By Angele Kedaitiene
Once President Gitanas Nauseda took office last Friday, and even before that, Lithuanian press started to discuss the legacy of Dalia Grybauskaite.
Undoubtedly, Lithuania grew up during her term in office, economically and politically, it got heard on the European and international stage. Grybauskaite has been considered as a candidate for the top EU jobs, even for President of the European Commission, was praised for her earlier work as EU Commissioner, also by President Trump, for her negotiation skills.
But there is another, darker side of her Presidency, and even Nauseda has said diplomatically that his ways will be different now. What is this another side? For the sake of better politics in the future, we will discuss it.
According to major Lithuanian daily Lietuvos rytas, Lithuania got split and divided during Grybauskaite’s Presidency, between those accepted and those neglected, or even persecuted, to those successful and those silent. The rate of emigration during last ten years was huge, to the extent that Lithuania became the country in EU with the highest immigration ratio per capita. The people leaving country have said they take this step not because the lack of opportunities, but because of widespread injustice and a hostile atmosphere, which drives them away. There has been awards and privileges for those hailing Grybauskaite, for the loyal ones, and there has been ruined lives, businesses and projects, there has been legal persecution and slandering against those who have been in the opposition, or simply who were not friendly to her. Presidential officials have reportedly been said no coffee was offered for those unwelcome ministers and other officials, who had been called for meetings with her, because theirs hands had been so shaky they could not hold the cup. It was described as an atmosphere of fear. Grybauskaite has been managing the country via phone calls, including to the office of General Persecutor, and just few were able to resist her. She has been extremely secretive on her personal life, has had few trusted friends, and to large extent she has controlled the media.
Some years ago famous Lithuanian journalist Ruta Janutiene has published the book “Red Dalia, the hidden biography pages of Dalia Grybauskaite”, where she discussed her activities at the time of the birth of Lithuania’s independence, in the early 1990th. The journalists have searched her personal file in the archives, and found a few pages missing here. Dalia Grybauskaite has been member of the Lithuanian Communist party, she has been a lecturer of the High School of the Lithuanian Communist Party, specialised in training the nomenclature. Hopefully, there is nothing really wrong here, many Lithuanians did the same, it has been the reality of the Soviet Lithuania. What is presumably missing is information concerning her connections with the foes of Lithuanian independence, that during the revolution of 1989 she has been possibly with them, and not with the supporters of the Lithuanian independence.
Dalia Grybauskite could be grateful for her career to Algirdas Brazauskas, the Chairman of Lithuanian Communist party, who became after its dissolution the Chairman of Lithuanian Social democratic party, and also President and Prime Minister of Lithuania. It was him who took her to the Government and later appointed as Commissioner.