Archive for March, 2008

Lithuanians – ‘Just give us another 18 years!´

The Independence Act of March 11, 1990Today, 18 years ago in 1990, March 11, Lithuanian Supreme Soviet declared restoration of independence of Lithuania.  During one of meetings historian Prof Bumbliauskas rhetorically observed that for some foreigners it might be confusing the share amount of the National days we celebrate.

One of the reasons for that is simple: we lost our Independence rather few times in the past.  But the historian noticed that even though July 6th (the Coronation of our King Mindaugas in 1253), or foundation of the first republic in February 16 in 1918, were crucial for our nation, those dates were not that too important in the context of the history of the World.  However, in Prof Bumbliauskas opinion 1990 March 11 had played an important role in the world’s history.

The Polish and the Czech input in ‘breaking the Eastern block’ is unquestionable.  The Estonians had begun the National movement before the Lithuanians did.  However, the Lithuanians started process of the USSR’s disintegration in March 11, 1990.  The Russian Democrats looked up at Lithuania as an example, especially in the events during the August Putsch in Moscow.

The Lithuanians tend to be too pessimistic and critical of Lithuania.  However, the Yale Professor Tomas Venclova is much more optimistic.  He declared that despite internal problems those last 18 years should be regarded as the most successful period in Lithuania’s 1.000 years history.  In this short time we managed to become full fledged members of the Western club.

Just few numbers – in 1990 the Lithuanian GDP was 153 mln Litas, or 36 Litas per person.  1 USD was 4 Litas in 1990.  Lithuanian GDP in 2007 was 27.257,1 mln Litas or 28.661 Litas per person.  1 USD is 2.24 LTL today.  Well, it is success.

Gorbachev was warning Lithuanians that if we will separate from the USSR we will die from hunger, since we don’t have any mineral recourses.  Well, he was right about the mineral resources, however, he forgot about the other resource – the people.

Give it another 18 years of Independence and if Lithuania will be allowed to develop without major interactions from our Eastern neighbour we will achieve the average EU GDP and will be heading to catch up with Scandinavia!  Just watch! 

March 11, 2008 at 10:46 pm 8 comments

Ed Lucas to Lithuanians – ‘if you don’t watch out Russia’s going to have you for breakfast’

Naujasis Saltasis KarasThe Lithuanian news portal alfa.lt published an interview with Edward Lucas.  Lucas was the first foreigner to receive a Lithuanian visa after the country proclaimed its independence from the Soviet empire exactly eighteen years ago today, on March 11, 1990.

His first book, The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces both Russia and the West, was launched at the beginning of February. A Lithuanian edition was released three weeks later.  Read all interview

March 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

More news on Lithuania in English!

LRT LogoOne more source of the Lithuanian news in English is available on the Net.  The site covers a wide range of topics.  Further more it comes from a very a respectable source – the National Translator.  Hence, have another opportunity to get know more about the Lithuanian current events in English from the LRT!

March 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm 3 comments

Women in Lithuania: more educated, earn less but their role is increasing

EqualitySlowly but surely, according to the Lithuanian Statistics Department data the female half is taking over in running not only the Lithuanian households but the state also.

Women made 37 % of all leaders in the Lithuanian ruling elite such as the parliamentarians, senior state officials and executives of companies and establishments.The number of female businessmen is also on the rise but still remains lower than that of men.  In 2007, women made 31 % of businessmen in Lithuania, as compared with 26 % in 2006. Even though Lithuania amongst the leaders in the world regarding the gender equality women are still make lower salaries than men.Females made 60 percent of all students of universities and colleges in 2007 and early 2008.

The department said that 1,797,600 women lived in Lithuania in the beginning of the year, which is 230,000 more than men. Women made 53 % of the population, with 1,146 women registered per 1,000 men.  Average life expectancy of women is 77 years, as compared with 65 years of men. The average life expectancy of a statistical Lithuanian woman is 12 years longer than that of men, she marries and gives birth to her first child at the age of 25, shows data issued by the Lithuanian Statistics Department. According to the data, 63 % of women and 69 % of men of employable age had jobs.Women’s average gross wages per hour was 19.3 % lower than men’s wages.It needs to be noted that there are no set quotas in the state institutions and the parliament for women.  Hence, everything what is achieved by the women in Lithuania is achieved by the natural causes, or by the Darwin laws, if you wish.

If the EU Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaitė (who was voted the best EU Commissioner in 2005) will agree to run for the Lithuania’s President post in 2009, it is almost certain that she will win.  Hence, the situation in Lithuania is changing rapidly.  Lithuanian woman not only pretty but very bright and ambitious.

March 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm 13 comments

Medvedev’s elections in Lithuania

President MedvedevThe Medvedev’s election, rather than the Presidential election culminated in the Medvedev’s landmark victory.

Some Lithuanians calling to review our relationship with Russia and hence the elections gives a fresh start for it.  The other papers called to suspend Russia from the European Council since there is no difference between Russia and Belarus any longer.  The thers hoped that the west will not make the same mistake as they did with Putin, Medvedev is not a Liberal, and there is not need to play with him.

The Concervative leader made an interesting observation.  Mr Kubilius noticed that it would be interesting to find out what Gazprom is preparing for Lithuania since our country is sandwiched between the two countries one of which leader started to work for Gazprom a and another became a president after serving for Gazprom.

Mr Kubilius observed “As the new Russian president steps in we should prepare for a rocking strategy of a gentle approach which will be more difficult to recognize than rough methods. We can only guess how much of such strategy we have already been subject to”.

However the Lithuanian Parliamentary Vice-Speaker Vydas Gedvilas from the opposition Labour party said that.  “Medvedev is a young politician without the Soviet stamp, he is not linked with special services, furthermore, his first statements indicate his eagerness to maintain good relations with Russian neighbors. It would be naive to expect some major changes from Medvedev, however, Putin’s rule was rather radical in some cases and political scientists forecast that Medvedev’s line would be smoother, which gives hope for discussion”. 

As the BNS reported the Lithuanian PM Gediminas Kirkilas notes that the Russian presidential elections were not completely democratic and did not fully correspond to Western standards.

“I will name just one aspect. All of his opponents named it as well. Whether, for example, all four candidates were provided with the same time slot, the same possibilities to advertise on television or radio”, Kirkilas told Lithuanian National radio.

However, the prime minister remarked, Lithuania hopes that constructive bipartite relations with Russia will be maintained just as they had been up to this day.

“Especially because the new president declares the continuity of President (Vladimir – BNS) Putin’s political course. Therefore, I would think that in this aspect, there should be no considerable changes”, the prime minister said, adding that Lithuania would enjoy more extensive, better and more open relations with Russia.

Kirkilas expressed his opinion that the entire European Union (EU) would enjoy better relations with Russia, and predicted that the negations, which failed last year over the strategic EU-Russia agreement, should see a new light of day this year.

The Lithuanians made an effort to accommodate the Russians in Lithuania. 

A total of 1825 Russian citizens out of over 15,000 countrymen living in Lithuania and possessing the right to vote participated in the elections. Some 1406 of those who participated cast their votes for Medvedev.  The Russian embassy confirmed that more than 80 percent gave their vote for Mr Medvedev.

The Lithuanians really walked an extra mile.  Voting for Russia’s Head-of-State was warranted in the Russian embassy in Vilnius and the Consul-General’s office in Lithuanian port city Klaipeda as well other cities densely populated with Russian citizens – Kaunas, Siauliai and Visaginas, however actual voting took place only in Vilnius, Klaipeda and Visaginas, as the embassy lacked capacities to organize voting in all of the locations proposed by Lithuania. Russian citizens who wished to cast their votes were taken to polling districts by special buses.

What it is to be said about elections.  Well, there is a saying about a special Russian sole.  I would say that in order to ‘decipher’ the Russian sole, one should consult children psychologist.  The Russians never managed to grow out of their serfdom mentality, and would not know what to do with their freedom.  They need guidance, a strong hand, like obedient children.

March 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm 2 comments


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