“It will not be enough to let Alexei Navalny and all other political opponents out of prison. I think the level of intoxication in people’s minds in Russia is very dangerous. So basically what I’m saying that we need another 50 years of different propaganda, of this wide propaganda, or simply telling truth to people, whatever unpleasant that might look to Russian people, to at least clean the focus and horizon for their understanding,” she said when asked about her thoughts about what future she saw in Russia.

Simonyte planned to attend the Atlantic Council Front Page event in person but had to postpone her visit to the United States after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Lithuanian prime minister said that she wanted personally that Russian people finally got “a decent government, with decent reforms and decent welfare”.

“When people say, aren’t you interested in good relations with Russia, yes, [we are interested] definitely…If there were the same set of values, then there would be a big potential for partnership not only for our country but also for all the countries of the region and around the globe,” she said.

According to the Lithuanian prime minister, when Russia gained independence in 1991, people were starting to find out more about their history, about Stalinism, about gulags, all those atrocities that were committed by the Communist party, but then it stopped as they “tried to navigate in this new economy … and there was no time for reconciliation with the past”.

In Simonyte’s view, this was one of the biggest mistakes that were made in the past.

Asked what could be done now, she said that “we are doing what we can, … we are supporting free media, we are supporting political opponents, quite many of them live here in the region”.

Relations between the West and Russia have hit the lowest point since the end of the Cold War in the wake of Kremlin’s military invasion of neighboring Ukraine in violation of numerous international commitments.