What Do You Do With a Man Called Putin?
Putin’s Chilling Antics
Putin’s recent military incursions into the Ukraine, exhibiting as they do a terrifying similarity to Hitler’s invasion of Poland prior to World War II, have put the entire Western World on edge.
President Obama seems at times at a loss of what to do (despite the fact that he has more flexibility after the election), and Putin seems to be running circles around everyone with his deceptions.
What is a nation to do?
What is the United States to do?
What is NATO and the European Union (EU) to do?
How do we avoid provoking World War III, yet help and defend the hundreds of Ukrainians who are dying for freedom right now?
How far will Putin dare to go?
What does Putin want?
When In Doubt
When in doubt, ask an expert.
Ask someone who has been there, who has done that.
In this case, ask Lithuania.
Lithuania might be a small nation, but it has a record of strength, determination and success that is matched by few.
Lithuania was the first nation to revolt against Soviet control in 1991, when the dissolution of the Soviet Union began.
Since then, Lithuania has grown it’s economy, prospered, joined the European Union, joined NATO, has headed the European Union, and is adopting the Euro in 2015.
Lithuania is the mouse that roared, the David that slew Goliath. Or Mighty Mouse!
This amazing success was recently recognized in The Economist, and was recognized by President Obama as well.
Got Putin’s Number
Lithuania knows well the ex-Soviet giant which enslaved her for 50 years, and under whose shadow Lithuania has managed to achieve the remarkable prosperity described above.
The long-feared risk that Russia could use energy as a political weapon has encouraged Lithuania to come up with energy alternatives. Lithuania has long been preparing for tactics from Putin such as those being used in the Ukraine today.
Not only has Lithuania allied herself with Western nations politically and economically, but by 2015, Lithuania will also have the potential for complete energy independence from Russia, which supplies the bulk of Europe’s energy needs.
So Lithuania not only has Putin’s number, but Lithuania knows how to anticipate Putin’s thinking and how to strategize in self-defense.
Vladimir Putin was an intelligence officer for the KGB prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Later, he became head of the Federal Security, an arm of the former KGB.
When the Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991, it is doubtful that Vladimir Putin was instantly transformed from master of KGB espionage (political, economic, military-strategic and disinformation-based) into magnanimous defender of truth, liberty and freedom.
Lithuania knows the tactics Putin is familiar with, understands the psychology of the KGB, and has demonstrated a success record in defeating the giant out of whose shadow Lithuania has emerged.
Lithuania has not only emerged from the shadow successfully herself, but works to offer the same opportunities to other nations. Upon joining the UN Security Council, to the dismay of Moscow, Lithuania embarked on discussing the Ukraine.
Lithuania has courage.
Lithuanian Ambassador in Madison
Lithuania’s ambassador to the United States, Žygimantas Pavilionis, just visited Madison last week, to honor the 25th anniversary of Madison’s Sister City relationship with Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. Madison was the first city to form Sister City ties with Vilnius. Madison did this during Lithuania’s struggle for independence, one year before Lithuania declared independence from Soviet domination in 1991. So Madison is a very special friend to Lithuania.
Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis gave a seminar at UW, and was guest of honor at a Madison-Vilnius Sister Cities banquet at the Madison Club, which we were fortunate to attend. Ambassador Pavilionis was interviewed by Mary Jo Ola at Channel 3000 News:
Ambassador Pavilionis calls Putin’s actions in the Ukraine “the convulsions of the KGB in the Kremlin” which are destined to fail because the “corrupted KGB regime is afraid of it’s own people… it is afraid the same revolution will happen in the Kremlin… Being occupied by Soviets for 50 years, we (Lithuanians) know that it doesn’t work. If the people go to the streets, if fear is disappearing, that’s the end (for Soviets). … Putin is making a strategic mistake.”
Sanctions? – Ambassador Pavilionis does not think that sanctions will be enough. We will have to support Ukrainians by military means, because unfortunately, Russians will go to the line we draw. But at the same time, we also have to be strategic, we have to say whether the EU will accept the Ukraine as a member state, whether NATO will be enlarged to the east, and if we don’t have that strategic clarity, those autocracies or corrupted powers, they will just be moving forward. We have to stop them.
Ambassador Paviolionis has been involved in the government and development of Lithuania since the freedom-fighting days, when Soviet tanks crushed Lithuanian freedom demonstrators under their tracks. He is a fan of Ronald Regan and of Saint John Paul the Great, who together facilitated the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Lithuanian Ambassador in Washington
Ambassador Pavilionis lives in Washington, D.C., in the second oldest embassy building in Washington, which has housed a Lithuanian ambassador and flown a Lithuanian flag for 90 years. The embassy was maintained and the Lithuanian flag was flown, at times without funds and without heat, throughout the 50 year Soviet occupation of Lithuania. The United States and the Holy See were the only two places in the world who completely recognized Lithuania during the Soviet occupation.
This Lithuanian embassy is 2.5 miles, or 9 minutes away from the White House. So when it comes to consulting on what to do with Putin, where should President Obama go?
Lessons on Putin-Handling
Lithuania is the mouse that roared, the David that slew Goliath, even better, the Putin-whisperer.
So what do we do about Putin?
It takes a Lithuanian to stand up to Putin.
Above All, Pray!
Apsaugok, Aukščiausias, tą mylimą šalį,
Kur mūsų sodybos, kur bočių kapai!
Juk tėviška Tavo malonė daug gali!
Mes Tavo per amžius suvargę vaikai.
Small show of solidarity :600 American Troops sent to Lithuania:
We were privileged to meet and speak with Ambassador Pavilionis:
Education in Lithuania:
Business in Lithuania: