VILNIUS - Anzori Aksentyev-Kikalishvili, the alleged criminal personality whose relationship with former presidential adviser Remigijus Acas in large part led to the current political scandal, has balloted for Russia's presidential elections from the region of Kaliningrad.
Kikalishvili, 55, who owns a newly opened firm in Kaliningrad specializing in the production and bottling of French wine, LB Ikalto, was officially registered as a potential presidential candidate in the presence of 500 pension-aged onlookers at the Fishermen's Culture Palace in Kaliningrad.
In accordance with Russian law, a person needs a minimum of 500 supporters in order to have his or her candidacy considered for presidential elections.
According to Kaskad, a Kaliningrad newspaper, Kikalishvili paid each of the pensioners 200 rubles (6 euros) for their support.
Ironically, Lithuania's migration department, which included Kikalishvili on its list of people not allowed into the country in October, recently received an informational request related to his candidacy for Russia's highest office.
"On Jan. 19, we were sent a query from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Vilnius. The document asks us to state if Kikalishvili is or was at any time a Lithuanian citizen, something that is apparently necessary according to their laws. He is not and never has been a citizen of Lithuania," said Almantas Gavenas, migration department director.
Gavenas told The Baltic Times that he was prohibited by law from sharing any information on Kikalishvili's consular status, a position reiterated by the State Security Department.
Kikalishvili is considered by many security officials to be a leading organized crime figure in the region. He is one of the top executives at the 21st Century Association, a controversial Russian-based firm that has come under investigation numerous times. Its founder, Otari Kvantrishvili, was killed in 1994 in Moscow by a sniper's bullet.
In October, State Security Department head Mecys Laurinkus told lawmakers that the 21st Century Association was directly connected with Russian and international criminals and was actively operating in Lithuania.
"Its head, Aksentyev [Kikalishvili], maintains relations with leaders of Lithuania's criminal groups, who intend to participate in the privatization of strategic objects," Laurinkus said at the time.
Officials from the State Security Department would not confirm to The Baltic Times which public assets Kikalishvili intended to bid for, saying only that his participation in the privatizations occurred in the context of the 21st Century Association.
Kikalishvili's girlfriend and daughter reside in Lithuania, where he owns numerous real estate objects and plots of land in and around Vilnius. The famous Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva and hockey legend Pavel Bure serve as godparents to Kikalishivili's daughter.
Kikalishvili's name was mentioned in the State Security Department documents that were given to Lithuanian MPs in October and subsequently leaked to the press.
According to a report on LNK's news program in October, Lithuania's security structures allegedly had information that President Rolandas Paksas and former national security adviser Acas maintained relations with Kikalishvili. Paksas backer Yuri Borisov, who recently lost his citizenship by order of the Constitutional Court, also maintained contact with Kikalishvili and met with him in Moscow, according to the State Security Department report.
According to Laurinkus, Kikalishvili has sought a residence permit in Lithuania.
In December the Prosecutor General's Office received a request from Kikalishvili asking for a probe into persons who were slandering his name, including Laurinkus.
Deputy prosecutor general Gintaras Jasaitis said at the time that the request had been forwarded to the organized crime and corruption department, which would prepare an answer for the Russian citizen.
In spite of Kikalishvili's dubious reputation in Lithuania, prosecutors confirmed that he is not under investigation for wrongdoing in the country.
"His name is not mentioned in any documents related to the investigation of threats against the president or any other investigation," said Vidmantas Putelis of the Prosecutor General's Office.