‘Dead donkey’s ears’: Russian deputy PM scorns ‘occupation’ damages claim by Baltic States

Russian President's Aide on military technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. © Aleksey Nikolskyi
The Russian deputy PM in charge of the defense industry has tweeted a harsh joke in reply to the Baltic States’ memorandum demanding Russia compensate them for what they call ‘Soviet occupation’.

All you’re gonna get are dead donkey’s ears” Dmitry Rogozin wrote, quoting the popular Russian satirical novel ‘12 Chairs’. Interestingly, he used the very same quote that Vladimir Putin uttered in 2005 when commenting on some territorial claims by Latvia.

In the novel, the phrase was used by the main character to drive away a waif who was asking for more than a previously-agreed sum.

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The justice ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a cooperation memorandum in which they agreed to file a lawsuit against Russia for damages allegedly inflicted by their inclusion in the Soviet Union. The officials stated in the memorandum that the first step towards the lawsuit would be a joint assessment of its scope and then they would see what should be done to submit it.

The Baltic States’ move has also drawn criticism from the head of the State Duma’s Committee for International Relations, Aleksey Pushkov.

The only motivation behind all foreign policy of the Baltic States is to look for new excuses to start a conflict with Russia,” he told reporters.

The issue of compensations for the damages allegedly inflicted during the so-called ‘Soviet Occupation’ has been raised in Baltic countries on a regular basis over the past years and always meets with sharp criticism from Moscow.

When in 2012 Lithuania officially announced the launch of the government commission charged with assessing the damages, Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin told reporters that though no one could forbid Lithuania from presenting its claims, equally no one could force Russia to pay any attention to them. He added that he was sure that as soon as some of such claims were invented, Russia would respond with its own lawsuits that most likely would be even larger than those of the Baltic States.

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Russian Senator Aleksandr Torshin expanded Lukin’s idea suggesting that Moscow should repay the compensation in Soviet rubles and demand that the Lithuanian side return everything built there during the so-called ‘Soviet occupation’.

We can accept monetary payment either in dollars or in Lithuanian currency,” he added.