Member of the parliamentary Homeland Union Lithuanian Christian Democrats faction, the current president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Rasa Juknevičienė, accused Russia of interfering in the referendum on the construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant (NPP). The Lithuanian conservative said this in an interview with the LRT TV channel, Sputnik Lithuania reports.
According to her, Russia conducts «various operations» in order to subtly influence the internal policy of Lithuania. According to Juknevičienė, it was Moscow that influenced the decision of the majority of Lithuanians to vote in an advisory referendum in 2012 against the construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant. The conservative also said that during the scandal with the former deputy of the Saeima, Mindaugas Bastis, accused of being an agent of Russia’s influence (the parliament by a majority of votes refused to strip Bastis of the parliamentarian mandate and the latter resigned voluntarily), all the «intelligence thingies» of Russia appeared.
In addition, Juknevičienė made accusations against the former Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas, the businessman and politician Viktor Uspaskich and the head of the ruling faction of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union because of their «ties with the Russian Federation.» In this regard, the politician suggested limiting financial flows to politics from Russia. «I'm not sure that when X day comes, such people who get big incomes from Russia will stand on the Lithuania side,» the conservative said. Juknevičienė did not bring any evidence of «Russia's interference» in the Lithuania affairs.
Recall that the project of the Visaginas NPP has been developed since 2007 by several countries — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. It was assumed that the new nuclear power plant would replace the Ignalina NPP built in the Soviet times, which was to be shut down in 2009. In Lithuania, the national energy investor LEO LT was established, however, since the advent of the new authorities, the view on the development of nuclear energy has changed. In the summer of 2012, the Saeima decided to hold a referendum on the construction of a new nuclear power plant and timed it to the first round of parliamentary elections in the autumn of that year. As a result, The Homeland Union — Lithuanian Christian Democrats lost the parliamentary elections to the Social Democrats, as Lithuanians were dissatisfied with the policy of the Conservatives, and the people voted against construction of a new nuclear power plant.