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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

26 July 2017
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Opinions

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Vilnius authorities
ban upcoming
Baltic Pride march


Vilnius municipal authorities ban the upcoming Baltic Pride march, even if Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court this week confirmed a ruling from the First Instance Court, stating that the Vilnius municipality was in breach of domestic law on peaceful assemblies by denying the possibility for the march to take place in the city centre.

Last January, Vilnius municipal authorities said the march could not be held along the Gediminas Avenue, in the centre of the city, claiming it would force shops and hotels to shut down due to security concerns, and, instead, proposed a secluded location along the banks of the Neris River.

Municipal authorities also claim the proposed route is too close to judicial and governmental buildings, raising national security concerns. However, in the past, demonstrations have been allowed on the same avenue.

“The decision to ban the Baltic Pride march on security grounds is disproportionate, given that the Vilnius authorities refused to engage in constructive discussions with the Lithuania Gay League, despite rulings by domestic Courts’ saying that negotiations had to be re-opened,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has launched a petition calling on Lithuanian authorities to ensure the event takes place according to the organizers’ plans and that adequate protection is provided.

The Vilnius municipal authorities sought to block the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius in 2010, but the event ultimately went ahead following a court-ruling.

“It is frankly amazing that three years after the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius, we are back in exactly the same situation as before, with the City authorities openly refusing to respect the freedom of assembly of Pride participants and seemingly prepared to ignore administrative court rulings.”

Comments

Arunas Teiserskis The problem here is social conservatism, which has nothing to do with nationhood or freedom. Discrimination of gays was just recently widely accepted by lots of societies in the world and even enshrined in many religions (and still is). So changing this attitude won't be easy and will definitely not be done by means of directives "from above". Take note, that Lithuanian people were liberated from Soviet ideology, which they tried to replace either by Western liberalism or the same Western mainly Christian conservatism. And both proponents of those conflicting ideologies are accusing each other of being Soviet-style, what doesn't help to discuss in calm fashion. And by virtue of being anti-Soviet even neo-Nazis are deemed by social conservatives as less appalling than the open gayness. This problem exists in the West as well (especially taking into account recent decision of Supreme Court in the US, because if there were no problems with than, there would have been no need of Supreme Court involvement), so this is just another case of worldwide problem in separate country - which should be confronted, of course. Though one didn't talk about the whole US and its all population acting in backward and primitive fashion, when the DOMA was voted in. So please reserve your criticism for the conservative part of Lithuanian society, not the whole country. Especially when the Lithuanian court already ruled out that Vilnius Municipality's policies towards the parade broke the already existing Lithuanian laws.


Mary Ann Albee Bigotry in any form is still spelled the same.


Ricardas Cepas If somebody decided to be Napoleon or Czar they have medical atention. If sobebody decides to be Gay, their rights are protected. Thats not fair towards Napoleons or Czars;)


Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, AFAIK, rights of "Napoleons and Czars" in modern society are to be equally protected as well of all other people, no matter what you decide or born to be. You should check your (total lack of) knowledge on legal matters in this field, if you think it is lawful in Lithuania to discriminate against people with mental disorder (not talking about your ethics to mock on this issue in this discussion).


Mary Ann Albee Being gay is not a mental illness nor does it use brutal and deadly force against those who do not march to their drummer.


Timotiejus Sevelis AMEN Sista!

Don't forget, GAYS are environmentally friendly....We don't add new people to the planet!!! LOL

NOW!! get out of my bedroom and let me have fun with my boyfriend!!!


Ricardas Cepas Arunas,
1. My problem is not that you Gay, its your private choice, my problem is, that you promote your private choice to children and people, which did not born Gay and you do it outside of your private life and do that hiding behind core values of human rights. By the way, Nazis use this strategy to come to power back then.

2. You mentioned "modern societies" it usually comes and goes, in my humble opinion, its more fashion of these years, then shift of core values, for some of us fortunatelly for some unfortunatelly. But I agree fashion always was hot topic. Remember Hipies "free love" movements? Where are they today?
So choice of promoting Gays by any means in press, demonstrations and etc., looks like natural survival strategy worldwide and has nothing to do with Human rights.

3. And if you born Gay-be it, dont promote it to children who were not born Gays. Respect their rights similary like I respect your private choice.


Linas Johansonas Ricardas Cepas Gays are born gay. And every gay was a child. What kind of "promotion" are you afraid of for children? You cannot turn a child or adult gay. Just like you didn't choose to be straight. It happens naturally within us. There is nothing wrong with teaching children that there are gay people in the world. It's a part of life.

and yes Ricardai, gay rights have to do with human rights.


Ricardas Cepas Linas Johansonas, Children are addicts to any advertising and they tent to try stuff when its promoted everywhere so hard.


Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, I'm not gay, I'm very straight, married and have children. Meanwhile you're obviously dumb. Because you don't realize, that one in no possible means can "advertise" any straight person into being gay. And vice versa. It's not drugs and neither it is fashion. Go and educate yourself a bit, before pretending being smart.


Linas Johansonas  Ricardas Cepas: no one is promoting gay sex to them. For example, the gay march is about gay rights, not sex. yes, some teenagers do experiment with gay sex just like they experiment with straight sex & you know what, thats how some find out whether they are straight or gay. Teenagers having sex is going to happen without any promotion. It's a fact of life. Thats why you have to have sex education for teens. As for young children, they aren't developed enoiugh to be interested in any sex.


Wyman Brent I am straight and married and my wife and I will soon have our first child. We do not believe that knowing gay people exists will turn our child gay. He may be born gay but it will have nothing to do with the knowledge that others are gay. That would be like saying all gay people will become straight because they know that most people are straight.

Category : Opinions

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How can we make the world aware of Lithuania, its 50 years of nonviolant resistance against the USSR?

GameChanger: A film about Lithuania's nonviolent resistance
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Ruta Musonis 
This is great, Aage!!


David Zincavage 
My grandfather came to America in 1912 after violently resisting the Russian Occupation.


Mia Pia 
My grandparents and parents lost everything, due to the violent wars and occupation by the USSR.


Ida Hardy 
We need a feature film like Hunting for Red October - but with more of the details of Lithuania. Or an epic romance featuring the beautiful countryside, following ten generations and what they saw in their lifetime. But whoever writes it please let there be a happy ending?


Aage Myhre 
Rima Alessandra, please let Ida Hardy have some idea about your potential 'happy ending'


Rima Alessandra Gungor,
GameChanger Director, at the remaining barricade elements that still remain outside the Parliament as visible symbols of Lithuania's nonviolent revolution in 1991.
Category : Opinions

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Lithuanian Midsummer

Midsummer Day is a festival of simple people, connected with the veneration of fire. Young girls adorn their heads with flower wreaths. A tall pole with a wooden wheel soaked in tar or filled with birch bark is hoisted at the top of the highest hill in the vicinity. Men whose names are Jonas (John) set the wheels on fire and make bonfires around it. In some places a second pole is hoisted with flowers and herbs. Young people dance round the fire, sing songs about rye, play games, men try to jump over the fire. The burning wheels on the poles are rolled down the hill into a river or a lake at its foot, men jumping over it all along. On the Midsummer Day people weed the rye and burn all the weeds.

On Midsummer Day's morning witches acquire special powers, they drag towels over the dewy grass to affect cows' milk. To save their cows from the witches' magic farmers shut them in cowsheds for the Midsummer Night and stick bunches of nettle in the door to scare the witches away. On Midsummer Day cows are driven out to pasture in the early after- noon when there is no more dew on the grass. Horses, however, are left to graze in the open throughout the night, or the witches magic has no effect on them.

On Midsummer Day dew has special healing powers. Young girls wash their faces in it to make themselves beautiful, older people do the same to make themselves younger. It is good to walk barefoot in dew on Midsummer Day's morning, for it saves the skin from getting chapped.

Midsummer Day and the time immediately preceding it is believed to have special powers. Medicinal herbs collected from June 1 to the Midsummer Day can cure 12 (some say 99) diseases.

Read more…
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Ida Hardy
What are YOU doing for this year's Solstice and Super Moon?
http://vilnews.com/2011-01-su-joninem


Boris Bakunas What a wonderful post! Thank you, Ida!


Sandra Abramovich Love this and am sharing it!


Ida Hardy Thank Aage Myhre - he's the original! It is a beautiful description isn't it? Are you doing something special?
Category : Opinions

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Many tend to think of Russia as a sad and grey country, often forgetting what a prominent cultural power this nation in fact is


Wyman Brent I have not visited Russia since the time I was there during the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Val Samonis I am one of those rusophiles (fluent in Russian, etc) even though I am a lifetime anti-Soviet, anti-communist persecuted by Polish and Soviet secret services and I asked & received a political asylum in North America!


Jenifer C. Dillis "Sad & grey" are the souls of those persecuted...I've never been, but as an American Lithuanian, I appreciate the arts, traditions, and cultures that escaped the greyness and heaviness which may forever be associated with such a nation/government...


Irena Dzikija Never thought about Russia as sad or grey. Russia and Russians are colourful  The Putin's regime makes it seem so. Have you ever been to St Petersburg?


Aage Myhre Yes, Irena Dzikija, I have been to St. Petersburg. Would have liked to make a separate story on the city and the Italian influenced art and architecture there and along the Baltic Sea nations throughout the centuries... 


Vincas Karnila Comrade Putin has been notorious for doing a lot of things but this is the first time ever I’ve ever heard of him or his iron clad, Soviet style administration described as making Rusija “colorful”
For the sake of all the civilized world, please give us your definition of “colorful”


Vincas Karnila From Ms. Dzikija or anyone else that can somehow explain how Comrade Putin is “colorful”. 
I whole heartedly agree that Rusija has some many absolutely beautiful areas and who cannot enjoy the gregarious charm of many of the Rusijos people – BUT Putin and his administration making Rusija “colorful”????????? PLEASE explain this one to me?????????


Irena Dzikija Vincai, I meant Putin's regime (do you know the definition of the word?) makes it seem sad and grey, to my mind. I do not know Russia, I have never lived there, but I know a little bit their culture, speak very good Russian. Have relatives in St Petersburg. My grandmother - a fantastic lady was Russian. RIP. Satisfied ?


Boris Bakunas Russian literature and music ranks among the world's greatest. Just think Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoievski, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Yesenin, Ahkmatova, Blok, Nabakov, Solzhenitsyn, Josef Brodsky, etc.

And in music, Tsaichovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Stravinsky, Prokoviev, Rachmaninoff...

One must never confuse people with the government they are stuck with.


Vincas Karnila Ačiū p. Irena kad Jus paaiškinote - “colorful” is one of those English words that can mean many many different things and with the exception of one, they are all positive. I would say that if someone wanted to describe comrade Putin as “colorful” they could and this would be using the only negative meaning of the word. There are so many ways that I would use “colorful” in very positive ways to describe Rusija.

Aš laimingas, kad mes susitariame :o)


Vincas Karnila You are so right Boris – Rusija is truly rich in culture. 
It was sad how so many artists were suppressed during Soviet times


Boris Bakunas @Vincas Karnila. Yes, Vincas, So many sent to the camps, shot, or forced to commit suicide! 

Sometimes when I hear the word "civilization," I cringe. The 20th century has been the bloodiest in all of human history. That's civilization?

And then I think of the kind of lives lived by individual human beings who were able to rise and live like eagles. Think of Kudirka and Basanavicius. Think of our partizanai! Think of the priests and ministers who refused to renounce their beliefs under torture and ministered to their brethren in Siberia.

Such people exist in all nations. They live on in our memories like beacons leading us to a higher form of life -- beyond the daily grind for money-making or the desperate pursuit of diversion in fleeting pleasures. We can learn about them through the books they have written, or through the books written about them.

Who among us has not experienced the profound influence a book read at the right time can have on our lives? 

As bad as the economic situation in Lithuania is right now, at least our people have the right to read what they choose and say what they think. We can be in control of our lives right now!
Category : Opinions

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Every Lithuanian suffered. Christian, Jew, Pagan, even the Hitlerist invaders and the Soviet soldiers suffered

By Ida Hardy, Texas, USA

Dear everyone, 

While historians try to piece together the stories of 'who suffered more' during the times of our parents and grandparents, and while they get entrenched in the details of soviet interrogations and torture and public atrocities and Siberian exiles and illegal imprisonment and young children working in salt mines and the humilities and deaths of so many and compare those sad sufferings to the relegation of Jewish people to ghettoes and the killing and torture and forced labor - while the historians try to keep score as if it is some sort of macabre game - while all of this gruesome comparison is going on can the rest of us acknowledge a couple of things?

First - every Lithuanian suffered. Christian, Jew, Pagan, even the Hitlerist invaders and the soviet soldiers suffered. The Polish people and the Germans and Prussians suffered. Everyone suffered in wwii. So many dead in every country.

Second - every human has a lower self and a higher self. We all have the capacity to cause suffering. There are things we must actively do as individuals and collectively to prevent ourselves from acting on those base possibilities.


Jonas Dainius Berzanskis 
Revenge does not work!


Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown 
Well said!


Jon Platakis I do not believe Lithuanians play the "who suffered more" comparison game. It is unfortunate that comparatively few people in the west know and understand what happened to the Lithuanians and other eastern Europeans at the close of WWII. All that Lithuanians are attempting to accomplish is to simply tell their side of the story to the world. Let us not forget that Lithuania, except for brief periods of freedom, has been savagely occupied for approximately 200 years. There is so much to tell from the Lithuanian perspective, and let us be not shy about doing so.


Ida Hardy Not all - but some do. All suffering should be acknowledged. And you're right - so many in the west have NO idea of what soviet occupation was like. My wish is not to stop the conversation - but to increase understanding.
Category : Opinions

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The never-ending Polish – Lithuanian neighbour dispute

Aage Myhre A few years ago my wife and I fell into conversation with two Poles in Oslo. When they heard that my wife was from Lithuania, they were quick to assert that the Vilnius area is actually Polish and never should have been given to Lithuania after World War II. My wife immediately responded that the area Punsk in eastern Poland in reality is Lithuanian and should be re-incorporated into the mother-country. The dispute was in full swing.

I have subsequently many times seen texts reminiscent of history forgery when Polish and international historians describe the Polish-Lithuanian relations in the later Middle Ages. The relationship is often described as if Poland was the leading nation and Lithuania a province in the east, while the reality was as the map above shows, with Lithuania as Europe’s biggest nation for centuries.

But Lithuania is not much better in its attitudes versus Poland and the Poles.
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Comments

I have a colleague, who is from the US and is probably of Polish descent (don't know for sure), who once asked me which country I from (answer: Lithuania) and then asked which part of Lithuania: Lithuanian or Polish?

Arunas Teiserskis I have a colleague, who is from the US and is probably of Polish descent (don't know for sure), who once asked me which country I from (answer: Lithuania) and then asked which part of Lithuania: Lithuanian or Polish? I told him in response that there is no such thing and Polish or Lithuanian parts, only the small section of country, which was occupied by Pilsudsky in between WWI and WWII and that's the only time it was considered Polish. Well, he never said hello to me again, always pretend he's looking other way
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What shocked and worried me when my wife and I met the said two Poles in Oslo, was their intrusive insolence and arrogance in relation to Lithuania

Aage Myhre Arunas Teiserskis, What immediately shocked and worried me when my wife and I met the said two Poles in Oslo, was their intrusive insolence and arrogance in relation to Lithuania. My wife is not a person who gets 'impressed' by such, but I personally got a lot of food for thought. Especially knowing that it now is more than 70 years since the Polish occupation of Vilnius and South-West Lithuania came to its end...
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Poles still consider that they haven't regained their losses

Arunas Teiserskis  Well, it can be explainable. Contemporary Polish national psyche was constructed on the notion, that Poland was one of the biggest victims of WWII. Well, it was actually - but the devil is in the details. Not only it was first invaded by Germany and subsequently Soviets, but it was partitioned and remained so after the war. It took almost 60 years for Poland to become fully independent, but Poles still consider that they haven't regained their losses - territorial, in this particular case. Despite the fact that some of those territories there gained by dubious means soon after the regaining of Polish independence after WWI. By trying to tell that to them, is like telling victim of the crime, that it is responsible for it, at least in some way. It will always hurt and it will be met very emotionally. The situation (on both Lithuanian and Polish sides) won't change to the better, if the self-created and self-pitying national legends will be promoted still further and further.
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Lithuanians (and Polish alike) should take note of Irish example

Arunas Teiserskis Actually I have genuine Polish colleagues as well, and we are still friends, despite having argued on another eternal question - Adam Mickewicz: was he Polish or Lithuanian?  Well in that case, Ireland's example (I live in Dublin) was a good example. It actually shows, that you may be Irish by being native English speaker and local writers may be considered both Irish and English without trying to monopolise them just for one nation. I think Lithuanians (and Polish alike) should take note of Irish example in this particular case.
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The real tragedy is that Lithuanian history, for over 200 years, has been misrepresented, maligned, and hi-jacked

Jon Platakis The real tragedy is that Lithuanian history, for over 200 years, has been misrepresented, maligned, and hi-jacked by foreign occupiers and even our neighbors.
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If you want the west to know the history of Lietuva, you have to tell them in English

Ida Hardy But isn't that true of all history in every country everywhere? I mean how far should we all go back in order to determine whom should be given which land and what do we do with the people living there now?

How do we spread the truth of the history of Lietuva? Tell the correct versions to your children and remind them of what was - but here we are - so many years later. Teach everyone the songs of our people and keep the rituals and the respect for nature. That's how. Where are the bi-lingual stories and songs for children? If you want the west to know, you have to tell them in English.
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Reconnecting 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation, non-Lithuanian speaking individuals

Jon Platakis That is exactly what we, at the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame, are attempting to do, reconnecting 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation, non-Lithuanian speaking individuals, who have a Lithuanian heritage, to their roots. We have been successful in introducing books with Lithuanian content in some public schools. We have taken the lead in debunking the notion that Lithuania was a mere grand duchy and that her rulers were mere grand dukes. It is through our people that we will grasp the opportunity to tell Lithuania's story.
Category : Opinions

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Vanda and Vytautas Sliupas.

Lithuanian officials were courteous to me, until yesterday

See also the below
comments to this post


After the reestablishment of Independence I alone, or occasionally with my wife Vanda, have visited Lithuania 37 times. Until now I was happy to say that everyplace I went, Lithuanian officials were courteous to me, always managed to see me even on short notice, and were respectful. This was until yesterday when I experienced my very first intentional snubbing in Lithuania by Kestutis Kurselis, the relatively new Director of Vytautas War Museum in Kaunas.

As you had written in the 2010 VilNews, during the 600 year anniversary of Zalgiris Battle, my wife and I donated our own work, very large gobellin of the battle, on which we had worked for 15 years.

The Zalgiris Battle (1410)

The previous Director of the Museum, dr. Gintautas Surgailis came personally from Kaunas to accept this gift. Subsequently it was displayed for several weeks at the Seimas (Parliament) Building in Vilnius, it was taken on an international tour and finally was properly and respectfully placed in the War Museum. That was when dr. Gintautas Surgailis was the Director.

Lately I was informed by several Lithuanian-American friends that our gift gobellin was no longer being displayed at the Museum. While traveling through Kaunas yesterday I stopped to inquire. As normal to me, I went to see the Director Kestutis Kurselis but his secretary came out twice to inform me that Director will not see me. I was surprised, to say the least, that a mere director of a public museum felt he could brush me off, even though his secretary informed that he was in his office alone.

This was a first brushoff to me in over 20 years of continuous visits to Lithuania. I guess the new generation of government officials have no longer the customary respects. My father, dr. Jonas Sliupas is a three-time recipient of Honorary Doctarate Degrees from the Vytautas Magnus University, located next door to the Museum. This honor is not bestowed upon any other person (even dr. J. Basanavicius is a recipient of only 2 such honors). For the good works performed for Lithuania I have received many '' Thank You's'' from Pres. Valdas Adamkus, dr. Vytautas Landsbergis and many other Ministers of State, and the Siauliai University recently made me an Honorary Member of the Senate. Thus, I was really surprised being treated as a third rank persona-non-grata.

Needless to say, our gift gobellin is now in the Museums storage and there was no assurance given by a Deputy Director as to when, or if, it would be displayed again.

Vytautas Sliupas, P.E.
Burlingame, California

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Comments:


Rachel Croucher "... Mere director of a public museum"

"Mere" director? Not exactly a respectful attitude to have towards directors of museums all across the country. Nevertheless, although he might have been in his office it is possible he could have been busy on a conference call or many other things. Did you enquire as to why he was unable to meet you?


Aage Myhre "Sending e-mail to Lithuania is like sending it to the black hole of the universe." This was a phrase from a post in VilNews two years ago... http://vilnews.com/?p=5009



Rachel Croucher Last time I was in Lithuania I do recall there being telephones in the country, but nevertheless I have no idea how your link answers any of my questions. So I guess I will just have to assume that no subsequent attempt to confirm whether or not the director actually was busy was made. Not to mention you did not address the use of the offensive term "mere" director.


Arunas Teiserskis if you want to see a "black hole" attitude towards emails, go to Ireland or the UK. There is almost zero possibility somebody from public office, especially at the lower level, i.e., museums, schools, hospitals, etc., will answer your emails. Even companies quite often give no answer at all. The only fail-safe way to communicate there is to call by phone - and in no way you may come in person unscheduled, you'll be dismissed straight away. In this aspect I remember Lithuania as a heaven. On other issues I support Rachel's opinion, that people might be occupied, so if Mr. Sliupas gives no proof that he persistently was snubbed, I would find it quite difficult to believe that this was made deliberately.


Aage Myhre Arunas Teiserskis, bureaucrats and public officials certainly have a tendency, worldwide, to make themselves relatively inaccessible. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I some days sent an email to a public office in my home country Norway. An automatic reply came immediately up, saying that I would get reply from an executive officer within five days. After four days I got a good and detailed answer 


Lina Petrauske But Aage this is the reason why you are moving back to your home country Norway, isn't it? There is no better place than your home place, right? There is no reason to compare with anything else.


Aage Myhre Well Lina Petrauske, I do in fact not have many reasons to complain about Lithuanian bureaucracy either. Except from those terrible days in the 1990s when I had to apply for visas, waiting in Soviet corridors for hours, and when finally being let into the office of the right clerk to know I was lacking one document and had to return next day, as the rules again had changed (there were new rules every year) 


Lina Petrauske Then I am sorry I misunderstood you. I have got it a little bit in a different way when reading this post...


Lina Petrauske 
Arunas Teiserskis last month i have got an e-mail answer from Cork Revenue office  it took them 2 months to answer but still the progress is obvious- they started to do it 


Ida Hardy I read the original article but when I went back to re-read it, the link does not take me to it. Can someone please look at that? 
Also, if there is some way to prevent your local government workers from turning into cold, uncaring offices with directors who have names but no faces you should do it. 

In the US the postal service is known for this attitude, but in my little town there is one post office that has people working there who actually display an attitude of wanting to provide good customer service. 

It makes a huge difference! It is the only one Ive been to in any country anywhere that the people actually act like they care about a line getting longer, or that a little old man can't quite lift the package his picking up. I haven't seen that anywhere else.


Rachel Croucher PS that we are not talking about a post office or government office as such your, we are talking about and Museum. There has been no confirmation that the person concerned actually WAS busy with a prearranged appointment of some sort. Let's not jump to conclusions without the facts just because of a tiny little column of barely a few hundred words in this news portal.


Ida Hardy Isn't that museum publicly funded?


Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown Fact is, NOBODY should receive a "brush-off" from any employee of any public institution, and least of all, should disrespect be shown to a donor. Makes me ashamed of having this bozo countryman acting like a Soviet era muzhik in a supposedly cultured Lithuania. Fire him!


Jon Platakis Unfortunately, this bureaucratic problem exists worldwide. Lietuva is not immune to this problem, just as many other countries. Lietuva is making incremental strides towards the positive. So, let's not make a mountain out of a molehill:)
Category : Opinions

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"Lithuania's austerity was too harsh and too sudden"


>From Baltic Business News:
Aage Myhre, 60, is the Norwegian architect, journalist and publisher whose community building skills have made him a small expat phenomenon in Vilnius. He is about to return to his home country after twenty two years in Vilnius, taking along his Lithuanian spouse and two daughters, but leaving his other object of admiration, Vilnius' Old Town, behind. 

news2biz met Aage to ask him to reflect on his Lithuanian stay that lasted much longer than he expected.
Q: In Norway, Lithuanians last year became the second biggest immigrant community. How do you feel about it?
What I don't like about Norwegian authorities is that they are discussing only what advantages (low-cost skilled labour) or disadvantages (crime) the Lithuanian immigrants create for Norway. I never heard somebody say, 'This is so bad for Lithuania that we take their best brains'. If this issue was discussed from both sides early on, the authorities could have become more focused on it and could probably come up with some solutions.
Obviously, many Lithuanians wouldn't have left their country if it wasn't for the Andrius Kubilius' Conservative government's austerity policy that started in 2008. It was like putting brakes on in a car that was already standing still. 
I personally urged Kubilius to write to Scandinavian prime ministers to seek some kind of assistance. For instance, to a country like Norway to support Lithuania would have cost very little. 
Later I met Norway's Conservative Party leader and asked if Kubilius ever asked for help and support to deal with the crisis or the energy prices pushed up by Russia. She said, no, never.
Read the whole interview HERE...
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Related articles:

Opinion: JP
Hochbaum, Chicago
The austerity
trap of the
Eurozone


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The economic argument is over, Krugman won

Lithuania’s former prime minister, Andrius Kubilius (left) is a staunch austerity advocate - for those who want to cut spending to reduce deficits and "restore confidence."

"Stimulus" spending, Paul Krugman (right) argues, would help reduce unemployment and prop up economic growth until the private sector heals itself and begins to spend again.
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Greeks won, Lithuanians lost!
By Val Samonis

Before they realized what is going on and who was robbing them, the Lithuanian people got clubbered by PM Kubilius’ ambitious austerity policy and the younger ones started emigrating in catastrophic numbers, seeing no future in the country whose GDP was reduced (from a low post-Soviet level) by some 20% by the combination of the old nomenklatura rent-seeking policies and the global Great Recession. Lithuania is hollowing out, unfortunately.

Read more…
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A far too bright picture of the present reality
By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief

The above post from Val Samonis, where he compares “crisis-hit” Greece and a Lithuania supposed to be quickly recovering from the 2008 crisis, internationally praised for its austerity measures, calls for reflection.

The difference is that while the people of Greece protest and angrily demonstrate in the streets of Athens, people here only become more and more bitter, emigrate, begets crime in other countries, etc. 

Lithuania's elderly and disadvantaged people who have seen their minimum pensions drastically cut, and mothers seeing that the child benefits are completely removed as concept, they bow their necks and become even more active in growing potatoes on their garden spots outside the city instead of standing up against the government’s unfair measures against them... 

This country's politicians claim they have been the smartest in...
__________________________

What is this country going to live on 20 years from now?

Palle Gravesen Jensen.
A Danish expat to Lithuania, owner of two manufacturing companies, Electronic House and Metalco Baltic. Member of the board of the Danish Chamber of Commerce (DCC) in Lithuania. His family was one of the three families founding the Vilnius International School.

There are a number of issues to discuss with regards to Lithuania of today, the country I made my own 16 years ago, moving from my homeland Denmark.

One particular question, however, comes to my mind again and again: What is this country going to live on 20 years from now. It is a big question. My concern is there will not be much at all if nothing is done immediately.
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (5) Comment


Vilnius and Venice
are my favourite
European citites!

Dear VilNews Readers,

I hope you find interest in my 'travel reports' from around Europe, which I now present in VilNews. The letters and photos are based on my 40 years of travelling around in 'My Europe', always with camera and notepad ready…

As an architect, it is natural for me to focus on architecture as a backdrop for my letters, but for some places architecture is the very main thing, as is the case for my two favourite cities, Vilnius and Venice...

You can read more about Venice in my travel report at
http://vilnews.com/?p=19259 
and about my dear Vilnius at 
http://vilnews.com/?p=12117
Kind Regards,
Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief
__________________________

Comments from our:
Facebook
Forum



Vijole Arbas 
I am simply surprised you have left out Kaunas -- the architecture there surpasses all.


Aage Myhre 
The architecture of Kaunas is much, much younger than the one in Vilnius, Vijole. Nevertheless, someone should write about the interwar architecture in Kaunas. Lithuanian functionalism as seen only in the Laisves Avenue ...


Vijole Arbas 
True, Aage. I just had to put in a word for my beloved city. I always believed architecture reflected how people live day in and day out, how their thinking patterns are affected, how the people worship (or don't) God. Well -- it is a discussion on its own.


Aage Myhre 
Well said, Vijole Arbas


Wyman Brent 
Aage, I do indded like your travel posts. I look forward to the day when we can meet again and discuss travel and architecture.


Susan Lucas Kazenas 
I have enjoyed your travel reports....thank you for sharing!
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (5) Comment


Egidijus Aleksandravičius
(b. 1956) - Lithuanian historian, assistant Ph.D., professor.


New association for Lithuanians living here and abroad?

Dalia Cidzikaite
Too many things that concern us, Lithuanian citizens, are decided not by us but by Lithuanian government, says Egidijus Aleksandravičius. That is why he is proposing to establish an association which will try to know better Lithuanians living abroad. The idea was presented during the seminar at VMU Lithuanian Emigration Institute on May 17, 2013. I am sure we will hear about it more in the future.
__________________________

Comments from our:
Facebook
Forum



Linas Johansonas Don't we already have an "association" that represents Lithuanians abroad: World Lithuanian Community (Pasaulio Lietuviu Bendruomene)?


Dalia Cidzikaite As far as I can tell, the goal of a new association would be not to represent Lithuanians living abroad, but to know them better.


Vijole Arbas as it is the World Community does not pay taxes to Lithuania, thereby crippling the country. Do we really need to know more?


Linas Johansonas Vijole Arbas: while the world community doesn't pay taxes to Lithuania, it does give Lithuania lots of money via: visiting Lithuania, sending money to family, financially supporting various charity organizations, buying Lithuanian products ....etc.


Jon Platakis Vijole Arbas, I have no idea why you are so divisive when it comes to the world Lithuanian community. As Linas Johansonas so succinctly mentioned, take away our tourism, the money we send, and support of charitable organizations, and Lithuania would re...See More


Algimantė Danilaitė Vijole, some lithuanians in Lithuania does not pay taxes too. I don't care if some of lithuanians lives abroad, it's their personal choice. I really appreciate all the efforts to make Lithuania better country. Jon Platakis well said about working together. Sometimes I feel that some of lithuanians really likes to bite each other.


Vijole Arbas I am weary of the increasing burden. More responsible citizens lightens the load for everyone. I do get angry about that. The World Community demands privileges but does not carry any burden of responsibility.


Boris Bakunas Scolding people is an ineffective way of encouraging them to do what you want. Strong people resent being told what they must do. I believe Lithuanians have proved that during their centuries-long fight for freedom.

Lithuania has signed many conventions with other countries banning double taxation. They are readily available on the internet for anyone wishing to take the trouble of googling the key words "Double Taxation Lithuania."

And why should anybody pay taxes to a government rife with corrupt politicians? 

Almost all the Lithuanians I know have been sending money to their Lithuanian relatives since Krushchev allowed correspondence between Lithuanians at home and their families abroad. We thought of many ingenious ways of concealing the money so that it would not be stolen by corrupt postal officials. I won't reveal the methods used, because even today such theft occurs.

Instead of complaining, why not praise the work done by such organizations as Lithuanian Mercy Lift. Praise is a much better teacher than blame.

http://www.lithuanianmercylift.org/
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment


VilNews must be one of the absolutely better magazines in Europe, well written and with excellent photos. Be proud!

Ivar Enoksen, Norway

Ivar Enoksen has many years experience of working in the Norwegian press, television and movie industry. He got the Norwegian Amanda Award for the series manuscript ‘Nattseilere’ (Night sailors). Enoksen has done extensive historical research related to the Arctic areas. He is represented with fiction in several anthologies, and has in recent years also worked as a teacher of film dramaturgy. In 2007 Enoksen published the book  'Tusen glemte menn og historien om den virkelige James Bond' ' (Thousand forgotten men and the story of the real James Bond).
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment


Two new
VilNews editors!

We are pleased to announce that VilNews has got two new skilled Associate Editors, Dalia Cidzikaite and Daiva Repečkaitė. We can say with certainty that they are going to mean a lot for our worldwide, online e-publication and the accompanying wonderful network of global readers with Lithuania in their hearts. Please welcome them! See also our Section 2 and Section 3.
__________________________


Eugene Rangayah 
Welcome! Looking forward to some great editorials!


Vytenis Folkmanas 
welcome !!!


Dalia Cidzikaite 
Thank you! We will do our best!


Algis Ruksenas 
Sveikinu nuosirdziai ir linkiu visakeriopos sekmes!


Ingrida Bublys 
Silciausi sveikinimai!


Teresa Boguta 
sveikinimai Dalia ! Sekmes ir kurybingu metu!


Ben Kordell 
Sveikinu Dalia. Viskas bus okee dokee.


Kestutis Stanciauskas 
Sveikinu!!!


Dalia Cidzikaite 
Ačiū visiems už sveikinimus.
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment


Healing the heart and
soul of Lithuania

By Ida Hardy, Texas, USA

Lithuania is my mother’s country. She escaped with her mother and sisters as a young child and at one point in her life she wanted to return. It seemed to me that she heard the whispers from the wind in the forests and they were calling her home. My mother taught us a little about the folk tales and the music. She taught us to meditate and a little bit about yoga and I wanted to learn more about her childhood home. But the Soviets were still reigning and it was impossible for us to go. Later, as we cried on the phone on that day in 1991 I asked her if she would like to return and she said, “You can never go back. Things are changed so much.”

Her message was about more than the structure of her home and the murder of her father. She was really talking about the broken spirits of all the people who were victims, those who were aggressors, and those who were both. There is no going back. No one can undo the evil that has taken place anywhere on the planet throughout time.
is.

Read more...
__________________________


Gordon Ross So... The Soviets are gone.... Why are you still in Texas?


Aage Myhre Ida Hardy, I think 
Gordon Ross (from Scotland but already half Lithuanian), has a good point 

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn1/s32x32/157706_100002004350108_1707179859_q.jpg
Ida Hardy I think it's a good question...not sure I have a good answer.


Virginia Shimkute warmer in Texas is a good reason ! 

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn1/s32x32/157706_100002004350108_1707179859_q.jpg
Ida Hardy One year I should go in July or August when it is too warm here.


Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown I also escaped from the Soviets arriving in Lithuania (for the second time) in 1944, and I also dreamt of forests and streams from my childhood. Luckily, I've gone back over and over since we regained independence: mostly because nowhere can I get the real CEPELINAI except in Lithuania! Something about the potatoes from that black soil!

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn1/s32x32/157706_100002004350108_1707179859_q.jpg
Ida Hardy Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown have you written your story? I want to know what your life was like and what happened to you - and if you have a nice recipe for cepelinai?


Boris Bakunas @Gordon Ross. I have a good answer. Because in the free world, people have the right to live where they want. Let us remember that our wishes are not commands that others must obey.


Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown Ida - I actually have written down the story of our family's existence under Soviets and Nazis (1939-1945), our harrowing escape from Lithuania with the Soviets at our heels, life in the DP camps... It's at the publisher's now and should be coming out this summer: called "God, Give Us Wings." I see that many of us in sunset years are setting down the history we lived before it all fades into oblivion.


Boris Bakunas @Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown. Yes, we are. It's so important for our children and children to know what our families endured. It can be a source of strength in times of hardship. Whenever something unfortunate happens to me, I automatically say, "This is nothing compared to WWII."

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn1/s32x32/157706_100002004350108_1707179859_q.jpg
Ida Hardy I will read it. I think it was too difficult to talk about and my mother didn't give too many details. She was maybe 9 when they fled. So much suffering and for so long. I don't blame her for avoiding the subject.


Boris Bakunas My family rarely spoke about the events of World War II as well. It took a lot of research to find out even the little I have learned. Some memories are so painful that people want to bury them. I believe, however, that we are better off if we face time. In time, they cease to have a hold on us. How else can we become free?


Bernard Terway We can go back a lot further than WW2 to find Lithuanians who left but were still afraid to talk about where they came from. To this day, I have no idea where my grandparents came from n Lithuania. They wold not talk about it for fear of being sent back and forced into the Russian army, I suspect.

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn1/s32x32/157706_100002004350108_1707179859_q.jpg
Ida Hardy Yes, facing your fears is important but I think so many people need help in order to do it in a productive way so that they move through the difficulty instead if getting caught up in the resentment, anger, fear and stopping there. Long-held and tightly-held anger is a burden.


Felicia Dalia Prekeris Brown Ah those difficult memories! I was lucky: I TAPED my parents reminiscing about the years from 39 to 45, and they also wrote down some things to give me a good timeline. I was 7 in 1945 and remembered events but not the sequence. I also had many documents and letters: thank God my father had the soul of an archivist! Thus I had a stack of materials to guide me.


Ida Hardy And thank God your father lived to tell!  God bless you for doing the work.
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment


Boris went to Siauliai to see his
grandmother’s sister before she died.


Can good come
from selfishness?

By Boris Vytautas Bakunas

I want to tell you a true story. During a trip to Lithuania a few years ago, I drove to the city of Siauliai to see my grandmother’s sister before she died. At 97 she was the oldest surviving member of my family.

My reason for visiting her was not only selfish, but it was based on an illusion…

Read more...

__________________________


Rimgaudas Vidziunas great story...lesson learned 'do for others as you would have them do to you'. Now I learned that somewhere. Oh Yes, the 'Ten Commandments'
__________________________

Irena Kenneley 
Synchronicity/meaningful coincidence--how awesome is the fact that you were able to take a step back, connect the dots so that they include your inner and outer world, surroundings, emotional state, and motivations to come full circle and realize the deep implications of your visit and its effects on yourself and those around you! If it's one thing I've learned over the years is that taking care of oneself is not selfish! I admire your writing style! Great story.... 
__________________________

Eugene Rangayah Heartfelt Boris! I don't even have the words! Family and connections are so important to maintain!
__________________________

Sandra Abramovich A wonderful story!
__________________________

Vijole Arbas death is something like taking a long trip
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment


Lithuanian President Dalia
Grybauskaitė with Iceland’s
Ambassador Elin Flygenring.


How can Lithuania
learn from Iceland?

The Icelandic government failed to convince its own citizens in the elections this weekend, and the conservative opposition claimed poll win as voters returned parties that ruled over 2008 financial collapse back to power.

But the present Icelandic government has, nevertheless, something important to teach the eurozone, according to an Icelandic economics professor.

While droves of businesses have had to close its doors in Euro cities like Rome and Athens, the business community in Reykjavik avoided mass death. But it could have gone differently, says economics professor Thórólfur Matthíasson at the University of Iceland.

Read more...

__________________________

Response from
Eythor Edvardsson

Eythor Edvardsson Well, the fact is that we read more in foreign media about the success and progress of the leaving government than in the Icelandic ones. Government failed to protect the homes from the collapse, home loans have increased 40-50% since 2008 which has in many cases exceeded home values. People who owned f.o.e. 50% equity before crisis have nothing now. But the ones who had savings in banks, government protected. 

Elections now were won mainly by the party who made a promise to correct the home loan situation. Whether they will manage or not will be interesting to see but they are mainly looking towards finding the money to do so by taxing the funds and investors who took over the fallen banks in Iceland who already are making billions ISK profit.

Government who fell 2008 was blamed for collapse, crisis and whatever went wrong. However, after a research and being taken to court as PM of that government had to face, nothing came out of it and he only guilty of not informing his fellow ministers good enough in the roughest times.

Our welfare party who claims they did great in the last four years got 56.000 votes in election 2009. Now, they got 26.000 votes. Tells alot about how the people see the great work the world believes they did...

What Lithuania can
learn from Iceland
is hard to see

Eythor Edvardsson What Lithuania can learn from it is hard to see. Iceland has its own currency that lost a great value helping our export greatly. Iceland's economy stands on several pollars. Fish industry, Energy industry, great hugely growing tourism, agriculture, IT etc. 
Our population with only 320. 000 people ( with Lithuanians as our third nation in Iceland) gives flexibility.

I believe that Lithuania did great already in the recession with the "Inner devaluation". With a currency pegged to the EURO, it's hands were tightened. But with dealing with the situation by "tightening the belt by two holes" for the Lithuanian nation, they will
come out of the crisis stronger. Until, the LT economy might not be so "sexy" but will make the country more attractive for investors around the world. 

LT should use these times and emphasise on increasing the quality of education in LT. After all, LT does have two times more of people with higher education than the average European country does. 

Education and Culture are the key words for LT from my point of view into the future.

Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (0) Comment

Lithuanian economy on the way up. REALLY?



Sorry to disappoint!

What happened is only a blip on the screen:)Who cares about the blips:) Actually, they only mislead people!

I TOLD YOU SO LONG AGO!

But I hope for a miracle as everybody does, good luck to us:)

But seriously, contrary to Prof. Prof. Reinhart & Rogoff (both at Harvard, now they admit that their econometric model was wrong!), government deficit spending, pursued judiciously, remains the single most effective tool societies have to fight against mass unemployment caused by severe recessions (60% youth unemployed in Europe in 2013!).

Too deep austerity in the EU imposed horrible costs on the societies (esp. middle class) and will actually substantially increase the public debt of deep austerity countries (like LT) because, as a result of austerity, the output has dropped horrendously (some 22-25%) and now growing in some countries (e.g. LT) only very slowly, compared to similar development level countries (China, other Asia). 

The GDP will take more than a decade to return to the pre-austerity level (sic!).

I TOLD YOU SO LONG AGO!

Seeing that, young, entrepreneurial and productive people have been emigrating in droves, very big loss to LT!


Valdas Samonis, PhD, CPC
The Web Professor of Global Management(SM)

Category : Opinions

OPINIONS

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...
* * *


Text: Saulene Valskyte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...
* * *

* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *

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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* * *
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