Lithuania’s Compensation Claims are “Absurd” – Russian Official

By D. Furmonavicius

Text of report by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS. Moscow, 14 June: The chairman of the State Duma Committee on the CIS and Relations with Compatriots, Andrey Kokoshin, has described as “absolutely absurd and unlawful” the attempts of the Lithuanian authorities to raise the issue of Russian compensation for the so-called [Soviet] “occupation damage”.
“Certain nationalist forces in Lithuania and abroad are behind this. These are forces which are not interested in Russia strengthening its positions and relations with the European Union,” Kokoshin told journalists on Tuesday [14 June].

Kokoshin also warned that such statements were not only unlawful, but also dangerous for Lithuania itself, not only from the point of view of bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, but as regards the status of Lithuania itself and its territorial integrity.

Answering questions about the Duma’s possible reaction, Kokoshin said that Russian deputies would not leave such facts “without attention”. “However, you cannot expect us to jump each time someone says boo,” Kokoshin said.

ITAR-TASS correspondent Vladas Burbulis has reported from Vilnius that, speaking on the national radio today, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said Lithuania was not the only country which could demand compensation for the “occupation damage” from Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union. “This also concerns the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary and other countries,” Brazauskas said. He believes that “joint efforts should be made, with the participation of international organizations, to solve this problem with Russia”.

Lithuania is marking today the Day of Mourning and Hope, commemorating the start of the first mass exile of Lithuanians (on 14 June 1941 – ITAR-TASS). In this connection, the Lithuanian parliament is going to pass a resolution on this issue.

Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0909 gmt 14 Jun 05