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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 18,213 13,796 12,000 74
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,490 3,660 3,350 74
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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ethnic groups 
Lithuanians 81.3%
Russians 8.4%
Poles 7.0%



Valdas Adamkus

Update No: 293 - (27/05/05)

History matters on the Baltic shore
Dr Johnson, the celebrated wit and literary lion, wrote a poem, 'The Vanity of Human Wishes,' which he concluded by saying of Charles XII of Sweden, who was defeated by Peter the Great no less at the Battle of Poltova in 1709, that
"His fate was destined to a barren strand,
A feeble fortress and a dubious hand.
He left a name at which the world grew pale
To point a moral or adorn a tale."

If one wanted to be offensive one could say the same of Lithuania's present premier, Algirdas Brazauskas. He was for long the president of the former Soviet republic, engaged in a 'barren' project, with any amount of 'feeble' and 'dubious' aspects to it. 
But he then redeemed himself. He led the way to the dissolution of the USSR. He was the communist president at the time who initiated the independence of the Communist Party of Lithuania from that of the Soviet Union in 1989. This was the prelude to the announcement of national independence by his successor, Vyautatis Landsbergis, in March, 1990, the prelude to the disappearance of the USSR itself.
Johnson' lines, therefore, take on a new meaning. Brazauskas, inter alia, finished off the Soviet Union, a sure way of pointing a moral and adorning a tale.

Adamkus utterly adamant
The current president of Lithuania, Vladas Adamkus, is a very different kettle of fish. He spent the last fifty years in the US, of which he is a citizen.
He claimed that he "acted correctly" by refusing to go to Moscow for the festivities on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the V-Day. He expressed this idea in an interview with the Lietuvos Zinios (News of Lithuania) newspaper. "I believe that we have hit our goal. Otherwise there would not have been much talk in the world on the fate of the Baltic states after the Second World War," the Lithuanian leader noted. 
Adamkus said that he "has not heard from numerous conversations with heads of various countries a single objection that Lithuania acted wrongly.... or offended Russia in any way. I had a good chance to remind the world once again that Lithuania wants and will do its utmost to maintain good-neighbourly relations with Russia," Adamkus continued. In the president's opinion, "the mentioning (to Russia) of earlier committed injustices should not bar creative plans for the future." 

Brazauskas the moderate
In the meantime, Brazauskas when asked by national radio on May 10th whether Russia (for the Soviet Union) should give apologies to Lithuania for "occupation" and committed crimes, said that Lithuania "has not learnt to assess objectively its history" over the past 15 years of its independence. "I doubt whether we have grounds and the moral right to teach lessons of history to others without looking well at ourselves," he said. 
The Lithuanian premier emphasized that "I have always been a supporter of an objective assessment of all consequences and tragic events of the Second World War from both sides". According to the prime minister, guided by such an approach, "we can peacefully and calmly live as good neighbours, boost (with Russia) trade and economic relations and contacts in culture."
All very diplomatic and doubtless correct.

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Poland backs Polish-Lithuanian power bridge

The Polish government fully supports a power bridge linking Poland and Lithuania that will have a major impact on the energy security of the Baltic states and make them independent of energy supplies from outside the EU, said a statement from the Ministry of Economy and Labour, PAP News Agency reported.
The bridge will come into effect in 2009, the statement suggested. It will enhance Poland's role as a transit country and build up Polish-Lithuanian cooperation. 
"Being aware of the fact that Lithuania is under the obligation to switch off the Ignalin nuclear power station by 2009, both sides have been making every effort in order to implement the power bridge project by that date," the statement also reads. 
It says that another step leading to the implementation of the project are the talks between government officials, power grid operators and the EU authorities last March. 
The project got support from the EU commissioner in charge of energy, Andris Piebalgs.

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Cell phones gaining ground on Lithuanian market

More cell phones are ringing in Lithuanian than there are people to answer then, as subscriptions soar, officials figures showed on May 9th. Cell phones subscribers have surpassed the population of the Baltic country, New Europe reported. 
As of April 1st this year 3.7m people in Lithuania were cell phone subscribers, which was more than the national population of 3.4m, the communications regulatory authority said. year-on-year, the number of cell phone subscribers grew by 48% in March and by 70% by the beginning of 2005. The large number of cell phone subscriptions has taken its toll on fixed lines and many people said they did not have a home phone.

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Europa Grooup targets expansion

Europa Group, a Lithuanian-owned hotel chain, plans to invest some 80m litas (23m Euro) over the next few years in ambitious expansion plans for the Baltic states and eastern Europe, The Baltic Times reported recently.
The group is set to open two new hotels in Riga this year and is planning to establish two more in Tallinn between 2007 and 2008. Two additional hotels are scheduled for Lithuania in Kaunas and the spa resort town of Druskininkai in the next two years. The chain's expansion in Lithuania is to be completed by 2008 with the opening of two new business-class hotels under franchise agreements. Europa Group CEO, Martynas Kaciulis, told the Baltic News Service, "This will complete our expansion programme in the Baltics. Our network of hotels across this area will give us a competitive edge. In the future, we intend to expand into Eastern European countries. We bought a building in Bucharest in February and also have plans to open a hotel in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia." Europa Group plans to open its new hotel in Riga in November. The total investment will amount to 24m litas.

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