Books on Lithuania
Update No: 296 - (26/08/05)
The Lithuanians are always aware of the machinations of the
Russian special services in the Baltic states. Russia's FSB and Foreign
Intelligence Service have as many residents in such small countries as
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as in the largest European states, and in a much
more concentrated form.
Their activities brought to an end the career of Rolandas Paskas last year, who
had been elected president, after being first the mayor of Vilnius and then
premier of the Baltic state. He was implicated in a complex scam, involving a
local Russian tycoon with FSB connections and had to resign.
Increasingly losing influence in former Soviet republics, Russia received an
additional trump card with the looming crisis with the EU constitution due to
the French and Dutch 'No'. Gazprom is now threatening to raise its prices for
gas exports to Lithuania (and Estonia), on which it is highly dependent. This
would gravely threaten Lithuania's ambition to join the Euro by 2007, making it
difficult to meet the budgetary requirememt of Euroland.
Gazprom has a point. Why should it subsidise the independent Baltic states, as
if they were close allies like Belarus?
Saakashvili praises Lithuania
Indeed, Lithuania is in the forefront of those countries condemning neighbouring
Belarus as Europe's last dictatorship. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
has stated support for Lithuania's proposal to mention the situation in Belarus
in a Kishinyov declaration. Saakashvili was speaking at a meeting of the heads
of the so-called GUAM group - Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova - that
started in the Moldovan capital. The meeting was attended by Lithuanian
President Valdas Adamkus.
"Lithuania has always been a democratic process leader in the region,"
the Georgian leader said welcoming the attendants of the meeting. Saakashvili
said he supported Adamkus' proposal to mention Belarus in the declaration as, in
the Georgian leader's words, "the country's people have a right to freely
express their will as well."
In his speech Saakashvili also thanked Lithuania and the other Baltic states
which, in the Georgian president's words, "are actively helping us to
integrate and make our voice be heard."
Zuokas not to resign as Vilnius mayor
Adamkus is falling out with yet another mayor of Vilnius. He is deeply
distrustful of the origins of the wealth of Lithuania's new power-brokers.
Mayor Arturas Zuokas has been bogged down in a war of accusations with Viktor
Uspaskich, who has resigned from his positions as economy minister and MP. The
two men, both millionaires, accused each other of using his public office for
supporting private interests; and their exchange became so vitriolic that the
president felt compelled to ask both men to resign for the sake of the country.
Zuokas has said that he has no intention to resign as Vilnius mayor despite
having fallen out of favour with President Adamkus. "Firstly, I have
suspended my powers as party leader, as it was mentioned in the president's
statement," he said in a radio interview. "And what concerns my
position at the municipality, this, without a doubt, will depend on the
faction's and council members' confidence and joint work. For me personally and
for my colleagues, it is of utmost importance to retain Vilnius City Council's
capability of working," Zuokas said.
Lithuania, Ukraine to cooperate
Lithuania signed an agreement on economic, industrial, scientific and technical
cooperation with Ukraine recently at the Lithuanian Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, New Europe reported.
The agreement was initialled by Alexander Rybiy, deputy chief of Department of
Law of Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and Andrius Namavicius, minister of
exterior affairs of Lithuania. Ukraine is the first CIS state which has
cooperated with Lithuania on free trade before its entrance in the EU.
Officially Vilnius backs Ukraine in Euro and NATO integration.
Lukashenka on ties with Lithuania
Belarussian President, Alexander Lukashenka, told Petras Vaitekjunas, the new
Lithuanian ambassador at Minsk, that Belarus is prepared to normalise relations
with Lithuania, RIA Novosti reported.
"If the Lithuanian leadership wants normal relations in the political and
diplomatic spheres, we are ready for this anytime," Lukashenka was quoted
as saying, adding that Belarus did not impose its friendship or partnership on
Lithuania and other neighbours, such as Poland, Ukraine, etc.
Lithuania foreign trade results
Statistics Lithuania said in its latest report that exports in the first half of
2005 equalled 14,452.0 million litas in terms of commodity value, while imports
to Lithuania totalled 18,765.8 million litas, New Europe reported.
Lithuania's foreign trade deficit made up 4,313.8 million litas and was 2.5 per
cent higher than last year. Over January-June 2005, compared with January-June
2004, exports and imports grew 24.2 and 18.4 per cent, respectively. Over June
2005, against June 2004, exports and imports rose 10.9 and 17.2 per cent,
respectively. In June 2005 against May total Lithuania's exports decreased 8.2
per cent and total imports were down 7.1 per cent.
Telcordia wins Lithuania deal
Lithuania's Communications Regulatory Authority, RRT, selected Telcordia's
solution to support number portability requirements for fixed line and mobile
providers, Telcordia Technologies announced recently, New Europe reported.
Telcordia's Number Portability Clearinghouse solution, operated by Mano Numeris,
enables Lithuania's RRT to promote expanded competition among operators through
new market opportunities, creating new revenue streams while providing increased
choices for subscribers. With more than three million phone subscribers and 12
active service providers, Lithuania's RRT awarded a 10-year contract to Mano
Numeris who will act as the in-country data centre and operations support