14 April 201715:45

Publication in the online Lithuanian outlet DELFI.LT: A Dizzying Career: From an ambitious press secretary in Vilnius to a Russian spy in the United States

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Another fabrication about the activities of Russian diplomats that holds no water was posted on website DELFI.LT. This piece of so-called “investigative journalism” contains a reprint of absolutely false allegations about the work of a Russian Foreign Ministry employee, career diplomat Mikhail Kalugin, who, in August 2016, completed a six-year assignment at the Russian Embassy in the United States. The official representative of the Foreign Ministry pointed out on several occasions that neither Kalugin, nor other Russian diplomats in the United States, were involved in last year's presidential race in the United States.

The Lithuanian website reprints the far-fetched allegations of some “experts on Russia,” who see a KGB officer or a spy in every Russian citizen, not to mention Russian diplomat. A recent report of the Lithuanian special services is a case in point. In it, Russia was once again portrayed as the “main threat” to the security of Lithuania, the Russian Embassy in Vilnius a “spy nest,” and its employees, special service agents posing as diplomats.

This material is interspersed with completely absurd and paranoid observations by a number of named and unnamed Lithuanian diplomats. For example, with reference to the former Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, it is alleged that about 100 Russian diplomats based in Washington are surveilling Lithuania and other post-Soviet republics. That, in fact, is almost the entire diplomatic staff of our embassy. Who then is doing the work of maintaining relations with the Administration, the State Department and US businesses?

No less false are the allegations that Lithuanian diplomats are under targeted surveillance. That begs the question: What about the fact that these “named and unnamed Lithuanian diplomats” themselves proactively communicated with their Russian colleagues in Washington, attended receptions at our embassy, asked for meetings and spoke at the same expert panels? Does this mean that they, too, were systematically keeping tabs on Russian diplomats? The answer is simple. Clearly, the person who wrote the article and the individuals featured in the article are not aware or pretend that they are not aware of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, according to which the functions of a diplomat include finding, using all legal means, information about the situation and the events in the host state, which also applies to that country's relations with the outside world.

Finally, the Lithuanian journalist made epically foolish conclusions based on the fact that Mr Kalugin speaks Lithuanian and was part of the Russian diplomatic mission in Lithuania. Indeed, our diplomat is a graduate of the first group of MGIMO students who studied the Lithuanian language. Indeed, immediately after graduation, he was sent to Vilnius, where he worked as press attache and made public statements on the Russian-Lithuanian dialogue. Is that not also what Lithuanian diplomats do – study foreign languages and comment on bilateral relations? What precisely, then, is the author of this “article” exposing?


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