Austria’s decision to release a suspect in the January 13 case is a sign that it is time for the European Union (EU) to choose whether it further wants to foster unity and solidarity or whether it will completely become the “Gazprom Union.” This assumption was voiced by Member of European Parliament, Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis, who agreed to answer a few questions about Lithuania’s relations with the EU and Russia to Alfa.lt portal. The interview was conducted by Antanas Manstavcius and posted in the portal on 21 July.
Alfa.lt – After the Austrian officials decided to release Mikhail Golovatov, a suspect in the January 13 case, you claimes that the “possibility of the EU becoming the ‘Gazprom Union’ was turning into reality.” In the past too, however, in the past Austria was always open regarding its intentions to maintain friendly relations with Russia, and in the Centre of Vienna there is still a monumental monument to the Red Army. Will this incident change how we view the EU?
Vytautas Landsbergis – Austria and the recent incident, which hurts solidarity among the EU members, are symptoms of a longer process directed at creating the “Gazprom Union” project. The number of such symptoms is growing, and not just in Austria. By abandoning nuclear energy, Germany will increasingly inflow into Gazprom, with which it is already physically connected via the Baltic Sea in front of the altar of the money god.
We should view the EU calmly, with compassion — the EU is at a difficult crossroad.
Arguably the most common word among EU politicians recently has been “solidarity.” Everyone needs it, but it does not look like they know where to look for it, except perhaps for Poland, which took over the EU chairmanship and which is trying to lean on the flag of Solidarnosc. Perhaps it is time to bury the idea of a united Europe, if we are unable to find a way to share our burdens?
It does not look like nobody knows where to look for solidarity. Unless the big masters are not matured for this, because they are led astray by temptations. It is also skewed by Greek kolkhozes, which gladly transfer their irresponsible wastefulness to the common budget.
Talking about Poland, today it has an opportunity to show whether it still has something from the Solidarity movement, for example in relations with Lithuania, which is belittled by Russia.
Parliament Speaker Irena Degutiene asked the speaker of the European Parliament and all MEPs for political support. Will it not be too late to renew this issue in September, when the parliament returns for the general session?
It is the EU who needs support, and it could show unity with itself, instead of showing solidarity with the “third country.”Until September it will have time to decide how valuable member countries and their common parliament are.
What are the dominant moods regarding the ties with Russia on this issue in the European Parliament today?
The dominant mood in the ties with Russia is secret unfounded fear and yielding that comes from it. Issues that make Russia look bad are not popular in the European Parliament – allegedly they are to be avoided as “unproductive” and “not useful” to some desired deals. The Baltic States’ position is known. It is consolidated and it gives hope. The European Parliament, however, is on vacation. Therefore, there is no way to propose some sort of urgent agenda and to knock on the MEPs’ conscience.
What is a bigger obstacle in Lithuania’s attempts to raise the issue of relations with Russia – a lack of understanding or a lack of good will on the part of other EU countries?
Lithuania is not raising any issues regarding relations with Russia. They are fairly good, and we are patiently waiting for new positive initiatives from the Russian Federation.
The EU knows perfectly well what we want: Justice and a return of at least the things that were stolen right before the restoration of independence – people’s and business deposits in Soviet banks. These are concrete things, just as our position on the evil deeds in Lithuania by the two big tyrants of the 20 Century.
They are in line with the European Parliament’s resolutions. Therefore, if somebody wants to be angry, let him be angry with the EU. One needs to know, and then one will have understanding and good will.
What needs to be done, so that we, Lithuanians, would be understood better in Europe? If the obstacle is a failure to learn history lessons, can we expect that this problem be solved by repeating the same truths? After all, the “students” are bigger and older than we are…
We must speak in an understandable, concrete, and no irritating way. We must realize that for long years garbage has been and still is being poured into the minds of our brothers Europeans. This is much worse than a lack of lessons, and we have not done our homework properly.
For example, have any action or horror movies been shown in the world about the 13 January? If this had been done, the evil people today would be unable to do many things, including lying…
Your colleague – MEP Justas Paleckis – in an interview said “it was time to take off the glasses of animosity toward Russia,” and urged to devote more attention to the Russian elite members who hold to pro-western views. What would be your recipe for solving the problem related to a lack of democracy in Russia? Would you support introducing a visa-free regime?
Calling any criticism “animosity” is a very old brainwashing tool, the goal of which is to discredit and to eradicate manifestations of criticism, in order to have only praise and yielding to Russia.
We show a lot of attention to the few Russian democrats who oppose the new authoritarian single-party system or mutated communism and to the fighters for justice who die for the freedom of speech; in this area Mr. Paleckis could censure his Socialists.
Visa-free regime and free democratic elections are completely different things. It is natural for Europe to consistently ask for true parliamentary democracy and the rule of law and only then open a visa-free regime. The goal of the Russian ruling elite is the opposite – anti-democratic regime inside the country and visa-free wandering throughout Europe.