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lithuania

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LITHUANIA


 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 13,796 12,000 11,300 78
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 3,660 3,350 3,080 83
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Lithuania

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
65,200 

Population 
3,592,561 

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Lithuanians 81.3%
Russians 8.4%
Poles 7.0%

Capital
Vilnius 

Currency 
Litas

President
Valdas Adamkus

  

Update No: 284 - (27/08/04)

Musical chairs at the top
The scandal in Lithuania about the goings-on of former president Rolandas Paksas, who resigned in March, created for a while a cloud over the legitimacy of the government, because Algirdas Brazauskas, the premier, was formerly the communist president of the country'. Nevertheless, he was the one who declared independence of the Lithuanian Communist Party from the Soviet Party in 1990, a move supported by Yeltsin and one of the key events leading to the break-up of the USSR. 
Paksas had been compromised by too close an association with a Russian businessman of dubious KGB and mafia connections, Yuri Borisov. Brazauskas of course had intimate dealings with the Russian elite in Soviet times. He must have wanted to clear himself of the slightest suggestion of being in the shadow of the Russians and his government resigned on July 12th to see if it would meet with the approval of the parliament and new president, Valdas Adamkus.

Brazaskaus wins new confidence
Adamkus on July 15th issued a decree confirming the makeup of a new Lithuanian government, led by Brazauskas. Adamkus formally nominated Brazauskas as the candidate for the head of the new government and submitted the proposal to the congress for approval. 
The congress approved the nomination of Brazauskas; and also the list of ministers for the new government. All ministers from the previous government stay unchanged in the new government. 
The new government will focus on the issues of obtaining assistance from the European Union and drafting a budget for next year. Adamkus said he hoped Brazauskas and his government could proceed with the "constructive work" already started and he will be a reliable friend to the new government.

A series of scandals rock the boat
In fact a series of political upheavals over the past 15 months has generated intense interest in politics - and considerable public anger. In the latest scandal, newspapers have disclosed details of secret service recordings of telephone calls between leading politicians talking about allegedly corrupt payments to party funds. Representatives of all four main parties are involved, including the centre-right supporters of Adamkus and Brazauskas.
An investigation by the public prosecutor has been blocked by a parliamentary vote granting immunity to the suspect members of parliaments. But the public remains angry, not least at the expletives peppering their MP's discussions. "Everybody sitting on the beach is reading this. The reputation of our politicians is low and every scandal makes it worse," says Raimundas Lopata, director of the institute of international relations and political science at Vilnius University.
While allegations of political corruption raise questions everywhere, the issue is particularly important in Lithuania and other new democracies in Eastern Europe because institutions that can check the excessive influence of money in politics - such as the courts - often lack authority.
In Lithuania, the added twist is the influence of Russia. Even though Lithuania, like nearby Latvia and Estonia, joined Nato and the European Union this year, Moscow has still not fully come to terms with the loss of the ex-Soviet republics. 
Lithuanian conservative politician believes, the Russian capital jeopardizes the national economy 
The Lithuanian opposition has had an unusual reaction to the arrest of Yukos's CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Andrjus Kubiljus, leader of the conservative opposition party, suggested the Lithuanian government should buy back Mazeikiu Nafta's stocks from Yukos and suspend negotiations with Gazprom regarding the sale of 34 percent of Lietuvos dujos's stocks. 
The Lithuanian government owns 58.36 percent of Lietuvos dujos's stocks and 35.49 percent is owned by Ruhrgas and E.ON Energie. In September, the government of Lithuania agreed to sell 34 percent of Lietuvos dujos's stocks of Gazprom for 28.6 million euro. However, the terms of the contract are still being negotiated. In 2002, Lietuvos dujos's sales volume made up 116 million euros, the net profit made up 16.5 million. 
Mazeiki Nafta consists of the Mazeiki refinery (with a capacity of 12 million tons of raw material a year), the marine export terminal Butinge (eight million tons a year) and the Birzai arterial oil pipeline. The Lithuanian government owns 40.66 percent of the concern's stocks. In 2002, Yukos purchased 53.7 percent of Mazeikiu Nafta's stocks and hired American citizen Nelson English to govern the concern, RusEnergy reports. 
"The Lithuanian authorities are supposed to realize the situation with Mazeikiu Nafta - they are not supposed to succumb to illusions and affirmations of success," former Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrjus Kubiljus said in a statement. "The government is supposed to be prepared for force-majeure, if the company Yukos is completely destroyed or divided," the politician said. 
The Vedomosti newspaper wrote, the leader of the conservative party called upon the government of the state of stop negotiations with Gazprom about the sale of 34 percent of Lietuvos dujos stocks. Kubiljus said, the parliament and the government "must evaluate the scale of Lithuania's national security, if the Russian capital is actively implicated in the energy industry of Lithuania."

Russia and Lithuania settle border issues
On Wednesday, May 21st, The State Duma ratified two agreements between the Russian Federation and the republic of Lithuania regarding the Russian-Lithuanian state border and about the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of the Baltic Sea. Two hundred and sixty-eight deputies voted for the ratification of the document, 138 deputies voted against it and one deputy abstained. 
The two documents were signed on October 24th, 1997 in Moscow by Russian and Lithuanian presidents Yeltsin and Brazauskas. As it is mentioned in the explanatory note to the document, the two agreements do not stipulate any territorial concessions to Lithuania - no territory is going to be handed over to the republic without an adequate compensation. 
The state ground border virtually fixes the line of the previous border that was registered on the map of the world in 1963. The documents observed the principle, according to which any correction of the state borderline must be inconsiderable, as compared to the line of 1963. Furthermore, a correction like that is supposed to have an adequate compensation. 
It is the first time, when Russia and Lithuania have determined the separation line on the Baltic Sea, though. During negotiations, the Russian side accepted Lithuania's request to let it have an access to the Swedish fishing area. Lithuania compensated Russia with a sea part of 4,2 sq. km. The explanatory note also runs that such a decision guarantees Russia's possession of the D-6 oil deposit in the Russian economic area. The agreement stipulates that Russia has a full possibility to develop the deposit. 
As a result of the exchange within the scope of the Russian-Lithuanian state border agreement, the two countries have compensated each other with the total of 413,8 hectares each. State border agreements between Russia and Lithuania represent the interconnected solution of a package of issues on the base of balanced interests of the two countries. 

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ENERGY

Lietuvos Dujos profit down


Lithuanian gas company Lietuvos Dujos closed the first half of the year with a pre-tax profit of 51.4m litas, up 24.2% from 67,807m litas compared with the same period last year, Interfax News Agency reported on August 2nd. 
Net profit for the period totalled 43.3m litas. The company did not calculate net profits for the first half of last year, according to the statement. Earnings on gas sales dropped 9% year-on-year for the period 228.6m litas down from 250.9m litas due to a decrease in prices.

Klaipedos Nafta profit down

Lithuanian oil terminal Klaipedos Nafta closed the first half of the year with pre-tax profit of 22.8m litas, down 4.2% from the same period last year, a company source said recently, BNS reported.
"There were no particular changes, just this year the company does not have US$ loans. Moreover, due to the drop in the exchange rate last year the earnings were on paper," he said. Turnover for the period slipped 0.3% year-on-year to 61.2m litas. Klaipedos Nafta loaded 3.64m tonnes of fuel oil and light petroleum products in the first half of the year, up 7.5% from 3.39m tonnes in the same period last year. It plans to load 7.2m tonnes of petroleum products this year and end the year with a net profit of 11m litas.

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