Lithuania's CNSD considers Rozova probe, removes impeachment part

  • 2019-09-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania's parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense on Wednesday edited the questions of the planned investigation into MP Irina Rozova's ties with Russian diplomats and no longer plans to look into whether there's sufficient evidence to launch impeachment proceedings.

"Three key directions remain, including on whether Russia had influence on Lithuania's political system. Second, why the prevention system didn’t work upon receipt of certain information on potential threats. And, third, whether the intelligence information was manipulated for personal political reasons," Dainius Gaizauskas, chairman of the CNSD, told journalists after its meeting.

"Those three directions remain and the focus is the same, but the only change is that we won’t do the impeachment part. (…) Under the Statute of the Seimas, an impeachment commission is different, it's a special impeachment commission, and it will have to decide if the oath was grossly violated," the committee chair said.

The draft was edited taking into account the proposals of the Seimas' Legal Department and adopted with the majority backing of members of the ruling parties. Members of the opposition are concerned that the probe, which will focus not only on Rozova but also on the actions of the politicians who had the information about her, will become an instrument against political rivals.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, had proposed separating the two investigations, leaving the Rozova probe to the CNSD, and referring the issue of the use of classified information to the Seimas' Commission on Ethics and Procedures. But the committee did not approve that.

"There's a remaining big risk that the investigation will be politicized. Gaizauskas' words said in the Seimas yesterday that we won't investigate Seimas members, as it turns out, were untrue as we will investigate Seimas members and we will investigate the speaker of the Seimas. Out of the three set directions, two are related to the management of information and in fact an investigation on Seimas members, and only a third of it will focus on the real threat, which is key, in my opinion," Landsbergis told journalists after the CNSD meeting.

Meanwhile Gaizauskas says "the committee will not look for the guilty" but to find out "why the prevention system failed", it needs to investigate "possible loopholes in the Seimas why politicians do not take action they probably should have under their status".

On Wednesday, the CNSD looked into the draft resolution that would order it to carry out an investigation into Rozova's activity and ties that probably pose threat to national security. The final decision on such an investigation will be made by the Seimas, with the hearing scheduled for Thursday.

The investigation would have to provide answers on whether Rozova's ties pose threat to national security, and whether Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis and the then CNSD chairman Vytautas Bakas duly responded to the information provided by the State Security Department, and whether the intelligence information was not manipulated.

The CNSD decided to initiate the parliamentary investigation into MP Rozova's alleged ties with Russian diplomats and security officials after its members got acquainted with the State Security Department report submitted to Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, in January 2018.

The report says that Rozova tried to get Russian diplomats involved to influence the formation of a ruling coalition at Vilnius City Municipal Council eight years ago and that the member of the Seimas had contacts with Russian Consul General Vladimir Malygin who was sent out of Lithuania in 2014.

Rozova is a member of the Russian Alliance and of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas.