Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis may face prosecution for his statements advocating for a change of government in Moscow, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Zakharova revealed that Landsbergis openly called for a “violent change of government” in Russia during a recent meeting with fugitive Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Baltic media quoted Landsbergis as claiming that no one in Europe or the world is safe from the “Kremlin regime,” and that Vilnius wanted to see active opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin both abroad and within Russia itself, with the goal of seeking changes to the Russian political system.
Zakharova condemned Landsbergis’ behavior, stating that it is unacceptable for the head of a foreign ministry to engage in such actions. She mentioned that Landsbergis has previously expressed extremist ideas, for which Russia has already imposed sanctions on him. She cautioned Landsbergis that his statements could result in criminal liability in accordance with Russian legislation and international practice.
This is not the first instance of Lithuania and the neighboring Baltic states voicing support for regime change in Moscow. They have been among the most vocal allies of Ukraine within the EU and NATO and have been at the forefront of calling for regime change as the ultimate objective of the proxy conflict.
Recently, Lithuanian MEP Andrius Kubilius presented a draft report to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, proposing a change of power in Russia. Kubilius suggested that the EU should collaborate with democratic forces both inside and outside Russia to overthrow the current leadership and establish a transitional government. He also advocated for the issuance of “democracy passports” to Russian activists to help them circumvent Western sanctions.
While the US and its allies officially deny that their support for Ukraine is driven by the desire for a pro-Western regime in Moscow, US President Joe Biden explicitly expressed such an objective in March 2022. Although his aides attempted to downplay his remarks, Biden reaffirmed his stance. Former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, citing Biden’s words, argued that the US should actively work towards a coup in Moscow, emphasizing that it should go beyond simply replacing Putin and involve the removal of the entire regime.
The escalating rhetoric and calls for regime change in Moscow reflect deepening tensions between Russia and Western countries. While some view these statements as a legitimate expression of support for democratic values in the face of alleged authoritarianism, others perceive them as interference in Russia’s internal affairs. The prosecution of Landsbergis would likely intensify the ongoing diplomatic strain between Lithuania and Russia, with potential repercussions for bilateral relations and regional stability.
In conclusion, the remarks made by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis advocating for regime change in Moscow have drawn strong condemnation from the Russian Foreign Ministry. This incident represents a manifestation of a broader trend in which Baltic countries, along with their Western allies, openly express support for regime change in Russia. The geopolitical implications of these statements and the potential legal consequences that Landsbergis may face underscore the deepening divide between Russia and the West.