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Archive for August, 2012

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Situaition plan created by and property of Castle Research Center Lithuanian Castles. All rights reserved 

The Soviet repressions against the citizens of our country did not exclude members of the Church. In fact the members of the Church were prime targets.
Bishop Vincentas Borisevičius is an example of these repressions.
A Holy man of great compassion, he was also a man of great honor and courage.







Photo property of the Lithuanian Central Archives.
All rights reserved.
Telšiai Theological Seminary Rector Vincentas Borisevičius. Telšiai

He was born 23 November 1887 in Vilkaviškis County, Paežeriai Rural District, Bebrininkai Village. In 1909, he graduated from Seinai Seminary. He studied at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) from 1909 to 1913. In 1910, Borisevičius was ordained a priest, did pastoral work, and actively participated in public activities. Between 1922 and 1926 he taught at Gižai Seminary (Seinai Diocese). Between 1927 and 1940 he was a professor and rector at Telšiai Seminary. In 1940, he was ordained titular bishop of Lysia by Pope Pius XII and appointed auxiliary bishop to Telšiai Bishop Justinas Staugaitis. After the death of Bishop Staugaitis in 1944, Borisevičius became the diocesan bishop of Telšiai.

Photo property of the Lithuanian Central Archives. All rights reserved.
Group Seinai seminary students: The future bishop Vincas Borisevicius
(third row, second from left). About 1908.
Priest Juozas Montvila (second row, second from right) was a passenger on the Titanic.
He died in 1912 when the ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean.

After the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1940, Borisevičius protested against the restrictions of the rights of the Church and the persecution of priests and believers. During the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, the Bishop helped Jews hiding in the villages and parishes of Telšiai County. After the liquidation of the Telšiai Ghetto, he himself gave refuge and hid Jews who managed to escape from the ghetto. After the second Soviet occupation of Lithuania, on 18 December 1945, Borisevičius was arrested and detained in the internal prison of the NKGB–MGB. He was charged with anti-Soviet activities and contact with partisans. Attempts were made to recruit him to serve the Soviets.

Photo property of the Lithuanian Central Archives.
All rights reserved.
Theological Seminary Rector Monsignor Borisevičius (left)
and seminary professor of Canon George Galdikas (right). Telšiai.

After unsuccessful efforts to break him, he was released and given time to make up his mind. In the end the Bishop refused to cooperate with the Russians and on 3 January 1946 wrote the following letter to the leadership of the NKGB–MGB:

“I declare that to be an informer is incompatible with me as a person and as a bishop, it is incompatible with my conscience, so I categorically refuse to be the one,”

With this letter Borisevičius signed his own death sentence.

Photo Property of the Lithuanian Central            Photos property of the Lithuanian Special Archives. All rights reserved.
Archives. All rights reserved 

On 5 February 1946, he was arrested and on 28 August charged by the Military Tribunal of the Lithuanian SSR MVD Troops under Article 58-1a of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (RSFSR) with supporting participants of the armed resistance against the Soviets, preaching anti-Soviet sermons and being in possession of prohibited literature. His sentence was death by execution. The sentence was carried out on 18 November 1946 in the internal prison of the NKGB–MGB. The Bishop was shot in the head. The repressive structures of the Soviet occupational government kept the circumstances, place, and time of death of the Bishop hidden.

Photo property of the Lithuanian Central Archives. All rights reserved.
Theological Seminary Rector Vincas Borisevicius (center), seminary professors
Simaitis Anthony (left) and Peter Lygnugaris (right). Telšiai

In 1990, the re-establishment of independence in Lithuania provided an opportunity to investigate the documents of the former KGB archive. In 1994, the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania identified a mass grave of people that had been within the grounds of the former Tuskulėnai Manor. That same year, archaeological excavations and exhumation of the bodies began. The body of Bishop Borisevičius was found and identified in mass grave No. 26. On 27 September 1999, a formal reburial ceremony took place and the body was laid to rest in the crypt of Telšiai Cathedral.

Photo property of the Lithuanian Central Archives. All rights reserved.
Bishop Vincas Borisevicius with parishioners after a First Communion ceremony.
Telšiai in the twentieth century. 3-4 decade.

In 1991, the cause for the canonisation of the Bishop was initiated. By decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Borisevičius was posthumously awarded the Grand Cross of Commander of the Order of the Cross of Vytis in 1999, and in 2003, with the Life Saving Cross.

Order of the Cross of Vytis


Life Saving Cross


KGB – rus. Комитет Государственной Безопасности – Lith. Valstybės saugumo komitetas – Committee for State Security [of the USSR]

MGB – rus. МГБ, Министерство государственной безопасности – Lith. Valstybės saugumo ministerija – Ministry of State Security [of the USSR]

MVD – rus. МВД, Министерство внутренних дел – Lith. Vidaus reikalų ministerija – Ministry of Internal Affairs [of the USSR]

NKGB – rus. НКГБ, Народный Комиссариат Государственной Безопасности – Lith. Valstybės saugumo liaudies komisariatas – People’s Commissariat for State Security [of the USSR]

NKVD – rus. НКВД, Народный комиссариат внутренних дел – Lith. Vidaus reikalų liaudies komisariatas – People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs [of the USSR]

PRIBVO – rus. ПРИБВО, Прибалтийский военный округ – Lith. Pabaltijo karinė apygarda – Baltic Military District

Look for the next article
Part 4 of 6

Dear readers


Dear VilNews readers, we need your help. As we have said, the victims that were executed in the NKGB–MGB internal prison in between 28 September 1944 and 16 April 1947 were buried in secret mass graves in the territory of the Tuskulėnai Manor. These victims have been found, their bodies recovered, given the dignified burial they never received and their souls have been blessed by a Holy person of the religion the worshipped. 

26 May 1947, following the order of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, the death penalty was abolished.

On 12 January 1950, the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR passed a decree re-instating the death penalty. Between October 1950 and July 1952, 182 people sentenced to death were executed at Vilnius NKGB–MGB internal prison.
Their place of burial is still not known. 

After July 1952 to 1961 executions continued pursuant to the 1926 Criminal Code Article 58 of RSFSR.
The burial place of these victims is still unknown. 

The 1926 Criminal Code Article 58 of RSFSR was terminated in 1961 but executions continued.
The burial place of these victims is still unknown


Dear readers we would like to find where these people are buried, recover their bodies, give them the dignified burial they never received and have them blessed by a Holy person of the Religion they worshipped.

This is where we need your help. The NKVD and NKGB–MGB officers that oversaw these executions are now all dead. What ever records and documents which still exist are most likely locked away in a vault somewhere in the Russian Federation and it would seem highly unlikely that anyone in the Russian Federation would be kind enough allow access to these documents and records so that we could find out the location of the burial sites or simply tell us where these people are buried.

We know that there are people out there that know the location of some of these burial sites. Maybe it is a person that processed the documents, maybe it is some one that was just a rank and file soldier that was ordered to drive the truck that transported the bodies or was ordered to dig the trenches for the graves, maybe it is a colleague of one of these people or maybe it is the bartender that heard some of these people talk of it one night. The possibilities are endless.

Maybe none of these people with first hand knowledge of the burial sites are still alive. In that case we are sure that there are people out there with second hand or even third hand information. To have first hand knowledge of these executions would weigh very heavily on any civilized person’s heart and it is very possible that after carrying this weight inside them for many years they finally felt the need to free themselves from this burden they carried inside and told some one.

If you have any information at all, any information of any kind – Please tell us.

It is not important to us how you know, who it was, what they did or who told you.
None of this is important.
The only thing that is important is that we find where the executed people are buried.
This is all we care about.

What we want to do is best explained in the words from Bronius Eiva’s farewell letter he wrote to his wife while waiting his execution while in the prison of Ukmergės Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

“Please find out when I was shot or hanged and where they bury me.
Dig me up and take me to Šeta cemetary.”

This is all we want to do – Find where they are buried, dig them up and then give them a proper burial but we can only do this with your help.

All information will be kept strictly confidential
We are not concerned with who or what
We are only concerned with where these people are buried

If you have any information of any kind please contact:

The Memorial Complex of Tuskulenai Peace Park
Žirmūnų Gatvė 1F,
LT-09239, Vilnius

Telephone: +370 5 275 1223

You can also contact me at

We sincerely thank you for your help.

Su pagarbe
Vincas Karnila 

Category : Blog archive

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

By Kestutis J. Eidukonis, CEO VilNews

I have been coming and observing life in Lithuania for almost 20 years and would like to offer some observations and comments on life in Lithuania according to Lithuanians. These are little gems I have picked up talking to Lithuanian friends and relatives and my observations on these so called "TRUTHS". I don't vouch for the accuracy of these claims they may or may not be true, but perceptions are often just as corrosive as reality.

Truth according to Lithuanians:
1. It doesn't matter who is in power - nothing will change. Voting is useless - I have no one to vote for anymore. Everyone I voted for in the past has disappointed me.
Apathy is a useful tool for enemies of the country. This is a sure sign of defeat.


Category : Front page

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Our moms’
Lithuanian recipes

Our moms’ Lithuanian recipes is on Facebook. Click HERE to find it!

In 2011, a few of first generation Lithuanians from the Hartford Connecticut area in USA started posting on internet that they'd like to share some recipes that they grew up with. Many of these recipes may have been stored in someone's head and not written down, and the group wanted to make these recipes and food history from their beloved homeland at the Baltic Sea available also for future generations.

The group’s vibrant Facebook Page has till now collected over 1,000 members!

Read more…

Category : Front page

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Our moms’
Lithuanian recipes

Our moms’ Lithuanian recipes is on Facebook. Click HERE to find it!


In 2011, a few of first generation Lithuanians from the Hartford Connecticut area in USA started posting on internet that they'd like to share some recipes that they grew up with. Many of these recipes may have been stored in someone's head and not written down, and the group wanted to make these recipes and food history from their beloved homeland at the Baltic Sea available also for future generations.


The group’s vibrant Facebook Page has till now collected over 1,000 members!

The people behind the page is very interested in recipes that they can share with all interested in their Lithuanian background. Even if the old written recipes aren't legible anymore, you are asked to post photos of them. They will help you decipher or translate them, and get them posted so all can all enjoy them!

If you remember eating something Lithuanian as a kid and can't remember what it's called, post a description of it. Someone will likely know what it is and can post the recipe.

If you don't have recipes to post, join the Group and enjoy the cuisine and discussions. Try making something and let them know how it came out. They will also help you with trouble shooting. 

Many of these recipes differ from family to family, so it is very interesting to see more than one post of the same recipe. 


Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael

Our Moms’ Lithuanian Recipes was started by

Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael (1961-2011)

Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael was the driving force behind Our Moms' Lithuanian Recipes. Sadly, she died in a traffic accident just months after she started this success page, which now collects food-interested people with Lithuanian origin worldwide. We reproduce below the letter she wrote to VilNews when she introduced the Facebook Page in early 2011.


Ellen was born on December 21, 1961, Manchester, Connecticut, USA. She lived in West Hartford, Connecticut. Rest in peace, dear Ellen, you did a tremendous job for Lithuanian heritage!


Written by Ellen Carmichael in April 2011



I remember my young days standing in my mother Ramute and aunt Danuteʼs kitchens watching them cook the food they had grown up with in Lithuania. Always busy, rushing around with purpose.  Interesting, that they never had any cookbooks!  It was always “a little of this, and a little of that”. But it always came out delicious. It wasnʼt until years later that I became interested in cooking the cuisine myself.  When I asked my mother for her recipes, she said they are all in her head. So I started to write things down as she was cooking, and was later able to sit down with her and pick those recipes out of her brain and put them down on paper.  Still, pinning her down on exact amounts of ingredients was a challenge.  Interestingly, even though my Aunt Danute and my mother were sisters, their cooking was slightly different. Was it because neither of them wrote how they cooked things down; thus changes inevitably evolved? Probably. Iʼve noticed that as people post recipes for the same food in OMLR, they are all slightly different, but have the same basic ingredients. Thatʼs why I encourage people to post their recipes even if a recipe for that particular dish is already posted.


Where are all the Lithuanian Recipes?

I was curious why there arenʼt a larger number of Lithuanian cookbooks written in English. Certainly not nearly as many as for other foreign cuisines.  It then occurred to me. For example, many of the Lithuanian immigrants came to the US during hard times, such as during the second world war. They escaped from Lithuania with only the clothes on their backs and the meager supplies they could carry. I think cookbooks were not a priority when they had to leave. My mother confirmed that was the case when she left Lithuania in 1942. They were almost trapped in the bombing and the fighting that took place between the Germans and the Russians and were forced to leave on foot. They lived on potatoes, onions and whatever farmers gave them while on the run into Germany. They certainly learned how to be creative with potatoes. When

finally in the United States, English was not their first language,

so if they did write some things down, it was in Lithuanian.


How OMLR got started

My cousin Paul posted onto his Facebook page a wonderful picture he found on the internet while searching for various Lithuanian recipes, and he commented: “Blogging about her Kugelis recipe no doubt”.  That Facebook conversation turned into one where we reminisced about some of the stuff we ate as kids and I asked Paul if he has some of his mother’s (Danute’s) recipes, and he said not in electronic form. Then Paul’s friend Vida posted that she’d like to get some of Danute’s recipes too. Cepelinai, Napoleonas Tortas, koldunai, bacon buns were reminisced about in that thread.  Vida suggested we start a FB page; I volunteered and got it started right away, using Paul’s posted picture as the profile picture. I wish I could give someone credit for that photo, but I have no idea where it came from and couldn’t find it again on the internet.  I expected ten, maybe fifteen members to join. Pretty much only people that knew us.  But much to my delight, it’s growing and there are members from all over...Australia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Canada, UK, all over the USA and probably more.



Troubleshooting with others

One thing that makes this site unique and especially useful for Lithuanian recipes, which do vary so much from person to person, recipe to recipe, is that we have an active dialogue going on about the nuances in the preparation. We also trouble shoot when things don’t go as expected. For example....”Why did my Cepelinai fall apart when I boiled them???”  Group members chime in and offer their experience. You just don’t get that with a traditional recipe book.  Lithuanians certainly are passionate about their food. It really comes out on this interactive site.


Several members posted that they remember eating something when they were young…something that their Lithuanian grandmother or relative made…but couldn’t remember what it was called, so they couldn’t find it on the internet.  They described on their post what they remember about it.  Group members gave suggestions as to what it could be and posted their own recipes for it.

The other thing that came out of it is this:  I asked one of the members a question on her message board (not as a post) and we've been communicating ever since.  She was born in Lithuania, moved to Germany at 19 and now lives in Switzerland.  It's amazing how food can connect people that normally would never meet!  Having a Lithuanian interactive food site is especially great, considering the passion Lithuanians have for their food. I don't want to make it sound like a great place to meet people... That's not the purpose for the group[!!   It was just a nice result that came from it.  

Finally, I think one of the most interesting thing I've come to realize in doing this, is that Lithuanians really don't write their recipes down in general.  I've heard over and over again that they are stored in their mother's or grandmother's heads...a common phrase is "a little of this and a little of that" when asked how much of the ingredients go into a given recipe.  So I suggested that one of the reasons for that is perhaps many of the Lithuanians emigrated out of Lithuania with only what they could carry.  No room for cookbooks.  Many were on the road for months, even years before they settled down, so the recipes became ingrained in their heads and there was no reason to write them down.  That's only my idea, but it is an interesting thing for a food historian to ponder!

Category : Food, wine and more

A beer drinking country

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There are a number of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride;
Rich History, Amber, Beautiful Nature, Basketball, etc.

There is, though, one that has a special place in their hearts. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer. Today, Lithuanians are among the best beer producers in the world, enjoying numerous international awards for the subtle taste and high quality of their drink. But is beer a truly “Lithuanian” drink and how deep are the traditions of brewing beer in Lithuania?

Category : Food, wine and more

A beer drinking country

- Posted by - (0) Comment

There are a number of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride;
Rich History, Amber, Beautiful Nature, Basketball, etc.

There is, though, one that has a special place in their hearts. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer. Today, Lithuanians are among the best beer producers in the world, enjoying numerous international awards for the subtle taste and high quality of their drink. But is beer a truly “Lithuanian” drink and how deep are the traditions of brewing beer in Lithuania?


Category : Front page

Kugelis, the potato pudding that became a Lithuanian national dish

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Photo by Yours For Good Fermentables 

I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because


Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.


Category : Food, wine and more / Front page


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

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
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!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

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.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

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.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
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!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
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
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
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
* * *
Facing a new reality

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.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
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.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
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.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
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.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
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.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
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.

* * *
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