MOSCOW (Jan. 19)
A spokesman for Lithuania’s president-elect has denied reports that Valdas Adamkus fought on the side of the Nazis during World War II.
The allegation was made last week in a radio interview with Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the international affairs committee in the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.
Lukin, Russia’s former ambassador to Washington, is a co-founder and leading member of the liberal Yabloko political bloc and parliamentary faction.
Adamkus’ spokesman told a news agency that Lithuania’s president-elect participated in the anti-Nazi resistance during the German occupation of the Baltic nations.
As a high school student, Adamkus distributed an underground anti-German newspaper during World War II, the spokesman said.
In 1944, after the end of the German occupation, Adamkus, then 18, left Lithuania with his parents for Germany, but returned a few months later.
Historians believe that many of those who fled Lithuania after the end of the German occupation were Nazi collaborators.
Adamkus’ spokesman said that after Adamkus returned, he joined the Homeland Defense Force, an underground group that fought against the Red Army and the Soviet domination in Lithuania.
In 1944, after a short time in Lithuania, Adamkus returned to Germany. The family moved to the United States five years later and made its home in Chicago.
Until he entered the presidential campaign in Lithuania, Adamkus had been working as a regional director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Adamkus was elected president of the Baltic nation of 3.7 million people by a narrow margin in a runoff two weeks ago. He is due to be sworn in next month.