Viewing cable 06VILNIUS1050

06VILNIUS10502006-11-22 14:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius

DE RUEHVL #1050/01 3261439
R 221439Z NOV 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 001050 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016 
REF: VILNIUS 000922 
Classified By: Political/Economic Section Chief Rebecca Dunham for reas 
ons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 ¶1. (C)  SUMMARY:  Albinas Januska was appointed advisor to 
Prime Minister Kirkilas on November 20, ending weeks of 
speculation following his abrupt resignation as 
Undersecretary at MFA (reftel).  Although he remains under a 
cloud of allegations, Januska appears likely to weather the 
storm.  We expect him to be a very influential member of the 
PM's team, who may even help position Kirkilas to run for 
President.  End Summary. 
Scandal and counter-scandal 
¶2. (U) Albinas Januska resigned as MFA Under Secretary in 
September amid a storm of controversy (reftel).  Since that 
time, Parliament's National Security and Defense Committee 
undertook an investigation to look into the circumstances 
surrounding the death of Vytautas Pociunas, a Lithuanian 
State Security Officer who died in Belarus on September 28. 
The committee's final report is due on December 1. 
¶3. (C) The investigation has been highly politicized, with 
Conservative MPs taking the lead in criticizing the State 
Security Department (VSD) and Januska.  Januska, although 
perfectly capable of stirring up controversy on his own, was 
in this case caught up in a larger debate between the 
Homeland Union (Conservative) Party and VSD.  The 
Conservatives pushed for an investigation into the mysterious 
circumstances surrounding Pociunas's death, and the 
investigation led to questions about why Pociunas had been 
assigned to Belarus in the first place (an assignment over 
which Januska allegedly had influence).   The investigation 
broadened into a wider look at VSD, including whether it had 
information showing inappropriate ties between government 
officials (including Januska) and business groups. 
Simultaneously, the Conservatives became embroiled in another 
scandal involving allegations that some VSD officials had 
leaked information about ongoing corruption investigations to 
Conservative MPs. 
Januska denies all 
¶4. (U)  Januska testified before the parliamentary committee 
twice.  He breezily dismissed claims that he has 
inappropriate ties to the Gazprom-connected gas company 
Dujotekana, saying, "I am not dependent on gas, because I 
warm up (at home) with wood and electricity."  He warned 
Committee members that Lithuania suffers from "the influence 
of cucumbers and sausages from Kedainiai," an open reference 
to former Labor Party leader Viktor Uspackich, who once 
traded in these commodities and is currently in self-imposed 
exile in Moscow, avoiding charges of fraud in his party's 
financing.  Reflecting his self-image as a patriot fighting 
off Russian influence, he also warned of the existence of "a 
group of people, who are directed from the East, a group of 
UFOs, who are making influence from the Cosmos" adding 
elliptically that "there also exists a decreasing group of 
persons, who are trying to rationally analyze the situation 
and to objectively evaluate what is happening." 
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Appointment and future role: "Deep issues" and king maker? 
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¶5. (C) Januska's appointment as PM Kirkilas's advisor was 
announced on November 20, despite the ongoing parliamentary 
investigation.  (On November 21, the Constitutional Court 
ruled that parliamentary commissions do not have the 
authority to examine personnel decisions by heads of 
departments, which would include the decision to assign 
Pociunas to Belarus.  The ruling is still being parsed by 
lawyers, but we believe this would mean that, whatever 
Januska's role in the assignment, it should not be covered in 
the investigation's findings.)  Both the PM and President 
Adamkus have been supportive of Januska throughout. 
President Adamkus, for whom Januska worked from 1998 to 2002, 
said Januska is competent and that he sees no relation 
between the VSD investigation and Januska.  The Prime 
Minister said that if the investigation finds that Januska 
did something wrong, then "we will behave accordingly, but I 
don't think that it will be so." 
¶6.  (C) In his new capacity Januska will focus on strategic 
issues.  Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Advisor Darius 
Pranskevicius told us November 21 that Januska is already on 
board and working hard.  Januska will work on "deep issues," 
such as how to engage Russia and energy policy.  He will also 
work on "special projects" and fast-developing crises. 
Day-to-day foreign policy issues (i.e., foreign trip 
planning, briefing memos, and talking point management) will 
continue to fall to Pranskevicius. 
¶7. (C) MFA Under Secretary Oskaras Jusys told us that the 
appointment to the PM's staff was Januska's plan along; he 
"plans everything three or four steps in advance."  He said 
that Januska will become PM Kirkilas's political advisor and 
that his strategic skills and conatcts across the political 
elite make him the best hope for the minority government to 
remain in power through next year.  Jusys, who has known 
Januska since the days of the first Lithuanian Parliament, 
recalled that Januska was one of the key architects of 
Adamkus's first election.  He speculated that, if the coming 
year goes well, Kirkilas will position himself to run for 
President under Januska's tutelage. 
¶8. (C)  Albinas Januska's continuing influence in Lithuanian 
politics cannot be overstated.  In addition to being a 
cunning strategist, he is extraordinarily well-connected 
among Lithuania's political class.  (Many in the Foreign 
Ministry attribute Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas's 
appointment to Januska himself.)  We expect him to make good 
use of his unrivaled  connections in the MFA and elsewhere to 
forge GOL policy.  It is also true, however, that Januska, 
conspiratorial and asocial, has made some enemies along the 
way.  His presence will affect the PM's relations with 
Parliament, and especially with the Conservative Party, on 
whose support PM Kirkilas's minority coalition depends.