“All the means of psychological pressure remind me of Lithuanian history of some 25 years ago. The impression is such that the person was, like an embryo, frozen and now thawed, talking on the same topic and the same tone,” thus member of Seimas Bronislovas Matelis describes Ramūnas Karbauskis’ communication methods. During the talk show the former chief editor of Panevėžio Rytas recounted why he chose to leave the Peasant and Greens political group, LRT.lt reported.
- You departed the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union fraction. In brief, what are the chief motives of your decision?
I the situation continues, it could threaten the coalition government and the state itself. I do not believe this is good when a single woman can have such an influence on the whole country. Say potentially by blackmailing.
- You suspect that Greta Kildišienė knows something to blackmail R. Karbauskis?
I am not claiming she knows something. But I believe that whatever she may say about R. Karbauskis now, it could be taken for the truth. Currently we have such a situation that it is irrelevant of whether it is true or not. Remember the case of Monica Lewinsky when she wrote a book which is read around the world and believed even though it likely contains around 80% lies for sales purposes. In this case R. Karbauskis is very vulnerable by defending and looking after G. Kildišienė.
- But if there were no controversial relations, how is he vulnerable?
After so much has been talked about them now, she can appear and present various details, these stories would accumulate.
- You are of the opinion that all the denial of personal relations is just as to not worsen R. Karbauskis‘ family situation, perhaps not giving his wife advantages in divorce proceedings?
Yes, I think there is truth to that. He himself has to come forward and explain what happened or did not and what this could end with.
- After the Wednesday fraction meeting there were public talks of the fraction being united as never before. I understand, however, that the fraction is on the verge of breaking up. Is that so?
Absolute unity is only possible in a graveyard. Several days ago when G. Kildišienė had to go to the VRK [Central Electoral Commission] and present her resignation, a group of fraction members surfaced who were gathering signatures for her to not resign. There were calls and explanations that this is at the behest of R. Karbauskis though Karbauskis himself distanced himself from it. I believe that was a premeditated scenario. R. Karbauskis, under pressure from fraction leaders, ordered G. Kildišienė to write the resignation, but later changed his mind and looked for ways to avoid the situation. Here he asked a group of memebrs of Seimas and G. Kildišienė would choose to not resign. When this surfaced, I was being called by members, asking what is going on. Then measures were taken by the management to “massage” R. Karbauskis and ask what is going on. Then he had to distance himself, claim he asked nothing.
- Mrs. Baškienė was the one to bring it back?
Perhaps there were others. It is excellent that people find opportunities to convince the fraction leader to not act this way.
- R. Karbauskis began speaking of how you and G. Kildišienė have unresolved personal issues.
I have never intended nor do I intend to aim for G. Kildišienė‘s heart. I do not have the money for the jeeps, nor the fur coats, so I can only yield before R. Karbauskis.
- Speaking seriously, have you never had any conflicts?
I did not know her at all. During summer there was a moment when R. Karbauskis called and started saying that if some sort of conflict arose between me and G. Kildišienė, then regardless of anything G. Kildišienė will be correct. I did not understand what it was all about, even had a look at the phone if it was Ramūnas talking. Perhaps someone called someone else and someone was insulted for some reason. I listened to what happened again that time, after all there was no conflict. Perhaps G. Kildišienė thought that some sort of conflict happened and complained. Then a suspicion arose for me due to such care. Furthermore, I am not a member of the party, I only allowed them to support me, nothing else. From such dictate I understood that those relations are somewhat different.
- You ran for office yourself, won in your district yourself. The LVŽS did not compete with you there and supported your candidacy, correct?
The support was such that in the first round when LVŽS published their newspaper with a print of 30,000, they did not even mention my name. I buckled down, it was no longer possible to escape the listing or explain anything to my voters so I gathered my team and we did everything ourselves to the end.
- You perhaps could not see any conflict then, but now in hindsight perhaps you do?
I can only guess now. There was one situation when in Freedom Square once a week the LVŽS would put up its large advertising tent. Being an mountain climber I also know how to raise them, I know how to do it quickly, that is what I would do. But one time I could not go because I had to take my daughter to a competition. I asked to make do without me. Immediately afterward, after several hours, I received a call from R. Karbauskis that there is a conflict.
- Sounds absurd.
I think these are whimsical people. There were other stories how G. Kildišienė kicked out the people who brought her into politics. So I think this is a whimsical person, something I did not initially notice.
- Does your decision somehow change the values declared during the elections, for example regarding alcohol? There are those who say that is why you left the fraction.
There are those who spoke that I have been bought out by the alcohol magnates. My statement, however, clearly has it written that I will continue to support the government of Saulius Skvernelis and his initiatives, including all the proposals to reduce alcohol accessibility. S. Skvernelis’ government is undertaking a great task, now we begin the reform of state owned enterprise.
- What do you predict for the fraction?
After my statement the fraction should become more polarised and consider if they support what R. Karbauskis is talking about or if they want change. Perhaps this will encourage every member of Seimas to decide who they support. I said that in this situation I support the person who is a serious government politician – S. Skvernelis. Here I see a large problem that needs resolving. If there were more components in this situation which are breaking apart the fraction, then we could predict that one of them will do so. Now there is only one such thing – R. Karbauskis and his incapacity to interact with the media. If the problem is resolved, all will be fine.
- There were various opinions to be heard in the fraction. So is there such autocratic, dictatorship rule in the fraction or not? There have been talks that R. Karbauskis likes to frighten his fraction members.
I think that mostly psychological pressure is used. For example I did not support the legislation on embryos. When he was running around with those proposals and started changing, I said in the fraction that we should allow the legislation to come into place and then can amend it, rather than riling up those people. Instead of there being a discussion R. Karbauskis interrupted and asked those for the destruction of life to put up their hands. Silence broke out. It is the sort of interaction where psychological pressure is made. I believe that certain people yield to it.
Now when R. Karbauskis himself is threatened, S. Skvernelis proposed to present more information rather than hiding in corners. Let us admit there are many interests at stake, but this needs to be come to terms with rather than screaming you are being beaten up. We can prepared for this. This is being talked about by S. Skvernelis and R. Baškienė, but R. Karbauskis says that now they will be attacked, followed. Persecuted and etc. He said that already his wife’s house in Spain is surrounded by drones, filmed, crawling under the fence day and night, film and etc. The impression appears that everyone is about to suffer and everything will only be fine if they rally around him. If you stay with me, I will not let anyone go without a court order.
- This is reminiscent of a certain story – the Panevėžys criminal world’s principles.
It used to be that those who wanted a sense of solidarity would enter the group and say that if you are caught, you will be supported with food, no-one will do you harm, you will have a roof, just stay close. All the means of psychological pressure remind me of Lithuanian history of some 25 years ago. The impression is such that the person was, like an embryo, frozen and now thawed, talking on the same topic and the same tone that was 20-25 years ago. But it won’t work for long.
- Are your companions in the fraction critical thinkers?
I have spoken to some 15 members of the fraction. I meet with some, have phone calls with others. They all say they support the government of S. Skvernelis, so we respect and value you. A sacrifice was needed. It was necessary for someone to leave and say there is a problem.
- You do not feel you acted rashly?
No. During the fraction meeting I had enough after hearing those threats. I made my last decision only this morning however (The morning of January 26 the Lithuania Tribune).
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