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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

17 August 2017
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Archive for April, 2013

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Soviet remnants
in Lithuania

The green Soviet
bridge in Vilnius


The Green Bridge sculpture "Industry and Construction (Pramonė ir statyba)" by Bronius Vyšniauskas and Napoleonas Petrulis. Photos: Aage Myhre.

The Green Bridge (Lithuanian: Žaliasis tiltas) is a bridge over the Neris River in Vilnius, Lithuania. It is the oldest bridge in the city and connects city centre with the so-called right river bank and the Kalvariju g that leads to several of the city’s Soviet suburbs north of the city centre.

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__________________________

As long as they are not glorifying one of the tyrants

Jurate Kutkus Burns As long as they are not glorifying one of the tyrants, these statues should stay.
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The sculptures serve a concrete purpose -- to remind us that that this past was far from rosy

Justinas V. Daugmaudis I would not call these sculptures as "soviet remnants". Doing so simply shows that the person fails to understand the context. The sculptures are the authentic artifacts of the time not so long past, and they serve a concrete purpose -- to remind us that that this past was far from rosy (and that we do not want a repeat of it). One must never forget, lest one lives in a dream that is disconnected from (sometimes stark) reality.

Europe, in general, is different from the US. We like our reminders, and we like things old. We like those reminders even if they are not too pleasant.
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I would like to see these 2 balvonai drown in Neris

Julius van Cerniauskas "Europe, in general, is different from the US. We like our reminders, and we like things old. We like those reminders even if they are not too pleasant."

no we dont. I would like to see these 2 balvonai drown in Neris.

experts say that the statue badly needs repairs. i think it doesnt. it needs to start dropping in pieces just like USSR did. WHAT A SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCE WOULD THAT BE!!!
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You dislike the USSR, but so do I; as much forcefully, in fact. Still, it is OUR history
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Justinas V. Daugmaudis You don't understand that Vilnius is replete with the artifacts of the past generations. You dislike the USSR, but so do I; as much forcefully, in fact. Still, it is OUR history. We have persevered, whilst the USSR -- despite all of its might -- did not. Consider the sculptures as a token of sadistic glee, if you want.
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If Nazis erected a statue for Adolf during their short occupation of LT, should we have kept it too?
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Julius van Cerniauskas 
if Nazis erected a statue for Adolf during their short occupation of LT, should we have kept it too? lets return Lenin's statue to Lukiskiu aikste as well? why not? fact is.. this statue annoys many people. thats all. it should be moved to Grutas park where all history masochists can enjoy themselves to their hearts content. I believe Germans had a fair amount of "artifacts" from their Nazi era too. I guess that not many(if any) of them were left in public places.
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There is a quiet but defineable determination within the German psyche to visit the places where the madness was spawned and to understand it
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Justinas V. Daugmaudis Nothing could be more further from truth, my dear Julius. The German acceptance, and sometime embrace, of its monstrous past is seen as a sign of maturity by historians and academics. (Not so long ago record numbers of German television viewers tuned in to a domestically made documentary on the Holocaust, a programme unthinkable just a few years ago.)

Buildings used by the officers at the notorious female concentration camp of Ravensbruck -- where Anne Frank died along with as many as 92000 other female and child inmates including the British SOE agent Violette Szabo -- are being CONVERTED into a youth hostel and an educational institute. NOT DEMOLISHED! Eight of the 23 former SS guardhouses have been converted to cater for an estimated 13,000 visitors each year. This conversion project is one of the latest in which many of the Third Reich's most infamous sites have been transformed into tourism or leisure venues as Germany seeks to draw a line under its past. Germans themselves are queuing up for a glimpse of a time that has been buried beneath layers of guilt, uncertainty and shame.

I would agree that Hitler and his legacies will never beat Euro Disney as the holiday destination of choice. Still, there is a quiet but defineable determination within the German psyche to visit the places where the madness was spawned and to understand it.

Ravensbruck is but one Nazi site among many that has been or is about to be transformed for "educational tourism". After the war many buildings which represented the monstrosity of National Socialism were destroyed. The Allies had a dual motive for this: to erase the memory of Nazism and to prevent "shrines" developing in the future -- an idea that persisted for decades. Nowadays, this rampant post-war destruction is considered to be a "barbarian" -- albeit "understandable" -- act, as it was not known better at the time.

The Berghof, Hitler's mountain home in Bavaria, was destroyed in 1945 as was Spandau prison in the late 1980s after the last inmate, Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, died. In the past year, however, many other sites of importance in the Third Reich have become the magnets of educational tourism. 

What you have to understand, my dear Julius, is that Nazi artifacts themselves are becoming public places. Not because there is any love left for Nazis, but simply because to remember means not to repeat. 

Now, as for Hitler's statues -- they were removed. The same was done with Lenin's (and other so-called leaders') statues in Lithuania. The statues on the Green bridge are not even in the same category, for they do not enshrine any concrete person that would symbolize the oppressive regime.

Your suggestion to remove the statues on the Green bridge (along with other artifacts, no?) simply means that you want to cut out 50 years of occupation from the memory of people. An exceedingly shallow idea, because it's also the memory of our own people, of our own country. Besides, why do you feel so fixated on these statues? Why don't you 

suggest to burn the books written during the reign of the regime? Why don't you suggest to bring down buildings? National Opera and Ballet Theater is a perfect example of -- then award winning -- soviet architecture, and it is much more visible than those aforementioned statues, too. Yet you keep silent about those other cultural artifacts. It is likely that the reason is simple -- you don't even think about them. (It is hard to think when you are simply parroting the same shallow categorical ideas that were spread by some not-too-clever journalists that don't even have any proper education. Big mouth leaves little place for brain.) 

Summa summarum, when you are blind to many other (too subtle?) cultural artifacts of the regime, then if those statues on the Green bridge make you think and feel strongly about the USSR, this means that the statues serve their purpose.
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Removing the statue will not erase the history, and there is no need to do that

Viktorija Ruškulienė Art often represents not only the regime (in this particular case - Soviet occupation), but also culture, fashion, historical moment, influences of social/environmental/political ideas, mentality of that time. Removing the statue will not erase the history, and there is no need to do that. I prefer this peace with two workers much better to the peace of early independence "Vamzdis…

Sculpture 'patchwork Arch
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KNOCK IT DOWN!!
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Timotiejus Sevelis KNOCK IT DOWN!!
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I always thought it was the old soviet heating & water supply system...

Siga Eidukonis It's ART!!! and I always thought it was the old soviet heating & water supply system... Aciu, Viktorija Ruškulienė...good info!
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Create the bright future that was intended!!

Timotiejus Sevelis forget the shitty past, move on, and create the bright future that was intended!!
 
Category : Opinions

Author Ellen Cassedy in her ancestral homeland

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The U.S. author of the book "We are here" (Mes esame čia), Ellen Cassedy (right), was in Lithuania last month. Here in eager discussion about Jewish life in Lithuania before the Holocaust and now today.


Ellen Cassedy in Vilnius last month, with her husband Jeff.

Read her own report from the visit HERE

Category : Front page

Author Ellen Cassedy in her ancestral homeland

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The U.S. author of the book "We are here" (Mes esame čia), Ellen Cassedy (right), was in Lithuania last month. Here in eager discussion about Jewish life in Lithuania before the Holocaust and now today. 


Ellen Cassedy in Vilnius last month, with her husband Jeff. 

Below: Ellen Cassedy’s report from her visit to Lithuania

Ellen Cassedy: Author of We Are Here

I’ve just returned from two busy weeks in Lithuania.  It was a packed and fascinating trip!

Vilnius Book Fair 
http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2a5d8f6c2d9a8274a2037abd4/images/ellenbookfair.JPGThe annual fair draws 60,000 people.  Long lines outside, elbow to elbow inside.  For a writer, what could be more heartwarming?  Mes esame cia, the Lithuanian edition of my book, is now available in hardback and e-book formats.  Order it here.  

Students & Teachers
http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2a5d8f6c2d9a8274a2037abd4/images/kedholoproject.JPGI gave talks at schools in six cities, speaking about Lithuania’s Jewish history, the Holocaust, and the actions and inactions of Lithuanians during the Nazi era.  I told students about tolerance leaders in Lithuania today.  I described my searing encounter (described in the book) with a Lithuanian witness to the Holocaust in my ancestral town.  I asked students to reflect on how they themselves can help build a tolerant society where citizens can stand up and speak up.    

I was inspired by the teachers I met who’ve stepped up to teach about these subjects.  At the Atzalynas high school in Kedainiai, for example, 15 teachers are leading a school-wide curriculum about the Holocaust. Eighty-five high schools now form a network of official Tolerance Centers.

Activism & Commemoration
http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2a5d8f6c2d9a8274a2037abd4/images/starsatseimas.pngI spoke with activists who used Facebook to recruit people to join in commemorating the Jews of the Vilna Ghetto.  On the anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto, people came together to read out, one at a time, the names of those who perished.  These same activists took yellow stars to the Lithuanian Parliament and asked Members of Parliament to wear them in solidarity with the murdered Jews; many did. 
 
In Vilnius, I saw new exhibits at the Jewish Museum’s Tolerance Center and the Green House (the Holocaust Museum).  I visited the new Jewish Culture and Information Center in the old Jewish quarter, and the new Holocaust exhibit at the controversial Museum of Genocide Victims. In the meeting room of the new Vilnius Jewish Library, I spoke to two high school classes, including students from the Sholem Aleichem Jewish high school.   

In Kedainiai, I visited the impressive new Holocaust exhibit at the Multicultural Center.  I admired the extraordinary commemorative sculpture outside the former synagogue.
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I attended a performance of a new play, Night and Day (“Diena ir naktis”), by Daiva Čepauskaitė, which interweaves the Holocaust past with present-day Lithuania, powerfully challenging and educating the audience. 

I met a young man who had led the building of a new Holocaust memorial in the center of Zagare, a town that traces its Jewish history back to the 1600’s.  He wrote to a Jewish descendant of the town:

My initiative to unveil the plaque is a small step forward to explain the truth to local residents.  I do not want my children to grow up in a world of lies.  The more I talk, the more response and understanding I get from others, and I slowly achieve small results.

The Jewish spirit is alive, and I and my family want to make it stronger, if there is a way – to do something to ease the pain.

Therefore, from now on, even though I know Zagare will remain the sad recollection for Jews, may I once again call it your home – sad, still bleeding, but the roots are priceless. 


Rokiskis: My Ancestral Town 
http://gallery.mailchimp.com/2a5d8f6c2d9a8274a2037abd4/images/ellenatgravestone.jpgI paid my respects at the grave of my great-grandfather, Dovid-Mikhl Levin, in the old Jewish cemetery. In the local high school, I was warmly welcomed by students, teachers, museum staff, the mayor, and a beautiful player of the kankles (zither).  Then, with a museum official, I made my way through the snow to the mass murder site in the forest outside town.  A few days later, I spoke to the Rokiskis Club of Vilnius; I was moved as elderly people who grew up in Rokiskis shared their painful memories of the events of 1941. 

Looking to the Future
Throughout my visit, I was privileged to engage in long conversations with people who care deeply about Jewish remembrance in Lithuania – people who, in a sometimes hostile environment, are working to build an active, tolerant civil society.  As one longtime tolerance leader told me:  “We have still a long way to go – but the main thing is that we are going.”

London & Leeds
My talk at the very exciting London Jewish Book Week was sold out.  I also spoke at University College London, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain, and the wonderful Jewish Historical Society in Leeds.  A special highlight was a singing tour of London’s East End, the old Jewish quarter, conducted by Vivi Lachs.

Book News
Along with winning the 2013 Grub Street National Book Prize and a 2013 Prakhin International Literary Foundation award, We Are Here is a finalist for a Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. 
 
Help Spread the Word
We Are Here is now in its second printing. Please share your comment on
Amazon or Goodreads. So far, 154 libraries have purchased We Are Here. You can help by asking for it at your local library.  

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Forward to a Friend

 

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Buy the Book

We Are Here is now available in e-book format for both Kindle and Nook.

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Lithuanian Edition Now Available

Mes esame cia, the Lithuanian edition of my book, is now available in hardback and e-book formats. Order it here.

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Watch the Video

New podcasts and video

Enjoy a behind the scenes look at the journey that inspired my book (above), or listen to a podcast of my recent speaking engagements.

Library of Congress, washington, DC | Watch now


Portland Yiddish Hour, Portland, OR   |
Listen now

 

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Book Tour

My book tour continues. In the coming weeks, I’ll be speaking in Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Boston.

Category : Litvak forum

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Litgrid and ABB sign important agreement on LitPol Link

The newsletter Energy Update, published by the Lithuanian transmission system operator Litgrid, summarizes the latest developments in the Lithuanian electricity sector.

In this issue:
- Litgrid and ABB signed a historical agreement on the construction of the LitPol Link power interconnection facility;
- The plans of electricity network development lie in the hands of competent specialists;
- Litgrid Junior Professionals Programme – perfect start for a career in power engineering;
- Students prepare electric energy plans for the next three decades;

Read more...

Category : News

Lithuanians fall in love

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“Let's do it” by Cole Porter
From the Show: Paris 1928

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

In Spain, the best upper sets do it

Lithuanians and Letts do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

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Category : Front page

Lithuanians fall in love

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“Let's do it” by Cole Porter
From the Show: Paris 1928

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

In Spain, the best upper sets do it

Lithuanians and Letts do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it
Not to mention the Fins
Folks in Siam do it - think of Siamese twins

Some Argentines, without means, do it
People say in Boston even beans do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Romantic sponges, they say, do it
Oysters down in oyster bay do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, 'gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Electric eels I might add do it
Though it shocks em I know
Why ask if shad do it - Waiter bring me
"shad roe"

In shallow shoals English soles do it
Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Category : Lithuania today

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Lithuania vs. U.S.S.R.: A Secret Hot Fight in the Cold War


By Edward G. Lengel

World War II is supposed to have ended in Europe on May 8, 1945, when German representatives signed the act of military surrender in Berlin. Isolated German units held out a little longer, and there remained sporadic instances of unrest elsewhere. Greece was in a state of turmoil—civil war would break out there in March 1946 and last until 1949. A new "cold war" loomed between the Soviet Union and the United States. Yet for the most part the guns seemed to have fallen silent.

But in at least one part of the continent the guns had not stopped firing. In a remote forest in southern Lithuania, on the afternoon of May 26, 1946, partisans of the Iron Wolf Regiment leapt to action as Soviet troops advanced cautiously through the woods. Hiding their valuables, including printing equipment they had used to produce subversive literature, the partisans abandoned their log bunkers and fled several hundred yards into the forest to await developments.

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...
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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


* * *
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...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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...
* * *
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...
* * *
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...
* * *
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!
* * *

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
* * *

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.
* * *
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...
* * *

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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