A group of Lithuanian citizens announced a trip to Belarus with a “peacekeeping mission”. They went to Minsk today to meet with Vladimir Makei, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, as well as the leaders of the National Assembly, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, pro-governmental experts and propagandists.
These are the supporters of the marginal Lithuanian politician Algirdas Paleckis, who was sentenced to six years in prison for spying for Russia in July 2021 . He continues to remain at large under increased supervision. He had previously been sentenced for denying the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.
“Our delegation is going to a neighboring friendly country with the initiative of friendship, with the initiative of good relations, good-neighborly relations, peace and cooperation in all spheres. This has always been the case between our peoples. We want to preserve such a good tradition. Something that our people have not waited for 30 years under the rule of the current regime,” Jonas Kovalskis said in a joint video message. By “regime” the Lithuanian blogger presumably means Lithuanian authorities.
A group of these citizens believes that Lithuanian authorities interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus, and calls on “dear Belarusians not to be harsh to the mistakes that our government makes.”
The group includes:
- Erika Svanciene (the head of the delegation, poet, public figure)
- Vaida Juozapaitite (writer, artist, cinematographer)
- Kazimieras Juraitis (journalist, filmmaker, TV presenter)
- Jonas Kovalskis (lawyer, political scientist, blogger)
- Andrius Nakas (director, former member of the Seimas, TV presenter)
- Agnius Rushis (bard)
- Robertas Stragis (entrepreneur)
A group of Lithuanian citizens / Screenshot from the video message
Lithuanian political analyst Vytis Jurkonis believes that the initiative will be used by Belarusian propaganda. In a comment to BNS, he called the invitation of a “group of citizens” a gesture of desperation of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, which is forced to meet with marginal activists amid the fact that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has the opportunity to speak directly with presidents, prime ministers and chancellors.
Over the past year and a half, marginal politicians from neighboring countries periodically come to Belarus and meet with high-ranking Belarusian officials. This is widely reported in the state media. For example, in the autumn of last year, a group of Ukrainian citizens headed by the former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Alexander Moroz came to Belarus.