Lithuania. According to
CountryAAH, Parliament decided in April that more former
Soviet KGB employees would be banned from holding public
services. Previously, the prohibition on occupations was for
KGB officers, but the new law also included former
reservists. However, President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the
law, which included would have meant that the security
service's incumbent manager lost his job.
Signs from Moscow came in the summer that Russia may
place robotic weapons in Kaliningrad west of Lithuania in response
to US plans for robotic defenses in Poland and the Czech
Republic. The idea, voiced by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, caused concern in L.A.
Otherwise, the security policy debate in Lithuania during the
year was mostly about energy security and the need to make
the country independent of Russian energy sources. Since the
large Lithuanian oil refinery Mažeikių naphtha in 2006 was
sold to Polish interests, Russian oil supplies were
abandoned. According to Russia, this was due to a technical
fault in the pipeline through Belarus, but in Lithuania the oil
shutdown was seen as a political decision due to Russian
interests not being allowed to buy Mažeikių.
The Lithuanian electricity grid is also connected to
Belarus and Russia, and Lithuania fears becoming dependent on
Russian electricity when the last reactor at the Ignalina
nuclear power plant will be closed in 2009 according to EU
safety requirements. The Government therefore emphasized
that Lithuania wishes to link the Lithuanian electricity grid with
the Swedish as soon as possible through a cable under the
Lithuania has long hoped for a link to Poland, but it has
been delayed due to disagreement between the countries.
Lithuania also plans to build a new modern nuclear reactor in Ignalina
in collaboration with Latvia, Estonia and Poland, but even
there the neighboring countries disagree and the project is
uncertain. Lithuania therefore appealed during the year for the
opportunity to renegotiate the agreement with the EU and
extend the life of the current reactor. This was rejected by
In its quest to reduce dependence on Russian energy,
Lithuania and four other countries in eastern Europe decided in
October to form a consortium to transport crude oil from the
Caspian Sea. In addition to Lithuania included Poland, Ukraine,
Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Vilnius, capital of Lithuania; 536,700 residents (2018). Situated at the
confluence of the rivers Naria and Vilnija in the south-east of the country,
Vilnius is the administrative, cultural and economic center of Lithuania.
Despite its peripheral location, good road, rail and aviation connections
contribute to making the city the country's most important hub for domestic and
international transport. Education and research, with universities (founded in
1579) and several other colleges, contribute to Vilnius' dominance in
Lithuania's social life. The business sector is diversified, with an industry
mainly built up during the Soviet period for the manufacture of machinery
equipment, electrical engineering products, textiles and clothing, consumer
goods and food. The city is also the archbishop's seat.
Architecture and cityscape
Vilnius's city plan has been determined by yesterday's and today's ideas of
adaptation to the geographical location and the surrounding nature. Since the
construction of the city's defensive walls was completed in 1522, the town plan
for a long time was given an irregular radial and ring shape. The Old City,
UNESCO classified as a World Heritage site, houses many significant buildings
from different eras but is particularly rich in Baroque works. Among these,
Peter and Paul Church with their more than 2,000 figure sculptures occupy a
special position. One of the foremost works of classicism in Vilnius is the
former Cathedral of St. Stanislaus. The center, which was erected during the
19th century and early 1900s, has a regular but fairly free composition, with
most buildings exhibiting a style shaped by 1880s historicism and 1900s various
variations on rationalism. Around the center, The old city and the former
suburbs have been incorporated into new large areas from the mid-20th century.
There are 238 culturally marked architectural and 8 urban monuments in Vilnius.