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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

20 August 2017
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Why a row over Austria’s release of a Soviet commander is more than a dusty historical question

 
Soviet tanks attacking the people of Lithuania, January 1991.

Who bears responsibility now for the crimes of the Soviet past? This is the real question behind the continuing row over Mikhail Golovatov, a former Soviet special-forces commander briefly arrested at Vienna airport on 14 July. In one sense, the argument is about the European Arrest Warrant issued by Lithuania. Was it properly drafted? Can it apply to the events of January 1991, when Soviet troops under Golovatov's command killed 14 pro-independence demonstrators in Vilnius? Did Austria give Lithuania the correct amount of time to remedy any deficiencies in the original warrant's wording?

At another level, the question is about Russia's clout in the EU. Is it really true, as the Austrian Green parliamentarian Peter Pilz claims, that his country's senior officials met on the morning of 15 July and resolved to send Golovatov back to Russia forthwith, and to concoct an excuse based on Lithuanian bureaucrats' bad drafting? Does Austria's closeness to Russia, based on favourable dealings in gas supplies, and the Viennese banks' cosy ties to big Russian customers, explain its cold-shouldering of a fellow EU member?

A third question is about Lithuania's effectiveness of response.

Read more at:
http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/an-arrest-that-highlights-tensions-and-ties-with-russia-/71751.aspx

Category : News / Opinions



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