What is the final geopolitical goal of the Astravyets nuclear power plant?

Zones of radioctive termination of the Astravyets nuclear power plant

Prior to moving to the most important problem – the Astravyets nuclear power plant (NPP) project it is worth at least briefly reminding of several present actors related to the topic Tomas Dapkus writes in Alfa.lt.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius has long been scrupulously protected from criticism by both the Conservatives and the Social Democrats, often even by foreign policy commentators. Perhaps that is why criticisms that appear are taken very personally by the minister. Many have seen the incident in Seimas where L. Linkevičius let loose like a thug from Šančiai [a suburb in Kaunas] trying to humiliate Gabrielius Landsbergis for his criticisms.

When the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) called the minister to Seimas for a Q&A session, the only problem which interested the ministry’s clerks was who was preparing the questions and what sort of questions are being prepared. It would appear that through special relations even some State Security Department (VSD) officers were involved, informing on the progress of question preparation. If parliamentary control of secret services actually worked, just this clearly illegal and criminal act against the leaders of the opposition TS-LKD would lead to numerous epaulettes falling.

One of the most eminent individuals in the history of the Lithuanian military, former head of the Lithuanian military, consistent supporter of a conscript army, whose input to Lithuania becoming a member of NATO is massive, Major General Jonas Kronkaitis has said in public that the then Minister of National Defence L. Linkevičius caused great harm to the military. “During his term in office the military was reduced, particularly the volunteer forces. It is the reserve that organises people based on territories, based on where they live. It was all brought to ruin. This is where the greatest harm was caused,” the general said.

Linkevičius also faced harsh criticism from the general for disbanding the second brigade of the Lithuanian army. L. Linkevičius place in history as Minister of National Defence is placed alongside another compromised Social Democrat – Juozas Olekas. It is they who did the most in weakening the Lithuanian army.

With the XVI cabinet’s term concluding another corruption scandal surfaced. It was found out that Minister of Foreign Affairs Linkevičius used official transportation for trips to his daughter living in the city of Leuven, close to Brussels. President D. Grybauskaitė strongly reprimanded the minister for such behaviour.

Recently other facts surfaced that demonstrate the depths of the Social Democrat Party’s corruption, particularly in the spheres of responsibility of L. Linkevičius’ comrade and patron, former Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis – the Jail Department and the Centre of Registers.
And today, in the 27th year of independence two functionaries of the former LKP (Lithuanian Communist Party) and LKJS (Lithuanian Communist Youth Union) hold in their hands the fate of Lithuanian foreign policy and perhaps the fate of the country. In Seimas – the Committee of Foreign Affairs, in the cabinet – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is becoming ever clearer that Lithuania is faced with an existential crisis due to foreign policy passivity, due to the construction of the Astravyets NPP in Belarus.

Lithuania is currently not backed by any EU country regarding the threats to national security posed by the insecure NPP near Vilnius. Convincing information has not been prepared, our partners have not been informed. Declarations of “closure” policy were made, but in reality a policy of “security” and justifying Astravyets was performed.

The political parties once again signed a memorandum to one another to seek Aleksander Lukashenko to close the power plant, to strengthen parliamentary diplomacy.

But who would perform such policy? Seimas Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis who has already demonstrated his anti-government position? Seimas Committee of Foreign Affairs Chairman J. Bernatonis? Seimas Committee of European Affairs Chairman G. Kirkilas? Perhaps L. Linkevičius will suddenly wake up and will magicaly mend the “pragmatic” relations with Latvia or will recreate strategic relations with Poland? That’s naïve to expect.

What will TS-LKD Chairman G. Landsbergis do? What will the opposition do?

A realistic passivity scenario has been prepared for. In the party memorandum there is already a clause that if the closure of Astravyets is not achieved, then we will not purchase electricity from the power plant.

And here’s another “realistic” scenario for you – Latvia firmly adheres to “pragmatism”, thus electricity from Astravyets reaches the common Nordic-Baltic State energy market. New Lithuanian politicians post 2020 no longer see any purpose to the prohibition and the anti-Astravyets legislation loses purpose. The threat of radioactive contamination of Vilnius waters remains, Vilnius and its surroundings empty out. The number of people in Lithuania decreases and increasing numbers of Belarussian immigrants move to the Vilnius area. Russian becomes the region’s official language. Vilnius factually becomes a Belarussian exclave in the EU.

The geopolitical project is completed. The heroes of the project are known – at least the last two governments, their leaders and ministers.

Will PM Skvernelis join these “Astravyets honour” governments? If he has enough will, will he have enough ideas and will to shut down the insecure power plant? In the company of V. Pranckietis, Ramūnas Karbauskis, J. Bernatonis, leaving all diplomacy to L. Linkevičius?

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