S. Šamborskis pointed out that Algirdas Švanys, who had abducted the baby, might indeed have Russian citizenship and that his relatives had lived in Kaliningrad.
Thrown between institutions
Sigitas Šamborskis, the chairman of the Lithuanian community in Kaliningrad, told the news portal lrytas.lt that the information about the baby's possible whereabouts was changing very quickly – local Lithuanians would only manage to find out where the girl had been taken from when she was no longer there.
„Within hours, that child was thrown around like a hot potato. First, he was with the arrested father, then he was taken by the Children's Rights Service to Sovetsk; she was in the hospital, then they looked for foster parents who understood at least some Lithuanian, even though the girl doesn't speak it, but they took into account the national issues.
So, she was briefly handed over to temporary, classified guardians, and now the child has been given to her abducting father,“ said Šamborskis.
The President of the community was surprised that the girl was handed over to her father in just one day as a matter of urgency.
„It is very strange because usually, as in Lithuania, such processes take a week or a month, but here – practically in a day – she was given to a criminal? Very strange“, said Šamborskis.
Šamborskis pointed out that the kidnapped baby's mother had already contacted him, and he had advised her to go to Russia. According to the man, the baby's mother intends to do so as soon as she gets her visa.
The vital role of grandparents
On Tuesday, Vilmantas Vitkauskas, the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) head, announced that Švanys is now free and has his accommodation in Kaliningrad.
Šamborskis said that Švanys' relatives lived in Kaliningrad, in the Slavskoy district, and that, according to local Lithuanians, the man's grandparents lived there, but it is not clear where the man and his baby are staying at the moment.
„I suspect that this may be related to the premises his grandparents had – they used to live there. But this father kidnapper was neither born nor lived in Russia“, he said.
According to the chairman of the Lithuanian community in Kaliningrad, Švanys does have Russian citizenship, but it is not entirely clear how it was acquired.
Moreover, Šamborskis stated that under Russian law, citizenship could have been granted to Švanis exceptionally if he had actively sought it or because of his grandparents.
However, when a Lithuanian citizen acquires Russian citizenship without informing the Lithuanian authorities, the Lithuanian citizenship must be revoked for such a violation.
„Why didn't we know that he had Russian citizenship? I am sorry, there is our counter-intelligence, our security department – let them look into such things. Very strange“, he said.
Surprised by the border guards
Šamborskis was also surprised by the reaction of the border guards when the man and his baby crossed the Skirvytė River. The man wondered how Švanys, with a rubber boat and without oars, had managed to move so fast that the border guards and their vessel could not reach him in time.
„I understand that it is not often that anyone crosses the Skirvytė to Russia, but our border guards must be a bit relaxed“, he said.
Although there is currently no movement across the Skirvite, according to Šamborskis, the situation in Russia is becoming increasingly threatening, so Lithuania should anticipate more activity across the border.
„There is no such movement, but there could be – if the situation in Russia were out of control if there were civil unrest or civil war, I don't think our border would withstand crossing those streams – people would retreat one way or another. We have to be prepared for that“, he stressed.
Optimistic about the return of the child
Despite all the circumstances, Šamborskis said he was confident that there was a chance for the mother to get her child back.
Although Švanys, who kidnapped the baby, will most likely try to play the role of a political refugee being abused by Lithuania, the legal presumptions are on the mother's side, according to Šamborskis.
„The court assigns the baby to the mother, and the Lithuanian court's decision must be valid for Russia. Finally, the father does not have the social skills to raise the child“, he said.
However, according to him, the biggest obstacle to the mother's regaining the baby is the political aspect: Russia's desire to undermine and humiliate Lithuania.