23 January 2018
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Writer Yves Plasseraud: My book about Irena Veisaite

Her intelligence and
strength struck me

I have known Irena some 25 years ago within the frame of her Soros Foundation activities, but it was only a few years ago that I began thinking about writing her biography. At the beginning, with Irena our conversations were more or less technical, about Human Rights, minorities, Jewish issues and Lithuanian Jewish relations, in which we were both involved.

The intelligence and the strength of her convictions rapidly struck me.

Category : News

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A New Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum is Open

The Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum is a new unit of the Lithuanian Art Museum, open to public from 28 of June. Vytautas Kasiulis has fully deserved to be called by art reviewers as one of the most interested painters of Paris school of the second half of 20th century.
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Culture Night –
“Let There Be Night!”

Vilnius Old Town

Music jingling all night long from the abandoned backyard in Vilnius old town, never-ending movie show in the meadow at the Baltasis Bridge, concerts, performances, exhibitions, workshops, and installations taking place on the streets, squares, and the most unexpected spaces... The entire city is filled with music, colors, lights, and smiles. And this is not a dream or a motive from a motion-picture. All this is the Culture Night.

New Self-Serve Bike Rental System in Vilnius

Starting July 15th, bikes will be available for self-serve rental for Vilnius residents and visitors. At the rental stations, bikes will be available for rent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The stations will be distributed at distances of 300-400m from each other. The bike rental season will extend to October 15th.
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Discover Vilnius Old Town

If you came to Vilnius on your own and want to become acquainted with the city, to see its most beautiful sites, we invite you to join the tour Discover Vilnius Old Town. Tours are organised in English, Russian & German languages and start at 11 am from Cathedral Belfry.
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Listen to the
Sounds of Music

Various Places
2013-07-021 – 2013-09-08

This is an international Christopher Summer Festival that abides by the rule “all genres are good except the boring ones”. It is one of the biggest summer events in Vilnius, which attracts numerous performers from Lithuania and other countries. A limitless, happy, eclectic marathon of fun “holiday” concerts is about to begin!
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Days of Live Archaeology
in Kernavė

Cultural Reserve of Kernavė
Kerniaus g. 4a, Kernavė
2013-07-06 – 2013-07-07

The past will rise from the oblivion in the ancient capital of Lithuania. Festival of experimental archaeology is dedicated to commemorate the Coronation of Mindaugas – the Statehood Day. During the festival visitors will have a possibility to try various medieval games and funfairs, watch the craftsmen work.

Tamsta Music Festival

2013-07-12 – 2013-07-14

July 12-14 – that's the weekend, when Lithuanians and their friends from all over the World are going to Trakai. Friendly atmosphere, tones of music, love, entertainment, games, beautiful nature and water – this festival is “a must” of this summer.

Vilnius Tourist Information Centre & Convention Bureau
Vilniaus g. 22 LT-01119 Vilnius

Category : News

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Israeli President Shimon Peres invited to head the advisory board for restoration of the Vilnius Great Synagogue

The government of Lithuania asked Israeli President Shimon Peres to head the international advisory board for the restoration of the Vilnius Great Synagogue.

“The [restoration] project is an important part of the effort to both preserve and restore Vilnius’ Jewish heritage, and I think that President Peres could bring valuable guidance and insight to our project,” Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas said, according to the Baltic Review news site.

The comprehensive restoration and construction project could be completed as early as 2017, according to Tuesday’s report.
The offer came during a visit to Israel this week by Zuokas and Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius in which they met with Peres.

If Peres agrees, he would join Lithuania’s former President Valdas Adamkus, current Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and the prominent architect Daniel Liebeskind, who are all members of the board.

The Great Synagogue in Vilnius was an icon of Lithuanian and Eastern European Jewish culture before it was ruined during World War II and demolished in the 1950s. From the 16th through the 20th centuries, it was among the best-known synagogues in Central Europe.



The Great Vilna Synagogue

The Great Synagogue of Vilna which once stood at the end of Jewish Street in the centre of Vilnius (where today’s courtyard between Vokieciu Street and Stikliu Street is located), was built between 1630-1633 after permission was granted to construct a synagogue from stone. Standing on the spot of an existing synagogue built in 1572, the site had first been used to house a Jewish house of prayer in 1440.

According to legend it was so magnificent and impressive, Napoleon who stood on the threshold of this synagogue in 1812 and gazed at the interior was speechless with admiration. The synagogue had a number of entrances. One, at street level, consisted of a pair of iron gates which, had been donated by a tailors’ society in 1640. The other entrance on the western side, added in 1800, was a bit more imposing. An elevated two-tiered wooden gable with a portal and wrought iron posts. There was a heavy iron door with an original Hebrew inscription indicating it was a gift of a "society of Psalm reciters" in 1642.

Category : News

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Air Lituanica launches ticket sales

Air Lituanica company with its partner, commercial flight operator Estonian Air, launches ticket sales to direct and connecting flights. Through an agreement with the Estonian airline, Air Lituanica will offer flights to more than 100 cities.

Air Lituanica will offer passengers three types of tickets. EcoTravel tickets are for budget travellers. Flexi Travel are for those who need flexibility – passengers can change the flight time of these tickets, if their travel plans change. Club type tickets are offered for flexibility and comfort seekers – Air Lituanica will offer them to wait for the flight in business class lounges, along with a quick safety check service, and if the travel plans change, tickets can be returned.

“As a result of commercial cooperation with Estonian Air, we begin ticket sales via Estonian Air ticket distribution channels,” says Erikas Zubrus, director of Air Lituanica. “Tickets are already available in ticketing systems, so tomorrow or in a few days at the latest travel agents begin offering them, while in the near future tickets will be available also on the Air Lituanica website”.

The first three Air Lituanica routes will be performed with Embraer 170 aircraft, hired by the company from Estonian Air. Connecting flights will be carried out by Estonian Air, or their partners, therefore, Air Lituanica can offer flights to over 100 cities.

From June 30, Air Lituanica will fly from Vilnius to Brussels. Flights will be daily, with departure from Vilnius at 18:30 and departure from Brussels – at 20:35. One way trip will last 2 hours 20 min.

From July 8, Air Lituanica will organize daily flights to Amsterdam. The plane will take off from Vilnius each morning at 6:25, and from Amsterdam to Vilnius – at 10:00. The journey time will be 2 hours 15 min.

From August 5, the Air Lituanica will launch flights from Vilnius to Berlin. Air Lituanica plane will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Vilnius at 13:55 and from Berlin – at 15:10. The flight will take 1.5 hours.

The goal of Air Lituanica is to offer convenient flights to the European and world cities for both business and tourist passengers. Up until 2015, the Air Lituanica’s flight route map will consist of 13-16 routes and there are plans to carry 500-600 thousand passengers every year, more than half of whom spend over 150 million litas a year in Lithuania. The airline operations will also create about 1,500 jobs in Lithuania.


More information:

Sandra Meškauskaitė

Communication Manager

Mob. +370 693 67485

Category : News

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Europe house
“Europe House” opened in Vilnius

President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with President of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz and Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding opened the Europe House in Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius. Under one roof here come all European Union institutions operating in Lithuania: the Representation of the European Commission, the Information Office of the European Parliament and the European Institute for Gender Equality. The Europe House will host an open for all visitors library, various seminars, meetings and discussions. Here one will find new publications, video and audio materials relating to the European Union.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s fourth State of the Nation:
We are again on the path of success
Dalia Grybauskaitė

President Dalia Grybauskaitė delivered her fourth State of the Nation Address at the Seimas (Parliament). Inviting all to an open conversation about the place of Lithuania in the world and about the situation in Lithuania, the President underscored the contribution of the people to transforming Lithuania and initiating changes, and drew attention to new threats to national development. "After many challenges, we are once again on the path of success. This year the name of Lithuania resonated among the best European economists, investors, athletes, innovators, and many others. Europe and the world have recognized the efforts of our people. Lithuania - small as it is - is emerging as a country of great ability," the President said.


Lithuania is taking over Presidency of EU Council from Ireland
Lithuania is taking over Presidency of EU Council from Ireland

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny. This meeting marks the final phase of Lithuania's preparations for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The President and the Irish Prime Minister discussed the goals achieved during the Irish Presidency and works left, as well as priorities of Lithuania which will soon take over the helm of the EU Council from Ireland. "Soon we will take over from Ireland the presidency of the EU Council. Our presidency will ensure the continuity of works as the priorities of Ireland and Lithuania are similar -EU's financial stability, economic growth and job creation, and openness to foreign partners. This is Ireland's seventh presidency of the EU Council, therefore we highly appreciate the support of the country with vast experience," the President said.
Category : News

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Could Lithuania help Turkey step up EU accession?

The Lithuania Tribune recently presented an article by Viktor Denisenko on the developments in the Turkey-EU negotiation process, as published by Centre for Geopolitical Studies in Lithuania (Geopolitika).

The visit of the Turkish President Abdullah Gülo to Lithuania at the beginning of April was important not only for the bilateral relations but also with respect to the approaching Lithuania‘s EU presidency.

Some time ago Lithuania has expressed its clear position on Turkey‘s membership in the EU. During the visit President Dalia Grybauskaitė reassured Abdullah Gülo that one of the strategic aims of Lithuania‘s presidency is “not only to resume but also to step up the negotiation process between Turkey and the EU”.

Category : News

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The State Security Department of Lithuania (SSD):
Russian intelligence is active and aggressive against Lithuania both in Lithuania and abroad

The State Security Department of Lithuania (SSD) has released a performance report, informs.

The report says the Russian intelligence and security services are the most active and aggressive against Lithuania both in Lithuania and abroad. The activity of Belarusian security services is also directed against Lithuania.

These countries have the aim to collect information that would be used for making political and economic decisions.

Foreign secret services use technical equipment and human contacts to collect information, establish ties in Lithuanian governmental bodies and, in some cases, try to influence decisions of Lithuanian state institutions and companies.

“These services try to obtain classified and other sensitive information about Lithuania's domestic and foreign policy, economy, strategic energy projects, military forces, intelligence and law-enforcement bodies, as well as to influence political, economic and social processes,” the report says.

The reports informs that besides traditional methods, electronic intelligence, cyber spying and unconventional cover are used against Lithuania.

The SSD says that Russian intelligence and security services have technologies allowing to tap phone conversations of the persons they are interested in.

Russia's intelligence and security services also contribute to dissemination of information in favour of Russia, formation, coordination and support of groups of influence.

The report says foreign intelligence and security services in 2012 continued their attempts to establish contacts with representatives of Lithuanian governmental bodies, parties, media, research centres, hi-tech companies and ethnic groups.

Category : News

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Eastern Partnership Summit:
Associate EU agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia?

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit that will take place in November in Vilnius, is already generating buzz.

Set to be a major milestone in the EU’s relations with the Eastern Partnership states, the summit is expected to reach a crescendo with the signing of an Association Agreement with Ukraine. The announcement of the end of talks on or even the initialing of similar agreements with Moldova and Georgia may be additional high notes.

Yet, the Vilnius Summit may well end up as just another photo opportunity for the EU and EaP leaders. And the EU will be solely responsible for that.

Whether Ukraine is willing to meet all the EU’s conditions for the signing of an agreement before the summit is very uncertain. With EU member states divided over Ukraine’s relationship with the union, the Poles and the Lithuanians—among the most vocal advocates of Ukraine in the EU—are unlikely to get consensus among the 28 to sign the agreement at the summit if the Ukrainians do not deliver.

In Moldova, a pro-European coalition fell apart, and even if a new coalition is formed relatively quickly, the political landscape in the country remains unstable.

Initial concerns within the EU about the tactics used by the government of Bidzina Ivanishvili in Georgia seemed to be calming down. But there are fresh worries about the political nature of the prosecution of former government officials.

Category : News

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Mysterious hill of crosses where pilgrims actually believe Christ can perform miracles

- The tradition of leaving crosses began after an uprising against the Russian tsar was put down in 1831
- Relatives of the dead rebels, with no bodies to bury, instead left crosses on this hill to commemorate their fallen
- Today there are some 200,000 crosses, carvings and shrines at the site made out of everything from wood to metal

The Hill Of Crosses in northern Lithuania has been a site of pilgrimage for hundreds of years.

Consisting of a hill bristling with hundreds of thousands of crosses of every size and design, it is a powerful testament to religious devotion - where pilgrims descend to plead with Jesus for miracles.

The tradition of leaving crosses began after an uprising against the Russian tsar was put down in 1831.

Category : News

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Tallinn professor Rainer Kattel:
Baltic recovery came from outside, not from austerity measures

As the Euro Zone nations sour on austerity, the Baltic States keep taunting them. Professor Rainer Kattel has a different take. He argues that despite harsh austerity measures clocking in at between 8 and 9.5 percent in 2009 alone, the three countries “outsourced” their recovery.

Besides relying heavily on EU structural funds, Kattel explains, they tightly integrated exports with Scandinavia.

“I don’t there is any connection with the recovery,” he says of the austerity programmes.

“The recovery came from outside.”


How austerity kills

Early last month, a triple suicide was reported in the seaside town of Civitanova Marche, Italy. A married couple, Anna Maria Sopranzi, 68, and Romeo Dionisi, 62, had been struggling to live on her monthly pension of around 500 euros (about $650), and had fallen behind on rent. Because the Italian government’s austerity budget had raised the retirement age, Mr. Dionisi, a former construction worker, became one of Italy’s esodati (exiled ones) — older workers plunged into poverty without a safety net. On April 5, he and his wife left a note on a neighbor’s car asking for forgiveness, then hanged themselves in a storage closet at home. When Ms. Sopranzi’s brother, Giuseppe Sopranzi, 73, heard the news, he drowned himself in the Adriatic.


Europe's leaders have failed miserably, I believe this is inexcusable

There is a substantial risk that the worst is still ahead of us in crisis-hit Europe, says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. EU tries to give the impression that things are about to improve in the euro zone, but the numbers in the real economies tell a very different story, according to Stiglitz.

- Spain is in depression. 50 percent of adolescents and 25 percent of the population is without work, and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.

He asks how long young people will accept a system that costs their society so harshly, showing that Europe as a whole still is in recession, five years after the crisis started. Recession is defined as a fall in gross domestic product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters.

- In many of the countries, GDP is lower than in 2007. It is clear that the European leaders have failed miserably. I believe this is inexcusable, says Stiglitz.

The American professor has no doubt that the austerity measures have not worked. He believes one must now release the grip and see what can be done to promote growth.
Category : News

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Stronger German-Lithuanian ties

President Dalia Grybauskaite met with members of the German Bundestag’s Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the Baltic States in a meeting that focused on issues relevant for the whole of Europe and key priorities of Lithuania’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, reports ELTA.

“Germany is a very important partner for Lithuania and for our entire region. The dialogue of our countries has notably intensified over the past few years. Germany’s support to our aspirations for energy independence is particularly significant for Lithuania. Lithuania also appreciates Germany’s support in preparations for the presidency of the EU Council,” the president said.

Category : News

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Riga: The 15th Baltic Development Forum (BDF) Summit
May 29 — May 30, 2013
Riga Congress Centre, Riga, Latvia

The main focus of this year’s event will be on competitiveness, investment and business development and the role of the Baltic States in improving the Baltic Sea Region’s overall competitiveness and growth opportunities.
The agenda will focus on growth and competitiveness in the Baltic Sea Region, with the spotlight on investment projects, not least public-private co-operation. To become smarter and greener, public-private partnerships are essential. By improving framework conditions, these partnerships’ can for instance help to focus and optimize sustainable infrastructure investment, which is key to kick-starting wider economic growth in the Region, benefitting the European economy at large.


Category : News

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Vilnius: World Lithuanian Economic Forum
June 03, 2013 08:00 —
June 03, 2013 20:00

Litexpo Exhibition Centre, Laisvės avenue 5, Vilnius LT-04215, Lithuania

WLEF is an event that brings together leading international and local economic players across a range of industries. The main event idea is to deliver this unique dialogue with leading Lithuanians from around the world so that they will make connections and explore the opportunities that Lithuania has to create a powerful global community of Lithuanians overseas.
The forum will gather business leaders, entrepreneurs, creators and successfull personalities of Lithuanian origin from USA, UK, China, Russia, Estonia, Belgium, France and other countries. The event will attract over 1000 participants, seeking to share their global business and management experience.

Business and government leaders will search for answers how should Lithuanian economy compete in the world by using nowadays global challenges, opportunities in various fields of economy. International speakers will present macro-economic global and Lithuanian forecast, they will reveal answers how to grow business successfully, find global markets, how and where to invest.


Category : News

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Lithuanian in Copenhagen: Expat community helps business go more smoothly

Despite all the efforts to integrate Europe into one single market, divisions between national markets persist - of cultural nature at least. It is hardly surprising that when Lithuanian entrepreneurs find themselves doing business in a foreign land, they seek help of their compatriots.


Category : News

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Lithuania's Economy Minister sees no conflict of private-public interests in her actions and plans to stay on

Lithuania's Economy Minister Birutė Vėsaitė says she did not get into a conflict of private and public interests by flying to a business forum in Kazakhstan on an eight-seat business-class airplane chartered by Arvi company.


Category : News

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Ukraine takes “active steps” to win the sympathy of Germany
Hopes to have an initial EU Agreement signed at the 28-29 November Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

Ukraine is taking “active steps” to win the sympathy of Germany, the country most strongly opposed to the signature of a landmark association agreement with the EU in the absence of a solution to the imprisonment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, diplomats told EurActiv this week.

As part of Ukraine’s campaign to win Germany’s sympathies, the country’s deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vilkul visited Berlin on 22-23 May, meeting with senior German officials in an attempt to highlight economic benefits the Association Agreement will bring to Germany and the European Union as a whole.

The association agreement, totalling more than 1,000 pages, was initiated more than a year ago but its signature is awaiting progress on conditions imposed by the EU, including the release from prison of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Ukraine hopes to have the Association Agreement signed at the 28-29 November Eastern Partnership summit, held in Vilnius under the Lithuanian EU Presidency.

Lithuania, Estonia and other EU countries favour the signature of the agreement, in spite of the imprisonment of Tymoshenko, arguing that the Union should not lose Ukraine over the fate of one person.
Category : News


Have your say. Send to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
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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