Doing business in Lithuania
By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA
Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?
During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.
Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?
Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.
Since 2013, a debate has raged within Lithuanian society about a Holocaust perpetrator named Noreika. There is no question of his guilt, his signature is on Holocaust documents, witness statements place him squarely as a perpetrator, yet honors for him remain littered throughout the country, a complete absence of morality and accountability, rather, the elevation of a bigot, a murderer and a thief.
People of conscience, leaders, academics and political figures have called on the Lithuanian Government to revoke the honors awarded to a clearly identifiable criminal, yet the Lithuanian Government body assigned to examine history is a Government Agency named “The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania” (LGGRTC) administered by Terese Birute Burauskaite. Mrs. Burauskaite is all powerful, enquiries are directed to her, protests and revision requests. Mrs. Burauskaite, a Presidential appointment, issues her decrees in the name of the Lithuanian Government, she is the first, only and final word.
Reflecting the independent nature of Lithuanian Government Departments, Mrs. Burauskaite took it upon herself to issue a defense of the perpetrator Noreika, revising settled international criminal law to state that those that issued orders to perpetrate Holocaust crimes, were not guilty if they were pressured to issue orders. Her decree was a masterpiece of twisted logic, obfuscated facts, and ideology. Adolph Eichmann posted that same defense and lost, but Lithuania’s Genocide Center’s revisionist history, now posits that this defense claim is valid. Mrs. Burauskaite has taken it upon herself to become the arbiter of guilt, as sole Judge and Jury, with the full authority of the Lithuanian Government.
There is no opposing Mrs. Burauskaite’s position, facing opposition, her Center posted the following on their official Government website: “Behind the slander of Lithuanian patriots are our neighbors in the East. They are being helped not only by Jews, but by enough of Lithuanians. You can find their names signed under the request to strip state honors, to remove the plaque, under the slanderous articles. Some do this on purpose, others out of stupidity.” i.e. those that speak for truth, and in opposition to Holocaust denial, are Kremlin agents, Jews, and enemies of the State. A Center tasked with examining genocide and the Holocaust claims “Jews” as a race and a group are collectively guilty, and collectively traitors to the nation.
It is clear that the Holocaust in Lithuania is not a distant memory, but an active agenda. Multiple calls to the Government have gone unanswered as of the time of submission of this article, leaving no uncertainty that Mrs. Burauskaite’s statement is now the official Government position.
Even if subsequently withdrawn, this matter shows that there is no accountability in Lithuanian Government offices. Foreign businesses cannot expect justice in Lithuanian Courts, they cannot expect impartial treatment by Government divisions, and therefore, it would be an impossibility to operate a business in Lithuania under the guise of law. Boardrooms need to consider that the Soviet mindset and rule of law remain in effect in today’s Lithuania, and doing business in Lithuania is at the risk of the foreign investor.
Officially sanctioned Government Jew hate aside, Lithuania has shown that her Courts and Government lack impartiality and are not ready as a center for business.