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2013.12.20 11:42

Lithuanian president’s decision not to attend Sochi Olympics does not seem ungrounded

 Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s decision to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russian politics doesn’t seem ungrounded, says Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, director of Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Institute.

 Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s decision to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russian politics doesn’t seem ungrounded, says Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, director of Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Institute.

“Over the past few months, the activities of the Russian leadership indeed was not constructive or friendly towards Lithuania, and the measures that caused interruptions in trade relations, the haulers’ checks and halt of dairy imports to Russia, as well as the comments on the policies of countries involved in the Eastern Partnership programme and their discussion to move towards association with the EU are not consistent with the spirit of good neighbourhood. Therefore, the Lithuanian President’s decision does not seem ungrounded,” Vilpišauskas told BNS.

 “As always, there is the dilemma of whether we should seek more constructive bilateral relations through better communication and contacts on every occasion or demonstrate our position in another way and attempt solving the disagreements via EU institutions or other organisations. Every choice is a difficult one,” he emphasised.

On Thursday, the Grybauskaitė stated she would not go to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games due to human rights violations in Russia, its attitude towards and treatment of the Eastern partners, as well as the economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, Latvia’s President Andris Berzins said he will go to the Olympics, noting that boycotts are a reflection of the Cold War.

Vilpišauskas noted the lack of coordination on the matter among the Baltic States.

“I think the lack of coordination reflects that in cases when we’re talking about relations with Russia, the Baltic States often decided to opt for the bilateral policies, which is favourable to the Russian leadership and is often what it seeks,” he said.

The presidents of the United States, France and Germany recently said they are not going to Russia, as well.

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