British writer Edward Lucas

No one would expect that I dislike Edward Lucas, a well-known British writer and security-policy expert. A number of his problematic articles on international security were republished at my personal website since 2013. At least one article per year. Countless times I cited his comments that appeared in the press.

Why am I grateful to Edward Lucas?

I acknowledge Edward Lucas for his sober-minded attitude towards Russia. I think that his critical attitude towards Vladimir Putin is correct. The West too much and too often appeased Kremlin. That is why this Eastern neighbor became so insolent, angry and aggressive, neglecting international rules. Summarizing Lucas’ insights from 2016, we could single out one major European problem: “for too long the West did not believe that Russia could attack, while Russia still does not believe that the West is ready for a serious defense”.

I am also grateful to Edward Lucas for his exclusive interview that he agreed to give for my personal website Slaptai.lt “I am not sure, that we will win this time” (2014). A pretext for that interview was Lithuanian translation of Lucas’ book “Deception. Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West”.

Shortly, I still consider Edward Lucas to be an important, influential and sincere lawyer of the Baltic States. He defends us from the aggression of Moscow as well as from the indifference of the West. I think that his observations, comments and books opened the eyes of many politicians working in London and other European capitals. Politicians who still try justifying Kremlin’s actions from the point of view of morality or pragmatism.

About Armenia’s “progress”

However, our opinions diverged over evaluation of the Eastern Partnership project. More specifically, our diverging opinions are not because of failures of the Eastern Partnership, but because of our attitude towards Armenia. I have in mind one article by Edward Lucas which was published in May 16th and which was titled “A decade of the Eastern Partnership: A cause for reflection, not for joy”.

No doubt, Edward Lucas is right claiming that a decade of the Eastern Partnership is “the time for sober-minded reflection and not the time for congratulating ourselves”. The most important victories have not been achieved yet. This Partnership has a trail of failures, misunderstandings, treasons and many victims.

Of course, drawing members of the Partnership towards the EU standards is correct tactics. However, good intentions are not enough. There is still a need for willpower, persistence, and finally – a strong fist. It is a shame that spoiled, sleepy and bureaucratic Europe did not have will nor determination to parry Kremlin’s attacks – to defend countries that were invited to the “Eastern Partnership” initiative. Metaphorically speaking, Europe betrayed them: countries were lured and later, when Russia started to shoot, they were left alone to defend from deceptions of Vladimir Putin’s team. The EU pretended they forgot that Russia favors power over talks.

Naive Eurocrats also mistakenly thought that the “Eastern Partnership” is beneficial to Russia because apparently Kremlin should be pleased by prospering neighboring countries. Primitive Eurocrats did not think of the worst: Vladimir Putin needs weak, barely breathing neighbors as only then they can be influenced.

I agree with such Lucas’ insights. However, I was confused by the following idea: “a modest progress achieved by domestic efforts can be noted in Armenia”.

Is Armenia really a progressive state? Sure, Serzh Sargsyan was substituted by Nikol Pashinyan, but Yerevan still do not carry out its most important and relevant demand from the West – to withdraw its occupying troops from Nagorno-Karabakh which belongs to Azerbaijan. Moreover, according to statements of Armenian diplomat Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, the 102th Russian military base near Gyumri city will remain there till 2044.

Return Nagorno-Karabakh first

So, where is this so-called Armenia’s progress if it does not uphold rules of international game and attacks its neighbors like Russia does? How does Brussels and Strasburg imagine pulling Armenia towards standards of the EU? Together with the Russian troops? Is that not an insult to internationally honorable Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan to talk about the slightest Armenia’s progress?

Unlike Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan did not occupy a single foot of other countries’ land. In my opinion, this is very important. This should be the main condition while inviting countries to the family of Eastern Partnership. First of all, return your neighbor everything you illegally took from him and only then ask for invitation. Not the other way. Until Armenia has not returned Nagorno-Karabakh to the rightful owner, I see invitation of Armenia to Europe to be the biggest and the most stupid European misunderstanding. While there is no strict distinction between internationally honorable and aggressive countries, we only further incite military conflicts.

To make these nuances clear, I wrote a letter to Edward Lucas asking for some clarifications.

Monument to Azerbaijan’s dead. Qazax cemetery. Slaptai.lt photo

Here follow some excerpts from my letter. “Strangely enough, the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh was not mentioned in your text at all. I guess you don’t mind Armenian occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijanian territory. Why you don’t blame Yerevan for escalating an armed conflict in Caucasus region? Do you think that the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh does not belong to Azerbaijan? Don’t you know that NATO and the EU support territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh? Do you think it’s not important that almost one million Azerbaijanis cannot return to their homeland? Are you based by religion, that Armenia is a Christian country and is some what closer to your heart than Muslim Azerbaijan? Aren’t you familiar with the real causes of Azerbaijan – Armenia conflict? Do you think that this topic is not important or relevant? Don’t you know that Armenia still has a Russian military base present and it’s not going anywhere. Is dragging of Armenia, together with Russian soldiers located in Gyumri city, towards the EU can be just a simple political misunderstanding?”

Edward Lucas’ arguments

Edward Lucas answered with the following: “I am sorry you didn’t like the article. I think you should be careful about imputing bad faith though. Just because I don’t write about something doesn’t mean I have a view one way or the other.  These articles are strictly space-limited (600 words) so I can’t include everything. However, I do think that the fact that the Azeri authorities have banned ticket applications from fans who have surnames ending in -yan or -ian is a pity, as is the fact that a British-Armenian football player is not able to travel to Baku because he won’t be safe there.

The way Azerbaijan behaves in the Council of Europe is appalling — if you haven’t read the two – part “Caviar Diplomacy” report I strongly recommend it. That doesn’t mean that Armenia was or is right in the NGK dispute. But I would be cautious about assuming that this is a story with a simple division between good and evil”.

Armenian surnames – not the strongest argument

I am grateful to Edward Lucas for his answer. However, after reading his explanations, new questions came into mind. For example, it’s doubtful that Azerbaijanian government would ban sports fans from entering the country only because of their Armenian surnames. Official Baku has bad experience on that matter: some of the politicians, athletes or journalists that come to Azerbaijan have tendency to slander this hospitable country later. Imagine that: they were greeted improperly, they were threatened, secret services tried to recruit them, etc. They slander Azerbaijan not because they suffered some inhospitalities, but because such was their real mission: to visit Azerbaijan just for few hours and tell imaginary stories later. There were plenty of cases when someone tried to enter Azerbaijan with some mission given by Armenian secret services or Armenian diaspora. Has Edward Lucas never heard of that?

I also tend to believe that Edward Lucas is wrong about appalling behavior of Azerbaijan in the Council of Europe. I would like to remind him that not only the two-part “Caviar Diplomacy” report is available publicly. Preceding the “Caviar Diplomacy” there was yet another published report about behavior of Armenian representatives.

Arguments of ESISC cannot be concealed

The unfavorable report for Yerevan was issued not by Azerbaijan or Turkey but by European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center. It’s field of interest is dangers to the western civilization. This intelligence organization was founded in Brussels, 2012.

The European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC)

Namely ESISC, in its official website www.esisc.org, identified a committed and biased group of members of the European Parliament which are supported by lobbyists of Armenian diaspora and which have a goal – to do serious impact on European countries while interacting with Central and Eastern European countries. Azerbaijan is one of the targets of these MEPs. According to ESISC analysts, this group has a number of measures that secretly puts a huge pressure on Azerbaijan in regard of international opinion. According to authors of this ESISC report, large, influential, anti-Azerbaijanian, and at the same time pro-Armenian, lobbyist group of MEPs formed in 2012.

This ESISC report is not confidential and can easily be found. It lists secret connections of The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe with foreign Armenian diaspora, Armenian officials and George Soros’ fund. Their goal was to make Nagorno-Karabakh a territory of Armenia by legal means. Website Slaptai.lt wrote about it in September, 2017.

Thus, it is always strange when politicians, journalists and observers welcome only the “Caviar Diplomacy” and conceal the arguments of ESISC.

2019.05.28; 10:00

Even the wisest philosophers agree: in politics there are a number of issues that cannot be viewed from only one perspective. Different groups might treat the same aspect differently.

A neutral observer looking into things from different perspectives can find truth in both sides of the barricade.

For example, Donald Trump, President of the United States, issued a command to bombard supporters of Syrian dictatorship. It happened for the first time after cautious and action-lacking two-term presidency of Barack Obama. 

A book by M.Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein “Stalin’s Secret Agents”. Publishing house “Briedis”. Slaptai.lt photo.

Yet Lithuanians does not know how to react to such Trump’s decision – with joy or with sorrow? Marius Laurinavičius, analyst from Hudson Institute in Washington, wrote: “… for now, V. Putin can only rejoice – the presidency of D. Trump lives up to most Moscow’s expectations and investments thatwere blatantly done to ensure victory of one of the candidates in elections” (15min.lt).

Publicist Audrius Bačiulis in daily newspaper “Lietuvos žinios” proclaimed a completely opposite opinion – “American tomahawks over Syria brought good news to Lithuania”. A Bačiulis is certain that: “D. Trump’s decision to launch Tomahawk missilesis exactly what the power-losing Western World needed after thedull presidency of Barrack Obama. The missiles stroke Syrian military airport harboring bombers that poisoned people of Idlib who fought against President Assad”.

Edward Lucas, senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and senior editor for “The Economist”, proposed the third version in his article with a catchy headline: “Trump needs Putin more than Putin needs Trump”.

It is difficult to see what position E. Lucas takes exactly. He takes an insurance: it may be one way or another. Even reading the article for a few times it is not clear if the author supports Washington’s decision to bombard Syria or not.

One of the most memorable ideas of E. Lucas is that: “The thinking in the White House is that Vladimir Putin is eager to emerge from his international isolation. He will do a lot for a handshake. The only real problem for the US administration is how to placate critics, who would regard any deal as selling out to Russia” (BNS).

And what position should righteous people of Lithuania take?

Nonetheless, even the wisest of men could not argue that politics have many issues where two different opinions are not possible. Let us take French presidential election into consideration. Does Lithuania not know which of the two candidates is more politically attractive? It is clear, that Lithuanians would prefer centrist Emmanuel Macron who supports the EU and NATO over Marine Le Pen who dislikes the United States and NATO. Lithuania would not support those, who consider the US as enemy and Putin’s Russia as friend. That would be a common sense.

We should hold the same thought dealing with actions of Member of Seimas Mindaugas Bastys. According to members of the Lithuanian Parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee, the aforementioned politician acted against interests of Lithuanian people. Such conclusions where made after the report of The State Security Department (VSD). The report lists M. Bastys’ connections with Yevgeny Kostin, representative of nuclear energy corporation “Rosatom”, Piotr Voeyka, former agent of KGB, Ernestas Mackevičius, reporter of a state-owned Russian television channel RTR, Saturnas Dubininkas, former member of Kaunas mafia, and Vadim Pakhomov, entrepreneur suspected of illegal activities. According to VSD experts, such connections would make M.Bastys vulnerable. A great deal of secret information would fall into unreliable hands. Especially when M. Bastys became First Deputy Speaker of Lithuanian Seimas.

Gintaras Visockas, author of this commentary. Slaptai.lt photo

In 2006, the Lithuanian intelligence service was already suspicious of M. Bastys’ connections with possible Russian spies. M.Bastys was warned that such steady relationship with Russian intelligence agents would lead to no good. Yet he has not abandoned his actions and challenged our “James Bonds”. Arvydas Pocius, who was a head of the State Security Department of Lithuania at that time, has not seen a big problem, and M.Bastys, who was later chosen as an advisor of Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, was allowed to work with secret documents. In my opinion, VSD should have looked not only into the matter of M. Bastys but also his superior G. Kirkilas.

Only after a decade this friendship of M. Bastys and influential Russian individuals once again came into attention. This time everything is more serious. Vytatutas Bakas, head of the Lithuanian Parliamentary National Security, has no doubts that “M. Bastys had constant relations to the Russian Special Forces”. It is obvious, that M. Bastys’ actions are like attempts to distance Lithuanian energyi ndependence from Russian influence.

Rasa Juknevičienė, member of the Lithuanian Parliamentary National Security, has also astrong position against M.Bastys. Tsajunga.lt published her analytical article “From what starts the treason”. The article reveals Russian intrigues during that period of time: stopping constructions of Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania and opening doors for two Russian nuclear projects – Astravets NPP in Belarus and Baltiiskaya NPP in Kaliningrad.

M.Bastys on a very high political level represented “Rosatom”, which aimed to construct nuclear power plants in Lithuania and its neighborhood. All according to Russia’s plans. It might be the reason why Japanese company Hitachi was ousted from Lithuania. Hitachi’s plans were a quick construction of safe and reliable nuclear power plant on our soil as an alternative to Russian projects.

Thus, the answer to question if the politician could betray his country is quite obvious. M. Bastys tried to defend himself stating that all deals with “Rosatom” representatives were in the best interest for Lithuania. Yet his argumentsand public announcement that he “have not betrayed Lithuania” were not convincing.

Obviously, there should be no second opinion (Russia is not a partner to be trusted), yet it still comes into surface. It seems that Social Democratic party sees no reason to feel ashamed and it does not stay silent. It starts vicious and persistent defense of the compromised colleague, who is more and more often called “a friend of Kremlin intelligence service” by Lithuanian press. What if they are afraid that trapped M.Bastys would sell his sidekicks and the real truth will be revealed why he became G. Kirkilas’ second-hand and why he is so vigorously vindicated by Artūras Skardžius, persistent critic of “Independent” gas terminal.

Naturally, M. Bastys’ lawyers will name this case as political. However, the analysis of this scandal should be done not through the eyes of defending lawyers or colleagues from Social Democratic party. Let us look into this case from the eyes of M.Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein, authors of “Stalin’s Secret Agents”. The book was recently translated to Lithuanian by publishing house “Briedis” ant it states: “naturally, there is nothing wrong if espionage is investigated as a separate phenomenon – more over, this is a very positive thing, however, such investigations might be misleading if completely ignoring influence on politics made by soviet agents working in federal institutions during that time”.

This idea is developed though the whole book which analyses Soviet influence of Franklin Roosevelt’s government (maybe one day a similar book in Lithuania will be published dealing with the influence of Russian agents on our governments?). Thus, a successful plotter is not the one who stole secret files. The real success of a spy is an ability to influence the top state officials. By the way, the authors provide examples, that Soviet spies who were infiltrated into Washington’s public institutions and who did the most damage have never been properly punished.

Source – Lithuanian newspaper published in the US – DRAUGAS (www.draugas.org)

2017.04.27; 08:27

 

„Rusijos lyderis turi pagal dydį antrą pasaulyje branduolinį arsenalą. Jis pademonstravo esąs pasiryžęs panaudoti jėgą ir paaštrinti situaciją. Taigi bet koks bandymas priešintis Rusijai kariniu atžvilgiu pavojingas tuo, kad jis gali padaryti galą gyvybei planetoje, vadinasi, geriau jo nesiimti“, – sakoma žymaus britų žurnalisto Edvardo Lukaso (Edward Lucas) straipsnyje, paskelbtame laikraštyje „The Daily Beast“..

„Bravūriškas Rusijos požiūris į savo branduolinį arsenalą kelia nerimą“, – pripažįsta autorius. Šaltojo karo metais mes iš tiesų būdavome pavojingai arti branduolinio konflikto, pabrėžia Lukasas.

Continue reading „„Ne, mes nestovime ant trečiojo pasaulinio karo slenksčio““

Didžiosios Britanijos žurnalistas Edvardas Lukasas, žymus specialiųjų tarnybų ekspertas, knygos apie šnipų karus „Apgaulė“ autorius, parašė svarbų straipsnį leidinyje „The Times“. Publikacijos pavadinimas – „Viskas pastatyta ant kortos Baltijos šalyse“.

Tekstas – svarbus ir mums, lietuviams, kadangi jame brėžiami planai, kaip būtų galima apsaugoti Baltijos valstybes nuo Rusijos agresijos ne dalinai, ne teoriškai, o realiai ir visu 100 proc.

Savo publikacijoje Edvardas Lukasas (Edward Lucas„The Economist“ apžvalgininkas) ragina Vakarus keisti savo strategiją rūpinantis Baltijos valstybių saugumu. 

Continue reading „Ką pasakė slaptųjų tarnybų ekspertas Edvardas Lukasas“

Slaptai.lt skaitytojų dėmesiui – išskirtinis Edvardo Lukaso (Edward Lucas) interviu, duotas mūsų portalui. Sulaukęs prašymo atsakyti į keletą slaptai.lt klausimų žymus britų apžvalgininkas, politikos ekspertas, „The Economist“ redaktorius apgailestavo per parą gaunąs nepaprastai daug laiškų, todėl niekaip nepajėgiantis į juos visus atsakyti.

Ir vis tik portalas slaptai.lt po kelių dienų sulaukė britų žurnalisto Edwardo Lucaso atsakymų. Su žymiu britų žurnalistu, sensacingų knygų apie šnipus autoriumi Edwardu Lucasu kalbasi Slaptai.lt žurnalistas Gintaras Visockas. Dėmesio centre – Rusijos agresija, informaciniai karai ir šnipų intrigos.

Pirmiausia norėčiau padėkoti Jums už knygą „Apgaulė. Šnipai, melas ir kaip Rusija mausto Vakarus“. Paliko gilų įspūdį. Taip pat stengiuosi nepraleisti nė vieno Jūsų straipsnio, pasirodančio lietuviškoje spaudoje. Man patinka Jūsų pozicija. Tačiau skaitant Jūsų analizes apima gilus pesimizmas. Juk Rusija sėkmingai tebemausto Vakarus. Ar Jūs matote prašviesėjimų?

Continue reading „Edvardas Lukasas: „Nesu tikras, kad šį kartą laimėsime““

Sovietmečiu nevertinome kolektyvinių laiškų. Puikiai žinojome, kaip jie organizuojami. Tik pabandyk nepritarti komunistų partijos pozicijai – nedelsiant būsi išbrauktas iš studentų sąrašo ar išmestas iš bent kiek padoresnės darbovietės. Atgimimo metais kolektyviniai laiškai įgavo pažangią prasmę. Kolektyvinių laiškų pagalba įrodinėjome Kremliui ir jo vietininkams, kodėl esame nepatenkinti sovietine santvarka, kodėl mums nepriimtina rusifikacija. Dabar, prabėgus daugiau nei dviems dešimtmečiams, kolektyvinių laiškų vertė vėl smukusi. Jei Sąjūdžio laikais kolektyviniai laiškai bylojo daugumos poziciją, dabar – dažnusyk prieštaringai vertinamų, ne itin skaitlingų grupių nuomonę.    

Tačiau Gruzijos inteligentų kolektyvinis laiškas "Gerbkite mūsų tradicijas" – maloni išimtis. Specialiajam Europos Sąjungos atstovui Gruzijoje Tomui Hammarbergui adresuotas kolektyvinis Gruzijos rašytojų, režisierių, poetų, kompozitorių, verslininkų, politikų laiškas  – vertas visų mūsų, ne tik lietuvių, dėmesio (laiškas pirmiausiai buvo paskelbtas Gruzijos laikraštyje "Kviris palitra", paskui jį persispausdino Православие.Ru, po to jo vertimai į lietuvių kalbą atsidūrė lietuviškuosiuose internetiniuose portaluose). 

Continue reading „„Jeigu jūs tikrai gerbiate pasaulio tautų ir tradicijų įvairovę…““

„Kapitalistai pasirengę parduoti mums virvę, su kuria mes juos pakarsime“, – sakė Vladimiras Leninas. Jo įpėdiniu Kremliuje Vladimirui Putinui Kipras patvirtina, kad toks posakis teisingas“, – rašo Edvardas Lukasas leidinio "Daily Mail" straipsnyje.

„Vakarų finansinės problemos tapo jų Achilo kulnu. Godumas ir naivumas įtraukė ES narį, užimantį svarbią strateginę vietą, į riziką atsidurti Rusijos rankose“, – mano Edvardas Lukasas.

„Tikėtinas rezultatas bus nauda Kremliui, kuris pasiruošė gauti karinę jūrų bazę ir priėjimą prie dujų telkinių. Europai tai bus pažeminimas“, – tvirtina straipsnio autorius E.Lukasas.

Vieninga valiuta turi prisidėti prie Europos politinės ir ekonominės integracijos. Dabar ji stumia vieną iš savo silpniausių valstybių į režimo, kuris tik kalba apie demokratinius idealus, glėbį, rašo leidinys.

Continue reading „Edvardas Lukasas: Vakarai pralaimės pirmąjį mūšį naujame šaltajame kare“

capman_333

Jauna, įžūli, nieko nepaisanti Ana Čapman simbolizuoja šiandieninę Rusiją, kokią norėtų matyti Vladimiras Putinas.

Taip savo naujoje knygoje “Apgaulė: šnipai, melas ir tai, kaip Rusija kvailina Vakarus” teigia Edvardas Lukasas.

Šios knygos ištraukas paskelbė Daily Mail (Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West by Edward Lucas)”. Knyga pasirodo šių metų kovo mėnesį.

“Vakaruose į Anos Čapman nuotykius reaguojama su nuostabiu atsainumu, sumišusiu su geraširdiškumu”, – pastebi autorius. Edvardo Luko nuomone, ji buvo netikusi šnipė: “firma, kurią ji įsteigė Londone kaip priedangą, su klaidomis rašė savo netikrą adresą oficialiuose dokumentuose”.

Continue reading „Jūsų kaimynai – šnipai (Vladimiras Putinas užtvindė Vakarus slaptais agentais, prisidengusiais miestiečių kaukėmis)“