Self – proclaimed president of Lithuania V. Landsbergis was recruited into the KGB by the famous Rainiai butcher Dušanskis

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Landsbergis was recruited into the KGB by the famous Rainiai butcher Dušanskis
22 hours ago

He was recruited by KGB employee Dushansky
Published: 2023-01-03 12:37 Author:

In criminal case No 01-2-03-03, in which the plaintiffs Vytautas Landsbergis and his brother Gabriel Zemkalni accused the writer Vytautas Petkevičius of defaming their father Vytautas Landsbergis-Zemkalnis in his book „Durnių laivas” (The Ship of Fools), published in 2003 by Politika Publishing House.

Remarks by a witness in the case, former VSK (KGB) Major Vladas Gulbinas.


On 20 September 2004, the case of V.Petkevičius and V.Landsbergis began in relation to the alleged „defamation” of V.Landsbergis’s father, V.Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, in the book „Durnių laivas” (The Ship of Durnius). In this case, I took part as a witness on the side of V.Petkevičius.
At the beginning of the trial, Landsbergis demanded that I should not be allowed to testify on the grounds that I had worked in the repressive organs of the KGB. However, the 3-judge panel rejected his request. I was the penultimate of all the witnesses to speak.

I told the court that on 2 December 2000. In the article „Lietuvos rytas” „KGB still finds cartridges in its warehouses” on December 2000, I revealed the truth, well known to me, about the mysterious departure of Landsbergis’s wife, Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė, to Australia in 1981.

This alleged secret was that in 1981 I, as the curator of all state art and cultural workers of the Lithuanian KGB, was approached by the then director of the Opera and Ballet Theatre, V.Noreika, asking me to help Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė to go to Australia to visit Gabriel Žemkalnis, Landsbergis’ brother, because the then Exit Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Republic of Lithuania (CCP of Lithuania), led by the then secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Republic of Lithuania (CCP of Lithuania, L.Šepečis), did not give permission for her to make the trip.
And this commission did not give her permission because she had not travelled to any so-called capitalist country before and was an exile. In those days it was impossible to change the negative decision of this commission.

I remember Noreika saying: „Vladai, Gražke is a good woman, if you can, help her”. I said: „How can I help?” „You can help her leave through V.Zvezdenkov,” Noreika said to me. Zvezdenkov was at that time the first deputy chairman of the Lithuanian KGB, a general sent from Moscow (i.e. from the USSR KGB). He was like a kind of steward whom even the chairman of the KGB of the Lithuanian SSR was afraid of.
I was hesitant at first, because Zvezdenkov was very much disliked in our committee. He was a very harsh, unpleasant, angry and shouting person. You had to guess his mood very well in order to please him. All the more so as I had never, in relation to any Lithuanian art or cultural worker or agent of mine, addressed the First Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian KGB, the steward sent by the USSR KGB, on a question of this kind.

In my 17.5 years of working for the Lithuanian KGB, Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė was really the only one.

In Lithuania, Zvezdenkov was the only one who had the right to release a „necessary” person abroad by special exception, even without the knowledge of the Exit Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania. However, this required a very, very strong justification and the interest of the KGB.

As I recall, Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė, knowing full well that I had promised to help Noreika and her personally to resolve positively this problem, which was sensitive for her, through V. Zvezdenkov, for two weeks after this request she simply attacked me by calling me at home in the morning and in the evening, asking me if I had already been to see Zvezdenkov.

I could not go to him empty-handed; he would have rejected the request out of hand and would have scolded me and thrown me out of his office, because he would certainly not have let her go abroad for Gražina’s beautiful eyes.

I think it is also very interesting for readers to know that Mr Zvezdenkov worked in Cuba for 5 years as a security adviser to Fidel Castro in the USSR before coming to Lithuania from Moscow.

When I testified in the case of V.Petkevičius and V.Landsbergis, I told the court how I then took from the 10th division of the KGB in Lithuania a file on the departure of G.Landsbergienė, which contained various information: who was this Gabriel, her own correspondence with abroad, etc.

When my then boss, the deputy head of the division, R.Sprindys, found out that I was going to V.Zvezdenkov to ask about Gražina Landsbergienė, he said: „When you go, you can say with confidence that if he wants to clarify some information, he can call me too.”

Sprindys added: „Be sure to tell me that Gražina Ručytė’s husband, V.Landsbergis, is a former agent of ours, recruited in 1955, I think, by a KGB agent, Dushansky.”

I pointed out to the court that Dušanskis is the same person Lithuania demanded Israel extradite a few years ago for genocide in Lithuania.

Then Slavin worked with Landsbergis as a KGB agent, and then the same former boss of mine, Sprindys. The last person to work with Landsberg until 1978, when Landsberg returned from Klaipėda to the Conservatory in Vilnius, was Abromaitis.

Sprindys also pointed out at the time that Landsbergis’ nickname as a KGB agent was „Vytautas”, later changed to „Dėdulė”.

My boss then added: „Report to V.Zvezdenkov and about the father of G.Ručytė’s husband that V.Landsbergis-Zemkalnis was an agent of the NKVD, recruited by the intelligence staff of the Russian Embassy in Kaunas in 1927.”

And he went on to give all sorts of details: for example, that Landsbergis-Zemkalnis had been given back his two houses in Kaunas and Kačerginė by a decision of the Soviet authorities, and only, of course, with the active mediation of the KGB of the USSR, because Landsbergis-Zemkalnis was a particularly meritorious agent of the USSR KGB.

I told the court that, with such important arguments, I had the courage to go to Zvezdenkov and report everything. He listened to me attentively and gave me a lot of hell as to why I had not worked with Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė up to this time.

The General told me to immediately open a file on the candidate for recruitment and to have all the information ready by the time she returned. He also told me to tell her before she left what we were interested in in Australia. If she brings good information, we can continue to release her abroad.

Then, much to my surprise, Zvezdenkov wrote down a resolution „To release such and such a Ruchytė to Australia to Gabriel Zemkalnis”.

I pointed out to the court that in 1981, my boss, R.Sprindys, also told me that when he himself was working with Landsbergis as a KGB agent, he had heard from KGB employees in Moscow that Landsbergis-Zemkalnis was very seriously suspected of having collaborated with the German Gestapo during the war, as an agent recruited by them.

This means that Landsbergis’ father could have been not only a deserved agent of the NKVD during the war, but also of the German Gestapo.

The USSR KGB staff based their conclusion on the fact that Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, fearing that he might be deciphered by the NKVD as a Gestapo agent as well, fled to the West with the German fascists when the war was over, terrified.

After the death of Stalin and the shooting of Beria, Landsbergis-Zemkalnis resumed his diligent work exclusively for the KGB of the USSR and asked to be returned to Soviet Lithuania.

This was done, with the active mediation of the KGB of the USSR, in addition to the return of all the property he had owned before the war, and also, on the instructions of A. Snieckous, he was given a government apartment in Kaunas and appointed to a responsible government position.

I pointed out to the court that I had repeatedly heard that Landsbergis-Zemkalnis had received a substantial pension from the KGB of the USSR for life for his extraordinary services as a spy. However, it is, of course, very difficult to verify this fact.

After these facts, and other less interesting moments, I was questioned in court by Landsberg himself and his brother Gabriel.


– Did you take an oath when you came to work for the Lithuanian KGB?

– Yes, I did.

– Then why did you break your oath not to betray agents known to you and other secret agency information known to you?

– And what do you tell me, Mr Landsberg, are you the Chairman of the KGB, that I have to give you a report? On the other hand, there is no USSR, so my oath is no longer valid, it has become worthless.

– In his book The Ship of Fools, V. Petkevičius called my father a friend of A. Hitler. Then I can call you a friend of Stalin!

– Whose, whose? Do you, Mr Landsberg, have any idea when I was born? I am a post-war child, so how could I be a friend of Stalin?

– Then answer me, how do you feel about the Stalin era in general?

– It was only when I came to work for the KGB that I learned a lot of bad things about Stalin. And I condemn him very much for the mass repression and deportation of people. But it has to be admitted that thanks to Stalin and Marshal Zhukov, the German fascists, so loved and respected by you, Mr Landsberg, and your father, were defeated!

– You, writing in the press and speaking on television, are constantly slandering me and my father, calling us KGB agents. And you base these statements on the testimony of dead souls, that is to say, on the testimony of former and deceased KGB agents. So how do we understand this now?

– That not all the KGB agents who are well aware of your and your father’s zealous service to the KGB organs are already dead. And you, Mr Landsberg, know this well. And there is such a former KGB member as Dushansky living in Israel at the moment. The same Dushansky who, in 1955, when he was deputy head of the Lithuanian KGB’s Intelligence Division, personally recruited you, and Lithuania recently demanded that Israel extradite him for genocide in Lithuania.

He should now be about 83 years old. I believe that he has not lost his mind and is fully capable of taking responsibility for his words and actions. If you really need to prove your innocence of collaboration with the KGB, find Dushansky in Israel.
And then, if Dushansky refutes the statements I have made in the press and on television about your and your father’s zealous collaboration with the KGB, I will immediately throw up my hands and surrender.

Then you can put me in jail for defamation. It is possible to formally question Dushansky without his coming to Lithuania, by getting his testimony certified by Israeli notaries.

But I know very well that you will not do this, because I have learned from Mr Butkevičius that several years ago you found Mr Dušanskis and begged him to keep quiet about your and your father’s cooperation with the KGB.

Apparently, Dushansky refused to help you in this matter. (Note: After this answer from me, Landsbergis fell silent and did not touch the issue again.)

– You keep saying that my wife was allowed to go to Australia in 1981 by General Zvezdenkov of Moscow, then Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian KGB. So where is this KGB general now?

– Zvezdenkov is currently living in Moscow and if you need him, you can find him. And I can help you find him.

But who needs it, because the fact that Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė went to Australia to see your brother in 1981 only through the same KGB general has been confirmed in the press and in a television programme on Lietuvos rytas by the then director of the Opera and Ballet Theatre, V. Noreika himself.

– You keep saying that my father and I were KGB agents. But I am so actively attacking the KGB, its cadres and the former Soviet government. So how do you imagine that I, as you say, a former KGB agent, can do that?

– Mr Landsberg, since a long time ago, perhaps even since the time of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the best form of conspiracy is that when you rain on that government and its intelligence, nobody will believe that you are serving them diligently and who you really are. (Note: Landsbergis did not comment further on this answer.)

– You mentioned in your essay in „Lietuvos rytas” on 2 December 2000 that in 1988 the then chairman of the Lithuanian KGB, E.Eismunt, had instructed you to find out whether I was a pure-blooded Lithuanian. So what, did you want to discredit me on that issue?

– It is no secret that at that time many people had serious doubts about your being a full-blooded Lithuanian, because your surname is very rare in Lithuania. And General Eismunt had certainly given me such an instruction.

But I wrote in the same „Lietuvos rytas” article that after my careful investigation these doubts were not confirmed and the KGB could not compromise you then.

So what – I did wrong here too, according to you? Where there is truth, there is truth.

Then followed a question from me, former KGB Major Gulbin, to Landsberg:
In my articles about your and your father’s secret collaboration, I have written many times that the last person who worked with you as a KGB agent was D.Abromaitis, the former deputy chief of the Klaipėda KGB unit in Lithuania until 1978, who, while seriously ill in a hospital until comparatively recently, gave the same testimony about your and your father’s secret and conscious collaboration with the KGB as I did.

Two members of the Lithuanian Seimas, A. Sakalas and V. Čepas, and the Prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Lithuania, Mr. Norinkevičius, were also present at that time during the interrogation of Mr. Abromaitis.
Abromaitis’s testimony was recorded on an audio cassette, but the cassette later mysteriously disappeared, and Abromaitis himself died three years ago.

And all of this history took place under the leadership of your diligent and obedient servant, Mr Landsberg, who was nicknamed a pocket prosecutor and later expelled from his post because of some of his unlawful actions – Kazis Pėdnytsia, who was, among other things, a student of mine at the Faculty of Law of the VVU Law School, when he was working as the Prosecutor-General of Lithuania.

My question to you, Mr Landsberg, is short and to the point: where has the mysterious audio cassette gone? (Note: Landsberg never answered this question to me or to the court. He simply remained silent!)

During the second hearing of this trial, I was very surprised to see as a witness the head of the Vilnius City Police Interrogation Division, D.Bukeliene, who several years ago had been in charge of the criminal case brought against me at Landsbergis’s request for allegedly defaming Landsbergis in the press.

That case was later dismissed for lack of criminal intent.

Landsbergis, it turns out, himself demanded that the police officer in question be summoned to court.

During the trial, Landsbergis asked Bukelienė: „So how do we understand now that if Gulbinas has been dismissed from the criminal case for slandering me and my father, it follows that Gulbinas was telling the truth?”

Bukelien replied at the hearing: „That is the way it works, Mr Landsberg, albeit indirectly. Two volumes of witness statements and other documents were collected, and the defamation case was finally closed.”

Former VSK (KGB) Major


Dalius Stancikas. The most brutal executions of the Soviet occupiers

Dalius Stancikas. photo.
The last week of June marks the 80th anniversary of the most brutal executions of the Soviet occupiers in Lithuania at the end of June 1941.

The outbreak of the German-Soviet war on 22 June 1941 prevented the extermination of Lithuanians by the Soviet occupiers. However, even as they fled Lithuania, the communists left perhaps the bloodiest mark of their first occupation: between 22 and 28 June 1941, nearly 1 000 prisoners and civilians (99% of them Lithuanians) were brutally executed.

On the first day of the war, an order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR directed that all cases of political prisoners be referred to military tribunals, which usually gave the prisoners the ultimate punishment: execution. In Soviet security NKVD documents, this was referred to as „evacuation of prisoners under Category I”.

However, before receiving instructions from Moscow, Eusiej Rozauskas (Ovsiej Rozovskij), the head of the Interrogation Department of the NKGB of the Lithuanian SSR, himself appealed to the Deputy People’s Commissar of the NKGB, David Bykov, suggesting that, „If it is not possible to evacuate the inmates of Kaunas Prison No.

Unfortunately, the retreating Soviet invaders and their collaborators were not content with shooting political prisoners: they killed a large number of them under sadistic torture.

The Rainiai massacre

On the night of 24 to 25 June 1941. 75 prisoners of the Telšiai prison were sadistically tortured in the Rainiai forest. When the martyrs were discovered buried by the local inhabitants, it was found that „many of them had completely lost their human form: nails had been hammered into their necks, the eggs of some had been crushed, their genitals had been cut off and stuffed in their mouths, fingers cut off, bodies scalded with hot cabbage, eyes gouged out, many stab wounds, leather straps ripped off their backs, stomachs cut open and hands shoved into them, and the hands of others tied behind their backs with wire. The instruments of torture found at the scene of the massacre were a dynamo with which the torture victims had been electrocuted, a cauldron of sauerkraut, and several wire bison with lead tips. According to witnesses, „mothers did not recognise their children, wives did not recognise their husbands, brothers and sisters did not recognise their brothers, so horribly were the corpses mutilated. There are facts that the wives did not mourn their husbands, they buried them as if they were their own, they went through the worst sufferings of hell, and their husbands were taken to other prisons and returned after some time after being freed.

The Rainiai massacre
A year after the Rainiai massacre, in 1942, one of the organisers of the Rainiai massacre, Petras Raslanas, the head of the Telšiai branch of the NKVD, explained in a letter to Antanas Sniecka, the secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party, that the inmates were being killed because he was „convinced there was not one innocent person there”. What was the crime of the Samogitians who were so tortured?

The 20-year-old schoolchildren from Telšiai, the atheist Hermenchildas Žvirzdinas and the scouts Zenonas Tarvainis and Kazys Puškorius, did not join the Komsomol, while the 18-year-old schoolboy Adomas Rakas tried to escape from the invaders by crossing the German border, The Kavoliai brothers Boleslovas, 20, and Petras, 30, published a newspaper called „The Liberty Bell”, farmer Jonas Telšinskis, 30, agitated not to vote for the occupiers, and agronomist Karolis Kisevičius, 36, replicated the Communists at a meeting. The three Antanavičis brothers, Juozas, 20, Antanas, 23, and Jonas, 26, were also martyred for similar „crimes”.Their parents and two sisters were exiled to Komiya 10 days earlier, on 14 June (their parents died a year later, and one of their sisters after four years). Half of those martyred in the Rainiai forest were members of the Riflemen’s Union, almost all of them were active citizens, ardent patriots of the Fatherland, including Vladas Petronaitis, a participant in the independence struggle, a Knight’s Cross cavalier, and a Kretinga lawyer.

For decades, it was believed that the bodies of 73 martyrs were buried in the Rainiai forest, but in 2011, historical research carried out by the LAGGRTC established that 75 people were killed. Most of the prisoners were killed by crushing their heads, bayonets or other instruments, but only ten were shot. Three more bodies were buried nearby, later found to be the remains of Red Army soldiers with gunshot wounds to the back of the head (presumably as punishment for refusing to be tortured or for negligence in guarding prisoners). On the same night of the 25th, a few kilometres from Telšiai, near the village of Džiugėnai, Soviet soldiers killed three more prisoners who had been left in the Telšiai prison and had tried to escape from there.

Nachman Dushansky, NKVD interrogator – sadist

Petras Raslanas, NKVD interrogator, organiser of the Rainiai massacre
The next day, the same killers – two trucks of NKVD troops – arrived in Seda, 25 km from Telšiai, hoping to destroy the Seda headquarters of the June rebels there. The rebels had managed to withdraw, so the occupiers contented themselves with killing those pointed out by the local communists Žuta, Sparnauskas, Gurauskas, the Duniai brothers and Irkin. Fourteen inhabitants of Seda were martyred, including two women: Antanina Budriene, 40, a shopkeeper, was guilty of tying a white rebel armband while tidying up the queue at the shop; her breasts were cut off by the sadists, her eyes plucked out and her head split open; three children aged between 5 and 12 years old were left orphans. Jadvyga Lukošienė, a 30-year-old folk artist, was murdered for running after the executioners to ask them to release her husband, leaving two orphaned children aged 6 months and 3 years.

The organisers and participants of the Rainiai and Seda massacres, as well as all the other executions at the end of June, went unpunished. After the formation of the Sąjūdis movement in Lithuania, the prosecutor’s office began to investigate the Rainiai massacre, but the chairman of the Telšiai Executive Committee, Domas Rocius, had already been killed in 1943, and the other suspects, Petras Raslanas, the head of the Telšiai NKVD, and Lieutenant Nachman Dušanskis, had gone into hiding in Russia and Israel, and those countries refused to hand them over to Lithuania.

The Pravieniškės massacre

The extermination of prisoners in the Pravieniškės camp on 26 June 1941 differed from the other killings not only in its mass scale, but also in the fact that all the prisoners of the Pravieniškės camp and even their guards and their families were killed without exception.

The Pravieniškės massacre
At the beginning of the war, prisoners who had already been sentenced to a short sentence of up to 4 years were held in Pravieniškės behind three rows of barbed wire fences. Among them were 80 Polish internees and 20-30 Red Army men convicted of various crimes. All the guards and wardens in the Pravieniškės camp were Lithuanians. When the war broke out, the Red Army prisoners were disarmed and taken away. It is believed that one of those released, Lieutenant Kiseliov, returned to Pravieniškės Prison with the retreating Soviet army division and organised a revenge action.

The first to be killed were 21 camp officials and 6 of their wives and daughters: girls aged 13 and 16. Then the prisoners who had been driven out of the barracks into a closed courtyard were shot with machine guns and automatic rifles. According to the testimony of K. Gailus, who survived the massacre, during the shooting „there was an unimaginably terrible screaming, pleading and moaning of the wounded. The wounded nearer to the high barbed wire fence clung to the barbed wire with bloody hands and collapsed to the ground, shot again”. Those who survived were bayoneted or hit with a grenade. The report of 28 June 1941 by Matas Valeika, an officer of the Kaunas City Commandant’s Office, mentions that in Pravieniškės „230 people were killed, and the caretakers and their families were also shot”.

Panevėžys massacre

Before leaving Panevėžys, the Communists killed in two places.

On the first day of the war, the Panevėžys District Hospital was turned into a military hospital. When rumours spread that the patients included participants of the June Uprising, the Chekists arrested the head of the hospital, Juozas Žemgulis, surgeons Antanas Gudonis and Stasys Mačiulis, and a nurse, Zinaida Kanevičienė. They and three other Panevėžys citizens – Antanas Čibinskas, an accountant, Kazys Šlekys, a railwayman, and Vilhelmas Vaišvila, an engineer – were brutally interrogated and finally martyred in the basement of the Red Army unit’s headquarters on the night of 25-26 June.

The Panevėžys Medics Massacre
On 25 June, nineteen political prisoners were also shot in a farmer’s field near the Panevėžys Sugar Factory in the village of Pluki, nineteen political prisoners who had been brought from the cellars of the Panevėžys County Executive Committee: the Kupiškis gymnasium students Danielius Kulikauskas, Juozas Lisauskas and Jurgis Pajarskis, the Craft School student Bronius Tumonis, the schoolteacher Kazys Jurgevičius, the museum worker and organist Povilas Grakauskas, and the clerk Ludvikas Cepelė. According to eyewitnesses, the Chekists used to have fun during the evacuation by throwing live prisoners into pits and shooting at them as they fell.

Other massacres

The Soviets carried out almost four dozen massacres during the withdrawal from Lithuania, most of them extremely brutal.

The 1942 edition of „The Year of Bolshevism” describes the torture of political prisoners in Kretinga Prison: „The corpses that were buried and found testify that the people were hung from a tree and burned alive. Many of those buried were additionally pressed with stones, which, according to the doctor, means that they were buried alive. Others were found with their hands skinned, scalped or decapitated.”

Rev. Juozas Prunskis’ booklet published in Chicago in 1944 states that the corpses of 29 political prisoners were found in a pit in the Petrašiūnai graves, most of them having been killed by a hammer blow to the head.

In Raseiniai Prison, tortured political prisoners were found with broken tibias, dislocated arms and broken ribs, while the victims in Rokiškis were so badly mutilated that their relatives could only recognise them from their clothes.

The Soviets managed to take a large number of political prisoners out of Lithuanian territory and kill them in Belarus or Russia: by 20 July, the Soviets had taken 1363 prisoners to the Russian interior, i.e. about 25 per cent of the total number of people in Lithuania.

Photos from the archives of the LVCA and LGGRTC.

Source of information – Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Centre

2021.06.24; 08:00

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