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Tag: Lithuania

Like in the good, old American movies…

A conversation with Nijolė Oželytė-Vaitiekūnienė, a prominent Lithuanian actress. Interviewer: Linas Jegelevicius

LINAS JEGELEVICIUS: In recent interviews, you have labelled yourself Homo Sovieticus, a sardonic and critical reference to the average conformist person living in the Soviet Union. How is this compatible with you being a woman who has spoken out many times on woman rights and who has travelled the world after the restoration of independence in 1990?

NIJOLĖ OŽELYTĖ-VAITIEKŪNIENĖ: All of us who were born during the years of Soviet occupation are Homo Sovieticus, more or less. In fact, we – that generation – shouldn’t be ashamed of it, deny or repudiate it. When I think of the past, I like to use the example of the victims of Stockholm syndrome.

January 2, 2019 - Linas Jegelevicius

What does independence mean in the Baltics?

The three Baltic countries are celebrating 100 years of independence this year. What kind of societies have they become in the last century marked by both freedom and occupation? Three creative leaders from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reflect on their struggles.

Not a lot of countries are so often mentioned in the same breath as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. When Pope Francis visited the three Baltic republics in September, he did not even need a whole week to set foot in all the countries. In recent history, of course, the trio have a lot in common. All suffered under Soviet occupation for nearly half of the 20th century, a period included in the 100 years of independence because they (plus the western world) never agreed with Moscow that the Baltics entered the USSR voluntarily.

November 5, 2018 - Koen Verhelst

Past as weakness or strength? The shared history, strained present and uncertain future of Belarus and Lithuania

How can barriers between two historically close countries like Belarus and Lithuania be lowered or eliminated? What are the prospects of improved relations between the two states? Ultimately, closer ties between ordinary Belarusians and Lithuanians could serve as the best guarantor of closer political relations.

During his September 2018 visit to Vilnius, Pope Francis quoted Lithuania’s national anthem and encouraged people to “draw strength from the past”. He reiterated what is often common knowledge: for one to look to the future, one must first know and make peace with the past. In theory the same logic could apply to Lithuania and Belarus, two neighbours that, over the centuries, have spent more time together – that is, belonging to (or being ruled by) the same state – than apart.

November 5, 2018 - Dovilė Šukytė

Where two are fighting

Lithuania and Poland have always had a special relationship with several ups and downs since the fall of communism. These days interests are slowly aligning and a format for future cooperation is being established.

August 20, 2018 - Zbigniew Rokita

A historical optimist

A review of Magnetic North: Conversations with Tomas Venclova. By: Tomas Venclova and Ellen Hinsey. Publisher: University of Rochester Press, Rochester New York, 2017.

Today our world is plagued with massive flows of information, chaos, propaganda, post-truth and fake news. If we play on John Austin’s conception of doing things with words, one might have a feeling that our world is simply cramped. There is a tendency to equate being prolific with being great, as literary criticism and economics prefer easily quantifiable works. Aware that culture has origins in the Latin cultivare, we should expect it to bear fruit once a year. The Lithuanian poet and Yale professor Tomas Venclova, however, approaches it with much more patience.

January 2, 2018 - Laurynas Vaičiūnas

The curse and miracle of Kupiškis

Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in all of Europe. The country underwent a difficult transition after the fall of the Soviet Union and still struggles with problems from the past. However, things are changing and an unlikely group from a small town is now leading the charge.

It is a three hour bus ride from the nation’s capital, Vilnius, to the north-eastern part of Lithuania. The trip through the country is picturesque. In an old bus on a bumpy road, we pass by idyllic woods and shining lakes. When we arrive to our destination, a 1.5 metre tall sign greets us –“Welcome to Kupiškis.”

At first glance, Kupiškis looks like any other city in a rural area. The bus station is old and grey and is the only connection to the rest of the country. A large church and its two tall towers can be seen from most of the city. The main street takes you through the city to the municipal building, a cultural centre, a tourist information point and a few local shops.

October 31, 2017 - Emil Staulund Larsen Noah Groves

The young Lithuanians tending their history above the Arctic Circle

This article originally appeared in Deep Baltic and was republished in "Meanwhile in the Baltics...", a collection of articles written by the graduates of 2016 Solidarity Academy - Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, organised by the European Solidarity Centre in partnership with the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

March 28, 2017 - Helen Wright

Wilne – a walk through the Jewish Vilnius

This article was originally published in "Meanwhile in the Baltics...", a collection of articles written by the graduates of 2016 Solidarity Academy - Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, organised by the European Solidarity Centre in partnership with the Council of the Baltic Sea States. 

February 22, 2017 - Marita Gasteiger

Trump, Russia and the new geopolitics of the Baltics

Late Saturday, the President of the United States Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call. The Kremlin gave an official statement mentioning “the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, strategic stability and non-proliferation, the situation with Iran’s nuclear programme, and the Korean Peninsula issue,” adding that aspects of the Ukraine crisis had also been discussed. Its tone was typical of official statements from any country.

January 30, 2017 - Aliide Naylor

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