Lithuania compensation claims meaningless – Russian ombudsman

Vladimir Lukin (RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf)
A top human rights official has said that Moscow is not planning to react to Lithuania’s compensation claims.

Human Rights Commissioner for Russia Vladimir Lukin told the Interfax news agency that

“no one can forbid Lithuania to present their claims, but no one can forbid us to pay no attention to them”

He then added that he was sure that even if Lithuania manages to invent some claims, Russia will respond with its own claims that will not be smaller and most likely will be even larger than the Lithuanian ones.

Lukin’s comments came on the next day after Lithuanian government approved the creation of a special commission with a task to evaluate the damage inflicted to the country between 1940 and 1991 or, as the modern Lithuanian documents call it “the Soviet occupation”.

The Russian official added also that while absolutely meaningless on an international level, actions similar to Lithuania’s recent initiative are quite popular as a tool in internal political struggle. “They have their internal politics and people compete there in presenting themselves as tough patriots. This is their private business and we’d better not pay any attention to that,” he said.

Lukin added that if the Lithuanian side really was prepared for a dialogue with Russia about the two nations’ past, there must be a thorough calculation of who owed what and to whom, as Russia built various enterprises in Lithuania after the war and many Russian regions suffered as the working population moved to Lithuania for this construction.

First deputy chairman of the Russian Upper House, Aleksandr Torshin went even further, saying 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,” the Russian official added.

Torshin also suggested that the news from Lithuania was purely linked to parliamentary elections in the country that are due this fall. He said that the current Lithuanian authorities cannot report any significant success in any field, and the situation in the national economy is close to desperate. The politicians, he said, try to persuade the people that there are chances of demanding and getting tens of billions of dollars in compensation from Moscow. However, the Russian senator said that only “simpletons” would believe in the possibility of such a development.