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Rimvydas Valatka: There are still brave men in Lithuania

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While elderly citizens were queuing outside the boarded-up madman's bank, a curious piece of information almost slipped unnoticed. Lithuania's ambassador in Washington D.C., Žygimantas Pavilionis, spoke up for the demonized minister of foreign affairs. Are there still people in our public service that do not shiver in their shoes while waiting in Her anteroom?

After [Foreign Minister] Linas Linkevičius made several remarks in Poland, showing that not all Lithuanians are savages, it has become almost a sign of good taste for political essayists to poke at our chief diplomat with sticks of good old ritualistic nationalism.

Linkevičius' apology – on behalf of the Seimas, not the state – was so blown out of proportions that even the most reserved performers of our political farce, like [conservative leader] Andrius Kubilius, [liberal leader] Egidijus Masiulis, and [social democrat leader] Algirdas Butkevičius, missed their chance to back the minister or at least to keep their silence. It was their parties in parliament that brought shame on Lithuania back in 2010.

Meanwhile Ambassador Pavilionis unreservedly supported the minister: “I was personally ashamed at what happened in Lithuania during President Kaczynski's visit.”

Indignant about the fact that “those same people who took away Lithuania's ability to act in foreign policy are now criticizing the minister who is trying to rebuild our scattered potential,” the ambassador went even further: “Over the last four years, we were only looking for enemies and we did find them aplenty, both abroad and domestically.”

According to the ambassador, we managed to sour our relations not just with Poland, but with the Nordic countries and perhaps even the UK.

Awesome. All this after She ordered [former minister of foreign affairs] Vygaudas Ušackas to diplomatically euthanize Mečys Laurinkus. After Ušackas himself got kicked out of the post. Ambassador Pavilionis goes and knocks down Her nesting-box. And how does She respond? Feebly. “Diplomats should not be engaging in politics.”

Well what should they be engaging in? Drinking wine at receptions? Cleaning our shit abroad? Or is it in a diplomat's job description to work for the state – which is politics plain and simple. And a true diplomat – like late Stasys Lozoraitis was – does give a damn when state leaders are doing nonsense and speaking rubbish. Like Dalia Grybauskaitė herself, when she commented that appointed officials like the foreign minister should not speak on behalf of the state: “Only officials elected by the people are entitled to make statements on behalf of the state.”

Once again, She missed a great opportunity to keep silent. On whose behalf, then, should the minister speak? His mother-in-law, his mistress, the neighbourhood he lives in? It is not the neighbourhood or the mother-in-law who pay the minister's salary. A minister is a state-appointed official whose job it is to speak. Good foreign ministers won't shut up on behalf of their states. They also incite for action and reconcile neighbours. When Lithuania gets to preside over the EU, Linkevičius – provided he is not fired by then – will be doing all that on behalf of not just Lithuania but the entire European Union.

And all those who stubbornly insist that the president is right should first prove that former Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who headed the Government for six years and was the one who helped launch Grybauskaitė into high politics, did not have the right to speak for the state [late Brazauskas was leader of the Social Democratic Party and was prime minister when his party won parliamentary elections, even though he personally was not elected to parliament]. And speak he did – for example, in Lithuania's NATO accession ceremony in 2004 and on many other occasions.

So what are we to do? Build a time machine and send Grybauskaitė to the past to make statements for Lubys, Šleževičius, Stankevičius, Paksas (1999), and Brazauskas? Because none of these former prime ministers were elected. So following the president's reasoning, all their statements on behalf of the state were illegitimate.

Absurd. The president simply made a blunder. Perhaps She hasn't learnt yet how to speak on behalf of the state. After four years in office – that She spent mostly following her personal impulses – She still improvises answering reporters' questions from the doorway. So excuse me, dear nationalists, it is not you who are liberating Vilnius, Grybauskaitė is. And while she is liberating Vilnius, one is only allowed to comment negatively or not at all on subjects like Poles, Poland, and the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after Vytautas Magnus.

But what are we to do with Ambassador Pavilionis?

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