Books on Lithuania
Update No: 320 - (31/08/07)
Adamkus honours Medininkai dead
President Valdas Adamkus took part in an emotional dawn commemoration ceremony
on July 31 to mark the infamous Medininkai massacre of 1991. Accompanied by
Parliamen-tary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas and Interior Minister Raimondas Sukys,
the president laid a wreath on the spot where seven customs and police officers
were murdered sixteen years ago. Relatives of the deceased were also in
Gunmen, believed to be soviet special forces, cut down the officers in the early
hours of July 31, 1991, during the final days of the Russian occupation of the
Baltics, before the independence of Lithuania was recognised.
Baltics react to Kremlin treaty pullout
Reaction in the Baltic states to Russia's decision to pull out of the
Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty ranged from an appeal for calm to calls for
an arms build-up in the region.
The decision, decreed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 14 but
originally announced in April, was most likely timed so as to take place after
Putin's visit with U.S. President George W. Bush in Maine; and the International
Olympic Committee's final choice for the venue of the 2014 winter games, which
ultimately went to Russia.
Still, the announcement out of Moscow caused a furor.
Kirkilas defends nuclear stance and criticises Russia
In a speech to delegates at the European Union 2020: Enlarging and Integrating
conference held in Bled, Slovenia Aug 27, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas
Kirkilas defended his country's commitment to nuclear power and voiced strong
criticisms of Russia.
He defended the EU against accusations that it is merely a "handful of
eurocrats and directives", instead characterising it as "solidarity,
peace, prosperity, freedom [and] democracy… It is becoming universally
accepted that EU enlargement is a success story if not a little political
miracle for us."
"In my opinion the European Neighbourhood policy is a relevant part in the
enlargement. We all must, therefore, continue to actively support reforms in the
South Caucasus, Ukraine and Moldova, let alone, in Belarus," Kirkilas said.
Having talked up Europe, the prime minister then talked down Russia. "The
political and democratic situation in Russia worries us: abolished media
independence, continued violations of human rights and manipulation of energy
resources [the unexplained stop of oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline to
Lithuania], aggressive rhetoric as well as recent events in Estonia, UK and
Georgia, raise serious concerns."
Finally, Kirkilas re-affirmed Lithuania's commitment to nuclear energy,
justifying it as both a necessity and - more contentiously - an
environmentally-friendly move. "I would like to specifically underline the
importance of nuclear energy, which reduces the greenhouse effect," he
"Nuclear energy is not an Ugly Duckling any more. It can be an alternative
to traditional energy resources. Lithuania opts for nuclear energy since it is
very important for our energy security. Our dependence on imported gas from the
monopoly supplier will significantly increase due to the closure of Ignalina
nuclear power plant by the end of 2009. Unfortunately, we have no energy links
with the rest of the EU.
"Therefore, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland decided to build a new
modern Western type nuclear power plant in Lithuania by 2015. It will diminish
dependence on almost 100 percent imported hydrocarbons and make our primary
energy consumption mix more balanced. In parallel, implementation of the nuclear
power plant project will strengthen the commercial attraction of power grids
with Poland and Sweden and join the Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission
of Electricity (UCTE)," he concluded.
Adamkus and Yushchenko discuss energy
Lithuania has agreed to decommission its one nuclear plant at Ignalina by 2009.
This was a precondition of EU membership.
Naturally it is looking out for alternatives to fill the vital gap between 2009
and 2015, when the new nuclear plant opens. Energy issues were high on the
agenda during talks between President Valdas Adamkus and Ukraine's President
Viktor Yushchenko that took place in the Crimea Aug. 13 - 14.
According to Ukrainian National Radio, Yushchenko said Ukraine's priority was to
build an energy corridor connecting the Caspian region and Europe, and added
that his country had plans to export electricity to Lithuania.
Ukraine, which borders the Black Sea, could provide a link to Caspian oil
transport networks that bypass Russia - an important step in the Baltic states
becoming energy independent from Moscow.
Cinema attendance on the rise
It is a curiosity that people in former communist lands are going to the cinema
far more, notably in Lithuania, bucking a general trend away from it to DVDs and
Lithuania has the fastest growing cinema attendance in the EU, the European
Audiovisual Observatory has announced. Last year, the country logged 2.41
million cinema visits, which is 98.3 percent more that in 2005.
The overall increase across the EU during the same period was 3.6 percent.
Attendance is also increasing in other countries such as Slovakia (54.3
percent), Estonia (40.2 percent) and Poland (35.8 percent).
The number of cinema-goers decreased in Great Britain, Spain and Hungary.