Central Europe Review find out about advertising in CER
Vol 2, No 30
11 September 2000
front page 
jobs at CER 
CER Direct 
e-mail us 
year 2000 
year 1999 
by subject 
by author 
music shop 
video store 


News from Lithuania
All the important news
since 2 September 2000

Mel Huang

Politics and foreign affairs

President Valdas Adamkus made a visit to Iceland en route to the UN Millennium Summit in New York. In Reykjavík, Adamkus met with Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson and other officials to discuss better economic ties and Lithuania's NATO aspirations. Iceland, the smallest NATO member, has been a strong advocate of NATO membership for the Baltic countries. During the visit, Adamkus also met with Chinese National People's Congress Chairman Li Peng, who was, coincidentally, en route to Vilnius from a meeting in New York.

However, the trip by Li Peng to Vilnius was suddenly curtailed to a two-hour drop-in at the Vilnius Airport VIP lounge without public explanation. Most local media attributed the shortening of the trip to the reconvening of an international tribunal evaluating the crimes of Communism. Li, who had a strong hand in Tiananmen, likely took offence at the tribunal meeting in the Seimas buildingwhere he was to visit. Instead, Li went to Belarus before going on to Latvia. His host, Seimas Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, played down the shortening, saying the substance would have been the same (see this week's Amber Coast for more on this story).

The election season is about to officially begin, as the deadline for registering candidates and party lists passed on 4 September. Officially, 27 parties will participate in the elections, though some parties will compete in only the 71-constituency elections. A total of about 700 candidates will fight for the 71 seats.

The parties participating in the proportional representation (PR) side of the vote drew slots for their list during the week. A total of 27 parties, running on 15 lists (which includes coalitions of parties), will compete for the 70 seats allocated by national PR. About 1180 total candidates are listed on those PR lists.

However, the Central Electoral Commission ruled to reject the candidacy of disgraced MP Audrius Butkevičius, arguing that the lawmaker is still on probation for a bribery conviction. Butkevičius said he will appeal (for more on the Butkevičius case, see Lithuanian Parliament Fails to Clean House, from 26 July 1999).

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksander Kuzmuk made a visit to Lithuania to promote bilateral ties. Ukraine has supported Lithuania's aspirations to join NATO, which has irked Russia. Kuzmuk and Lithuanian Defence Minister Česlovas Stankevičius signed a co-operation agreement.

The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled by a 2:1 margin to revoke the citizenship of Algimantas Dailide, who is suspected to have been a member of the Lithuanian security police during Nazi occupation. The dissenting justice argued that a trial should have taken place for the revocation order. Dailide's lawyers say they will appeal to the Supreme Court.


Economics and business

The Business Software Alliance said that the use of pirated software by businesses dropped this year to about 81 per cent, down from last year's 92 per cent. Latvia also had a drop from 90 per cent to 85 per cent, while Estonia registered a drop from 86 per cent to 75 per cent.


Social and local interest

A high-profile hunger strike campaign by workers at the insolvent Inkaras footwear factory was called off. The remaining four hunger strikers out of the original ten called off the strike, when the government and military placed sympathy orders, which filled the company's bank accounts with some money. Each of the 1200 workers who were owed back wages got a small piece of the LTL (Lithuanian litas) 430,000, though the company still owes some LTL 3.3 million to its workers. President Valdas Adamkus used this as an example in urging other hunger strikers from other insolvent companies to end the drastic form of protest.

Prosecutor-general Kazys Pėdnyčia sacked the chief Vilnius prosecutor, Virginijus Sabutis, over improprieties in the office, including an alleged cover-up and even illegal searches.

The official unemployment rate as of the beginning of September reached record levels, at 11.8 per cent, up another 0.2 per cent from a month earlier. The highest regional rates are still in Šalčininkai (20.8 per cent), Akmenė (20.7 per cent) and Druskininkai (20.6 per cent). Among large cities, both Panevėžys and Šiauliai have alarmingly high jobless rates of 16.4 per cent.


And in other news...

In Bucharest, Lithuania lost a tight qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup by a score of 0:1 to Romania. Romania scored in the 89th minute in the heartbreaker for the Lithuanian squad, which returned home with no points.

World-famous daredevil pilot Jurgis Kairys has done it again, stunning the Kaunas public—including a visiting Formula-1 champion Mika Häkkinen—by flying under a low bridge. The spectacular stunt was filmed by various crews, including CNN and others, who habitually show Kairys's aerobatics skills.


Exchange Rates
As of 8 September 2000
Currency Lithuanian lita (LTL)
1 US dollar 4.00
1 British pound 5.76
1 German mark 1.82
1 euro 3.56


Mel Huang, 8 September 2000

Moving on:


Baltic News Service (BNS)
The Baltic Times
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Reuters news on Yahoo
Lietuvos Rytas
Lietuvos Aidas
Kauno Diena



Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Ghost Train

Martin D Brown
Greece Has the Life

Michael J Kopanic
Joining the Club

Joanna Rohozińska
Poland: Lustration woes

Mel Huang
Baltic Layover

Sam Vaknin
The Eureka Connection

Rob Stout
Karl Marx Reviewed

Ray Privett
Banned into Determination

NATO: A waste

Dejan Anastasijevic
Out of Time

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Corruption

Andrew James Horton
Yugoslav Film

Delia Dumitrica
Hungarians in Romania

Andrew Stroehlein
Czechs and Germans

Sam Vaknin
Post-Communist Disappointment

Culture Calendar:


Press Reviews:

CER eBookclub Members enter here