Viewing cable 07VILNIUS333
Title: LITHUANIA SUPPORTS ESTONIA BUT MAY 9 PASSES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VILNIUS3332007-05-11 14:41:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0333/01 1311441
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111441Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1249
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2486
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 3290
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 6912
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000333 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL ZB RS LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA SUPPORTS ESTONIA BUT MAY 9 PASSES 
WITHOUT MAJOR INCIDENT 
 
REF: A. TALLINN 297 
     ¶B. TALLINN 290 
 
¶1. Summary: Lithuanians have been speaking up about Russian 
policies in many ways following the violence in Tallinn 
surrounding Estonia's decision to move the Bronze Soldier 
monument and demonstrations outside the Estonian Embassy in 
Moscow.  The events have tapped a deep reserve of 
anti-Russian resentment and paranoia felt since the 
occupation.  End Summary. 
 
Public Demonstrations 
--------------------- 
 
¶2. On May 4, picketers gathered near the Russian embassy in 
Vilnius to protest Russia's policy towards Estonia.  The 
group, which chanted, "Hands off of Estonia!" numbered about 
50 and was comprised of mostly right-wing and nationalist 
groups such as Lithuanian Movement, the Lithuanian Freedom 
Fighters Union, and the Young Conservatives' League.  The 
following day, the mainstream Liberal Movement Party staged a 
support action near the Estonian embassy.  This demonstration 
was smaller, with approximately 15 participants who carried 
banners reading, "None of Putin's Business," "Estonians: 
We're With You, Honest," and "We buy Estonian." 
 
¶3. On May 8, despite rainy weather, one to two thousand 
Lithuanians gathered in Cathedral Square in central Vilnius 
for the biggest demonstration of support for Estonia.  PM 
Gediminas Kirkilas and Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras 
Muntianas spoke to the crowd and many other MPs also 
attended.  Lithuanian, Estonian, and Latvian flags flew as 
participants of all ages chanted "Estija" (Estonia) and 
expressed their support for the Estonians.  Black, white, and 
blue balloons were visible in the crowd and participants held 
up a ribbon in the red, gold, and green of the Lithuanian 
flag that stretched more than 100 yards.  Bands performed a 
few songs with lyrics expressing Baltic solidarity.  Some 
participants joined hands to form a chain in remembrance of 
The Baltic Way action held on August 23, 1989.  The 
demonstration was completely peaceful.  Cars observed around 
Vilnius flew miniature Estonian and Lithuanian flags side by 
side. 
 
¶4. Some reactions were less constructive.  On May 2, a man 
threw eggs at the Estonian embassy.  He was arrested and 
fined LTL 300 (USD 120).  A police patrol discovered another 
act of vandalism on May 6, on the Green Bridge in Vilnius. 
The words, "Ruskies - out," along with a red star hanging 
from a gallows, were painted at the base of a sculpture of a 
Red Army soldier placed on the bridge in 1952 to symbolize 
Soviet ideology.  The graffiti was quickly painted over. 
 
Public Statements 
----------------- 
 
¶5. The GOL has made repeated statements in support of 
Estonia.  The Lithuanian and Latvian delegations to the 
interparliamentary Baltic Assembly issued a joint statement 
condemning "the violent and destructive actions performed in 
Tallinn" and asserting that "the decision to rebury the 
remains of soldiers buried near the Bronze Soldier monument 
is a prerogative of Estonia as an independent country and 
intervention of other countries into the internal matters of 
Estonia is not permissible." 
 
¶6. President Valdas Adamkus made his position clear in an 
interview with Ziniu Radijas on May 8, saying, "the EU should 
strictly and clearly tell Russia:  make up your mind.  All 
actions of this kind are closing doors (and you risk losing) 
cooperation with European countries." 
 
¶7. The Chairman of the Lithuanian Conservative Party, Andrius 
Kubilius, went so far as to argue that the Lithuanian 
president should no longer be directly elected because of the 
threat of Russian influence.  (Former President Rolandas 
Paksas was impeached in part because he was accused of being 
under Russia's influence.)  Kubilius said that the 
Conservatives had started making a plan to contain Russia 
eighteen months ago, but the strategy had become even more 
important in the wake of recent events in Estonia.  PM 
Kirkilas and parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas were 
among those who quickly spoke out against the proposal. 
 
Peaceful Commemoration 
---------------------- 
 
¶8. On May 9, approximately two thousand people, mostly 
pensioners and war veterans, gathered at Antakalnis cemetery 
in Vilnius for the official commemoration of the 62nd 
anniversary of the end of World War II.  Representatives of 
the Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Kazakh embassies 
attended the ceremony.  Russian embassy representative Dmitry 
Tsvetkov told journalists, "The things that happened to the 
 
SIPDIS 
monument in Tallinn, and the chosen form and time of its 
replacement show that people do not understand the essence of 
that day: it is a commemoration of those who perished, which 
should not be confused with politics.  Those people have made 
a political mistake."  At Rasu cemetery, one of the oldest in 
Vilnius, we saw fresh flowers placed on the graves of those 
who had died in WWII.  Most of these were Polish soldiers. 
Red flowers were also left at the base of the statue of 
soldiers on the Green Bridge. 
 
¶9. Despite increased tension this May 9 in light of the 
events in Estonia and Moscow, the day passed in Lithuania 
without significant incident.  There was a slightly larger 
than usual turnout at the event at Antakalnis cemetery, but 
no major disturbances. 
 
 
CLOUD