Viewing cable 08VILNIUS735
Title: SNIPISKES CEMETERY UPDATE: GPR STUDY RESULTS AND

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS7352008-09-05 15:06:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO6311
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0735 2491506
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051506Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2755
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000735 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR EUR/NB AND EUR/OHI 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2018 
TAGS: SCUL PREL LH
SUBJECT: SNIPISKES CEMETERY UPDATE:  GPR STUDY RESULTS AND 
REACTION 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 501 AND PREVIOUS 
     ¶B. 2007 VILNIUS 379 
 
Classified By: DCM Damian Leader for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (U) Arieh Klein, Israeli geotechnical consultant, and 
Amit Ronen, representative of the Israeli firm Geotech, 
presented the results of their Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) 
study to the GOL's Geological Service on September 3.  The 
study revealed dozens of "anomalies" in the ground that are 
consistent with the alignment and depth of graves.  Because 
some of these anomalies were found in areas that were 
previously believed to be outside of the cemetery's 
boundaries, the study concluded that the cemetery extends 
farther south (toward the river) as well as farther to the 
southeast and to the southwest (toward the new buildings) 
than any available maps had indicated.  The study concluded, 
therefore, that the King Mindaugas apartment complex was 
built in the cemetery and that the boundaries of the cemetery 
extend to Rinktines Street to the west and to Olimpieciu 
Street to the south. 
 
¶2.  (C) The Ministry of Culture issued a press release on the 
morning of September 3, prior to the presentation of the 
study results, that said the study is not confirmed by 
archeological work and therefore the boundaries of the 
cemetery remain unchanged.  (Note:  The MoC has hindered 
progress on this issue for well over a year, allegedly 
because of ties of the head of the Liberal and Center Union 
party, former mayor of Vilnius Arturas Zuokas, with the 
private developers of the Mindaugas apartment complex. 
Zuokas's party member, Jonas Jucas, is the Minister of 
Culture.  We believe, but cannot confirm, that these 
allegations are accurate.) 
 
¶3.  (U) Most media outlets covered this story and followed 
the line from the MoC that the study is meaningless and added 
that the study was expensive (approximately 150,000 USD).  PM 
Gediminas Kirkilas told reporters, however, "I think that the 
Government did not waste money without purpose.  At least we 
have the study now.  And it is very important."  A few media 
stories referred to a press release by Arieh Klein, which 
explained the conclusions of the study. 
 
¶4.  (C) After presenting the study to the Geological Service, 
Klein and Ronen shared their findings with Post.  The data 
regarding the southern portions of the cemetery is somewhat 
convincing, but is unlikely to be seen as conclusive by those 
who have supported the building of the apartment buildings in 
the past.  Unfortunately, the study was unable to determine 
the northern boundaries of the cemetery because that area is 
covered by reinforced concrete slabs that the GPR cannot 
penetrate.  Klein still hopes to convince Vladimir Romanov, 
main shareholder of UBIG, the owner of the vast majority of 
the cemetery land, to allow (and possibly pay for) Klein to 
remove some concrete slabs for a study of the northern part 
of the cemetery. 
 
¶5.  (C) Klein also told us that Renaldas Augustinivicius, 
Senior State Inspector of the MoC's Cultural Heritage 
Department, told Klein that his conclusions were too broad 
and beyond the scope of the study.  He suggested that Klein 
edit his report and narrow his conclusions to what the GPR 
study found, as the contract stipulates, and not to interpret 
what that data might mean about the extent of the cemetery's 
boundaries.  Augustinivicius told Klein that the Experts 
Group might be reconvened to evaluate the study's 
conclusions, as it had recommended in May 2007 (ref B).  It 
could then make broader conclusions.  Klein said he would 
agree to narrow his conclusions if he received a guarantee in 
writing that the Experts Group will reconvene.  He has not 
yet received such a guarantee.  According to the terms of the 
contract, the Geological Service has the right to prepare its 
own report based on Klein's study. 
CLOUD