Source Pravda.Ru

Your Passport Please

Lithuania won’t let Russian military men showing soldier, ensign, officer and general cards pass through its territory
Starting with February 1, Lithuania introduces new regulations on transition of Russians going to the Russian city of Kaliningrad through Lithuania’s territory. Russians “will have to fill the form of a request for transit through Lithuania’s territory, to show one of the nine basic documents proving people’s identity and citizenship”, Director of the Consulate department in Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry Gediminas Siaudvytis said. The new regulations concern diplomatic, foreign, Russian and even outdated Soviet passports. The Russian side objects that Russians must fill such forms, “as it is only Lithuania’s initiative, the Russian – EU commission on Kaliningrad transit took no decisions of this kind.”

Russian delegation suggested that Lithuania should enlarge the list of ID that Russians can show to transit through the Lithuanian territory. For instance, it is suggested that Lithuania must include birth certificates into the list of documents so that children under 16 also could pass through the territory of the Baltic country to or from Kaliningrad together with their parents or relatives. No compromise has been yet reached on this problem, as well as on the problem concerning transition of Russian military men through the territory of Lithuania.

Head of the Russian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Razov says, “it is a gross violation of rights and freedoms of Russian Federation citizens, which will certainly complicate life of thousands of military men in Kaliningrad region.” All agreements achieved between Russia and the European Union concerning Kaliningrad problem were declared to be triumph of Russia’s diplomacy and of President Vladimir Putin personally. When all necessary legal documents in connection with the problem were concluded, Europe shifted the responsibility for all technical details of the agreements’ realization onto Lithuania. Moscow overestimated its capabilities: it believed that as far as Russia managed to come to an agreement with the European Union that is known as a hard negotiator, it would be a success at negotiations with Lithuania as well. But Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry decided to strengthen control over transition of Russians through its territory. It became an ice shower for Russia and a severe blow against the reputation of Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s main negotiator on Kaliningrad problem.

Yesterday Dmitry Rogozin came to Vilnius; his meeting with Lithuania Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas is scheduled for today. The parties will discuss transit of Russian citizens through Lithuania’s territory. Before the departure for Lithuania, Dmitry Rogozin said it would be unfavorable for Russia if it faced the problem of railway transportation through Lithuania’s territory.

Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/14/38/6345_Kaliningrad.html

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