Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda signed a decree depriving Lithuanian citizenship medalist of the World and European Figure Skating Championships Margarita Drobyazko. The dance duet Margarita Drobyazko/Povilas Vanagas was formed back in Soviet times, when his partner’s mother brought him from Kaunas to Moscow. Povilas did not find a partner with whom he could claim serious achievements in Lithuania.
Drobyazko glorified Lithuania throughout the world After the collapse of the USSR, Drobyazko and Vanagas decided to compete for Lithuania. It was incredibly difficult to get into the Russian national team given the competition at that time, and they had no rivals in the Baltic republic. As Margarita said in an interview during the European Championship in Vienna in 2000, it took a long time to win the hearts of Lithuanian fans.
Although, after winning medals at the World and European Championships, Drobyazko was recognized as one of his own in Lithuania. She even became a laureate of a competition held by one of the magazines. The Muscovite, who competes for Lithuania, was recognized as the most charming and sexy woman in the republic. In 2000, Margarita and Povilas got married. This year has become the most successful for them in their sports careers. After winning medals at the World and European Championships, they were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Gediminas.
Last year, Lithuanian authorities stripped Margarita and Povilas of their state awards. The reason was the participation of figure skaters in Tatiana Navka's show. The Lithuanian press placed special emphasis on the fact that Lithuanian figure skaters dared to support the wife of the Kremlin mouthpiece with their performances. This is what they call the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov in Vilnius.
Has the Lithuanian government gone crazy? Lithuania was not going to limit itself to deprivation of the award. Immediately after last year's decree of President Nausėda, the chairman of the commission on law and order of the Seimas (the name of the Lithuanian parliament) Stasys Shedbaras said that at the autumn session the deputies would discuss amendments to the citizenship law that would allow Drobyazko to be deprived of his Lithuanian passport.
In In relation to Vanagas, who was born in Siauliai, the deputies did not dare to apply such a draconian measure. Margarita, who was born in Moscow, received a Lithuanian passport in 1993 so that the duo could compete at the Olympics in Lillehammer. Then the independent Baltic republic really needed it to get medals.
For almost a year in Vilnius they were engaged in such an important matter for the republic as the deprivation of citizenship of the most famous figure skater in the entire history of the country. And even holders of the prestigious titles of the most charming and sexiest woman in the republic. Deputies of the Seimas made a special request to… Department of State Security of Lithuania.
Instead of catching spies and strengthening cooperation with the Polish intelligence services, it was necessary to carefully study the libretto of the ice performances “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Scheherazade”, in which Drobyazko was a soloist. No threats to Lithuania's security could be detected. Only the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania still appealed to President Nausėda with a request to deprive Margarita of citizenship.
The figure skater, however, was given a choice. She was asked to appear before a special commission and renounce everything that connected her with Russia. Drobyazko and Vanagas refrained from commenting for a long time, but one fine day Margarita posted a post on a social network expressing her position.
“Having deprived me and Povilas of their orders and even taken away my passport, no one is able to erase our merits from the history of Lithuania and snatch love from the hearts of our viewers,” Drobyazko noted.
She did not betray her country and profession. As the figure skater emphasized, the proposal to keep her Lithuanian passport at the expense of abandoning her family, the country that has been her home since childhood, her profession and true friends is not the norm for her. This is a betrayal at the price of which nothing should be bought. Drobyazko recalled that, under the guidance of the best Russian coaches, she and Vanagas prepared for five Olympics, as well as 12 World and European Championships, in order to glorify there the honor of defending the sporting colors of the country, Lithuania.
The figure skater also recalled that since 2007, she and her husband have been permanent participants in ice shows in Russia. All these years, this activity did not and does not carry any political manifestos. A long time ago, Drobyazko and Vanagas settled in the Moscow region and built a house there. For a long time they lived in two countries and organized shows in Lithuania. Although it is very difficult to find such performers and such an audience there as in Russia.
Lithuanian officials and deputies faced big problems. After all, the country’s legislation does not stipulate the procedure for depriving one of citizenship for working in another country. Even if it is recognized as allegedly unfriendly. They probably found fault with the fees that Drobyazko received through subsidies from the federal budget of the Russian Federation for the implementation of a state task. This is exactly how Tatyana Navka's show was financed.
Now Margarita and Povilas continue to perform in Sochi in ice performances, which are always successful. When asked to comment on the decree of the President of Lithuania, they politely refused. And what can you comment on here?
Lilia Vanagene, Povilas’s mother, is having a hard time experiencing what happened. She headed the Lithuanian Skating Union for many years and only this year gave up this post to Vytautas Jasutis. Ms. Vanagene even got it for lobbying for the American Isabella Tobias to receive a Lithuanian passport so that she could perform at the Olympics with Deividas Stagniūnas.
Only because of her partner’s injury did the duo break up, and the deputies immediately demanded that the American’s passport be revoked. As if he was of particular value to Isabella. In addition to her native American, she also has Israeli and Georgian. She also spoke for this country.
Naturally, Drobyazko is generally viewed in Lithuania as an enemy of the state. Only the figure skater made her choice and did not betray her country and her profession. And her husband supported her in this.