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Tag: Lithuania

Gudijos istorija for the 21st century

With regards to Belarus, it is difficult to ask Lithuanians, or actually any other neighbouring society, about how they perceive Belarusians. The truth is that in this country we are dealing with two entities: the official Belarus and the Belarus of the opposition.

At first glance, in the autumn of 2022, Vilnius has enjoyed a normal life. The capital of Lithuania has finally almost returned to its pre-pandemic pace of life. The majority of institutions are now working like they were before. The same can be said about small shops, coffee shops and restaurants. Even though the prices that you pay there are much higher. It is also not difficult to notice that some new places have been set up. For example, on Gediminas Avenue there is a bar called Pahonia, while Vilnius Street is now home to the Belarusian House, which is located near the main government building.

December 7, 2022 - Andrzej Pukszto

The unfin(n)ished story of the Baltic alliance

From the region’s perspective, the 1922 Warsaw Accord between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland was a significant step in strengthening geopolitical interests and safeguarding against Russian aggression. Unfortunately, the agreement ultimately failed. This year’s ratification by Finland’s parliament of its application to join NATO can be seen as a final step in this process that began over 100 years ago.

The most promising and – to a certain degree – surprising declaration made by Finland on its interest in joining the NATO Alliance immediately reminded me of the so-called Warsaw Accord. This treaty was drafted 100 years ago on March 17th 1922 and embodied the initiative of a Baltic alliance between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland. Anti-Soviet in nature, cooperation ultimately failed due to reservations expressed by Helsinki. In the summer of 1922 the Finnish parliament – Eduskunta – decided not to ratify the pact. A century later, on May 17th 2022, 188 out of 200 Finnish MPs voted on accession to NATO. The story has come full circle. A story which deserves to be told.

September 29, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

A vicious circle of marginalisation: the EAPL-CFA’s rhetoric on Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has put many of Europe’s traditionally pro-Kremlin parties in a difficult situation. This is no more clear than in the case of Lithuania’s EAPL-CFA, which has maintained links with Russia as part of its attempts to represent various national minorities.

April 1, 2022 - Kiryl Kascian Vitold Jančis

Lithuania fumbles with 4,200 migrants, pushing human rights aside

As of September 28th 2021, 4,163 migrants have illegaly crossed Lithuania’s border with Belarus. To deter migrants – now and for good – Lithuania has pinned its hopes on a fence along the frontier.

Rudninkai, a sleepy Lithuanian settlement of 500 inhabitants in the Salcininkai district along Lithuania and the EU’s border with Belarus, has been in both the local and international media spotlight this summer. Over 700 illegal male migrants had been placed for nearly three months in a makeshift tent camp, which is now eerily empty. All the migrants, mostly Iraqis, Kurds, Afghans and Sri Lankans, have been moved from the settlement to a former correctional facility in Kybartai, in the south-western district of Vilkaviskis near the Russian border. At the same time, around 400 vulnerable migrants have been moved to a refugee reception centre in Rukla, which is located in the central Jonava district. Some others are still living in municipal shelters, mostly crumbling dormitories in municipalities located along the 680 kilometre border with Belarus.

December 1, 2021 - Linas Jegelevicius

Migration crisis presents opportunites for Lithuania’s Orbán admirer

The recent migration crisis has brought new issues to Lithuanian politics. Home to the country’s Polish minority, the south-eastern part of Lithuania was one of the regions most affected. It appears that the situation has opened up new opportunities for the ‘Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance’ to sustain and mobilise an electorate that remains highly responsive to “traditional values”.

September 2, 2021 - Kiryl Kascian Vitold Jančis

River and fog instead of fence and radars: guarding Lithuania’s easternmost border

Increasing migrant flows from Belarus mean that we need to do more patrolling, say border guards at Tverečius checkpoint in eastern Lithuania. As this section of the border is not equipped with surveillance systems, officers rely on assistance from local residents.

August 30, 2021 - Gytis Pankunas Justinas Stacevičius

‘Lithuania was manipulated.’ Belarusian dissidents run headlong into migrant smuggling operation

On July 1st, Andrey Sharenda and Olga Pavlova slipped unseen past what looked like a Belarusian border guard camp set up metres from Lithuania. Moments later, a few dozen migrants crossed the border after them.

August 6, 2021 - Benas Gerdžiūnas

Keeping watch at Lithuania’s most remote border post

The Curonian Spit or Neringa, a narrow peninsula wedged between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon, has been relatively deserted due to pandemic restrictions – yet border guards working at the most remote crossing between Lithuania and Russia have not had much time to spare.

May 17, 2021 - Gytis Pankunas

“We will not be intimidated.” Despite China’s threats, Lithuania moves to recognise Uighur genocide

After the historical move by Brussels to impose sanctions on China, Beijing retaliated by targeting four Lithuanian politicians among over a dozen European diplomats and officials. Now, despite direct pressure on Lithuanian MPs, Vilnius is planning to recognise repressions against the Uighurs as genocide.

April 19, 2021 - Andrius Balčiūnas 

The Baltic states. Three peas in a pod?

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are often together associated as a bloc, with a similar history, culture and politics. While there are some commonalities among the three countries, there are also some key characteristics that make them quite different from each other.

From the outside, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are usually viewed as one – “the Baltics”. However, their fates have only been intertwined during the last century. Prior to the end of the First World War, Lithuania had been closely connected with Poland, while Estonians and Latvians had been under Baltic German domination for seven centuries, no matter whether the ruling power was Sweden, Poland or Russia. Lithuanian and Latvian are the two surviving Baltic languages, whereas Estonian belongs to a completely different language family, together with Finnish and Hungarian.

April 11, 2021 - Andres Kasekamp

Image of ‘digital Baltics’ cracks under weight of pandemic

Despite being lauded as a digital posterchild, Estonia’s e-governance fell short during the COVID-19 crisis. Its Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania, fared no better.

March 11, 2021 - Keegan McBride

Expelled and persecuted Belarusian students find refuge at Lithuanian universities

Belarusian university students have been forced to flee after attending protests and subsequently being expelled, persecuted and imprisoned. Some have found their way to Lithuania.

February 15, 2021 - Ieva Žvinakytė

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