A report about guerrilla fighting against the Soviet occupation after World War II is among hundreds of thousands of declassified documents published online by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The 1949 CIA document told about approximately 20,000 active guerrillas operating in Lithuania, including 3,500-4,000 involved in active fighting against Soviet troops. CIA then said that the Soviets were in control of the biggest cities only, with resistance fighters having major influence in rural areas.
«There are at present about 20,000 guerrillas in Lithuania. There is an army of between 3,500 and 4,000 men, which fights the Soviet troops when the occasion is propitious,» reads the report.
Another 1951 report says that «masses in Lithuania are set against the Soviets. People live in the condition of fever of war.»Active guerrilla war for restoration of Lithuania’s independence took place in the 1944-1953 period.
Prosecutors asks to strip 2 MPs of legal immunity
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has asked the Seimas to lift the legal immunity of two lawmakers – Mantas Adomėnas of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) and Naglis Puteikis, a member of the Peasant and Green Union’s political group in the parliament – in separate defamation cases.
The Vilnius Regional Court is asking the parliament to strip Adomėnas of immunity in a private prosecution for defamation brought by Rūta Janutienė, a journalist, over his statements about corrupt media. She is seeking 5,000 euros in compensation for non-material damage.
The same court is also asking for the removal of Puteikis’ immunity in a private prosecution for libel brought by Kristina Apanavičiūtė–Šulikienė. The Seimas turned down the same request from the court during the previous legislative term.
Gorbachev summoned to testify in 1991 crackdown trial
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has received a summons to testify as a witness in a mass trial related to the bloody events of Jan. 13, 1991 in Vilnius. The judge said that the court had received a letter confirming that the summons, sent to Gorbachev’s foundation by conventional post, had been served. There is Gorbachev’s signature on the letter.
The court was not informed about whether the 85-year-old witness planned to come to Lithuania for the proceedings or whether he agreed to be questioned via a video link. The court last October decided to question Gorbachev as a witness at the request of Robertas Povilaitis, whose father Apolinaras Povilaitis died in the bloody crackdown on protesters in Vilnius in January 1991, and his lawyer. Gorbachev has denied having given an order to open fire in Vilnius.
Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of Jan. 13, 1991.
Lithuania passes requirement for indefinite storage of unused embryos
The Lithuanian parliament has passed amendments, initiated by the Peasant and Green Union (LPGU), to the new Law on Assisted Reproduction, putting into place the requirement to indefinitely store unused embryo and allowing embryo donation. A version of the amendments that was put forward by the Seimas Committee on Health Affairs as a compromise to the LPGU’s original proposal was adopted with 96 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions. The amendments, which will take effect on February1, allow freezing embryos, like the existing law, but they ban destroying unused embryos.
The LPGU’s MPs and other lawmakers last December registered conservative amendments to the Law on Assisted Reproduction, which had not yet come into force at that time, to limit to three the number of embryos created during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and ban freezing them.
Amid a public outcry, however, Ramūnas Karbauskis, the LPGU leader, registered a new proposal, scrapping the restriction on the number of embryos, but putting in place the requirement to store unused embryos indefinitely.
Government wants to study details of Rail Baltica project
The Lithuanians government wants to look into the details of the Rail Baltic project before signing interstate agreements on the European standard-gauge railway, Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis said.
«The Latvian and Estonian governments have been in office somewhat longer than our government has. So, it is normal that we still need to study the details of the project,» he said. The minister would not say if the government might do so before the prime minister’s scheduled visit to Tallinn on January 31.
Masiulis thinks that it is quite realistic to reach an agreement until the spring, saying that Lithuania will do its best to study the details of the deal as quickly as possible.
«I believe it’s quite realistic, because we are making efforts to analyse it within this month,» he said.
It was reported earlier that the three Baltic prime ministers planned to sign an agreement on the timeframe, route and other technical parameters of the Rail Baltica project in Tallinn on January 31.
However, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Monday, January 16, that he was not sure if he would sign the document as his government had not had enough time to study it in detail.
Lithuania: Belarus selectively applies nuclear safety standards
Belarus selectively applies nuclear safety standards in the construction of the Astravyets nuclear power plant, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said on Thursday, January 19.
The Foreign Ministry said that it had received an answer from Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to a letter in which Lithuania expressed its concern over recurring incidents at the Astravyets site and reiterated its requirement that Belarus invite a Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission of the IAEA for a full-scale assessment review of the site and design safety, risk and resilience, and carry out stress tests.
The IAEA confirmed in the response to the letter that Belarus was hosting an incomplete SEED IAEA mission between January16 and 20. It was the host country that decided on the scope of the mission, rather than the IAEA, the ministry said.
Seimas speaker urges chief official ethics watchdog to resign
Seimas speaker Viktoras Pranckietis has urged Romas Valentukevičius, the head of the Chief Official Ethics Commission, to resign. Pranckietis said he had been asked by the official watchdog chief to give him time to decide but confirmed he would initiate a dismissal proceedings, if resignation is not received within a certain period of time.
Valentukevičius pledged to make his mind up by next Tuesday, stressing he had not made mistakes or violated laws by his unilateral decision not to open a probe into the situation of the ruling Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union’s MP Greta Kildišienė who drove a car leased from Agrokoncernas. The parliamentary speaker’s position is that the commission’s chief had affected the reputation of the Chief Official Ethics Commission. Valentukevičius said in his response to Kildišienė that the circumstances where her close relative had concluded an automobile leasing contract with Agrokoncernas, a private company owned by LPGU leader Ramūnas Karbauskis, and let her drive the vehicle «was not a conflict of interests in itself.»
President: education quality, not number of universities matters
When initiating reform of higher education in Lithuania, persons involved should speak about the quality, not the number of universities, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said. In her words, the number of higher education institutions will be established after the reform is launched.
«First of all, I think we should start speaking about the quality of education and higher education, not the numbers. We should not start with numbers. The number of universities will crystallize after we launch the actual reform of the quality and see what network Lithuania needs,» Grybauskaitė told journalists in Zarasai, eastern Lithuania, on Thursday, January 19.
Vilnius airport revamp to pull down tourist flows
Representatives of the Lithuanian tourism business lack information about airlines’ plans to fly passengers during the summer reconstruction of the Vilnius airport, which is expected to pull down the number of travellers in Lithuania by 40 percent and lead to higher prices of trips.
«Our forecast is that number of passengers will decline by at least 40 percent when the airport is closed, as compared with last year. This means that 40 percent of seats will not be moved to the Kaunas airport,» Žydrė Gavelienė, president of the National Tourism Business Association, told a news conference on Thursday, January 19. The possibility is not ruled out that the runway reconstruction in Vilnius may last more than 35 days in July and August, and the uncertainty about the airport’s operations may put off people from travelling to the Lithuanian capital for most of the summer.
Defence Ministry completes helicopter repairs probe
The Lithuanian Defence Ministry’s General Inspectorate has completed its probe into two helicopter repair contracts, with the findings to be released by Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis next week. Air Force Commander Colonel Audronis Navickas last November was suspended from his duties due to the investigation.
He has appealed the suspension decision to court. The former heads of the Defence Ministry said that Navickas had failed to comply with a decision, taken last February, to repair Mi-8T search and rescue helicopters in non-Russian companies.
Klaipeda mulls erecting Memel Castle
The Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda is discussing the idea of erecting mock walls of Klaipeda Castle, also known as Memel Castle, until the whole castle can be rebuilt. «There are no decisions yet. We only had a first discussion about visions of what might be done.
We discussed reconstructing the shapes of Klaipėda Castle, like it is done in other countries. A structure is erected and then covered with fabric with the castle painted on it,» Elida Mantulova, deputy director of administration at the local authority, told the paper. Local historians have said that the large amount of available data would allow building an almost exact replica of the bastion castle.
Minister didn’t attend Paris’ Israel conference
Lithuania sent a deputy foreign minister to the Middle East peace conference in Paris, while its neighbours were represented by their top diplomats. Lithuania’s move was a gesture of symbolic support for Israel, whose government criticized the conference as an attempt to impose unacceptable conditions on the Jewish state. Representing Lithuania at the conference was Deputy Foreign Minister Neris Germanas.
Some diplomatic sources insist that the level of representation had been chosen deliberately in light of Israel’s position. Latvia, Estonia and Poland sent their ministers to Paris. US Secretary of State John Kerry also took part in the conference. Participants of the Paris conference have called on Israel and Palestinians to resume talks on peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Lithuania tops list of developing economies
Lithuania tops the list of the world’s developing nations in terms of inclusive economic growth, according to the Inclusive Growth and Development Report published by the World Economic Forum for the first time. The report covers 29 advanced economies, which include Lithuania’s neighbours Estonia, Finland and Sweden, and 78 developing economies, which also include Latvia, Poland and Russia.
Sweden is the highest ranked among Lithuania’s neighbours on the advanced economies list at 6th position. Finland is at number 11 and Estonia is in 22nd place. On the developing economies’ list, Poland is ranked fourth, Latvia is at number 7 and Russia is in 13th position. The top three advanced nations in the Inclusive Development Index are Norway, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Azerbaijan ranks second among developing economies, followed by Hungary in third place.
Survey finds Lithuanians to be happiest in Baltic states
Residents of Lithuania are happier than Latvians and Estonians; however, all in all, people of all three Baltic states are not as happy as the world population, shows a World Barometer published by Win/Gallup International and Baltic Market Insights.
According to the survey, 54 percent of Lithuanians said they were happy at the end of 2016, while the indicator in Estonia was 53 percent and in Latvia 49 percent. Meanwhile, the global index showed late last year that 59 percent of world residents were happy. Meanwhile, Baltic residents were more pessimistic about economy in late 2016. The index of economic expectations stood at 16 percent in Lithuania, 34 percent in Latvia and 15 percent in Estonia, as compared with the global index of 20 percent.
First troops of international battalion are to arrive
The first troops of the international Allied battalion should arrive in Lithuania next week, army officials said in Rukla on Wednesday, January 18. «The first troops are planned to arrive next week but the number will be very small… The main deployment and heavy movement will start in February,» Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, commander of the Joint Staff, told journalists. In his words, the last troops of the battalion will come to Lithuania in June.
All in all, the Allied battalion to be stationed in Lithuania will consist of about 1,200 troops, including half of troops from Germany that will head the unit. For some time, the troops will stay in Rukla before redeployment to another location. Lithuania has suggested that in the long run Germany should move its battalion to a military venue planned next to the capital Vilnius. NATO last year decided to station an international battalion in each of the Baltic states and Poland in an effort to deter Russia.