Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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War with Russia – a book worth reading

Here’s a book worth reading if you are at all interested in Russia’s aggressive behaviour towards former soviet union countries on its borders and its threat to world peace. 

Written by someone who knows what they are talking about (General Sir Richard Shirreff was Deputy Supreme Commander Europe for NATO) it’s a Tom Clancy type novel.

The action starts in Ukraine with the kidnapping of US trainers by Russian special forces and attacks on US jets by Russian fighters but soon moves to the Baltics demonstrating the high risks faced by these countries.

NATO is seen as largely ineffectual initially as its members have continually cut back on defence budgets or not contributed their agreed share to it.

However due respect is paid to the resistance movements in the Baltics referred to as the Forest Brothers

Without spoiling the plot for readers this book is bang up-to-date (it even has Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the opposition in the UK) but will make uncomfortable reading.


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Lithuania’s partisans rise again

eoh8vzfswic_dqzkbruhplitjkgjc9qrjxgt_jnok0fhbygyd7md7rul-simktkvcbpurrms114The Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union, a civilian paramilitary force, is preparing for the worst as Putin threatens the security of the Baltic states in his attempts to create a new soviet union under his leadership.

Formed in 1914 but disbanded by the soviets in 1940 they have been re-formed since independence and seen their numbers grow, tripling since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to about 10,000 members including former servicemen. (See history here).

Many Lithuanians see the Ukrainian war (not to mention the annexation of Crimea) as just the start of Russia’s plan to recapture its near neighbours including the Baltic states. They are not alone. Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Moldova, all former Warsaw Pact states, also feel vulnerable at the creation of “Novo Russia”.

ca9468aa749cb3de8a728ea163ab5530Lithuania has reintroduced conscription and produced a booklet on what to do in the case of an invasion. It’s also warned NATO about the build-up of nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, the strip of land between Poland and Lithuania which Russia took from Germany.

Russia claims it has to do that to counter the threat from the NATO build-up in the region – battalions of 1,000 men, one each to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (where the British contingent is based).

Kaliningrad also gives Russia access to the Baltic Sea where it is said to have committed “military hooliganism” by harassing merchant shipping.

Lithuania is currently the only NATO country to provide weapons to Ukraine , because “The Ukrainians are basically fighting the Russian Army” and thinks NATO should do more.

As for the riflemen, although they will be heavily outnumbered, they are preparing for guerrilla warfare in the forests of Lithuania. They have just been allowed to keep their semi-automatic weapons and ammunition at home to be better prepared.

dsc00072Anyone visiting the Museum of Genocide in the old KGB HQ in Vilnius will see memorabilia from the past including information about the partisans – who fought a bloody campaign. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that again.

This story was widely reported in the Independent, the Daily Mail and the Times.


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Ah, The Cultured Baltic States………………………..

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Where in Europe do people attend most classical concerts?

Not Germany.

Not Austria.

Not Russia.

A Eurobarometer survey asked: How many times in the last 12 months have you been to a concert?

sweden

The highest concert attendance was in Sweden, with 61 percent of respondents have been at least once. Next was Denmark.

Here’s our chart:

1 Sweden (61)

2 Denmark (60)

3 Latvia (55)

4 Estonia (54)

5 Austria (52)

= Luxembourg (52)

7 Lithuania (51)*

= Netherlands (51)

9 Finland (47)

10 Germany (45)

The UK languishes with 36 percent. Portugal was bottom of the table with 19%, just below Poland and Greece.

* As a regular visitor to Lithuania I have attended a good number of concerts and operas in the capital Vilnius and they are always very well attended with age ranges from young children to people of more mature years.

Source: Norman Lebrecht Website

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CNN: Vilnius Christmas tree is the world’s most spectacular

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

2013 Christmas tree in Vilnius | DELFI, Photo by Š. Mažeika

CNN has announced the list of top 12 world’s most spectacular Christmas trees, with Vilnius tree named as number one.

CNN writes: “The well-preserved old town in the Lithuanian capital looks like just the sort of place that needs a Christmas tree. Now it’s got one – in fact, at 25 meters, the tallest Christmas tree in the Baltics.

“Well, “tree” – it’s actually a metal skeleton covered with fir tree branches. Lithuanian fir tree branches, though – they’re not made in China,” reports CNN.

The rest of Christmas trees in the world that were named by CNN as the most spectacular are: Lego Christmas tree in Malaysia,  Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York; Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree in Paris; Floating Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro; National Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.; Brandenburg Gate Christmas tree in Berlin; Macaroon Christmas tree, Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina; Umbrella tree…

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