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Archive for August, 2012

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The new President of Lithuanian Industrialists' Confederation,
Robertas Dargis, about the financial crisis in Lithuania:

Our government
has failed

Photo: Irmanto Gelūno/

“We took the easiest way – additional borrowing. The rate of change in our sovereign debt is enormous compared to other European countries. We had a debt of 17.4 billion litas (5 billion euros) and over the four years of the crisis, it has swollen to 51 billion (14.8 billion euros) – that's the figure we're having by the end of this year. Such a hike in debt is very dangerous to the state, so at least today, we must choose measures that make future predictable.”

The Lithuanian Industrialists Confederation (LIC) has elected a new president – businessman Robertas Dargis, CEO of the Eika Group. He says business is every country's engine for progress and not, as some imagine, a clique of self-seeking lobbyists.

Dargis, who runs a construction company, defeated a strong competitor in his running for presidency – Visvaldas Matijošaitis, CEO of Vičiūnų Group. Dargis succeeds the previous LIC president, late Bronislavas Lubys, and will head the organization for four years.


Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

Klaipedos Nafta has one of the most up-to-date oil terminals in Europe

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Rokas Masiulis,
General Manager of Klaipedos Nafta

Rokas Masiulis has huge challenges, both behind and in front of him. As head of the giant oil terminal belonging to Klaipedos Nafta, he has had good success, and has this year also delivered remarkable economic performance for the company that in essence is owned by the Lithuanian State. Now it's planning and development of the increasingly well-publicized LNG terminal that lies in front of him. The president and the government have decided that the LNG venture will be a project of national concern..


Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Russian Rouble –
invented in Lithuania?

What would you think if you found out that experts believe that the Rouble did not originate in Russia? What would you think if you found out that these same experts believe the Rouble originated in Lithuania and then later migrated to Russia?


Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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A magnet for
international companies

The Klaipėda Free Economic Zone (Klaipėda FEZ) was established in 1996 and opened officially in 2002. FEZ offers tax incentives to qualified investors that invest at least 1 million euros. In 2008, due to overcrowding the zone was expanded from 205 hectares (510 acres) to 412 hectares (1,020 acres) of developed land. As of March 2008, before expansion, FEZ had 22 investors: seven were operating, one just finished construction, six were under construction, and others in development stage. E-Mail:

The Klaipeda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) was the first and is still the only fully functioning free economic zone in Lithuania. The two companies that first started operations in the zone was the Japanese company Yazaki Wiring Technologies Lietuva, and the Danish company A.Espersen A/S, which opened their fish processing factory here in January 2003. FEZ was established to provide favourable conditions for the development of business activities by offering a prepared industrial site with a ready physical and juridical infrastructure, support services and tax incentives.


Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Not all civil servants
are crooks or fools
Kestutis J. Eidukonis
about Lithuania year 2012


Category : Opinions

Parlamentarians, and their families, should be the first to be checked for “Unusual increase of wealth”

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Balys Stankevicius

Excellent article. I too have seen and experienced the situation in Lithuania. May I add, all the dealings I have had with civil servants recently have been exceptionally pleasant. The staff have been most helpful, friendly and efficient. The biggest problem ,I believe, is corruption of Ministers, and their deputies. Examination of their true wealth acquired ,since becoming ministers, would be a start...Ministers and Parlamentarians, and their families, should be the first to be checked for "Unusual increase of wealth" since entering "Service". I am amazed that people holding public office can do as they please, without any legal or judicial control. The Soviet system of "Party" immunity must cease. Law makers must be the first to respect and keep the laws.

Category : Opinions

Kestutis J. Eidukonis makes an excellent point

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Boris Bakunas

Kestutis J. Eidukonis makes an excellent point when he observes that it is a mistake to claim all government officials and civil servants in Lithuania are dishonest and corrupt. To make a statement containing such words as "all" or "every" is a common logical fallacy. Absolute statements are gross overgeneralizations, one of many cognitive distortions that lead to emotional upset. And they are very easy to disprove. As William James, the dean of American psychologists pointed out, it is very easy to disprove the statement "All crows are black." Just show one albino crow.

Category : Opinions

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Welcome to "Sostinės dienos" (Days of the Capital City),
the largest open-air festival in Vilnius,
31 August – 2 September


"Sostinės dienos" (Days of the Capital City), is the largest open-air festival in Vilnius, with plenty events of different genres and concerts (jazz, modern folk, pop, rock, electronica, DJs, etc) as well as book fairs and art exhibitions.

Festival venues:
Gedimino Avenue from the Cathedral Square to the Lukiškių Square

- August 31, Friday, 12:00 - 23:30
- September 1, Saturday, 10:00 - 23:30
- September 2, Sunday, 10:00 - 22:30


August 31, Friday

Stage by V. Kudirkos square
17:00 Gold Medal winners in World Choir Olympics (Cincinnati, USA) – youth choir Kivi
(led by Danguolė Aukselienė)
18.00 The Dominoes
19.00 ReedNoBrass
20.00 Elephants from Neptune (Estonia)
21.00 Golden Parazyth

Stage by National Drama Theatre
17.00 Project of Vilnius College Arts faculty students
18.00 Instrumental beatbox performer Šarūnas Datenis
19.00 Movo
20.00 The Independent
21.00 Artrace

Stage by Lukiškių square
17.00 Group Quorum with songs of The Beatles
18.00 Days of Eclipse
19.00 Karma
20.00 Candee Train
21.00 Siela

September 1, Saturday

Stage by V. Kudirkos square
12.00 Youth choir Ugnelė of Vilnius J. Tallat – Kelpša Conservatory
13.00 The most popular songs of 1970-1980 performed by charismatic Egidijus Bavikinas
and group DixXband
14.00 Opportunity to know Aikido martial arts and its philosophy. Open lesson and
15.00 West African drum school: traditional rhythms and songs from Guinea, Senegal,
Mali (led by Gediminas Mačiulskis)
16.00 Russian folk songs sung to you by folk ensemble Arinuška
17.00 SOLO ensemble performs theatrical songs
18.00 InSearch
19.00 Garbanotas Bosistas
20.00 Banda Dzeta
21.00 Colours of Bubbles

Stage by National Drama Theatre
12.00 Contemporary circus troupe AntiGravitacija performs with impressive jugglers and acrobats
13.00 Teacher of primary school Genys, singing poetry performer Giedrė Naruševičiūtė
14.00 Silesian bard Peter J. Birch (Poland)
15.00 Performance of actors ensemble Degam based on Vytautas V. Landsbergis tales
16.00 Performance of singer and song writer Ilona Papečkytė
17.00 Multi-instrumentalist Irfan Bulut (Turkey)
18.00 Kamanių šilelis
19.00 Alive Way
20.00 Markas Palubenka
21.00 The Perfect Pill

Stage by Lukiškių square
12.00 Readings of Maironis by citizens
13.00 Domantas Razauskas
14.00 Juggling lessons (led by Mantas Markevičius)
15.00 Lady Sisters
16.00 Folk group Sutaras presents Lithuanian traditional beggars songs
17.00 The golden melodies of the world performed by group DixXband and singer Kristina Svolkinaitė
18.00 Kazam
19.00 Fun Clock
20.00 Pop group SvanSikh (Georgia)
21.00 Muse IQ / Beissoul

September 2, Sunday

Stage by V. Kudirkos square
12.00 Polish song and dance ensemble Vilija (led by Renata Brasel)
13.00 Song and dance ensemble Fajerlech (headed by Larisa Vyšniauskienė)
14.00 Vilnius singing studio Hey (led by Victoria Kalpokaitė), and dance studio Boom
Dance (led by Natalie Filipovich)
15.00 Žalvarinis
16.00 The Ball & Chain
17.00 Attitude
18.00 Mimicry (Estonia)
19.00 Mark Fiction
20.00 Bekešo vilkai

Stage by National Drama Theatre
12.00 "Grandmother's Tale" performed by theatre laboratory Atviras Ratas
13.00 Lithuanian drums virtuosos. Performance of Utena folklore study Sietynas (led by Rima Garsonienė).
14.00 Zala and Driukas (singing poetry)
15.00 Multi-instrumentalist Irfan Bulut (Turkey)
16.00 Kūjeliai
17.00 Ai, šiaip Bičiukai
18.00 Swing Zippers
19.00 Volumetears
20.00 Shamanna Bug

Stage by Lukiškių square
12.00 Folk ensemble Ūla performs songs by lyrics of Maironis
13.00 Liepa Maknavičiūtė and the group
14.00 Karininkų Ramovė men choir Aidas (led by Tadas Šumskas)
15.00 “Winged Matthew” performed by theatre laboratory Atviras Ratas
16.00 Beatles in Jazz (Belkin & Co)
17.00 Troitsa (Belarus)
18.00 Pievos
19.00 Arbata
20.00 Merlin




Vilnius Is the city to come to for festivals and more all year round. The festivals are normally organized by VILNIUS FESTIVALS (VšĮ VILNIAUS FESTIVALIAI), founded in April 2003 by Vilnius City Municipality. The founding was approved by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.

Trough this institution, the City of Vilnius is obliged to oversee cultural and artistic events of primary importance, those which spread the reputation of the city and increase its cultural prestige both within the country and worldwide.

The Company associates most important festivals of performing arts which are taking place in Vilnius. This is an especial alliance of the largest festivals of the capital city of Lithuania.

The main goal of VILNIUS FESTIVALS is to consolidate most professional and potential culture and arts managers in Lithuania and to offer and to bring diverse and highest quality art productions for local and international audiences of Vilnius.

Spurred by this goal the Company encompasses those festivals that are nationally and internationally acknowledged and are already spreading the reputation of city of Vilnius, presently these are:

Vilnius Festival, the most important festival of classical music in Lithuania;
Sirenos (Sirens), the most important theatre festival in Lithuania;
Gaida, the most important festival of contemporary music in Lithuania;
Naujasis Baltijos šokis (New Baltic Dance), the most important festival of contemporary dance in Lithuania;
Vilnius Mama Jazz, one of the most important jazz music festivals in Lithuania;
Kristupo vasaros festivalis (Christopher Summer Festival), the largest festival of various genres‘ events (classical music, jazz, etc) in summer;
 Kino Pavasaris, Vilnius International Film Festival, the most important and the largest cinema festival in Lithuania;
Vilnius Jazz, the most important festival of contemporary jazz music in Lithuania;
Banchetto Musicale, the most important festival of early music (renaissance, baroque) in Lithuania;
Vilnius City Fiesta "Sostinės dienos" (Days of the Capital City), the largest open-air festival in Vilnius with plenty events of different genres and concerts (jazz, modern folk, pop, rock, electronica, DJs, etc) as well as fair of books and art galleries.

Category : News

Lithuania to adopt Euro when Europe is ready, Kubilius says

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Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said his country will join Europe’s common currency when the euro area is ready for expansion, signaling that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis may alter his government’s euro adoption plans.
Lithuania will apply for the euro “when we’re ready and when the euro zone is ready,” Kubilius said in a radio interview with Lietuvos Radijas today. “The euro remains our strategic goal. Nevertheless, we’d like to see a clearer and more stable situation in the euro zone at the time when we adopt the euro.”

Kubilius dodged giving a specific target date as to when Lithuania will switch currencies, evading previous statements that the government aims to join the euro in 2014. He said the country will meet all the requirements for euro adoption next year, including the inflation target as declining oil prices help curb consumer-price growth.

Europe’s debt crisis is cooling Baltic enthusiasm for euro entry.

Read more…

Category : News


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
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