Persona non grata escorted off train to Kaliningrad

  • 2004-01-29
  • Baltic News Service
VILNIUS - Certain that he would make headlines, the Russian businessman of notorious repute and now presidential candidate, Anzori Aksentyev-Kikalishvili, boarded a train in Moscow bound for Kaliningrad but was barred entrance to Lithuania because of his persona non grata status in the Baltic country.

Kikalishvili, who heads the Russian 21st Century Association, bought a railway ticket to Kaliningrad in Moscow but failed to obtain a simplified travel document from the Lithuanian consular office due to his persona non grata status. Lithuanian officials reportedly explained to him that he would be taken off the train, but this apparently had no affect on the businessman, who recently balloted for Russia's presidency in Kaliningrad and apparently devised the incident for the sake of free publicity.
Information made available to Lithuania's State Security Department has linked Kikalishvili with Russian and international criminal structures, and authorities subsequently decided to declare him persona non grata and bar his entrance to the country.
His name was mentioned in the State Security Department Director General Mecys Laurinkus' report on negative incidences in Lithuania, presented to the Parliament at the end of October, on the eve of the presidential scandal. Kikalishvili was also mentioned in the State Security Department's reports on possible threats to national security. In a telephone conversation with Renata Smailyte, a Lithuanian citizen, recorded by the State Security Department, Kikalishvili hints of threats to Laurinkus.
Kikalishvili's daughter and girlfriend reside in Vilnius.
During a press conference in Moscow on Jan. 23, the notorious businessman, who has been nominated as a candidate to the upcoming Russian presidential elections, said that the phrase "Russian mafia" was made up by "American special services," and he himself "did not steal anything, did not send anyone to steal anything [and] did not offend the state a single time" in his life.
Baltic politicians, however, believe otherwise. MP Algirdas Butkevicius, vice chairman of the ruling Social Democratic party, said that the Foreign Ministry should respond to the train incident.
"As man and a politician, I think it is necessary to respond by making a statement. The Foreign Ministry could also hand a note to the Russian Embassy. If we do not react, it will mean we approve of such actions," Butkevicius told a press conference at the Parliament on Jan. 26.
"I think that our officials must respond and hand over the materials to the appropriate Russian institutions so that he is punished," Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas told journalists after a meeting with Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis on Jan. 26.
At a press conference on Jan. 26 Lithuania's embattled president, Rolandas Paksas, stated that the Foreign Ministry needed to look into the incident.