23 February 2018
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Archive for October, 2015

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VilNews is back!

Our publication VilNews has been inactive over the past two years. But here we are again, ready with a fresh new issue. We wish old and new readers worldwide warmly welcome!

“New” VilNews consists of 18 sections that you can immerse yourself into by clicking on the link buttons at the top of each page.

If “old” VilNews had been printed on paper, it would become a book of more than 7,000 pages of totally unique reading material about historical and contemporary Lithuania. This huge material is still available. All old and new articles are sorted by topics, in our 18 sections.

The VilNews concept is a unique combination of informative articles, social media (blogs and commentaries) and background articles about Lithuanian people, history, culture, politics, tourism, economy and much more. We do very much appreciate feedback and comments from our readers. Good debate is always healthy!

I wish you some good reading, and please do not hesitate to contact us!

Say what you mean – mean what you say – don`t be mean

Aage Myhre

Category : About VilNews / Front page

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Help us make VilNews
even more successful!

Dear VilNews Readers,

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind words, suggestions, comments and support for VilNews.   We have always felt very strongly about the wonderful potential of Lithuania in the world.  It is a country of much beauty and fascinating multicultural history – a nation now represented in all corners of the world.  We have been very pleased to provide a forum for a free, open and respectful dialogue about the past, present and future of Lithuania.  The Staff and I have taken your advice to heart and decided to continue publishing VilNews and possibly also publishing a Lithuanian version of it.  For this to occur we will need additional financial support.

We cannot continue to carry the full financial cost of publishing and disseminating VilNews on our own.  We feel that all of us have a vested interest in the success of VilNews.  In order to continue and expand this great publication we need your help.    

If you can, please make a financial contribution to VilNews.  At the present time we can only accept checks or money orders made out to UAB VilNews. Please write me if you consider contributing.

If you know of any business that should or could advertise in VilNews, please contact them.  We are looking for sponsors and advertisers.

Please check your e-mail contact lists and suggest to all your friends who are interested in Lithuania.  You would be surprised, how many of them have not heard of us.  VilNews has also two different pages on Facebook, so go in and "like" us and participate in our ongoing debates.

I am sure that all of us working together can make VilNews even more successful than it already is. 

Kestutis J. Eidukonis
CEO VilNews

Category : News / Relatives

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The term Fourth Estate refers to the press,
both in its explicit capacity of advocacy
and in its ability to frame political issues.

VilNews was several years ago established as a newsletter for Vilnius International Club (founded 2001). Over the years, the newsletter got attention and readers from a worldwide audience far beyond the spheres of the club, and grew over the last couple of years from having a few hundred readers to an estimated readership of more than 10 000 at the end of 2010.

Against this background, it was in September 2010 decided that VilNews should be separated from the club and established as a separate corporation and publisher, with the aim to turn the newsletter into an online e-magazine with a broad scope of issues and coverage.

Today's vision for VilNews is to develop and maintain an e-publication that should  be viewed as a good, strong, independent, democratic and outspoken Fourth Estate media in and for Lithuania, founded on professional journalism and reflected comment articles.

VilNews as e-magazine shall continue the line of the newsletter, to be critical of the negative that is still going on in this country, while increasingly trying to find positive stories and interesting angles on events and characteristics from both past and present. Another goal is that VilNews shall builds bridges between Lithuania and its many extraordinary fine diasporas around the world. The global nation called Lithuania represents so much more than the country itself, and VilNews will always do its utmost to connect people with some sort of interest in Lithuanian affairs around the globe.

VilNews has got amazingly great support and response from readers around the world. This fact makes us confident that we will continue to develop VilNews' position as

a leading English-language e-publication from and about Lithuania!

Category : About VilNews

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VilNews code of ethics

Each of our editors and editorial staff members are required to be familiar with these ethical standards, and to base their practice on this code. The ethical practice comprehends the complete journalistic process from research to publication.

1. The Role of the Press in Society 

1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of the Press are basic elements of a democracy. A free, independent press is among the most important institutions in a democratic society.

1.2. The press has important functions in that it carries information, debates and critical comments on current affairs. The press is particularly responsible for allowing different views to be expressed.

1.3. The press shall protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and the principle of access to official documents. It cannot yield to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources. Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not preclude independent news reporting.

1.4. It is the right of the press to carry information on what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters, which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a press obligation to shed critical light on how media themselves exercise their role.

1.5. It is the task of the press to protect individuals and groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public authorities and institutions, private enterprises, or others.

2. Integrity and Responsibility 

2.1. The legally responsible editor carries personal and full responsibility for the material contained in the publication, no matter the form.

2.2. Each editorial desk and each employee must guard their own integrity and credibility in order to be free to act independently of any persons or groups who - for ideological, economic or other reasons - might want to exercise an influence over editorial matters.

2.3. Members of the editorial staff must not accept commissions or offices, financial support or dual roles creating conflicts of interest in relation to their editorial tasks. Be open on matters that could influence the credibility of editorial staff members.

2.4. Members of the editorial staff should not use their position to achieve personal gains.

2.5. A member of the editorial staff cannot be ordered to write or do anything, which is contrary to his or her convictions.

2.6. Reject any attempt to break down the clear distinction between advertisements and editorial copy. Advertisements intended to imitate or exploit an editorial product, should be turned down, as should advertisements undermining trust in the editorial integrity and the independence of the press.

2.7. Never promise editorial favours in return for advertisements. The material is published as a result of editorial considerations. See to it that the vital distinction between journalism and commercial communication is being maintained upon employment of web links and other connective means.

2.8. It is a breach of good press conduct to let sponsorship affect editorial activity, contents and presentation.

2.9. Members of the editorial staff may not accept assignments from anyone but the heads of the editorial staff.

3. Journalistic Conduct and Relations with the Sources 

3.1. The source of information must, as a rule, be identified, unless this conflicts with source protection or consideration for a third party.

3.2. Be critical in the choice of sources, and make sure that the information provided is correct. It is good press practice to aim for diversity and relevance in the choice of sources. If anonymous sources are used, or the publication is offered exclusivity, especially stringent requirements must be imposed on the critical evaluation of the sources. Particular caution should be exercised when dealing with information from anonymous sources, information from sources offering exclusivity, and information provided from sources in return for payment.

3.3. Good press conduct requires clarification of the terms on which an interview is being carried out. This also pertains to adjacent research.

3.4. Protect the sources of the press. The protection of sources is a basic principle in a free society and is a prerequisite for the ability of the press to fulfil its duties towards society and ensure the access to essential information.

3.5. Do not divulge the name of a person who has provided information on a confidential basis, unless consent has been explicitly given by the person concerned.

3.6. In consideration of the sources and the independence of the press, unpublished material as a main rule should not be divulged to third parties.

3.7. It is the duty of the press to report the intended meaning in quotes from an interview. Direct quotes must be accurate.

3.8. Changes of a given statement should be limited to corrections of factual errors. No one without editorial authority may intervene in the editing or presentation of editorial material

3.9. Proceed tactfully in journalistic research. In particular show consideration for people who cannot be expected to be aware of the effect that their statements may have. Never abuse the emotions or feeling of other people, their ignorance or their lack of judgment. Remember that people in shock or grief are more vulnerable than others.

3.10. Hidden cameras/microphones or false identity may only be used under special circumstances. The condition must be that such a method is the only possible way to uncover cases of essential importance to society.

3.11. The press shall as a rule not pay sources or interviewees for information. Exercise moderation when paying a consideration for news tips. It is incompatible with good press practice to employ payment schemes designed to tempt people, without due cause, to invade the privacy of others or to disclose sensitive personal information.

4. Publication Rules 

4.1.Make a point of fairness and thoughtfulness in contents and presentation.

4.2. Make plain what is factual information and what is comment.

4.3. Always respect a person's character and identity, privacy, race, nationality and belief. Never draw attention to personal or private aspects if they are irrelevant.

4.4. Make sure that headlines, introductions and leads do not go beyond what is being related in the text. It is considered good press conduct to reveal your source when the information is quoted from other media.

4.5. In particular avoid presumption of guilt in crime and court reporting. Make it evident that the question of guilt, whether relating to somebody under suspicion, reported, accused or charged, has not been decided until the sentence has legal efficacy. It is a part of good press conduct to report the final result of court proceedings, which have been reported earlier.

4.6. Always consider how reports on accidents and crime may affect the victims and next-of-kin. Do not identify victims or missing persons unless next-of-kin have been informed. Show consideration towards people in grief or at times of shock.

4.7. Be cautious in the use of names and photographs and other clear identifiers of persons in referring to contentious or punishable matters. Special caution should be exercised when reporting cases at the early stage of investigation, cases concerning young offenders and cases in which an identifying report may place an unreasonable burden on a third party. Identification must be founded on a legitimate need for information. It may, for instance, be legitimate to identify someone where there is imminent danger of assault on defenceless individuals, in the case of serious and repeated crimes, if the identity or social position of the subject is patently relevant to the case being reported on, or where identification protects the innocent from exposure to unjustified suspicion.

4.8. Reporting on children, it is considered good press conduct to assess the implications that media focusing could cause in each case. This also pertains when the person in charge or parent, has agreed to exposure. As a general rule the identity of children should not be disclosed in reports on family disputes or cases under consideration by the childcare authorities or by the courts.

4.9. Be cautious when reporting on suicide and attempted suicide. Avoid reporting that is not necessary for meeting a general need for information. Avoid description of methods or other matters that may contribute to provoking further suicidal actions.

4.10. Exercise caution when using photos in any other context than the original.

4.11. Protect the credibility of the journalistic photograph. Photos used as documentation must not be altered in a way that creates a false impression. Manipulated photos can only be accepted as illustrations if it is evident that it in actual fact is a picture collage.

4.12. The use of pictures must comply with the same requirements of caution as for a written or oral presentation.

4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called for, an apology given, as soon as possible.

4.14. Those who have been subjected to strong accusations shall, if possible, have the opportunity to simultaneous reply as regards factual information. Debates, criticism and dissemination of news must not be hampered by parties being unwilling to make comments or take part in the debate.

4.15. Those who have been the subject of an attack shall have the chance to reply at the earliest opportunity, unless the attack and criticism are part of a running exchange of views. Any reply should be of reasonable length, be pertinent to the matter and seemly in its form. The reply can be refused if the party in question has rejected, without an objective reason, an offer of presenting a contemporaneous rejoinder on the same issue. Replies and contributions to the debate should not be accompanied by polemic editorial comment.

4.16. Beware that digital publication pointers and links could bring you to other electronic media that do not comply with the Ethical Code. See to it that links to other media or publications are clearly marked. It is considered good press conduct to inform the users of interactive services on how the publication registers you, and possibly exploits your use of the services.

4.17. Should the editorial staff choose not to pre-edit digital chatting, this has to be announced in a clear manner for those accessing the pages. The editorial staff has a particular responsibility, instantly to remove inserts that are not in compliance with the Ethical Code.

The VilNews Code of Ethics are identical with the:


Ethical Code of Practice for the Press (printed press, radio, television and net publications). Adopted by the Norwegian Press Association November 23th, 2007.

Category : About VilNews

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First Kempinski Hotel

for the Baltic states




The hotel reopened in 2012 in a former Grand Hotel built over 100 years ago. In the Soviet period the building was used as the central telegraph office. In Vilnius’ Unesco heritage listed old town, it offers 96 rooms and suites. During restoration workers discovered remains of the 16th century city wall, now on display below glass on the entrance to the restaurant.

Rooms have parquet floors and bathrooms feature mosaic tiles. Original architectural details have been restored and are now combined with modern funiture. Some suites have alcove balconies that overlook Cathedral Square.

There is a 76-seat restaurant ‘Telegrafas’ which serves local and Irish specialties, a lobby lounge bar, spa and conference centre.

Read more…

Category : Hotels & restraunts

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Love and suicide in Lithuania



Photo: Vladimiras Ivanovas

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas

A young Lithuanian policeman is found slumped in the seat of his car shot dead, his weapon clutched in one hand – in his other hand his mobile phone containing a text message he had received:  “I love another” (report by psychologist Andrius Kaluginas).

According to the World Health Organization, Lithuania now has the highest suicide rate in the world.  Psychiatrists, sociologists, and journalists often link Lithuania’s skyrocketing suicide rate to social instability, poverty, high unemployment, and alcoholism.

What has gone largely unnoticed is that one of the leading causes of suicide among people under the age of thirty is unrequited love. Read more…

Category : Health & wellbeing

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   It’s the economy, stupid *


    By Valdas (Val) Samonis , PhD, CPC

   RRU and INET,

* When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, Democratic strategist James Carville famously posted a large sign in the campaign’s “war room” that read: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Carville wanted to remind his candidate and those working for him to keep their focus where he felt it belonged: the economy.


ABSTRACT. This paper takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian (LT) economy during the intellectually and practically interesting period (2000-2015) of the coincidence of a middle-income growth trap, that LT found itself in alongside other transition economies, and a policy response to the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) that started in 2008. The paper 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. Those forces were caused primarily by high debts of the EU countries and the mismanagement of both monetary and fiscal policies of the Eurozone during the misguided efforts to get out of GFC by the EU. Also, the paper 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. The paper points to some useful if debatable characteristics of this future effort. Read more…

Category : Business, economy, investments

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Berta upe Tilmantaite

is among the world’s

top photographers



By Aage Myhre

When I spoke with Berta upe Tilmantaite a few days ago, she was on a photo assignment somewhere in Kenya’s wilderness. Internet connection was very poor, but she managed at least to tell me that she would soon be back in Nairobi and that we then could talk more and her exploits as a photojournalist with absolutely the whole world as her geographical area.

Berta upe Tilmantaite is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist, photographer and story teller, currently based in Vilnius. She obtained her MA in International Multimedia Journalism from the University of Bolton / Beijing Foreign Studies University (Beijing) after graduating from Vilnius University.

Recently the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) organized an international photography competition “On the Go”, and Berta up Tilmantaitė won first place with her photo “On the boat”

B.Tilmantaitės winning photograph will be exhibited in Luxembourg during the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers ‘Meeting (12th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting).

Category : Culture & events poetry

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African living in Vilnius:

Lithuanians should learn tolerance


In an effort to build a closer relationship with the locals, Lithuania’s African community appealed recently to the Vilnius municipality, writes. They asked them to provide forums where they could introduce young people with their culture and to advise mixed-families facing difficulties. According to the community’s manager Chijioke Nkemka, the municipality already promised such places in Vilnius. 

“We are planning outreach centers where young people could play pool, socialize and do many other activities together which would not cost a lot of money. Also, we would have a place to invite students because currently we ourselves are visiting Lithuanian schools – we do not have the locations where to develop these positive activities” ,said Nkemka, who has been living with his family in his wife’s native Lithuania for the past 5 years. 


Category : The world in Lithuania

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Fearful of Russia, Lithuanian

volunteers sign up fearing

a repeat of Ukraine



Finishing his working week as a lawyer, Robert Juodka puts on his fatigues, loads his assault rifles into the car and heads off to the woods to take part in training. He and his comrades regard their “war games” as deadly serious; preparations for resisting a Russian invasion.

The Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, which was disbanded by the country’s communist government, now has 10,000 members. New recruits join every week. The age range is wide, but a hard nucleus is being formed of former service personnel. And experienced foreign volunteers may be admitted in the future. Many fear that what has happened to Ukraine may be revisited in Lithuania.


Read the full article here:

Category : Lithuania today / Front page

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All Saints’ Day in Lithuania



November 1st, people of the Christian Faith all over the world celebrate All Saints’ Day. In Lithuania it is one of the most solemn of holidays. This day is set aside as a day to honor the souls of family members that have passed away as well as remembering the Saints of the Catholic Church.

While in modern times, this day involves visits to cemeteries to decorate graves, attending Church and get togethers with family, the meaning of this day and some of its traditions go back to ancient times and it is interesting to see how some of these ancient traditions have intertwined with the traditions of the Christian Faith in Lithuania today. To this day, you will still hear most Lithuanians refer to All Saints’ Day as “Vėlinės” which was a holiday going back to pagan times that celebrated the souls of dead ancestors with feasts and special rituals.



Category : Lithuania today

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Closer bilateral ties

China – Lithuania


Zhang urged the two countries to further enhance mutual trust, and step up pragmatic cooperation.

Zhang said both sides should strive for breakthroughs in cooperation on major projects in infrastructure development and other areas. He said China is willing to participate in the construction of the Rail Baltic project in an appropriate form in a bid to complement each other and achieve mutual benefit and win-win situation.

Category : Business, economy, investments

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 From Chicago to Paris – then by

car through Europe to Lithuania!


By Diana Pauliūtė Clarisse
Phd in Chemistry, Chicago USA

 For about an hour now the two GPSs have been cooing two different directions.  Our Tom Tom brought from home was telling us to ”turn left when possible”, while the GPS mounted in the rental car is having us move ever Northeast.  My husband is saying we should listen to our Tom Tom.  That would have been a good idea I think as we come to an abrupt standstill.  The cars in front of us line up in a row looking like it goes on forever.  Some of the drivers are standing next to their cars chatting away with other drivers as though they had been there all day.  There must have been an accident, I say.  The time is late in the afternoon, we have been perhaps 20 hrs on the road.

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world


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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