Eduardas Vaitkus: Lithuania’s Emerging Pro-Russian Politician

Eduardas Vaitkus is a Lithuanian doctor, educator and political activist. He was an independent contender in the 2024 Lithuanian presidential election. He is regarded as an emerging Russian-backed Politician

In July 2021, he founded the Centre of the Lithuanian People’s Resistance to Occupation, a political party accumulating several anti-establishment and pro-Russian figures. He was one of the creators of Dawn of Justice, an unlisted party led by Algirdas Paleckis. His political group argues that the Government of Lithuania has disregarded the constitution and has installed a dictatorship, and calls for the establishment of a special counsel system, a referendum on membership in NATO and the European Union, and quick peace between Russia and Ukraine.

He has called to deport Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to Belarus, expressed the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a proxy war initiated by the United States and commented that Lithuania joined the European Union “in a fraudulent manner”. He has been blamed for pro-Russian views by other anti-establishment and Eurosceptic leaders, such as Nida Vasiliauskaitė, who asserted that he intends to “turn Lithuania into a Russian protectorate”. He declared that Lithuania could leave NATO “in a single year” and that doing so would leave Lithuania safer. He declared that he would begin separate discussions with Russia if elected President.

Vaitkus maintains many controversial and factually inaccurate views. In multiple media discussions, Vaitkus has declared that Lithuania never joined the European Union, defying Lithuania’s EU referendum and Lithuania’s accession process that took almost a decade. He has also argued, without providing any proof, that the United Kingdom was intimidated to launch a nuclear attack on Russia in the autumn of 2021.

Vaitkus has also argued, without providing evidence, that Lithuanian presidents Dalia Grybauskaitė and Gitanas Nausėda were attempting to begin a war with Russia. More than two years into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he argued that the war was started by Western countries and that Russian President Vladimir Putin does what any leader should do. Vaitkus has also asserted that 5G networks are mind-controlling technology.

Russia may be seeking to have an openly pro-Russian political party in Lithuania, Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas cautions. His statement came after Eduardas Vaitkus received 7.33 per cent of the vote in the presidential polls when more than 104,000 people voted for him.

“I think that there may be a goal to have an openly pro-Russian political force for the first time in history,” Kasciunas said. Vaitkus called for the resuming of top-level political contacts with Russia and Belarus. He demanded that Russia was not a threat to Lithuania and attacked Lithuania’s EU and NATO membership.

According to Kasciunas, until now, politicians in Lithuania have not asked for NATO membership, strained connections with Russia, or the development of the armed forces at a strategic level.

“And now here we have completely openly pro-Russian propaganda from this man,” the minister stated, adding that Moscow would profit from having a party in Lithuania that breaks the 5 per cent verge to get into the Seimas and have a political company in the parliament. “We need to see how the algorithm of his operation will work here, and whether someone will try to join him,” Kasciunas stated.

Since 2021, he has actively pushed against vaccination and participated in numerous protests. On 18 September 2021, speaking in a demonstration organised by Astra Genovaitė Astrauskaitė in Vilnius, he expressed that “vaccinating children is a crime. The ratio of benefit to harm is not entirely clear and it is more likely that the harm is greater”.

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