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LITHUANIA


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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)

Books on Lithuania

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
65,200 

Population 
3,607,899 

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

Capital
Vilnius 

Currency 
Litas

President
Valdas Adamkus



Update No: 310 - (26/10/06)

New spat with Moscow
Lithuania's relations with Russia are tense at the moment, not for the first time. The Russians are irritated that the Lithuanians are no longer under their heel. It means they have to cross an independent country to reach Kaliningrad, now an enclave between Lithuania and Poland.
To make things worse Vilnius is backing Georgia in its current dispute with Moscow. Russia is throwing its weight around in the Caucasus and on the Baltic shore, as of old. Both Georgia and Lithuania are resisting attempts to bring them into a subservience to Gazprom and Russian oil majors.
Of course the Russians spy on the Lithuanians all the time. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas have made comments referring to the expulsion of a Russian diplomat for spying in early October. Adamkus stated that 'the spy was caught, and according to the rules, he was expelled... Don't be surprised if Russia expels a Lithuanian diplomat from Moscow without any reason.' He added: "It's not the first case, and it won't be the last."
In a phone interview with Reuters Kirkilas pointed out that 'I believe the diplomat was asked to leave ... I hope the Russians understand that this step is not intended to worsen relations.'
Earlier it was reported by the Baltic News Service that the spy had been a high-ranking diplomat who had attempted to 'influence Lithuania's determination to support Georgia in its conflict with Moscow.'

Lithuania pulls the Russian bear's whiskers
In the first days of the Georgian-Russian conflict, only the right-wing Lithuanian politicians voiced support of President Mikhail Saakashvili's action in arresting four Russians as spies. For example, the head of the rightist Union of Fatherland Andrius Kubilius called on Lithuanian politicians to express solidarity with Georgia and to take "concrete action" in the context of her conflict with Russia.
But as the crisis worsened, with Moscow banning trade with Georgia and taking other measures, most high-ranking Lithuanian officials one after another made statements of open support of Tbilisi and implied condemnation of Russia's conduct. Moreover, it was precisely Adamkus who initiated a "support phone call" to Saakashvili from Lvov where the Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian presidents were meeting.
The presidents of the three nations gathered September 30th in Lvov to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the "capital of the Western Ukraine."Adamkus, however, had there the idea to call the Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili on behalf of the troika and thereby express support of his confrontation of Russia at a time when neither the US nor the main EU countries had voiced any direct support at the top level. 
Presidents of Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine Valdas Adamkus, Lech Kaczynski, and Viktor Yushchenko voiced support of Georgia in its conflict with Russia. By doing that, a commentator upholds, the three states wanted to demonstrate a common position on the issue and, at the same time, draw the attention of the world community to the situation.
As The Guardian commented on the events, such "moral support" is of vital importance to Tbilisi. The geopolitical portal in Lithuania remarks on the phrasing: "For M. Saakashvili it sounds as a call to take even more active efforts to enter NATO, which is supposed to become an umbrella offering protection from Moscow's expansion in the region. A different, although maybe a rhetorical question is, did Vilnius need to 'pull the bear's whiskers?'"

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ENERGY

Polish-Lithuanian agreement to hook up power grids 


Lithuania and Poland on September 29th formally agreed to build a strategic "energy bridge" hooking up the electrical power grids of both countries for between 300 and 400 million Euro, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported. 
Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, and visiting Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, signed a joint declaration on the project in Warsaw. Striving to ease its heavy reliance on Russian energy supplies, the Baltic state of Lithuania has been seeking the link with Poland for years. It has also proposed that Poland become a partner in building a third reactor at Lithuania's Soviet-era Ignalina nuclear power station. Fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia, also keen to diversify energy suppliers and ease energy reliance on Russia, have expressed interest in the project. Lithuania also recently concluded agreements to hook up to the Swedish electrical power grid with a cable under the Baltic Sea. It is considering a similar link with Finland. As a sign of more fusion between the Polish and Lithuanian energy sectors, Poland's major PKN Orlen oil refiner is also in the process of buying-out Mazeikiu Nafta, Lithuania's only oil refiner. 

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