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2019.09.27 16:03

As Lithuanian parliament gears up to investigate Russia-links, opposition fears being censored

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.09.27 16:03

Dainius Gaižauskas, chairman of the Seimas' Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK), is seeking to bar the committee's members from making any public comments on the parliamentary investigation into MP Irina Rozova's alleged ties with Russia until the probe has been completed.  

"In my opinion, the [law] states it quite clearly that while an investigation is ongoing, there can be no opinions from the commission members [...] and there can even be no discussions," he said during the commission's first meeting on Friday.

Yet, the opposition MPs are concerned that the chairman is trying to bar them from giving opinion on the commission's work.

"There may be different points of view and each of may emphasise [...] different things and come to different conclusions after a meeting," Laurynas Kasčiūnas from the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats said.

"If we are asked for our opinion after a meeting, we will have to right to express it," he added.

On Friday, NSGK launched its investigation into Rozova's ties with Russian diplomats and the possible national security implications, and into whether there are grounds to launch impeachment proceedings against the parliamentarian.

Read more: Lithuanian parliament will probe MP Rozova's ties with Russian diplomats

The investigation will also look into whether the information about Rozova's ties that the State Security Department (VSD) provided to Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker the Seimas, and some other MPs was properly used.

The investigation will also look whether the Speaker of Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, and other MPs reacted appropriately after State Security Department (VSD) informed them earlier on Rozova's potential ties.

In the report, the intelligence agency recommended that the lawmaker be denied access to classified information.

The report says that Rozova and Russian diplomats discussed financial support for her party, the Russian Alliance, and that she had contacts with Russian Consul General Vladimir Malygin who was sent out of Lithuania in 2014.

The lawmaker insists that her contacts with Russian diplomats were not personal and, therefore, she did not have to report them to VSD when applying for access to classified materials.

Rozova is a member of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas.

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