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Archive for January, 2013

New Lithuanian coins, of 1939-design, were bravely planned already in 1990

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Dear readers,


We are delighted and honored that Mr. Frank Passic graciously continues to share with us his vast knowledge of Lithuanian numismatics. In this article he provides us with a very interesting look into how Lithuania in April 1990 started planning for the re-introduction of Litas as the nation’s currency.


Frank Passic of Albion, Michigan has collected, researched, and written about Lithuanian numismatics for many years. His educational displays of Lithuanian money have won numerous awards at state and national coin shows in the United States. Of Lithuanian heritage, his maternal grandparents emigrated from Lithuania to America just prior to World War I. Frank may be contacted at:
albionfp@hotmail.com


We know you will enjoy this article and Mr. Passic has agreed to share with us many more of his writings so we definitely have a lot to look forward to – Ačiū labai Frank


Also have a look at:
http://www.albionmich.com/

Message from Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan, USA.

Labas Aage,

Enjoying your rembrances of 22 years ago. During that period I was promoting Lithuania in the American numismatic press. A decade earlier, a main U.S. coin catalog publisher, Krause Publications, had dropped the individual listings of Lithuania's pre-WWII independent coinage under the "L's" and put them under the USSR listing under its new geography policy.  After we collectors over here protested, they wouldn't budge, and instead said that when Lithuania became independent again they would then list Lithuanian coins under the "L's," but that Lithuania was part of the USSR and that that's how the coins would be listed in their catalogs.  To my glee, I was able to write them a letter during this period informing them that Lithuania was again independent and that they should list Lithuanian coins under the "L's" again along with the other countries of the world in their Standard Catalog of World Coins. They did just that and Lithuanian coins are listed under the "L's", not USSR or "Baltic."

It was an exciting time for me to be writing about Lithuanian numismatics as the numismatic events unfolded and to share them with the American numismatic community. Attached is one of my articles that appeared in the major coin newspaper COIN WORLD of Sidney, OH, November 16, 1992.

Keep up the good work,
Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan, USA. 

Frank Passic article from April 1990

 

 

Frank Passic article from November 1992 

 

Read also:

Lithuanian camps in postwar Germany issued their own money! 
http://vilnews.com/?p=12074
Vagnorkės – Talonas 20 year anniversary
http://vilnews.com/?p=8458

First and second round of Lithuanian Litas
http://vilnews.com/?p=9066

Category : Business, economy, investments

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In January 1991 I crossed the barricades to visit President Vytautas Landsbergis in his Lithuanian Parliament office, while the Soviet troops and tanks continued to surround the building.
Visit to the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas)
22 years later

This year I marked 13 January in the Lithuanian Parliament Building, 22 years after I in 1991 stood here along with Professor Landsbergis and looked out the window at the bonfires, barricades and the huge crowd of unarmed people who had gathered to protect their president and the country's future as a free nation.

I came here today with a group of young Lithuanians, most of them so young that they do not have their own memories of what happened here 22 years ago. Yet the memories of the sad events in January 1991 are very much alive and present for them. They want to remember that freedom and independence is not something you can take for granted, and they want to pursue a political career. They are Lithuania's future politicians. They are the future of young, well-educated, smart leaders that this country a few years ago could only dream about.

I walked around with them in the Parliament this 13th January. I saw their interests, and their pride in belonging to a great nation like this.

Read more...
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Nice to hear that there is hope for Lithuania

Kostas Cerskus Nice to hear that you Aage find that there is still hope for Lithuania!
__________________________

Encourage children to love their country so they will have respect someday as a citizen

Irene Simanavicius Everyone has a special affinity for the place they call home. Encourage children to love their country so they will have respect someday as a citizen. This is the best way to set a positive example. As children grow older, explain to them why you feel they should hold their country in high regard. ~:)
__________________________

I think we are facing a crossroads which bodes well for Lithuania!

Aage Myhre Kostas Cerskus, I have for some time now seen that young business people here are in full swing building up more professional structures and attitudes. That I now see the same happen among young politicians is very gratifying. Both of these groups feel to some extent that our new government is a step backwards, back to the "nomenclature times", but their young, Western-type way of thinking is certainly very encouraging and I think we are facing a crossroads which bodes well for Lithuania!
__________________________

You do not have to agree with every event and decision made in your country's history to love your country

Irene Simanavicius You certainly do not have to agree with every event and decision made in your country's history to love your country. Consider how the country recovered from mistakes, as well as its ideology as described in some guiding document (such as a constitution). Although such principles are not absolute, reflect on whether these precepts are conducive to a government you think would act with its citizens -- and humanity's -- best interests at heart.
__________________________

It appears that the young people are ready to take matters into their own hands, no longer waiting for the older politicians and leaders to show the way

Aage Myhre Irene Simanavicius, it is precisely such attitudes I now see more and more of among young Lithuanians. And this time, it appears that they are ready to take matters into their own hands, no longer waiting for the older politicians and leaders to show the way. It almost feels as if the spirit of January 1991 is back, now in a structured, pragmatic and professional manner.
__________________________

What you are reporting is excellent news

Irene Simanavicius ~Aage, what you are reporting is excellent news. Lithuanians from all over the world were actively involved in the events that transpired 22 years ago. We petitioned, we marched, we sent money for support and God knows we prayed hard!!!I just hope the young upcoming politicians remember:
What are some of the great things people have done and how they showed their love of their country? What are some of the things people have done with good intentions but poor results? Learned from their country's history -- both the good times and the bad times? 
Now, they just have to learn to not be prejudiced or biased. Every country, religion, or racial group has its own beliefs. Like them you have your own so respect yours and respect them for theirs. As mentioned earlier… continually strive for a better country for all!
Category : Opinions

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Chevron set to win Lithuanian shale gas license

U.S. energy giant Chevron is poised to win a license for shale gas exploration in Lithuania, officials in the Baltic state announced Tuesday.

The license is for a field in western Lithuania, an area near the Baltic Sea where several small firms extract a tiny amount of crude oil. Last year Chevron bought a 50 percent stake in one of these firms, LL Investicijos, which owns a license to a neighboring field. Chevron officials have said they hoped to begin exploration work this year.

For Lithuania, shale gas – a form of natural gas trapped underground in porous rock and difficult to extract – represents a rare opportunity to decrease its energy dependency on Russia, which currently supplies all of the Baltic state's gas.

Read more…

Category : News

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Fortum plans to build 3rd power plant in Lithuania

Lithuania's Fortum Heat Lietuva, controlled by Finnish energy concern Fortum, plans to build a combined heat and power plant (CHPP) for 500-700 million litai (around 145-200 million euro) in Vilnius.

"Today we officially announced in print that we are starting to develop this project. The power plant should be in the industrial district," Fortum Heat Lietuva chief Vitalijus Zuta told BNS.

Fortum Heat Lietuva is considering building a CHPP with heat capacity between 60 and 150 megawatts and electricity capacity between 30 and 50 MW. The specific technical terms will be determined after research is performed, he said.

Read more…

Category : News

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The 2012 Parliament

Political groups

     Social Democratic (38)
     Homeland Union (33)
     Labour (29)
     Order and Justice(11)
     Liberal Movement (10)
     Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania(8)
     The Way of Courage (7)
     Others (4)

The Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublikos Seimas), or simply the Seimas is the unicameral Lithuanian parliament. It has 141 members that are elected for a four-year term. About half of the members of this legislative body are elected in individual constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected by nationwide vote according to proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5%, and a multi-party union at least 7%, of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.

Latest election

Party

Proportional

Constituency
seats

Total
seats

+/–

Votes

%

Seats

Social Democrats

251,610

18.37

15

23

38

Increase 13

Homeland Union

206,590

15.08

13

20

33

Decrease 12

Labour Party

271,520

19.82

17

12

29

Increase19

Order and Justice

100,120

7.31

6

5

11

Decrease 4

Liberal Movement

117,476

8.57

7

3

10

Decrease 1

Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania

79,840

5.83

5

3

8

Increase 5

The Way of Courage

109,448

7.99

7

7

New

Peasant and Greens Union

53,141

3.88

1

1

Decrease 2

Liberal and Centre Union

28,263

2.06

Decrease 8

YES

24,129

1.76

New

Socialist People's Front

16,515

1.21

Steady

Christian Party

16,494

1.20

New

For Lithuania in Lithuania

12,854

0.94

New

Young Lithuania

8,632

0.63

Steady

Democratic Labour and Unity Party

4,383

0.32

New

Emigrants Party

4,015

0.29

New

Republican Party

3,661

0.27

New

Lithuanian People's Party

3,399

0.25

New

Independents

3

3

Decrease1

Invalid/blank votes

57,924

Total

1,370,014

100

70

70 (1 to go)

140

Registered voters/turnout

2,588,418

52.93

Source: VRK

Category : Lithuania today / Front page

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Vilnius through an Italian camera lens
Photos: Erica from Bologna, Northern Italy

My name is Erica, I am 30 and I write from Italy. In 2009 I spent the spring time in Lithuania. I fell in love with this country, and here is why.
Read more...
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A very heartwarming story. Thank you Erica.
Bernard Terway
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Erica: Really enjoyed reading your story. It is very nice to hear a non-Lithuanian praising our country. Hope you will return and also encourage your friends to do so as well.
Vytas Jonas
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Thank You (Aciu) for the tour via your words and eyes!!! You've captured much of what I too felt on my one and only trip (so far) to Lietuva. Your memories will last a lifetime. Have you plans to return? To rewalk your route from 2009?

Great job, and THANK YOU for sharing! Great photos too:)
Jenifer
__________________________

Thanks for your feedback! Actually I really, really hope to go back soon. I am just not sure when, watching some pictures makes me think that fall would be a great season (not too hot, not too cold); but springtime is when most of the events happen. Then, I also love snow, so... I can't decide! Should I rewalk the routes I know so well, or should I discover new places? Should I come alone or take someone with me? Also, lately I am quite afraid to find out that this nostalgic wait will make me feel disappointed once I'm there...
Erica
Category : Opinions

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New York Times:
Lithuania on the top 46 list among places to visit in 2013!


LITHUANIA is an overlooked beer destination, writes NYT, and continues:

"The Old World is webbed with well-traveled beer trails in places like Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. But in the past few years, rumors have swirled about an overlooked historic beer trail in Lithuania. Centered around the town of Birzai, a town in the country’s north, some 50 to 70 farmhouse breweries are producing earthy, unusual ales, often employing techniques not seen elsewhere, and fermented with types of brewing yeast that — as the Canadian beer writer Martin Thibault has discovered — appear to have different DNA from all other known strains. To get a taste of what the Lithuanian beer trail offers, sample the wares at specialty beer bars like Bambalyne, Alaus Namai and Snekutis in the capital, Vilnius. After that, the truly intrepid can seek out countryside breweries." — Evan Rail

Read more…
Category : News

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By: Linas Johansonas LTnews.net

(Cleveland) Linas Muliolis was your average young Lithuanian born in the USA. The son of World War II refugees, Linas grew up in Cleveland's Lithuanian community. In January 1991, he was just a month away from turning 21 years old & was in Vilnius during the historic Jan. 13 events. Earlier this week, LTnews.net talked with Linas about his experiences 22 years ago.

HOW DID A YOUNG MAN FROM CLEVELAND END UP IN VILNIUS DURING A 'REVOLUTION'? "I went there (Lithuania) to live for a year, to study language at Vilnius University.  Things were heating up and in the beginning of January, I went there (parliament building) and volunteered to be an interpreter. I worked in the information bureau with Rita Dapkute".

 WERE YOU AT THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON JAN. 13? "Yes. I was there for four days with only two,  four-hour breaks of sleep ..... Had my own gasmask issued to me". (it was 108 hours with 2 four-hour naps) 

Read more…

Category : Front page

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How a Lithuanian from America
ended up in the middle of historic
Jan. 13 events in Vilnius

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/392996_10151444797005337_931006213_n.jpg

By: Linas Johansonas LTnews.net

(Cleveland) Linas Muliolis was your average young Lithuanian born in the USA. The son of World War II refugees, Linas grew up in Cleveland's Lithuanian community. In January 1991, he was just a month away from turning 21 years old & was in Vilnius during the historic Jan. 13 events. Earlier this week, LTnews.net talked with Linas about his experiences 22 years ago.

HOW DID A YOUNG MAN FROM CLEVELAND END UP IN VILNIUS DURING A 'REVOLUTION'? "I went there (Lithuania) to live for a year, to study language at Vilnius University.  Things were heating up and in the beginning of January, I went there (parliament building) and volunteered to be an interpreter. I worked in the information bureau with Rita Dapkute".

 WERE YOU AT THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON JAN. 13? "Yes. I was there for four days with only two,  four-hour breaks of sleep ..... Had my own gasmask issued to me". (it was 108 hours with 2 four-hour naps) 

 WERE THERE ANY OTHER "VOLUNTEERS" FROM ABROAD THERE? "From America, I think Rita Dapkute, Darius Suziedelis & I were the only 3. There was a group from Moldova. There was about a half dozen of them, in case of attack, they were there mostly for moral support but it was nice to have them there... very well received".

 SO THE MOLDOVANS WERE THERE TO DEFEND THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING? "Basically yes...  I can't remember if they were armed...  I think I only remember seeing guns once .....  on the main floor..."

 DID YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO YOU IF THE SOVIETS TRIED TO OR DID TAKE OVER THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING?  "No, not at all, why would I worry about that? (he answered jokingly). I made sure I kept my passport with me at all times, in case..   who knows if it would have helped, though. I always said the rest of my life would be anti-climactic".

 WERE YOU EVER TOLD WHAT TO DO IF THE BUILDING WAS ATTACKED? WERE YOU GIVEN A GUN? "No - there were practically no guns to be seen, this was primarily a peaceful protest...  I WAS issued a gasmask though, because there were rumours of attack by gas".

 WAS THERE EVER A TIME YOU THOUGHT TO YOURSELF 'WHAT AM I DOING HERE? AM I GOING TO DIE'? Yes, the whole time!

 WHAT WAS THE MOOD LIKE INSIDE THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON JAN. 13? "STRESS! Pretty much what you would expect, desperation, frustration with the rest of the world, stress, worry, fear... etc".

 WHAT WAS THE FRUSTATION WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD?

 About non action.  I remember one newspaper cartoon, for example, a rear view of Landsbergis facing a window, you see from the back that he is holding a phone, the view out the window shows a new oil well spraying oil in the air..   He says "President Bush?  Guess what!"

 The world was focused on the first Iraqi war, but yet on Jan 13th, we still made the top headline

 DID YOU EVER CROSS PATHS WITH VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS DURING THIS TIME? "Yes.  I was in his office once or twice, I was called in to help translate one night.. but I didn't do a great job, though, I have to admit. Once you get technical in some subject, you know how hard it can get".

 WHAT WAS LANDSBERGIS LIKE? "He was calm, focused, definitely calm and reserved".

 WHEN DID THOSE OF YOU IN THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING HEAR ABOUT THE CIVILIAN DEATHS? We heard about the deaths as they were happening.  I remember the death count rising. I was surprised how accurate the news reports were in the US and in the UK, everything was pretty accurate, sometimes the number of deaths was off, but considering how confusing the time was overall, the news articles I saw were close to reality.

 DID YOU HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH YOUR FAMILY BACK IN CLEVELAND? Yes.  After I took the photo of the Soviet tanks (posted below) I was on the phone with my mother at the time, "Mom, don't be scared, but there is a column of tanks going by"  probably was not a good thing to say to my mom.  She turned gray that year.

 BEING AN AMERICAN-BORN LITHUANIAN, HOW WERE YOU TREATED BY THE NATIVE LITHUANIANS IN THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING? "People were grateful for me being there. I was generally well accepted By that time I had learned to look and act local, gotten rid of most of my American accent, though" 

 WAS THERE ANY SINGLE MOMENT THAT STANDS OUT FOR YOU? "The single most amazing thing I saw happened late at night, I believe it was on the night of January 12th, I may be wrong.  Do you remember the photo of the lone Chinese man standing in front of a column of tanks at Tiananmen Square?  The Parliament Building is right next to the river, and there was a bridge over it leading to the square where hundreds of thousands of people were protesting and guarding our fledgling government.  That night, suddenly someone in the room called out, said there were reports of a column of tanks racing towards us..  Hearts pounding, we raced to the windows.  I was on the fourth floor so had a great view.  A long column of tanks came racing towards us.   The most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life, was the mass of people simply rush in to block the way.  Those tanks would EASILY have crushed hundreds of people in seconds if the continued through.  I have never witnessed such bravery and selflessness in my entire life.  Luckily, however, at the last seconds, those tanks and APC's slowed down and turned right, away from the Parliament Building ".

 WHEN DID YOU FEEL EVERYTHING WAS GOING TO BE OK? "When most of the tanks left".

 ANY FINAL THOUGHTS? "This was definitely one of the most memorable times of my life, something I will never forget!  My whole life I had been taught that someday Lithuania will again be free, that we needed to keep the language and culture alive..  Then, when I was 20, turning 21 - It happened and I was a part of it!"

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/392996_10151444797005337_931006213_n.jpg

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Jan. 1991

http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/s720x720/253874_10151445707940337_1356849879_n.jpg
Photo by Linas Muliolis taken from parliament building - Jan. 1991

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/524782_10151446269705337_1552129565_n.jpg
Photo by Linas Muliolis taken from parliament buikding - Jan. 1991

http://sphotos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/71570_10151447960040337_502136556_n.jpg
Linas Muliolis - Cleveland, Ohio - 2012

Top of Form

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Jenifer C. Dillis Simply heart-stopping...

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Linas K Muliolis I have to add something to this, I don't know how I forgot.. You caught me during an extremely busy week for this interview and I did not get enough chance to rehash all of the events. The single most amazing thing I saw happened late at night, I bel...See More

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Jean-Paul Le Clercq Go Linas Go! The Soviets had no idea what was waiting for them behind Parliament walls!

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Sam Salerno I feel shameful that I've never heard of this. Makes me wonder what else is going on in the world today that I don't know about. You're an Awesome man Linus.

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Jūra Liaukonytė Thank you LT news for this interesting interview.

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Dana Baltutis Yeah...its an event I wont forget. I still have the videos that my close friend Monika, her mum and I smuggled out via the Australian embassy in Moscow a few weeks later.

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Rita Kova Murnane I was there in August of 91... 

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Jurate Grigonis Dana Baltutis from Australia was also there. 

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Tony Geraci Wow!

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Ruta Rusinas Tomas Zizys from Toronto was also there.

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Mardell Ward awesome! that was really interesting.

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Dana Baltutis We were standing outside the television station when the tanks came and the soldiers started to jump out of the tanks with their guns.. Ill never forget the rumble and confusion. A friend who I was with got shot in the leg. We had to crouch down and run from the gunfire. People were so brave that night and next morning going to the Parliament knowing what had happened the night before.

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Mindaugas Petrauskas Another unsung hero.. The majority of Lithuanian people do not know anything about stories like this.

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Giedrius Pavardenis Hey guys, you're all awesome 

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Roberta Zarnauskaite We can only admire the unity and bravery of people at that time! 
I wish nation still has it in the blood!! 
Peace to all!

Category : Historical Lithuania

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22 YEARS AGO

The infamous 1991 January events took place in Lithuania 11-13 January 1991, in the aftermath of the Act of the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania. As a result of Soviet military actions, 14 civilians were killed and more than 1000 injured.


Jon Platakis 22 years ago, Lithuanians paid the price for freedom. I wonder if Lithuanians are willing to pay the price for freedom today.


Aage Myhre Jon Platakis, I think they would. The difference from 1991 is that back then they had an outspoken leader and a clear vision. Unfortunately, these features have been in short supply in Lithuania since then ...


Bartłomiej Kolubiński Glory to the Brave People!


Jenifer C. Dillis ...I just cried...As an American Lit, I had NO IDEA what was happening in Jan 1991. I was in college, safely tucked away here in America. My roots are Lit, but without having had any contact with any relatives or friends back in those days, I only HEARD stories of a frequent visitor who smuggled Levis in. I'm ashamed now...I was clueless of the truth...and my heart bleeds for Lietuva's Freedom Fighters both old and new...


Boris Bakunas All of Eastern Europe was aflame with hope back then. Many of those hopes remain to be fulfilled.


Jenifer C. Dillis no longer tanks to take on face~to~face...Hope can never die. It may be dimmed, but still burns! Tell us, PLEASE, how to help build it back up, and move forward. "Lietuva, Lietuva, Lietuva," is still ringing in the ears of millions...

Category : Opinions

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Soviet version of 1991 events in Vilnius survives to this day in Moscow

Twenty-two years ago today, as all independent investigations have confirmed, Soviet forces shot and killed 13 unarmed Lithuanian demonstrators at the Vilnius television tower, an event that galvanized the independence movement in that Baltic republic and triggered drives for independence from the USSR elsewhere.

But at the time of those events and shortly thereafter, pro-communist and pro-Soviet writers came up with an alternative explanation: they insisted that the Lithuanian Sajudis movement had organized the entire event as a provocation to the point of having its own operatives shoot and kill their fellow Lithuanians.

And some of those have even insisted that this conspiracy was part of a broader plot involving Vytautas Landsbergis who supposedly saw such a step as a necessary precondition to establishing a “fascist” and anti-Russian regime in Lithuania and even the United States which supposedly wanted a distraction as it moved to attack Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

The most hyperbolic of these conspiracy theories have fallen as a result of their own internal inconsistencies – Landsbergis is no fascist and Washington’s Desert Storm campaign in fact limited its response to Moscow’s actions in Lithuania – but others have enough plausibility for some to discredit Lithuania’s drive to recover its de facto independence and its subsequent policies.

Such conspiracy theories about the Vilnius events of January 13, 1991, would be of limited interest were it not for two things. On the one hand, they continue to circulate among some writers in the Russian capital. And on the other, the thinking of Soviet leaders that stood behind them, if not the specific details, appear to be informing Moscow’s policy now.

On Friday, the portal of Moscow’s Strategic Culture Foundation featured a 1500-word article by Nikolay Malishevsky that repeats most of the claims against Lithuania, Sajudis, and Landsbergis by the conspiracy theorists and provides what he says is proof of all of them (www.fondsk.ru/news/2013/01/11/...

Read more…

Category : News

OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com


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?

Read more...
* * *


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.

Read more...
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VilNews
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius


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Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
future
By Leonidas Donskis
Kaunas
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political
commentator

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.

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


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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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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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.
MADE IN WALES -
ENGLISH VERSION OF THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS.

Read more...
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IS IT POSSIBLE TO
COMMENT ON OUR
ARTICLES? :-)
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!
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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
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
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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
HERE.
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EU-Russia:
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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,
PhD, CPC

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.

Read more...
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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.

Read more...
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Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >



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