KGB connection sells meat and potatoes?

  • 2000-05-11
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - Chicago-born Rita Dapkute, a famous restaurateur and member of the Vilnius city council, denied accusations that she cooperated with the KGB. She said that she was a double-agent, pretending to be willing to work with the KGB but guided by Lithuanian Security in 1990. What's more, the notoriety will help her two Vilnius restaurants, she said.

Dapkute, member of the Liberal Union, was elected to the Vilnius city council on March 20. Every candidate for municipal council or Parliament by law should declare former ties with foreign secret services. In case of such cooperation and self-declaration, the candidate's election posters must show the information, according to Lithuanian election laws.

Lithuanian law states that persons lose their seats in the municipality if it is proven that they were hiding their former cooperation with foreign services.

Recently Lithuanian newspapers wrote that Dapkute had relations with the KGB and American secret services. It raises the question about the legality of her seat in the Vilnius municipality council. Dapkute did not mention that she cooperated with foreign secret services in the pre-election questionnaire given to each candidate by the Chief Election Committee.

"I feel stupid explaining this affair," Dapkute said. "I cooperated with the Lithuanian Republic. The candidate's questionnaire asks "Did you consciously cooperate with foreign special services not by order of the Lithuanian Republic? I answered 'No'," Dapkute said.

She said an agent propositioned her to work for the Soviet secret service after March 11, 1990, when Lithuania proclaimed the re-establishment of independence. At the time, Dapkute worked in the press service of Parliament Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis.

"Lithuanian Security was already established," Dapkute said. She explained that she went to the Lithuanian Security immediately after she got the KGB's proposition. "The Lithuanian security service said that I should not refuse and to keep meeting with KGB agent," Dapkute said.

She was surprised that the KGB agent was asking about things that easily could be found in the newspapers. She recalls that he asked about Parliament's security service, the number of volunteers joining the Lithuanian army and registering in Parliament. She gave answers to the KGB agent in writing.

"We discussed the answers with the Lithuanian Security on the roof of Parliament because of fear of secret microphones in Parliament," Dapkute said. She described the KGB man with whom she was meeting as "very unpleasant."

"I saw that he was doing it for money. He was a traitor," Dapkute said. She added that this man "escaped to Germany" after the collapse of Communism in the Soviet empire.

Dapkute also said that she was consulting with a Lithuanian-American FBI agent on how to behave with the KGB man. Mecys Laurinkus, current head of the Lithuanian Security Department was also head of the same department in 1990. He said Dapkute's story is true.

Dapkute said that entire scandal around her will be a kind of advertising for her two restaurants in Vilnius: American-style Ritos Sleptuve (Rita's Hide-Out) and Lithuanian-style Ritos Smukle (Rita's Pub).