Klaipėda mayor collects signatures for councilor's impeachment
Vytautas Grubliauskas, mayor of Lithuania's western port of Klaipėda, said on Tuesday he had collected the necessary number of signatures to launch impeachment proceedings against Viačeslav Titov, a councilor representing the Russian Alliance, after he accused a Lithuanian partisan leader of killing innocent people.
The mayor's office sent to BNS Lithuania a copy of his proposal to launch proceedings for stripping Titov of his mandate, signed by 18 out 31 councilors. At least a third of all councilors must sign such a proposal for it to be submitted.
According to Grubliauskas, representatives of all political groups signed the documents, except for the Russian Alliance.
"Today we have 18 signatures but I wouldn’t want to comment on the number as I know at least four or fives councilors who said they would not manage to come back in time today but would definitely sign it," Grubliauskas told BNS Lithuania.
Having summoned representatives of the political groups on Tuesday, the mayor said that representatives of all the political powers will be represented on Titov's impeachment commission.
Lithuania's law enforcement said on Monday it had opened an investigation into the statements by Titov on Lithuanian partisan leader Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas.
The prosecutor General's Office said the probe was launched regarding the defamation of the memory of a dead person.
"In response to a request by chief prosecutor Simonas Minkevičius of Klaipėda Regional Prosecutor's Office, a pre-trial investigation was launched today regarding Klaipėda City Councilor Titov's statements on Lithuanian partisan commander Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas," the prosecution service said in a statement on Monday.
During a municipal council meeting last week, Titov made his comments about Ramanauskas-Vanagas during a discussion on commemorating his memory in Klaipėda by putting a memorial plaque on the wall of Klaipėda University.
"Do you really think it’s worth honoring a person at whose initiative around 8,000 peaceful residents and children were killed? I believe there's no place for commemorating such people in Klaipėda," Titov said.
He also claimed Ramanauskas-Vanagas personally issued death sentences.
Titov also posted a similar post on Facebook on Jul. 19, and law enforcement plan to look into it as well.
Titov told BNS Lithuania on Monday he would be able to prove his claims with documents and personal testimonies.
A partisan broke out in Lithuania in 1944 after the Baltic country was occupied by the Soviet Union for the second time.
Ramanauskas-Vanagas lead partisans in the southern region of Dzūkija. Together with other partisan commanders, he signed the Lithuanian Partisans Declaration of February 16, 1949.
Armed fight for the restoration of Lithuania's independence lasted from 1944 until 1953. Ramanauskas-Vanagas was detained in 1956, brutally tortured by the Soviets and executed a year later.