Lithuanian State Security Department Attributes Volkov Attack to Russian Intelligence

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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Volkov Attack Background:

At approximately 1600 EST on 12 Mar 24,  former Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Chief of Staff, Leonid Volkov was attacked outside his residence in Vilnius, Lithuania by men armed with hammers and tear gas.

The Lithuania government decried the incident and initially claimed it was a “planned operation”, declaring that the perpetrators would be held accountable by prosecutors. However, it was mute on suspected actors.

New Information Arises:

However, this morning, Lithuania media reported that the national government has now accused the Russian Federation of orchestrating the attack, a serious public charge for the former Soviet-bloc nation. According to LRT, the State Security Department (VSD) announced:

“It is likely that the attack on Leonid Volkov in Vilnius on March 12, 2024, is a Russian-organised and implemented operation aimed at stopping the implementation of the Russian opposition’s projects in connection with the forthcoming undemocratic Russian presidential elections.”

The Lithuanian Prime Minister did qualify these remarks, saying that the security situation in the Baltics has not changed:

”As far as the threat level in our country is concerned, it certainly has not increased as a result of this particular event. I want to assure you that our people can feel safe…Of course, such provocations, have been seen lately and have become our daily routine. And especially […] we can see that they may increase, probably in connection with the pseudo-elections in Russia.”

A History of Related Incidents and Analysis:

The Russian Federation has long been suspected of using its security services abroad to target and kill dissidents and opposition figures, including but not limited to Alexander Litvinenko and Navalny himself. Regardless, this type of accusation in regard to the violation of national sovereignty during heightened tensions due to the Ukraine war is significant.

With regards to the connection to the elections, Putin has used similar tactics in previous elections when not faced by a serious political competitor. In order to maintain the ruse of fair elections, significant domestic controversies are concocted weeks before the presidential election to increase voter turnout. President Putin does not want a low voter turnout, despite him being the only true candidate on the ballot.