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8 Aug, 2022 17:34

EU politician threatens Chinese and Russian ‘Mongols’

A ruling party lawmaker in Lithuania posted the xenophobic ‘warning’
EU politician threatens Chinese and Russian ‘Mongols’

The ‘Grand Duchy of Lithuania’ will destroy ‘Mongol’ Moscow if the ‘Mongols’ of China invade Taiwan, a ruling party MP from the small Baltic state has declared.

Matas Maldeikis chairs the parliamentary committee for relations with Taiwan and has antagonized China before, by leading a delegation of lawmakers to the disputed island in 2021.

“If the Mongols invade Taiwan, we will retaliate by destroying the small Mongol village called ‘Moscow,’” Maldeikis tweeted last week, as the Chinese military began exercises around the island. “The Grand Duchy of Lithuania stands with Taiwan!” he added, alongside a portrait of the 14th-century Lithuanian king Algirdas.

While calling the Russians ‘Mongols’ is a common racist trope in the Baltic states and Ukraine, applying the same label to the Chinese is somewhat novel. It is on brand for Maldeikis, however, as he has been championing the cause of Taiwan ever since he was elected to the Seimas (the parliament) in 2020.

In his Twitter bio, the lawmaker lists himself as the “Head of Parliamentary Groups for Relations with Taiwan and Democratic Russia.” In the first capacity, he led a delegation of Baltic lawmakers to Taiwan in November 2021, prompting Beijing to formally downgrade diplomatic relations with Vilnius. China had already withdrawn its ambassador in August, after Lithuania revealed it would open a de facto Taiwanese embassy. 

Beijing launched massive military drills around Taiwan last week, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island against China’s explicit warnings. China regards the island as part of its sovereign territory, though it has been run by the nationalists since their 1949 defeat in the Chinese Civil War and flight from the mainland.

In addition to championing the causes of Taiwan and Ukraine, Maldeikis is a fan of the medieval Grand Duchy and has a fixation on the Russian city of Smolensk. Lithuania controlled it for a total of 150 years between 1414 and 1654, but eventually renounced its claims to Russia. By then, the Grand Duchy had already merged into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Eastern European mega-state was later partitioned between the neighboring empires – Austria, Prussia, and Russia – and disappeared in 1791.

Maldeikis is an MP of the ruling Homeland Union TS-LKD party, led by Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. His parents were both MPs in the southernmost Baltic state as well. Modern Lithuania has a population of 2.8 million, a quarter of the size of the “small Mongol village” of Moscow.