President Grybauskaitė censures ‘witch-hunt’ at Public Security Service

Public Security Service

“I would not like for a witch-hunt to be organised without having proof,” the president told the national radio LRT.

The president also criticised VST commander Ričardas Pocius who revealed in an interview to DELFI this week that some of VST’s officers were disloyal to Lithuania.

“We must first of all know the facts whether there really are so called disloyal (officers – ELTA). If there are, then it is very strange that VST commander (Pocius – ELTA), who has been working for half a year, can only cleanse the service on the television screen. What has he been doing those six months? He is directly subordinate to the interior minister – what has the minister done, who has been working for an entire year?” Grybauskaitė said in an interview to LRT.

Vytautas Landsbergis, prominent Lithuanian statesman and the former leader of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats party, has also expressed support to the VST’s previous head Sergejus Madalovas. He said Madalovas had proven his loyalty to the state and suggested that there might be a campaign against him.

“For me, the first question to answer is what they are getting back at Madalovas for? I can remember many occasions when, under critical situations dangerous for the state, the first squad performed its duties honourably and Madalovas was always loyal to his state. He said: Lithuania is my country now. His last name may sound Russia, but he is Chechen,” Landsbergis told DELFI.

Madalovas, who has been awarded a state decoration by President Grybauskaitė last summer, has been harshly criticized by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis.

In the DELFI interview, Pocius, the new head of the VST, said that Madalovas, who had run the service since 2007, had turned the service into a semi-feudal structure, employed his relatives and used the service’s resources for personal interests. Pocius also suggested that, in case of a serious crisis, some officers at the VST might support forces hostile to the Lithuanian state.

On Wednesday, Pocius was summoned to Parliament, where he told that dozens of disloyal officers had been dismissed and few of them remained in VST and were not working with classified information. According to Artūras Paulauskas, Chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence, nearly 300 individuals working in the VST are related by family ties.

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