Member of Seimas Stasys Jakeliūnas has taken aim at the cabinet of Andrius Kubilius – at Kubilius himself and Ingrida Šimonytė. However, earlier S. Jakeliūnas was blaming not them, but the previous government – the Social Demcorats and Gediminas Kirkilas‘ cabinet. In a book published eight years ago, S. Jakeliūnas writes that G. Kirkilas knew about the looming crisis, that the prime minister and other government officials’ inactivity prior to the financial collapse should be investigated by a commission, lrt.lt writes.
S. Jakeliūnas was just a financial analyst back then. Now, having become a politician, S. Jakeliūnas has taken up an investigative mission. Just the tone is very different from the time when the book was published – he pardons G. Kirkilas and says that in the face of crisis, he would have acted the same.
While S. Jakeliūnas is investigating the crisis, the opposition believes that there is a serious basis for him to resign from the post of committee chairman. It turns out that S. Jakeliūnas may have questioned the chairman of the Constitutional Court over the “Farmer” pension reform.
The economic crisis has long been a topic of interest for Budget and Finance Committee chairman S. Jakeliūnas. Already in his 2010 book, he sought to find, who was to blame for the faltering Lithuanian economy.
An excerpt from S. Jakeliūnas’ book Lietuvos Krizės Anatomija (Anatomy of Lithuania’s Crisis): “Now that it should already be clear that not all the roots of Lithuania’s economic crisis lie across the Atlantic, we can try to make our own list of those to blame for the crisis. <…> It is curious, what commission could establish these people’s accountability, criminal negligence and incompetence?”
Jakeliūnas wished to take up investigation of the crisis already eight years ago, just he placed the blame in front of different people in his book: Bank of Lithuania head Reinoldijus Šarkinas, former prime ministers Algirdas Brazauskas and G. Kirkilas, former finance ministers Zigmantas Balčytis and Rimantas Šadžius and former Seimas Economics Committee and Budget and Finance Committee members Vytautas Navickas, Birutė Vėsaitė and Jonas Lionginas.
According to S. Jakeliūnas’ writing in the book, these are the people, who held important posts in 2004-2008 and had to rein in the crisis, but did not do so. However, in the investigation by his led committee, different names appear – A. Kubilius’ cabinet, A. Kubilius himself and the then Minister of Finance I. Šimonytė.
S. Jakeliūnas states he has not changed his mind. Apparently, the committee is no court and only wishes to hear, how A. Kubilius’ government dealt with the crisis.
“The goal is not to seek scapegoats. The goal is to uncover the reasons, circumstances and people, who will be invited to the committee’s sessions, they have to present information – evaluations, what decisions were made and why. No questions of accountability will be raised. The goal is to uncover and present conclusions, what recommendations can be made in the future,” S. Jakeliūnas states.
However, I. Šimonytė says that the questions were worded personally and later reworded.
“The questions were worded as if they were personally about me. Later the questions were reworded because it was said that we want to investigate the causes of the crisis, while we and A. Kubilius, as I often joke, are the consequences of the crisis, not the causes,” I. Šimonytė quips.
A. Kubilius finds the list in S. Jakeliūnas’ book amusing. According to the former prime minister, these names were left to lie in the shadows due to the influence of “Farmer” leader Ramūnas Karbauskis.
“S. Jakeliūnas is an academic researcher, whose opinions I read with interest, but now he has become a politician, who has to be obedient to R. Karbauskis. He has already shown, what happens with dissenters, thus S. Jakeliūnas is obedient,” A. Kubilius notes.
It surfaced in the committee that G. Kirkilas’ cabinet knew of the looming crisis ahead of time. A Ministry of Finance expert stated that the then Minister of Finance R. Šadžius was warned in writing that a collapse is imminent, but there were no preparations made and everything was left run its course.
This fact is now being presented as news, however in his own book S. Jakeliūnas mentioned that G. Kirkilas and his entourage must have known, what awaits.
An excerpt from the book: “I followed the previous prime minister (G. Kirkilas) speeches and from the intensifying economic demagoguery, I realised last year that he (G. Kirkilas) and his colleagues know about the looming problems.”
Having constantly criticised G. Kirkilas in his book, named him a demagogue and blamed him for the crisis, now S. Jakeliūnas says that he would have acted the same as the then prime minister.
“Perhaps I understand him as prime minster because it is linked to forming expectations. I do not excuse him, but it was a minority government and stating under those circumstances that a crisis awaits and we must prepare… They had to prepare internally – not raise expenses, ensure that a reserve is prepared, but foreseeing and escalating that this is a crisis and we must prepare – I would not have done so myself,” S. Jakeliūnas says.
G. Kirkilas says that both then and now there is much prophesizing about a future crisis.
“Today they say that at the time there was much prophesizing about the crisis, but they are not here today. Only yesterday, I saw our economists’ prophecies that there will soon be a crisis, abroad as well. At the time there was much of this as well, nothing new changes here,” G. Kirkilas notes.
Economists will also have to explain the crisis’ circumstances to S. Jakeliūnas’ commission. One of them is presidential hopeful Gitanas Nausėda.
“In March 2006 for the first time together with colleagues we stood up and openly stated that the real estate bubble may soon explode. Somehow in Lithuania it is that government representatives always like to downplay the scale of crisis, try to form the impression that it is somewhere else, but will not reach us,” G. Nausėda says.
While S. Jakeliūnas investigates the crisis, the opposition wishes to review his own activities. S. Jakeliūnas met with Constitutional Court chairman Dainius Žalimas, the two of them spoke about pension reform, though the court ruled on whether this question can be reviewed. TS-LKD party chairman Gabrielius Landsbergis says that S. Jakeliūnas’ actions are a threat to the country – he should resign from the post of Budget and Finance Committee chair.
“In this case, an MP meets with the Constitutional Court chairman after the court rules on whether to review the appeal or not. To my knowledge, there could have been pressure, perhaps even threatening words. If it is passed, there could be a threat, this is after all pressure,” G. Landsbergis assures.
However, S. Jakeliūnas states that this claim has no basis.
“It is a baseless statement, quite the contrary – it has been denied by the Constitutional Court chairman. If someone initiates an investigation, speaks about impeachment, I do not understand what those people are doing – involving the Constitutional Court and its chairman into personal disputes, for which I do not know if there is a basis, is a misunderstanding,” S. Jakeliūnas says.
Former Constitutional Court judge Vytautas Sinkevičius says that this visit by S. Jakeliūnas runs counter to the law.
“It is unacceptable and incomprehensible – you can say whatever you want now – I only wanted to meet, presented literature, but we all understand that this was not the goal of the visit. There was no need to become acquainted for two years and all was good. The goal of the visit was different – to probe, what the chairman thinks,” V. Sinkevičius explains.
Law enforcement will decide on the dispute between G. Landsbergis and S. Jakeliūnas, whether the latter threatened the court. S. Jakeliūnas has accused the Conservative leader to prosecutors over spread of false information. The Prosecutor General’s Office has confirmed that it received the complaint and it is being reviewed.