Viewing cable 05VILNIUS52

05VILNIUS522005-01-18 10:47:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000052 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2015 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Christian Yarnell 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Lithuania's Foreign Minister and the 
Director of the State Security Department are under public 
scrutiny for their alleged Soviet-era service in the KGB 
reserves.  Immediately after the media broke the story 
January 7, Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis acknowledged his 
enrollment in the KGB reserves and claimed to have filed a 
report prior to joining the diplomatic ranks.  Pocius at 
first denied the accusations.  The Prime Minister asked 
Lithuania's Lustration Commission to investigate, but the 
head of the Commission claims that there is no need for an 
investigation since Lithuanian law does not consider 
registration or service in the KGB reserves as collaboration 
with Soviet secret services.  The scandal is unlikely to 
shake Valionis out of the Foreign Ministry, but we expect 
Pocius to come under increasing pressure to resign in the 
coming days.  END SUMMARY. 
KGB Reserves: Lithuania's Latest Scandal 
¶2. (U) The Lithuanian weekly Atgimimas ("Rebirth") published 
a report January 7 claiming that Foreign Minister Antanas 
Valionis and Director of the State Security Department (VSD) 
Arvydas Pocius are listed in the KGB archives as having 
served in the KGB's reserve force during Soviet times. 
Valionis supposedly began his service as early as 1981, 
attending special KGB training in Riga and receiving the rank 
of captain.  Atgimimas claimed that Pocius joined the reserve 
force in 1989.  Other leaked KGB reports indicate that 
Pocius's KGB service went back to 1984 and included 
assignments representing more than just enlistment in the 
reserve force.  The Atgimimas story came on the heals of a 
controversy surrounding Alfredas Pekeliunas, vice-Speaker of 
Parliament and chairman of Parliament's powerful European 
Affairs Committee, who the opposition Conservatives claim has 
hid his past service in the KGB reserves. 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
Background: The KGB Reserves and Lithuanian Law 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
¶3. (C) The KGB's reserve force was reputedly a cadre of 
specially selected personnel, not actively operating as KGB 
agents, but upon whom the Soviet Union would call in case of 
war.  Valionis's reserve status, for example, apparently 
would have required him to serve in a Kaliningrad 
counter-intelligence unit in the event of war.  A VSD 
official emphasized to us that the Soviets during some 
periods of the occupation assigned "reserve" status to anyone 
who received military training during University studies. 
Reserve officers were not employees of the KGB, said our VSD 
contact, but were simply "checking the box" on the required 
Soviet paperwork.  The official also noted that records of 
reserve service are conspicuously incomplete, indicating that 
political figures desperate to hide past KGB service were 
often successful in removing their files. 
¶4. (U) Lithuania's current lustration law, which came into 
effect in 2000, called those who had worked for or 
collaborated with the Soviet secret services to register with 
a specially formed Lustration Commission (ironically under 
Pocius's VSD).  The Commission exempted from legal 
restrictions barring former KGB workers from state service 
those who registered and whom it found not guilty of any 
crime.  The Commission theoretically guaranteed 
confidentiality to those whom they cleared in this manner. 
About 1,500 people chose to register with the Commission, 
but, despite the promised confidentiality, the media and 
various politicians have, from time to time, disclosed 
details of the service of many of the confessed. 
Political Reaction 
¶5. (SBU) Valionis publicly acknowledged his past service in 
the KGB reserves immediately following the media disclosure. 
He mentioned that he had fully complied with Lithuania's 
lustration law, informing appropriate state authorities of 
his service prior to joining Lithuania's diplomatic service 
in 1994.  Pocius initially denied having been aware of his 
status on the KGB's reserve list, but later on January 12 
acknowledged the likelihood that he had been on this list. 
Pocius continues to assert that he never participated in any 
KGB activities as part of his reserve status and says that 
registration in the reserves occurred "without my 
participation."  Pekeliunas continues to deny any KGB 
service, and he has come under fire from all sides for 
commenting in Parliament that Lithuania should serve as a 
"mediator" between Russia and Western Europe and for 
generally appearing pro-Russian. 
¶6. (SBU) The opposition in Parliament reacted by demanding a 
full disclosure of Valionis's and Pocius's KGB record.  Some 
of the loudest complaints came from the party of impeached 
President Rolandas Paksas, who while in office had opposed 
Pocius's candidacy for VSD chief and maintained a hostile 
relationship with FM Valionis, one of the ex-President's most 
strident critics.  Responding to these demands, PM Algirdas 
Brazauskas (himself the former head of Lithuania's Communist 
Party) asked the Lustration Commission January 11 to examine 
the activity of both officials in Soviet secret services. 
Chairman of the Lustration Commission Vytautas Damulis 
initially clarified that, according to Lithuanian law, 
enlistment in the KGB reserve is not considered "secret and 
conscious" cooperation or "collaboration" with the Soviet 
secret services.  Former KGB reservists, therefore, did not 
have to register with the Lustration Commission, and "the 
Commission has no reason to investigate (their) former 
status," said Damulis. 
¶7. (U) President Valdas Adamkus, in a surprise move on 
January 11, defended Valionis and Pocius publicly.  Adamkus 
told the press that there was no justification to question 
the officials' loyalty, since they had broken no laws. 
Adamkus expressed concern that raising past KGB service might 
do harm to Lithuania's international credibility. "Our 
partners abroad," he said, "must have a clear understanding 
that they (Valionis and Pocius) did not transgress against 
Lithuania, NATO, or the European Union." Parliament Speaker 
Arturas Paulauskas also staunchly defended Valionis and 
Pocius, stressing that both officials "have repeatedly proven 
their loyalty to our state." 
Comment: Valionis Safe, Pocius Vulnerable 
¶8. (C) It is unlikely that this latest scandal will force 
Valionis from office.  His staunchly pro-Western stance on 
foreign policy shields him from accusations of KGB and 
Russian influence.  Registration in the KGB reserve may be 
more damaging for Pocius, who holds the sensitive post of 
security chief.  His lack of candor about his relationship 
with the KGB may hurt him, as pressure mounts for both 
officials to release their complete KGB file.  Pocius will be 
in a weak position should it turn out that he did in fact 
engage in any kind of KGB service.  Although President 
Adamkus appears determined to avoid another scandal that 
might damage Lithuania's international prestige, the 
opposition and even some members of the ruling coalition have 
already begun to call for Pocius to resign.