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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

27 May 2017
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Travel Lithuania!

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http://vilnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/herbas.png

 

KAUNAS

IN FOCUS

 

IMG_7360

Kaunas, Lithuania's second largest city and former capital, is receiving much attention in VilNews this winter. We focus on history, business, culture, innovation, tourism and more. We would also like to hear from you who have your personal Kaunas story to tell...

Send us your Kaunas story!
editor@VilNews.com

 

 

Visit Kaunas this winter! 

Šančiai (Kaunas), Lithuania, 1925.
Kaunas happiness year 1925.
Photo: http://amberreunion.blogspot.com/2011/10/adorable-child-with-bow.html

Why not visit Kaunas this advent? Let’s give you some good reasons. See below.

 

 

Kaunas – the taste of real Lithuania!

 

By Arnas Menciūnas,
Kauno turizmo informacijos centras ir konferencijų biuras
arnas@kaunastic.lt

Welcome to Kaunas, the city which has mostly preserved the national character of the country, offering plenty of activities to everyone. Visit the heart of Lithuania and experience it‘s unique atmosphere:

Feast here! Kaunas is home to a variety of festivals and events, including the famous Kaunas Jazz festival, Hanza days, Operetta, Pažaislis Classical Music festival, Bike show, Kaunas city days, Songs festival (listed by UNESCO), International Modern Dance Festival and much more.

Visit! The remarkable Old Town which is a collection of ancient architectural monuments: the remnants of the 14th century with remains of Kaunas castle, the buildings of the Middle Ages in the Gothic and the Art Déco styles. The Kaunas Fortress is a valuable military heritage composed of a number of constructions that used to be a military complex. There are nine Forts around the city and the IXth Fort serves a museum. The macabre collection of nearly 3,000 devils at the Devils' Museum and the exhibitions showing the unique artistic styles of composer and painter M. K. Ciurlionis, as well as J. Maciunas initiator of the avant-garde Fluxus art movement.

Taste it! The centre-piece of Lithuanian cuisine is dark rye bread. It is shown a great respect and even called "holy" and Lithuanians link many beliefs and magic with it. The great opportunity to taste it is to have soup in a bread bowl. Lithuanian drinks have very old traditions, to get to know them the "Stumbras" museum offers a guided tour of the history and tasting of strong drinks. Among the multitude of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride (rich history, amber, beautiful nature, basketball, etc.), there is one that has a special place in his heart. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer.

Make a wish! The beautiful confluence of two biggest Lithuanian rivers is well known for a magical saying - the Nemunas river is a male and the Neris is a female . The meeting of two rivers is considered as a marriage of a couple. Two rivers meet in Kaunas, they join and never split up! For those who want their dreams to come true it‘s a right place to go on rendezvous.

See it! The whole Lithuania in one place is in the open air museum in Rumšiškės, which is the biggest open air museum in Eastern Europe. The museum with its collection of authentic wooden villages represents different regions of Lithuania: Zemaitija, Aukstaitija, Dzukija, Suvalkija and Lithuania Minor.

Ride on it! The Funicular - a unique mean of transportation, is still in use today, including the genuine pre-war wagon, wooden seats, and stop platforms. Even today the funicular takes people up to the hill, from which the panorama of the Kaunas city centre and Old town is wide open. Kaunas is the only city among Baltic States, where such means of transportation is available.

Sail! The biggest man-made water basin in Lithuania, which is surrounded by a wonderful landscape. Kaunas Sea is a perfect place for water activities. So see you on the deck!

If you want to feel the real Lithuanian spirit, visit Kaunas and discover it.

The heart of Lithuanian culture, tradition and history is just waiting to be discovered.

Hotel news in 2012

IBIS KAUNAS CENTRE (opened in April, 2012)

The Ibis Kaunas Centre hotel is located in the centre of Kaunas, within walking distance to the historic Old Town, close to railway and bus station and easy access to the highway to International Kaunas Airport. Ideal for business and leisure stays where guests can explore the city of Kaunas. It has 125 air-conditioned rooms with free Internet access, conference facilities, a bar serving snacks 24/7 and onsite parking. Our restaurant, The Oopen will delight you with pasta & grill dishes.

Accor is the world’s number-one and Europe’s leading hotel operator. It has 440,000 rooms in nearly 3,500 hotels in 92 countries. Its extensive brand portfolio – encompassing Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercur, Adagio, ibis, ibis Styles, Adagio Access, ibis budget and hotelF1 – provides a comprehensive range of options across the luxury to economy spectrum.

Hotel and Eco center BABILONAS

2012 years 22 th. of June renovated hotel "Babilonas" was opened and now it's not only hotel, but and eco-tourism center. The rooms radiate a feeling of coziness created by modern wooden windows, curtains made from Lithuanian linen and the breathtaking panoramas of the city and  the surrounding landscape. We can offer 50 high-quality German and American bikes, which can travel in urban areas and long distances. In formed package are included active entertainment, meals, transportation.

Kaunas tourism information center and conference bureau offers original ways to get to know Kaunas. Unique guided tours allow you to glimpse the real charm of the city and see things that you never expected! Every visitor can choose These excurions: „Kaunas Compliments Women“, „The Old Town secrets in Kaunas”, „Strong alcohol degustation in Factory “Stumbras”, „Beer Route in Kaunas (excursion and degustation)”, „Basketball history in Kaunas“, „Sweet Kaunas",, „Spirit of Kaunas Catacombs”, „Kaunas – Provisional Capital“.

 

Category : Travel Lithuania!

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PLACES TO SEE IN KAUNAS

Kaunas Castle
In the 14th century, a stone castle was built at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers to resist Crusaders’ attacks. It was the first stone castle in Lithuania which played a significant role in the city's defence system. Kaunas Castle is a Gothic building with two rows of protective walls and is the only castle of this type in Lithuania. A settlement started forming around the castle, growing into the present-day city. This castle was first mentioned in written records in 1361, when the Teutonic Knights were preparing to attack it. After a severe battle in 1362, the castle was rebuilt several times, but lost its significance in the 15th c. When Kaunas was granted Magdeburg rights in 1408, town activity started moving to the market place (later - Town Hall Square). The preserved remains of the castle reveal its original structure, shape, method of construction and provide important information about the development of Lithuanian architecture in the 14th century.

Town Hall
Often called the White Swan, the Town Hall’s construction was begun in 1542. The building encompasses Gothic, Baroque and early Classicism elements. In the Medieval Ages, the Town Hall, along with the main market place, was the centre of Kaunas. After its reconstruction in 1970, the Town Hall became the Wedding Palace with the Ceramics Museum in its basement.

 

Arch-Cathedral Basilica
It is the only church in Lithuania in the Gothic style of basilica design. After several reconstructions, it also acquired Renaissance and Baroque architectural features. The Cathedral has 9 altars; the sacristy has crystal-type arches. The tomb of Lithuanian priest and poet J. Mačiulis-Maironis is in the southern wall of the building. Vincentas Sladkevičius, the first cardinal of Lithuania, are also buried in the Cathedral.

 

Vilnius Street
It is the most beautiful street of the Old Town, meant for pedestrians. Most buildings have survived from the 16th century; some of which have been reconstructed. Even the unique telephone booths are a clear indication that you are walking along the street which connects the old and the new parts of the city.

 

Historical Presidential Palace
The history of the Presidents’ Palace in Kaunas begins in 1846. The building was renovated in 1998–2003 and is open to visitors as a branch of the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum. The Palace is symbolically “guarded” by bronze sculptures of the three interwar presidents – Antanas Smetona, Kazys Grinius and Aleksandras Stulginskis.

 

Musical Theatre
Originally the State Theatre, it was built in 1892. In 1940 the Musical Theatre was based in this building. Now, operas and operettas make up the largest part of the repertoire, with ballets and plays for children also staged here.

 

St. Michael the Archangel Church (Sobor)
A Neo-Byzantine-style building with all the architectural traits of a Russian Orthodox church. It was designed by Russian architects and built for the Kaunas Garrison. During the Soviet years, the church was turned into an Art Gallery. Presently it is a Catholic church.

 

Pažaislis Monastery
It ranks among the most beautiful Baroque-style buildings in Lithuania. The church and monastery were built for Camaldolese (Benedictine) monks in the 17th century under the supervision of Italian masters from Florence (Michelangelo Palloni, Joan Merli, and Pietro Perti). Pažaislis music festivals are held here in summer.

 

Kaunas Funiculars
Kaunas is the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport. In the residential districts of Žaliakalnis and Aleksotas these "climbing cars" serve both as a means of transport and entertainment. The Aleksotas funicular links the old part of the city with the slopes of Aleksotas hill, offering a marvellous panoramic view of the city. The Žaliakalnis funicular provides an easy way of reaching the Resurrection Church from the city centre.

Kaunas Monumental Christ’s Resurrection Church
It is the biggest basilica-type church in the Baltic states. The church was built in 1932–1940. After Lithuania proclaimed independence in 1918, the idea to build a church as a symbol of thanks to God appeared. Construction was stopped by the Soviet occupation. The building was confiscated and used as premises for the Radio factory after the war. In 1990 the church was returned to worshippers. During the restoration of the church, some changes were made in the project. The space in the church is in the style of a basilica with three naves. The architecture is monumental and laconic. The tower is 70 meters high. Visitors have the possibility to go to the observation deck on the church roof to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

File:Perkuno namas 2006-06-30.jpg

House of Perkūnas
is one of the most original and archaic Gothic secular buildings, located in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania. Originally built by Hanseatic merchants and served as their office from 1440 till 1532, it was sold in the 16th century to the Jesuits who had established a chapel there in 1643. The Jesuits have also completed the Church of St. Francis Xavier at the Town Hall Square in 1722.

The ruined house was rebuilt in the 19th century and served as a school and theatre, which was attended by Polish-Lithuanian poet Adam Mickiewicz. At the end of the 19th Century it was renamed "House of Perkūnas", when a figure, interpreted by the romantic historians of that time as an idol of the Baltic pagan god of thunder and the sky Perkūnas was found in one of its walls. Today, the house of Perkūnas once again belongs to the Jesuits and houses a museum of Adam Mickiewicz.

Category : Travel Lithuania!

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The Travel Magazine:

Spa, romance in the Uzupis and beer.

Vilnius makes for a great weekend away


The UMI gallery in
UŽ!upio resPUBLIKA

Photo: Rasa Mekuskaite

If you believed the hype about amber you’d think it was the cure for all ills: heart problems, arthritis, depression, even the plague. I can’t vouch for any of those but I can say that having one’s face massaged with amber powder applied by amber balls is an absolutely delicious experience, like some rather superior form of tickling.

The ‘Gold of the North’ has been fished out of the Baltic Sea and traded for centuries – it was much in demand in Imperial Rome – and here today in Vilnius it is still big business.

There are countless shops, a museum devoted to the subject and a specialist spa which is where I’m about to sample a treatment.
I confess to being a bit of a fidget in some spas and when linen bags are tied round our bare feet and we’re asked to walk in different ways across a layer of small pieces of the fossilised resin – on our toes, on our heels, feet rolled outwards, feet rolled inwards – the familiar combination of mild irritation and self-consciousness begins to creep over me.

But once I’m lying on a bed and the therapist is gently rolling the amber spheres over my skin, pressing here and there, I succumb to the pleasure of the moment. I don’t know whether the ‘negative ions’ or whatever have done their bit: I can’t say I look any different by the end of the session but I certainly feel very contented and serene. And my purse is only lighter by about £15 which is certainly a lot cheaper than buying a piece of jewellery.

There are more elaborate treatments but the 20 minute one I’ve had is just right when time is limited.

We’re only in the Lithuanian capital for two days but because it’s relatively small and compact – certainly in the historic areas – you can fit a lot in. The old city is the major draw, with 1500 buildings one of the finest in Central and Eastern Europe, an UNESCO World Heritage Site of narrow streets, hidden courtyards and an extraordinary mix of architectural styles: classical, gothic, baroque.

Read more at: http://www.thetravelmagazine.net

USEFUL INFO

www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk
www.vilnius-tourism.lt
www.lokys.lt
www.vilniuscitytour.com
www.ambermassage.lt
www.kybynlar.lt

We stayed at www.novotel.com

We flew to Vilnius with Wizzair from Luton (they also fly to Vilnius from Doncaster/Sheffield). Prices from around £42 one way. Find cheap flights to Vilniusfrom other airports.

Category : Travel Lithuania!

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Vilnius Lithuania – My walk through this photogenic town

By Steve Huff
So here I am today..another day of serious photo opportunities! I am in Vilnius Lithuania for the next stop on the Seal European summer tour and yesterday I walked around quite a bit snapping shots of this lovely charming town. Had my Fuji X100 (new firmware rumored to be coming within the week) and Leica M9 with me and both gave me wonderful results, can’t complain about either of these lovely cameras.

I started the day early morning as the weather was brisk, cool, and sunny. In other words, PERFECT! Back home in Phoenix it is 110 and sunny so I am really enjoying this weather while I can get it! As I looked out of my hotel window I thought “Perfect Photo Weather”!

BTW, I am also staying at a beautiful hotel here in town and had to snap a couple as I left my room. Love the old world charm of this place.

You’ll find the complete story and see the rest of Steve Huff’s photos at:
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/06/21/vilnius-lithuania-my-walk-through-this-photogenic-town/

Category : Travel Lithuania!

Direct flights to Palanga

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Palanga International Airport is a small regional airport located at the Baltic Sea, only 10 minutes away from the Palanga tourism resort and 30 minutes from the port city Klaipeda.

There are regular direct flights to/from Palanga Airport operated by the airlines airBaltic, Norwegian Air Shuttle, RusLine and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines).

Palanga has direct flights from Copenhagen (Denmark), Moscow (Russia), Oslo (Norway) and Riga (Latvia), from where it is easy to reach a lot of other cities in Europe and the world!

Check the airports web page for more information about flights etc:
http://www.palanga-airport.lt/en/

Category : Travel Lithuania!

Ferries to Klaipeda

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DFDS Seaways operate three passenger ferry routes on the Baltic Sea to/from the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda.

1) The Klaipeda - Karlshamn ferry service connects Lithuania and Sweden with daily departures in each direction.

2) The Klaipeda - Kiel ferry service offers six departures in each direction per week connecting Lithuania with North-Western Germany & Southern Denmark.

3) The Klaipeda - Sassnitz service connects Lithuania to the East German island of Rügen from where there is quick access to the extensive German motorway network.

Check the DFDS web page for more information:
http://www.dfdslisco.lt/bookonline/?ln=en

Category : Travel Lithuania!

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.

Read more...
* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
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