Viewing cable 06VILNIUS698
Title: RUSSIA DENIES VISAS TO LITHUANIAN STUDENTS WISHING TO HONOR

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS6982006-07-27 11:15:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0698 2081115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271115Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0423
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2428
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000698 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958:N/A 
TAGS: PREL PHUM LH RU
SUBJECT: RUSSIA DENIES VISAS TO LITHUANIAN STUDENTS WISHING TO HONOR 
DEPORTEE GRAVES IN SIBERIA 
 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU) The Russian Embassy in Vilnius denied visas on July 21 to 
members of a local youth organization that planned to visit the 
Siberian graves of Soviet-era Lithuanian deportees.  The Council of 
Lithuanian Youth Organizations (LiJOT) planned the expedition to the 
Krasnoyarsk region, where Soviets sent 165 Lithuanians to serve as 
laborers in 1948.  LiJOT has written a letter to Lithuania's 
president, parliament, and government asking for assistance.  The 
Foreign Ministry voiced its objection to the visa refusals and 
stated that Russia should expect a reciprocal response. End 
summary. 
 
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VISA DENIAL REFLECTS A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO HISTORY 
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¶2. (SBU) The Council of Lithuanian Youth Organizations (LiJOT), 
which represents the interests of national youth organizations and 
promotes community involvement and political awareness, planned a 
trip to the Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia.  Of an estimated 150,000 
Lithuanians sent to work camps and prisons during Soviet occupation, 
the Soviets forced 165 of those into service as forestry workers in 
Krasnoyarsk in 1948.  Approximately 50 Lithuanians are buried in a 
cemetery in the region.  According to the trip's itinerary, the 
participants would learn about the living conditions of those exiled 
during the Soviet occupation and have the opportunity to decorate 
the graves of Lithuanian exiles who perished there.  Additionally, 
the visit would provide Lithuanian youth leaders with a first-hand 
experience to describe to fellow students back home.  To raise 
public awareness of the tour, former Lithuanian Ambassador to the 
United States, Vygaudas Usackas, and his son signed up to take part. 
 
 
¶3. (SBU) LiJOT told us the Russian Embassy did not provide a reason 
for the visa refusals.  LiJOT said that the Russians viewed the 
commemoration of   victims of Soviet rule as a politically sensitive 
subject, and the organization's president believes this is the sole 
reason for the visa denials. LiJOT succeeded in organizing a similar 
trip to Irkutsk, Russia, in June 2006.  Members of that group went 
to a Lithuanian cemetery and met with local descendants of 
Lithuanian exiles.  However, LiJOT's president expects his group 
will not receive visas for further expeditions planned for August. 
In anticipation of this move, the organization has written letters 
to Lithuania's president, parliament, and government, asking for 
help in obtaining visas for future expeditions to other places of 
exile in the Komya, Tomsk, Perm, and Tumen regions of Russia. 
 
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REFUSAL IRKS FOREIGN MINISTRY 
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¶4. (SBU) Lithuania's Foreign Ministry has formally protested 
Russia's decision.  A ministry official publicly stated that the 
Lithuanian response to the incident will be based on parity in visa 
issuance.  The deputy chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs 
Committee, Audronius Azubalis, criticized Russia's conduct in the 
matter and said that, in refusing to issue visas to a group of 
Lithuanian youth going to Siberia to visit the graves of Lithuanian 
exiles, Russia resembles Belarus. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶5. (SBU) Russia's continued refusal to recognize the forced 
annexation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union and its efforts to block 
public recognition of Lithuanian deportations only serve to embitter 
local attitudes toward Russia.  With energy security woes, Russia's 
sheltering of disgraced politician Viktor Uspaskich, and airspace 
violations currently defining Lithuanian public views of Russia, 
these visa denials will only reinforce the common (if not unanimous) 
view here that Russia is a hostile state. 
 
KELLY