė Vitalija, retired. Father – Grybauskas Polikarpas, driver at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuanian SSR.
Of Grybauskaite Dalia Polikarpo,
1956 year of birth, Lithuanian,
Higher education, member of the party since 1979
Comrade Grybauskaite D.P. before her work in the Higher Party School studied at the evening department of the Leningrad State University and was employed as a worker at Leningrad fur factory #1. She was part of the editorial of the factory paper, organized factory lectures and was in the people’s control. Was elected president of the student academic council at the LSU. Finished the LSU economy faculty with distinction with a degree in political economy in 1983.
In 1983 was accepted into the VHPS as the chief of the Department of Agriculture Economy and in 1984 transferred to the post of teacher at the Department of Political Economy.
During her work at the Department Grybauskaite D.P. developed and mastered a course of lectures on political economy of capitalism and a course on the political and economic map of the world, she led practical lessons on the political economy of socialism. During that time she passed the candidate exams on “excellent” and “good” and published a set of works (articles and thesis) and wrote the first draft of her candidate thesis. From 1985 she is a non-staffed aspirant of the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the CPSU in Moscow and working on the approved topic of her thesis under the direction of Suslov I.F.
Comrade Grybauskaite successfully balances her scientific work with party and community activity. She was elected into the School’s professions committee, was a curator of a study group, a member of the School’s library council, deputy profgroup organizer.
Politically educated, has principles, morally stern. Very capable and determined. Is respected by her colleagues. Can be a bit hot-tempered when proving her point.
Has received the official gratitude of the School’s rector for her diligence and active participation in social matters.
As a young teacher comrade Grybauskaite needs to raise her competence, gain scientific and practical knowledge in the field of party leadership of national economy.
This evaluation if given for the Academy of Social Sciences at Central Committee of the CPSU.
Evaluation approved by the party commission protocol #16 from March 19 1987.
Rector of Vilnius HPS S. Šimkus
Secretary of the Party Commission R Milto
President of the Professional Commission V Lukoševičius
March 30 1987
Grybauskaite’s candidate of sciences diploma.
“Lithuanian Dalia” and “Lithuania’s Destiny” – is a play on words, because in Lithuanian “Dalia” means “destiny”, and D. Grybauskaitė’s election campaign in 2009 had the slogan of “Lithuania’s Destiny” which was supposedly coined by V.Landsbergis. – translator’s note.
Tulpė means Tulip in Lithuanian – translator’s note.
So it was “Gribauskas” instead of “Grybauskas”. – translation note
The «24 valandos» TVshow.
D.Grybauskaitė’s nickname in school
Of the city Saint-Petersburg – translation note.
A comparison of Grybauskaitė to Belarusian leader Lukashenko – translator note.
Translated from Lithuanian – translator’s note.
 “Rubicon” – abigLithuanianbuildingandengineeringholding. ThreeofitsmemberswerepartofscandaltiedtoaccusationsoftheformermayorofVilnius Artūras Zuokas trying to bribe a former city council member Vilmantas Drėma during the 2003 Mayor elections.
As of September 2011 Valentina Matviyenko is Chairwoman of Russia’s Federation Council
 The italic is mine – R.Yanutene
That’s how he calls the Higher Party School which is funded straight from Moscow.
By the way KGB men employed similar motives to make Pociūnienė authorise the autopsy of her husband in Belarus. Controversy would so damage „my country“…
With that signature Pociūnienė gave the investiogation of her husbnad‘s death over to Belarusian KGB and won‘t get evidence of what really happened to him.
 Kęstutis Jucevičius – current head of Financial Crimes Investigation Service.
 Литовские власти сдали белорусскую оппозицию, Коммерсант.Ру, 08 08 2011; Если человек постоянно живет в Беларуси, зачем ему счет за границей?,Комсомольская правда, 09 08 2011.
Новаягазета, 07 08 2011.
Russian oil pipeline, whose Lithuanian branch “suffered an accident” when Vilnius decided to sell Mažeikių nafta to a Polish company instead of a Russian one.
Bank of Lithuania ended up with Vasiliauskas when an avalanche of harsh criticism collapsed on his then boss Reinoldijus Šarkinas. Mr. Šarkinas was criticized because out of his misstep bankers in Lithuania lost common sense, lured many people with cheap loans, for whom didn’t even ask to have respectful deposit. R. Šarkinas became synonymous to crisis. Hopefully, he would’ve been escorted out of the cabinet handcuffed. Though, sir Reinoldijus was allowed to retire peacefully. Why? Possibly because he was obedient when politicians fed banking sector of Lithuania to the Swedes? It’ would be useful to have a truth serum again, but we don’t have it.
He enrolled into reserve during Sąjūdis Era.
Federal Secret Service, former KGB.
They tried to appeal Grybauskaitė’s campaign managers by providing data about Prunskienė, this solidifies the theory outlayed in previous chapter “On the “witch” broom” and that antagonization Grybauskaitė and Prunskienė was part of the plan.
 Dalia Grybauskaitė.
In one interview Gediminas Degutis referred to SSD Chief Gediminas Grina as a “general with rooster syndrome”, who’s being manipulated, and stated that SSD “embarrasses people, undertakes pointless surveillance, pointless wiretapping and destroys democracy”
Here again we cite Ramūnas Bogdanas’ article of the “red period” of Dalia GrybauskaitėMarried to Lithuania (Ištekėjusi už Lietuvos).
CurrentlyMr.Vasiliauskasis a Member of the Seimas, not a colleague any more, but rather subject of scrutiny.
Bank owned a part of Lietuvos rytas media group’s shares.
Business group belonged to Lubys.
Described by me in the chapter “Meeting the Power Players: Victor”.
There are doubts on how really “former” is he. Maybe, he’s on a mission?
 I. Makaraitytė,V. Pocius is used for SSD leadership ouster http://www.ivaizdis.lt/zinpr_det.php?id=7071
I’m writing about in “Purge” chapter.
Imeanthegiving sway Belarusian oppositionist to Belarusian KGB.
Lemont is a village is Illinois, suburb of Chicago.