Tue, 03 Oct 2023

Conservative MPs in Lithuania believe people supporting ?an aggressor? are a threat to national security

Lithuanian conservative MPs have penned a piece of legislation that would allow for the stripping of citizenship from people who support "aggressors," local media reported. It comes amid a scandal in the Baltic country over two of its nationals taking part in a figure-skating show in Russia.

The proposed amendment will provide for the punishment of a naturalized citizen who "supports aggressors and in that way poses a threat to Lithuania, the region and its allies," the reasoning for the amendment reads, as cited by news website Delfi on Thursday. The lawmakers said the changes to the law were necessary due to the situation in Ukraine.

The bill was sponsored by three conservative MPs and appears to be linked to a Russia-related scandal that hit the Baltic nation this week. Top Lithuanian officials were outraged after learning that former Olympic skating stars Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas were set to star in a show in the Russian resort city of Sochi. The performance was organized by Russia's former Olympic ice dance champion Tatiana Navka, who is married to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Drobiazko, 52, is Moscow-born and obtained Lithuanian citizenship in 1993, after she and Vanagas, 50, decided to represent the latter's home country in international competitions. They are not only dancing partners but also husband and wife. The couple currently resides in Russia.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced on Wednesday that he had decided to take back the 'Order of Gediminas,' a merit bestowed on the two athletes back in 2000, as a punishment for their Sochi gig. He also suggested that Drobiazko could lose her citizenship, which she received by a presidential decree, siding with Lithuanian MPs calling for such a move.

Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said he would support stripping Drobiazko of her citizenship and branded participation in the Russian show as a "betrayal of everything the people of Ukraine are fighting for."

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky this week retaliated in a similar fashion against Viktor Petrenko, a Ukraine-born 1992 Olympic figure-skating champion. The athlete lost his state grant over having played a support role in another Navka-organized performance in Russia.


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