Completing yesterday a fact-finding visit on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), its delegate Andreas Gross refuted Russian Duma accusations against Lithuania. The Duma had asked the PACE to investigate Lithuania’s “persecution” of Valery Ivanov as a “representative of the Russian ethnic minority” and of Mykolas Burokevicius and Juozas Jermalavicius “for their political opinions.” Gross met with these detained individuals in the course of his visit and stated at a concluding briefing in Vilnius that their cases have “nothing to do” with their political opinions or ethnic minority issues. (Russian agencies, May 20)
Ivanov, a Russian citizen residing in Lithuania, headed the pro-Soviet movement Yedinstvo (Unity), and Burokevicius and Jermalavicius headed the hardline rump of Communist Party in opposition to Lithuanian independence. Both organizations are banned. Burokevicius and Jermalavicius are in pre-trial detention. Ivanov, who was sentenced last year, is about to complete his prison term. Lithuanian authorities plan to sent him back to Russia, but Russia’s Foreign Ministry has preemptively protested against such “violation of his rights.”
WESTERN COMPLACENCY ON CHORNOBYL MAY FORCE UKRAINE TO LOOK EAST FOR ASSISTANCE.