President Algirdas Brazauskas has asked Internal Affairs Minister Romasis Vaitekunas to resign, Lietuvos Rytas reported yesterday. The minister has been under fire for having apparently used privileged information to retrieve his money from a commercial bank only days before the government announced its collapse. The internal affairs minister subsequently had the top managers of the two largest insolvent banks arrested — a move later criticized for aggravating the banking crisis. (The managers have since been released.) Vaitekunas’ personal financial operations closely resemble those of Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, who also is being vehemently criticized.
President Brazauskas yesterday also removed the country’s ambassador to Britain, Raimundas Rajeckas, from his post. The president acted at the government’s request after Rajackas told a Lithuanian newspaper that he would be "the first witness at Slezevicius’ inevitable, upcoming trial." The ambassador, previously senior advisor and election campaign chief for the Lithuanian president, said Slezevicius lacked "decency, honor, and conscience" and faulted the president for lacking the resolve to remove him. The prime minister reiterated on radio January 16 his regret over moral and political errors. He accused unspecified forces of pushing for his dismissal in order to destabilize the country and pledged to remain at his post, where he will lead the effort to ensure rule of law and financial stability in the country. (13)
Kuchma Aide Sounds Economic Alarm.