The Lithuanian human rights defender and political scientist Vytis Jurkonis in his article “Jurkonis kelia klausimą, kaip Danielius infiltravosi į baltarusių bendruomenę: organizacijos turėtų prisipažinti pasielgusios neatsargiai” in Delphi publicly demanded from me and other Belarusian women human rights activists to repent and “admit our mistakes and negligence” in communication with the Lithuanian lawyer Mantas Danielius and to apologize for it.
I’d like to publicly ask several questions to Mr. Vytis Jurkonis, a laureate of the National Lithuanian Award in the sphere of human rights defense, which he received in 2020 supposedly for defending us, Belarusian women, escaping to Lithuania from the regime of Lukashenka.
- As early as July 5, 2022, Belarusian women in Lithuania turned to the director of the Lithuanian branch of the American human rights organization Freedom House, Vytis Jurkonis, with a warning that they suspect Mantas Danielius of spying for the KGB, and asked him to take security measures (we have screenshots of that warning).
By the end of July, the informal coalition of Belarusians had already been collecting all the facts on the activity of the lawyer Mantas Danielius to defend themselves and protect Lithuania. By that moment I had already filed a police report on him.
How did Mr. Yurkonis reacted to the warning of the Belarusian women that Mantas Danielius might be a KGB spy? Which authorities has he reported to on that matter? What measures has he taken?
- On August 11, 2022, the propagandist Ksenia Lebedeva broadcasted her show “This Is Different” in which she used the secret film footage with a fighter of the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment, Viktar Savich. That footage had been made by Mantas Danielius in Vilnius, Lithuania. In order to obtain it, Mr. Danielius disguised himself as an employee of the American Embassy in Lithuania.
That story was widely covered on all the Belarusian media, therefore, the laureate of the award obtained for protection of Belarusians could not have been ignorant about that.
Has Vytis Jurkonis, as the head of the Lithuanian branch of the American organization Freedom House, informed the American Embassy in Vilnius on the matter that Mantas Danielius was conducting espionage impersonating a US Embassy employee?
Who else has Vytis Jurkonis contacted on that regard and has he contacted on that regard anyone at all?
On August 21, 2022, Our House officially informed the US Embassy in Lithuania about the situation with Mantas Danielius and the fighter of the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment. Other embassies and our partners have also been informed.
On August 23, 2022, Our House published an article on the said case on our website to warn those who might become potential victims of Mantas Danielius.
Has the Lithuanian branch of Freedom House ever published such a warning on its website?
- In his article, Vytis Jurkonis recalls a Lithuanian citizen Ihar Makar.
Ihar Makar has been a political refugee in Lithuania since 2006; also, he is a former operative of the Almaz Special Anti-Terrorism Unit, accountable only to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus personally. Once, he was a security guard of the candidate for presidency in 2006, Aliaksandr Kazulin. Right after those elections he fled to Moscow. Currently Ihar Makar is a citizen of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Embassy in Moscow verified him and recognized him as trustworthy and not an agent of Russian/Belarusian special services. The Lithuanian Embassy issued Ihar Makar a visa and even conducted a special operation to transport him from Russia to Lithuania
Since 2021, Ihar Makar has been publicly admitting to have connections with the KGB and the FSB. At least one woman, a phsycian and a mother of four underage children, was arrested in Belarus because of Ihar Makar’s connections with the KGB. Her husband is currently a political prisoner because of that, who was sentenced to 5 years of prison colony.
Has Vytis Jurkonis appealed anywhere about the public statements of Ihar Makar about his contacts with Belarusian and Russian special services? If yes, what was the reaction?
Why hasn’t Vytis Jurkonis called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania to acknowledge their “negligence” and to apologize for the mistake they made while verifying Ihar Makar, finding him a trustworthy person and transporting him to Lithuania?
Why doesn’t Vytis Jurkonis investigate which of the Lithuanian organizations issued an invitation for Ihar Makar to the Lithuanian Embassy, who set the Lithuanian diplomats up? After all, the same organization can drag to Lithuania other agents as well!
Why does Vytis Jurkonis think that I, a woman migrant from a third country, with no capability nor recourses to conduct verification of Lithuanian citizens, possessing no competence in finding and catching foreign agents and spies, should doubt the competence of the Lithuanian MFA, question the verification of Ihar Makar done by Lithuanian diplomats, and also to engage into spy-catching activity on a professional level?
Ihar Makar has been stalking me everywhere since 2021, threatening, trying to discredit and slander me through the mass media Nasha Niva, acting in the territory of Lithuania. Currently, in the Republic of Lithuania, a criminal case is opened against Ihar Makar for public threats of murder and physical violence against me (art. 145, part 2 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania), as well as for slander against me (art. 154 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania). Both the articles have been united into one case, and currently the police are investigating not only Ihar Makar, but also Nasha Niva on both the charges.
Ihar Makar stated that my physical destruction in the territory of Lithuania is his “matter of honor” as a former enforcer of Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
Instead of taking actual actions, Vytis Jurkonis made a statement that I tried to introduce Ihar Makar to some Lithuanian politicians. It’s an absolute lie. I have never conducted any joint activity with Ihar Makar. I am expecting Mr. Jurkonis to find decency and strength and apologize for lying about me.
I publicly promise Mr. Jurkonis that he will face certain very painful consequences if I do not get his public apology in the near future.
- Here is an example of gross negligence and incompetence of the “expert” Vytis Jurkonis, which nearly cost life and freedom to a young Belarusian journalist.
As the head of the Lithuanian branch of the American organization Freedom House, Vytis Jurkonis verified a young Belarusian woman journalist as trustworthy, issued her an invitation and brought her to Lithuania.
Two years later (!) he woke up and wrote to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding to deprive the journalist of her accreditation, and lied about her in the letter stating the facts that can easily be disproved by a simple Google search (Our House is in possession of the said letter of Mr. Jurkonis).
On the basis of desinformation, provided by Mr. Vytis Jurkonis, the MFA of Lithuania deprived the young Belarusian woman journalist of her accreditation, thus, putting her under the threat of deportation to Belarus, since her residence permit in Lithuania depended on her journalist status.
That young woman, an extremely talented journalist from Belarus, is also suffering from stage 4 cancer and undergoing a complex and serious treatment in Lithuania.
The lie of Vytis Jurkonis could have cost her her life, since the deportation to Belarus would have meant for her imprisonment, torture and slow death from cancer in the Belarusian prison where no medical help is provided.
What is worse: disclose a KGB agent after two months of working with him or deliberately (or “negligently”) lie about an innocent person causing her death?
Our House stood up to defend the young woman journalist. I invite everyone to the court hearing on the case of Our House and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, which is going to take place on November 30, 2022 at 9.00 a.m.
Although, in fact it is not the MFA of Lithuania to blame, but Mr. Vytis Jurkonis, who deliberately misled and set up the Lithuanian diplomats.
On the other hand, let us imagine for a minute that Mr. Vytis Jurkonis was right.
Then, the situation would be even worse, since it would have meant that Mr. Vytis Jurkonis dragged a KGB agent to Lithuania having verifyed her as trustworthy and came to his sences only two years (!) later!
Two years! A stunningly, fantastically cosmic speed for a branch of an American organization and its manager, with their resources and capabilities that cannot be even compared to ours!
I want to remind you that two months were enough for the Belarusian women human rights defenders, migrants in Lithuania, to identify a KGB agent and take measures. Vytis Jurkonis would have needed two years for that!
If the State Security Department, Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania, investigating the case of Mantas Danielius, reacted with the same super speed to our reports and appeals, as Vytis Jurkonis does, then the spy-lawyer would have taken all the secret documents from the official residence of the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda to the KGB long ago.
- There is one more interesting case in Lithuania that in my opinion should be examined.
Anatoly Shariy. A pro-Russian blogger from Ukraine, accused of high treason and incitement of hatred towards Ukrainians by the special services of Ukraine. He became the subject of the Ukrainian state manhunt. In May 2022, Anatoly Shariy was detained in Spain, on the request of the Ukrainian authorities, but was soon released under a number of obligations.
Ten years before that, in 2012, Anatoly Shariy was granted a political asylum in Lithuania. Nevertheless, there was no visa-free regime for the Ukrainians in the European Union (and in particular, in Lithuania) in 2012. Which means, some Lithuanian organization verified Shariy as trustworthy and brought a Russian agent to Lithuania.
Why hasn’t Mr. Vytis Jurkonis appealed to the MFA of Lithuania to publicly apologize for the “negligence” in Anatoly Shariy’s case, which compromises the authority of the Republic of Lithuania at international level?
So, what do we have here?
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is constantly bringing KGB and FSB agents to Lithuania on someone’s recommendations, but the responsibility to catch those agents here, according to Mr. Vytis Jurkonis, for some reason lies on Belarusian women, who, by the way, are hiding in Lithuania from the same KGB and FSB and receiving death threats from thoir agents.
We are women human rights defenders, migrants from a third country, with disabilities or sever chronic illnesses, under threats, with very young children and no financial support as Belarusian refugees; we have been pulling on an enormous amount of work supporting Belarusian refugees in Lithuania for two years, and since this spring – supporting Ukrainian refugees, too.
In the meantime, Mr. Vytis Jurkonis in his article placed high demands on us, refugees, requiring our system of verification of hypothetical KGB and FSB agents to be much better than the verification system of Mr. Vytis Jurkonis himself, with the American resources of Freedom House, and even better than the verification system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. Is that right?
We were victimized twice: as victims of provocations of the regime of Lukashenka and as victims of a serious criminal offence. Should we repent for that?
It reminds of sexist accusations of a rape victim that she was wearing wrong clothes in a wrong place provoking men with her appearance, and that’s how she got raped.
Doesn’t it smell like sexism, racism and victim-blaming in the Lithuanian branch of the American human rights organization Frreedom House?