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Coordinates: 55°N 24°E / 55°N 24°E / 55; 24 Lithuania
Lithuania
(/ˌlɪθjuˈeɪniə/ ( listen);[11] Lithuanian: Lietuva [lʲɪɛtʊˈvɐ]), officially the Republic
Republic
of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in the Baltic region of northern-eastern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden
Sweden
and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia
Latvia
to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland
Poland
to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast
(a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania
Lithuania
has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2017[update], and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians
Lithuanians
are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland
Poland
and Russia
Russia
were the territories of the Grand Duchy. With the Lublin Union
Lublin Union
of 1569, Lithuania
Lithuania
and Poland
Poland
formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
annexing most of Lithuania's territory. As World War I
World War I
neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence
Independence
was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic
Republic
of Lithuania. In the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II
World War II
neared its end and the Germans
Germans
retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet
Soviet
Union, Lithuania
Lithuania
became the first Baltic state to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania
Lithuania
after 50 years of Soviet
Soviet
occupation. Lithuania
Lithuania
is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the eurozone, Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, and part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries. The United Nations
United Nations
Human Development Index lists Lithuania
Lithuania
as a "very high human development" country.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Prehistoric 2.2 Medieval 2.3 Modern 2.4 20th and 21st centuries

2.4.1 1939–1940 2.4.2 1940–1944 2.4.3 1944–1990 2.4.4 1990–present

3 Geography

3.1 Climate 3.2 Biodiversity

4 Politics

4.1 Government 4.2 Law 4.3 Administrative divisions 4.4 Foreign relations 4.5 Military

5 Law enforcement and crime 6 Economy

6.1 Science and technology 6.2 Tourism

7 Infrastructure

7.1 Communication 7.2 Transport 7.3 Energy

8 Demographics

8.1 Ethnic groups 8.2 Urbanization 8.3 Functional urban areas 8.4 Health 8.5 Religion 8.6 Education

9 Culture

9.1 Lithuanian language 9.2 Literature 9.3 Architecture 9.4 Lithuanian pagan mythology 9.5 Arts and museums 9.6 Theatre 9.7 Music 9.8 Cuisine 9.9 Sports

10 International rankings 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 External links

Etymology Main article: Name of Lithuania

Lithuania's name in writing 1009

The first known record of the name of Lithuania
Lithuania
(Lithuanian: Lietuva) is in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno recorded in the Quedlinburg Chronicle (Latin: Annales Quedlinburgenses).[12] The Chronicle recorded a Latinized form of the name Lietuva: Litua[13] (pronounced [litua]). Due to the lack of reliable evidence, true meaning of the name is unknown. Nowadays, scholars still debate the meaning of the word and there are a few persuasive versions. There have been several attempts to associate Lietuva with Celtic toponyms, and with Latin
Latin
or Italian words, but these attempts all lack strong linguistic support. According to a widespread popular belief, the word Lietuva (Lithuania) originated from the Lithuanian words lyti (to rain) and lietus (rain).[14][15] However, there is no serious scientific support for this theory. Since the word Lietuva has a suffix (-uva), the original word should have no suffix. A likely candidate is Lietā. Because many Baltic ethnonyms originated from hydronyms, linguists have searched for its origin among local hydronyms. Usually such names evolved through the following process: hydronym → toponym → ethnonym.[16] A small river not far from Kernavė, the core area of the early Lithuanian state and a possible first capital of the would-be Grand Duchy of Lithuania, is usually credited as the source of the name. This river's original name is Lietava.[16] As time passed, the suffix -ava could have changed into -uva, as the two are from the same suffix branch. The river flows in the lowlands and easily spills over its banks, therefore the traditional Lithuanian form liet- could be directly translated as lietis (to spill), of the root derived from the Proto- Indo-European *leyǝ-.[17] It is believed that Rimgaudas (father of Mindaugas) ruled the area of Kernavė.[18] However, the river is very small and some find it improbable that such a small and local object could have lent its name to an entire nation. On the other hand, such a fact is not unprecedented in world history.[19] While the word's etymology continues to be debated, scientists agree that the primary origins of the ethnonym were the Lithuanian forms *Lētuvā/Lietuva, which were then used by different languages, including Slavic. It is very unlikely for the name to have derived from a Slavic language, since the Slavic -i- (и) could never be transliterated into the Lithuanian diphthong -ie-.[19] Among other etymologies of the name of Lithuania
Lithuania
there is Artūras Dubonis' hypothesis,[20] that Lietuva relates to the word *leičiai (plural of leitis, a social group in the early Grand Duchy of Lithuania). From the middle of the 13th century, leičiai were a distinct social group of the Lithuanian society subordinate to the Lithuanian ruler or the state itself. They were living in the Vilnius and Trakai
Trakai
Voivodeships manors. Possibly, already in the 14th century part of them became bajorai. Another meaning of leičiai is used in the 14th – 16th centuries historical sources as a Lithuanians ethnonym. It is believed that occasionally all Lithuanians
Lithuanians
were called using it (except for Samogitians). Term leiši (plural of leitis), as a synonym to the Lithuanians
Lithuanians
ethnonym (beside the newer lietuvietis), to this day maintained Latvians
Latvians
who are speaking with a very closely related Latvian language.[21][22] History Main article: History of Lithuania Prehistoric Main article: Duchy of Lithuania

Karmazinų pilkapynas, where in 8–12th centuries pagans were buried

The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC: Kunda, Neman and Narva cultures. They were traveling hunters and did not form stable settlements. In the 8th millennium BC, the climate became much warmer, and forests developed. The inhabitants of what is now Lithuania
Lithuania
then traveled less and engaged in local hunting, gathering and fresh-water fishing. Agriculture did not emerge until the 3rd millennium BC due to a harsh climate and terrain and a lack of suitable tools to cultivate the land. Crafts and trade also started to form at this time. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes.[23]

Baltic Amber, that dates 44 million years ago, is a valuable trade resource. It was once transported to the Roman Empire, Egypt
Egypt
through the Amber
Amber
Road.

The Baltic tribes
Baltic tribes
did not maintain close cultural or political contacts with the Roman Empire, but they did maintain trade contacts (see Amber
Amber
Road). Tacitus, in his study Germania, described the Aesti people, inhabitants of the south-eastern Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
shores who were probably Balts, around the year 97 AD. The Western Balts differentiated and became known to outside chroniclers first. Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD knew of the Galindians
Galindians
and Yotvingians, and early medieval chroniclers mentioned Old Prussians, Curonians
Curonians
and Semigallians.[24] The Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
is considered to be very conservative for its close connection to Indo-European roots. It is believed to have differentiated from the Latvian language, the most closely related existing language, around the 7th century.[25] Traditional Lithuanian pagan customs and mythology, with many archaic elements, were long preserved. Rulers' bodies were cremated up until the conversion to Christianity: the descriptions of the cremation ceremonies of the grand dukes Algirdas
Algirdas
and Kęstutis
Kęstutis
have survived.[26]

The only surviving Seal of Mindaugas
Mindaugas
from 1255

From the 9th to the 11th centuries, coastal Balts
Balts
were subjected to raids by the Vikings, and the kings of Denmark
Denmark
collected tribute at times. During the 10–11th centuries, Lithuanian territories were among the lands paying tribute to Kievan Rus', and Yaroslav the Wise was among the Ruthenian rulers who invaded Lithuania
Lithuania
(from 1040). From the mid-12th century, it was the Lithuanians
Lithuanians
who were invading Ruthenian territories. In 1183, Polotsk
Polotsk
and Pskov
Pskov
were ravaged, and even the distant and powerful Novgorod Republic
Republic
was repeatedly threatened by the excursions from the emerging Lithuanian war machine toward the end of the 12th century.[27] From the late 12th century, an organized Lithuanian military force existed; it was used for external raids, plundering and the gathering of slaves. Such military and pecuniary activities fostered social differentiation and triggered a struggle for power in Lithuania. This initiated the formation of early statehood, from which the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Lithuania
developed.[28] Medieval Main articles: Kingdom of Lithuania
Kingdom of Lithuania
and Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Changes in the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
from the 13th century to the present day. At its peak, Lithuania
Lithuania
was the largest state in Europe.[29] Lithuania's strength was its extraordinary toleration of various cultures and religions. The Third Statute of Lithuania
Lithuania
removed term heretic as a discrimination in 1588 and the state had no Inquisition.[30]

Kernavė
Kernavė
hill forts mounds, the site of the early capital of the Grand Duchy ( UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site)

Trakai
Trakai
Island Castle, the former residence of the Grand Dukes

Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania
Lithuania
on 6 July 1253.[31] After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania
Lithuania
was a target of the Christian
Christian
crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Siege of Pilėnai
Siege of Pilėnai
is noted for the Lithuanians' heroic defense against the intruders. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Lithuania
expanded rapidly, overtaking former Slavic principalities of Kievan Rus'. On 22 September 1236, the Battle of Saulė
Battle of Saulė
between Samogitians
Samogitians
and the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
took place close to Šiauliai. The Livonian Brothers were smashed during it and their further conquest of the Balts
Balts
lands were stopped.[32] The battle inspired rebellions among the Curonians, Semigallians, Selonians, Oeselians, tribes previously conquered by the Sword-Brothers. Some thirty years' worth of conquests on the left bank of Daugava
Daugava
were lost.[33] In 2000, the Lithuanian and Latvian parliaments declared 22 September to be the Day of Baltic Unity.[34] According to the legend, Grand Duke Gediminas
Gediminas
was hunting near the Vilnia River, tired after the successful hunt, he settled in for the night and dreamed of a huge Iron Wolf standing on top a hill and howling as strong and loud as a hundred wolves. Krivis (pagan priest) Lizdeika interpreted the dream that the Iron Wolf represents Vilnius Castles. Gediminas, obeying the will of gods, built the city, and gave it the name Vilnius
Vilnius
– from the stream of the Vilnia River.[35]

Lithuanians
Lithuanians
crushing the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
during the Battle of Blue Waters

Vytis
Vytis
with Columns of Gediminas
Gediminas
(15th century)

In 1362 or 1363, Grand Duke Algirdas
Algirdas
marched between lower Dnieper
Dnieper
and Southern Bug.[36] First, Algirdas
Algirdas
captured remaining territories of the Principality of Chernigov
Principality of Chernigov
– the bulk of the territory, including the capital in Bryansk, fell under Lithuanian control around 1357–1358. The Lithuanians
Lithuanians
then attacked Korshev (Коршов), an unidentified fortress located in the upper reaches of the Bystraya Sosna River, tributary of the Don River.[37] It is believed that Algirdas
Algirdas
further conquered territories of the former Principality of Pereslavl. The area belonged to Crimean ulus which was engaged in a campaign against New Sarai
New Sarai
and could not organize effective resistance. Three Tatar beys of Podolia
Podolia
gathered an army to resist the invasion.[37] Lithuanians
Lithuanians
smashed the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
forces during the Battle of Blue Waters
Battle of Blue Waters
and stopped its further expansion in the present-day Ukraine. The victory brought the city of Kiev
Kiev
and a large part of present-day Ukraine, including sparsely populated Podolia
Podolia
and Dykra, under the control of the expanding Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The duchy also gained access to the Black Sea. Algirdas
Algirdas
left his son Vladimir in Kiev.[36] After taking Kiev, Lithuania
Lithuania
became a direct neighbor and rival of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.[38] By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania
Lithuania
was one of the largest countries in Europe
Europe
and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland
Poland
and Russia.[39] The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multicultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The ruling elite practised religious tolerance and Chancery Slavonic
Chancery Slavonic
language was used as an auxiliary language to the Latin
Latin
for official documents. In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila
Jogaila
accepted Poland's offer to become its king. Jogaila
Jogaila
embarked on gradual Christianization of Lithuania
Christianization of Lithuania
and established a personal union between Poland
Poland
and Lithuania. It implied that Lithuania, the fiercely independent land, was one of the last pagan areas of Europe
Europe
to adopt Christianity.

Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald
and Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
in the centre

After two civil wars, Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
became the Grand Duke of Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1392. During his reign, Lithuania
Lithuania
reached the peak of its territorial expansion, centralization of the state began, and the Lithuanian nobility
Lithuanian nobility
became increasingly prominent in state politics. In the great Battle of the Vorskla River
Battle of the Vorskla River
in 1399, the combined forces of Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
and Vytautas were defeated by the Mongols. Thanks to close cooperation, the armies of Lithuania
Lithuania
and Poland
Poland
achieved a great victory over the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald, one of the largest battles of medieval Europe.[40][41][42] In January 1429, at the Congress of Lutsk
Congress of Lutsk
Vytautas received the title of King of Lithuania
King of Lithuania
with the backing of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, but the envoys who were transporting the crown were stopped by Polish magnates in autumn of 1430. Another crown was sent, but Vytautas died in the Trakai Island Castle
Trakai Island Castle
several days before it reached Lithuania. He was buried in the Cathedral of Vilnius.[43] After the deaths of Jogaila
Jogaila
and Vytautas, the Lithuanian nobility attempted to break the union between Poland
Poland
and Lithuania, independently selecting Grand Dukes from the Jagiellon dynasty. But, at the end of the 15th century, Lithuania
Lithuania
was forced to seek a closer alliance with Poland
Poland
when the growing power of the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Moscow
threatened Lithuania's Russian principalities and sparked the Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars
Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars
and the Livonian War.

During the Battle of Orsha
Battle of Orsha
in 1514 Lithuanians
Lithuanians
hopelessly trounced the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
forces

On 8 September 1514, Battle of Orsha
Battle of Orsha
between Lithuanians, commanded by the Grand Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski, and Muscovites was fought. According to Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii by Sigismund von Herberstein, the primary source for information on the battle, the much smaller army of Poland– Lithuania
Lithuania
(under 30,000 men) defeated a force of 80,000 Muscovite soldiers, capturing their camp and commander.[44] The battle destroyed a military alliance against Lithuania
Lithuania
and Poland. Thousands of Muscovites were captured as prisoners and used as laborers in the Lithuanian manors, while Konstanty Ostrogski
Konstanty Ostrogski
delivered the captured Muscovite flags to the Cathedral of Vilnius.[45] The Livonian War
Livonian War
was ceased for ten years with a Truce
Truce
of Yam-Zapolsky signed on 15 January 1582 according to which the already Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
recovered Livonia, Polotsk
Polotsk
and Velizh, but transferred Velikiye Luki
Velikiye Luki
to the Tsardom of Russia. The truce was extended for twenty years in 1600, when a diplomatic mission to Moscow
Moscow
led by Lew Sapieha
Lew Sapieha
concluded negotiations with Tsar Boris Godunov.[46] The truce was broken when the Poles
Poles
invaded Muscovy in 1605. Modern Main article: Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Grand Dukes of Lithuania
in the modern capital Vilnius

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
was created in 1569. As a member of the Commonwealth, Lithuania
Lithuania
retained its institutions, including a separate army, currency, and statutory laws.[47] Eventually Polonization
Polonization
affected all aspects of Lithuanian life: politics, language, culture, and national identity. From the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries, culture, arts, and education flourished, fueled by the Renaissance
Renaissance
and the Protestant Reformation. From 1573, the Kings of Poland
Poland
and Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Grand Dukes of Lithuania
were elected by the nobility, who were granted ever increasing Golden Liberties. These liberties, especially the liberum veto, led to anarchy and the eventual dissolution of the state.

The Great Sejm
Great Sejm
and Senate of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth adopted Constitution
Constitution
of 3 May 1791, which is claimed to be the second oldest constitution in the world after the U.S. Constitution

The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the early 17th century. Its powerful parliament was dominated by nobles who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years' War; this neutrality spared the country from the ravages of a political-religious conflict that devastated most of contemporary Europe. The Commonwealth held its own against Sweden, the Tsardom of Russia, and vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and even launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. In several invasions during the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops entered Russia
Russia
and managed to take Moscow
Moscow
and hold it from September 27, 1610 to November 4, 1612, when they were driven out after a siege.[48] The Constitution
Constitution
of 3 May 1791 was adopted by the Great Sejm (parliament) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
trying to save the state. The legislation was designed to redress the Commonwealth's political defects due to the system of Golden Liberties, also known as the "Nobles' Democracy," had conferred disproportionate rights on the nobility (szlachta) and over time had corrupted politics. The constitution sought to supplant the prevailing anarchy fostered by some of the country's magnates with a more democratic constitutional monarchy. It introduced elements of political equality between townspeople and nobility, and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. It banned parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which had put the Sejm
Sejm
at the mercy of any deputy who could revoke all the legislation that had been passed by that Sejm. It was drafted in relation to a copy of the U.S. Constitution.[49][50][51] Others have called it the world's second-oldest codified national governmental constitution after the 1787 U.S. Constitution. The 1787 U.S. Constitution
Constitution
was actually the first governmental constitution, introducing the clear division of the executive, legislative and judiciary powers, accordingly with the legal and philosophical values influential in the Enlightenment.[52]

Emilia Plater, often nicknamed as a Lithuanian Joan of Arc, leading peasant scythemen during the 1831 uprising

During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the Lithuanian territory and economy were devastated by the Swedish army. In the late 17th century, the king of the weakened Commonwealth, John III Sobieski, allied with Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I to deal crushing defeats to the Ottoman Empire. In 1683, the Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna
marked the final turning point in the 250-year struggle between the forces of Christian
Christian
Europe
Europe
and the Islamic Ottomans. For its centuries-long opposition to Muslim advances, the Commonwealth would gain the name of Antemurale Christianitatis (bulwark of Christianity).[53] During the next 16 years, the Great Turkish War
Great Turkish War
would drive the Turks permanently south of the Danube River, never again to threaten central Europe. Before it could fully recover, Lithuania
Lithuania
was ravaged during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The war, a plague, and a famine caused the deaths of approximately 40% of the country's population.[54] Foreign powers, especially Russia, became dominant in the domestic politics of the Commonwealth. Numerous factions among the nobility used the Golden Liberties to prevent any reforms. Eventually, the Commonwealth was partitioned in 1772, 1792, and 1795 by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Habsburg Austria.

Jurgis Bielinis, one of the most famous book smugglers

The largest area of Lithuanian territory became part of the Russian Empire. After unsuccessful uprisings in 1831 and 1863, the Tsarist authorities implemented a number of Russification
Russification
policies. They banned the Lithuanian press, closed cultural and educational institutions, and made Lithuania
Lithuania
part of a new administrative region called Northwestern Krai. The Russification
Russification
failed owing to an extensive network of book smugglers and secret Lithuanian home schooling. After the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), when German diplomats assigned what were seen as Russian spoils of war to Turkey, the relationship between Russia
Russia
and the German Empire
German Empire
became complicated. The Russian Empire
Russian Empire
resumed the construction of fortresses at its western borders for defence against a potential invasion from Germany in the West. On 7 July 1879 the Russian Emperor Alexander II approved of a proposal from the Russian military leadership to build the largest "first-class" defensive structure in the entire state – the 65 km2 (25 sq mi) Kaunas
Kaunas
Fortress.[55] Large numbers of Lithuanians
Lithuanians
went to the United States
United States
in 1867–1868 after a famine.[56] A Lithuanian National Revival
Lithuanian National Revival
laid the foundations of the modern Lithuanian nation and independent Lithuania. 20th and 21st centuries

The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania
Council of Lithuania
after signing the Act of Independence
Independence
of Lithuania, 16 February 1918.

World War I
World War I
rapidly reached the territory of Lithuania. Germany’s push to the east drove the forces of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
to retreat. By the end of 1915, Germany
Germany
occupied the entire territory of Lithuania and Courland.[57] A new administrative entity, Ober Ost
Ober Ost
(short for Oberbefehlshaber der gesamten Deutschen Streitkräfte im Osten, which is German for "Supreme Commander of All German Forces in the East"), was established. Lithuanians
Lithuanians
lost all political rights they had gained: personal freedom was restricted, and at the beginning the Lithuanian press was banned.[58] However, the Lithuanian intelligentsia tried to take advantage of the existing geopolitical situation and began to look for opportunities to restore Lithuania’s independence. On 18–22 September 1917, the Vilnius
Vilnius
Conference elected the Council of Lithuania. At the conference, it was decided to re-establish the state of Lithuania
Lithuania
with its ethnographic borders and the capital of Vilnius. Antanas Smetona was elected the chairman of the Council ( Jonas Basanavičius
Jonas Basanavičius
became the chairman only on 16 February 1918). Following the geopolitical situation, on 11 December 1917, the Council of Lithuania
Council of Lithuania
adopted a resolution announcing the restoration of an independent state of Lithuania
Lithuania
with the capital in Vilnius
Vilnius
and severing all ties that had ever been established with other countries and calling for the eternal union with Germany. The latter statement was rejected by some of the members of the Council, forcing Mykolas Biržiška, Steponas Kairys, Stanislovas Narutavičius and Petras Vileišis
Petras Vileišis
to leave the organization.[59] As Germany
Germany
was losing the war, a decision had been made to abandon this union. A resolution adopted on 16 February 1918, was recognized as the Act of Independence
Independence
of Lithuania. It restored an independent state of Lithuania
Lithuania
governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius
Vilnius
as its capital. The Act also stated that Lithuania’s relations with other countries will be established by the democratically elected Constituent Assembly of Lithuania. The state of Lithuania
Lithuania
which had been built within the framework of the Act lasted from 1918 until 1940.[60] In July 1918, resisting the plans of those who welcomed the annexation by Germany
Germany
the Council of Lithuania
Council of Lithuania
elected Prince Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg, as King of Lithuania, with a regnal name of Mindaugas
Mindaugas
II. However, following the capitulation of Germany
Germany
in November 1918, the idea of the monarchy was abandoned, leaving the question about the ruling system to the constituent assembly.[61]

Lithuanian newspaper with the title "Hey, world! We do not let it down without Vilnius!", 1926

On 11 November 1918, the first Provisional Constitution
Constitution
of Lithuania was written. At the same time, the army, the government, and other state institutions began to be organized. In 1919 the office of the presidency was introduced. Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona
was elected the president of the state.[62]

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
in Kaunas, dedicated to those who died in the Lithuanian Wars of Independence

As the Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks
were pushing for Vilnius, the government was moved to Kaunas, which had become a provisional capital. According to the Lithuanian Constitution
Constitution
of 1928 and 1938, the capital of the country was Vilnius. Trying to establish the statehood and draw state borders, Lithuania
Lithuania
had to fight not only with the Bolsheviks, but also with the West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
or Bermontians and the Poles.[63][64]

Nationalist Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona
acquisition of authority in 1926 led to a worship of the Lithuanian nation, its history and language. Smetona’s regime was the first in Europe
Europe
to sentence Nazis
Nazis
even to death and also the Communists, who were both seen as a threat to the independence.[65]

The Bermontians were defeated in November 1919 at Radviliškis. The peace treaty with the Soviet
Soviet
Russia
Russia
was signed on 12 July 1920 that drew a frontier which placed the Vilnius
Vilnius
district on the Lithuanian side.[66] The Polish–Lithuanian War
Polish–Lithuanian War
was stopped with a peace treaty signed between Lithuania
Lithuania
and Poland
Poland
on 7 October 1920, in Suwałki that drew a line of demarcation, which was incomplete but indicated that the Vilnius
Vilnius
area would be part of Lithuania.[66][67] However, three days later the Poles
Poles
broke the treaty as the Lucjan Żeligowski troops seized and occupied the Vilnius
Vilnius
Region and drove out the Lithuanian forces.[66] Lithuanians
Lithuanians
were able to stop their push deeper into the territory only on 21–22 November at Širvintos
Širvintos
and Giedraičiai. Notwithstanding, Vilnius
Vilnius
remained to be part of Poland becoming the cornerstone of Lithuania’s foreign policy, and causing vast Lithuanians
Lithuanians
anger towards the Poles.[68] Żeligowski proclaimed the Independence
Independence
of the Republic
Republic
of Central Lithuania
Lithuania
on 12 October 1920 with Wilno as its capital. On 8 January 1922, Żeligowski organized elections to the Vilnius
Vilnius
Sejm
Sejm
and passed his powers.[69] The elections were not recognized by the League of Nations, Lithuania
Lithuania
and boycotted by Lithuanians, most of the Jews
Jews
and some Belarusians. Poles
Poles
were the only major ethnic group out of which the majority of people voted.[70] On 24 March 1922, the newly elected parliament decided to submit the area to Poland.[69] On 15 May 1920, the first meeting of the democratically elected constituent assembly took place. The documents it adopted, i. e. the temporary (1920) and permanent (1922) constitutions of Lithuania, strove to regulate the life of the new state. Land, finance, and educational reforms started to be implemented. The currency of Lithuania, the Lithuanian litas,[71] was introduced. The University of Lithuania
Lithuania
was opened.[72] All major public institutions had been established. As Lithuania
Lithuania
began to gain stability, foreign countries started to recognize it. In 1921 Lithuania
Lithuania
was admitted to the League of Nations.[73]

Palace of Justice and the Seimas
Seimas
in Kaunas, decorated with the tricolors

The first Parliament of Lithuania
Lithuania
or Seimas
Seimas
was elected in October 1922. Aleksandras Stulginskis[74] was elected as a president. One of the most important achievements of that time was the incorporation of Klaipėda Region
Klaipėda Region
into the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1923 and its international recognition in 1924. The Third Seimas
Seimas
elected Kazys Grinius,[75] a member of Lithuanian Popular Peasants’ Union, as the country’s president. However, his leadership did not last long. On 17 December 1926, a military coup d’état took place resulting in the replacement of the democratically elected government with a conservative authoritarian government led by Antanas Smetona. Augustinas Voldemaras
Augustinas Voldemaras
was appointed to form a government. The so-called authoritarian phase had begun strengthening the influence of one party, the Lithuanian Nationalist Union, in the country. In 1927, the Seimas
Seimas
was released.[76] A new constitution adopted in 1928, which consolidated presidential powers. Gradually the opposition parties were banned, the censorship was tightened, and the rights of national minorities were narrowed.[77][78] The temporary capital Kaunas, which was nicknamed the Little Paris, and the country itself had a Western standard of living with sufficiently high salaries and low prices. At the time, qualified workers there were earning very similar real wages as workers in Germany, Italy, Switzerland
Switzerland
and France, the country also had a surprisingly high natural increase in population of 9.7 and the industrial production of Lithuania
Lithuania
increased by 160% from 1913 to 1940.[79][80] The situation was aggravated by the global economic crisis.[81] The purchase price of agricultural products had declined significantly. In 1935, farmers began strikes in Suvalkija
Suvalkija
and Dzūkija. In addition to economic ones, political demands were made. The government cruelly suppressed the unrest. In the spring of 1936, four peasants were sentenced to death for starting the riots.[82] 1939–1940 Main article: Occupation of the Baltic states Initially prior the World War II, Lithuania
Lithuania
declared neutrality and its Seimas
Seimas
passed the neutrality laws.[83] Though, on the eve of World War II, as the geopolitical situation in the region started to change, Lithuania
Lithuania
was forced to accept the ultimatums of the neighboring countries.[84] On 17 March 1938, Poland
Poland
delivered an ultimatum calling for diplomatic relations. Although practically it meant Poland’s “refusal” of Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuania
had also sought to restore relations with its neighbor, and accepted the ultimatum. On 20 March 1939, Lithuania
Lithuania
was handed an ultimatum by Nazi Germany. A request was made to transfer the Klaipėda Region
Klaipėda Region
to Nazi Germany. Two days later, without seeing the way out, the Lithuanian government signed the agreement.[85]

Lithuanian delegation before departing to Moscow, where they later were tactically forced to sign the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty

Another large neighbor — the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
also began preparing for the occupation of the Lithuania's territory.[86] On 7 October 1939 the Lithuanian delegation departed to Moscow
Moscow
where they later had to sign the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty
Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty
due to the unfavorable situation. The treaty resulted in five Soviet
Soviet
military bases with 20,000 troops established across Lithuania
Lithuania
in exchange for the Lithuania's historical capital Vilnius. According to the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Kazys Musteikis, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Juozas Urbšys initially told that Lithuanians
Lithuanians
refuses Vilnius
Vilnius
Region as well as the Russian garrisons, however then nervous Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
replied that "No matter if you take Vilnius
Vilnius
or not, the Russian garrisons will enter Lithuania anyway".[87] He also informed Juozas Urbšys about the Soviet–German secret protocols and showed maps of the spheres of influence.[88] Two of the military bases with thousands of Soviet
Soviet
soldiers were established close to Kaunas
Kaunas
in Prienai
Prienai
and Gaižiūnai.[89] Despite regaining the beloved historical capital, the Presidency and the Government remained in Kaunas.[90]

Presidential Palace in Kaunas, where the last meeting of the independent Government of Lithuania
Government of Lithuania
took place on the night of 14 June 1940

Soviet
Soviet
political leader (without military shoulder straps) and the marionette People's Seimas
Seimas
member (with red rose in his jacket lapel) announces to the Lithuanian People's Army non-commissioned officers that "soon you will become members of the glorious Red Army" in Kaunas, 1940

The next step made by the USSR was accusations of the abduction of the Red Army
Red Army
soldiers in Lithuania. Although the Lithuanian government denied such allegations, the tensions became heightened on both sides.[91] On 14 June 1940, the USSR issued an ultimatum to Lithuania, demanding to replace the government and allow Red Army's units to enter the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
without any prior agreements, which would mean the occupation of the country.[92] On 14 June 1940 just before midnight, the last meeting of the Lithuanian Government was held in the Presidential Palace, in Kaunas. During it, the Soviet's ultimatum was debated.[93] President Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona
categorically declined to accept most of the ultimatum demands, argued for military resistance and was supported by Kazys Musteikis, Konstantinas Šakenis (lt), Kazimieras Jokantas (lt), however the Commander of the Armed Forces Vincas Vitkauskas, Divisional general Stasys Raštikis, Kazys Bizauskas, Antanas Merkys
Antanas Merkys
and most of the Lithuanian Government members decided that it would be impossible, especially due to the previously stationed Soviet
Soviet
soldiers, and accepted the ultimatum.[94] On that night, the Soviet
Soviet
forces executed Lithuanian border guard Aleksandras Barauskas (lt) near the Belarus
Belarus
border.[95] In the morning, the Lithuanian Government resigned while the president left the country to avoid the fate of the Soviet's puppet and hoping to form the Government in exile.[96] Soon the Red Army flooded Lithuania
Lithuania
through the Belarus–Lithuania border
Belarus–Lithuania border
with more than 200,000 soldiers and took control of the most important cities, including Kaunas
Kaunas
where the heads of state resided. The Lithuanian Armed Forces
Lithuanian Armed Forces
were ordered not to resist and the Lithuanian Air Force remained on the ground.[97][98] At the time, the Lithuanian Armed Forces had 26,084 soldiers (of which 1,728 officers) and 2,031 civil servants.[99] While the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union, subordinate to the army commander, had over 62,000 members of which about 70% were farmers and agricultural workers.[100] After the occupation, the Soviets has immediately taken brutal actions against the high-ranking officials of the state. Both targets of the ultimatum: the Minister of the Interior Kazys Skučas
Kazys Skučas
and the Director of the State Security Department of Lithuania
Lithuania
Augustinas Povilaitis were transported to Moscow
Moscow
and later executed. Antanas Gustaitis, Kazys Bizauskas, Vytautas Petrulis, Kazimieras Jokantas (lt), Jonas Masiliūnas (lt), Antanas Tamošaitis (lt) also faced the fate of execution, while President Aleksandras Stulginskis, Juozas Urbšys, Leonas Bistras, Antanas Merkys, Pranas Dovydaitis, Petras Klimas, Donatas Malinauskas
Donatas Malinauskas
and thousands of others were deported.[96] Stasys Raštikis, persuaded by his wife, secretly crossed the German border. After realizing it, NKVD
NKVD
started terror against Raštikis family. His wife was separated from their 1-year-old daughter and brutally interrogated at Kaunas
Kaunas
Prison, his old father Bernardas Raštikis, three daughters, two brothers and sister were deported to Siberia.[101] Soldiers, officers, senior officers and generals of the Lithuanian Army and LRU members, who were seen as a threat to the occupants, were quickly arrested, interrogated and released to the reserve, deported to the concentration camps or executed, trying to avoid this many joined the Lithuanian partisans
Lithuanian partisans
forces. The army itself was firstly renamed to the Lithuanian People's Army, however later it was reorganized to the 29th Rifle Corps of the Soviet Union.[100] 1940–1944 Main articles: June Uprising in Lithuania
June Uprising in Lithuania
and German occupation of Lithuania
Lithuania
during World War II Further information: The Holocaust
Holocaust
in Lithuania In Lithuania, World War II
World War II
began on 15 June 1940, when the USSR occupied the territory of the country. Sovietization was started right away. New power banned opposition, its press, and organizations and also restricted ties with foreign countries. Shortly, on 17 June 1940 the puppetry People's Government of Lithuania
Government of Lithuania
was formed, which consistently destroyed Lithuanian society, political institutions and opened the way for the Communist Party to establish itself. In order to establish the legitimacy of the government and design the plans of Lithuania's "legal accession to the USSR", on July 1, the Seimas
Seimas
of Lithuania
Lithuania
was released and the forced elections with falsified results to the People's Seimas
Seimas
were organized, which were won by the Lithuanian Labor People's Union and Justas Paleckis
Justas Paleckis
was chosen as the illegal Prime Minister and President of Lithuania. The new government obeyed the occupiers' proposal to "ask" the Soviet
Soviet
authorities to have Lithuania
Lithuania
admitted to the Soviet
Soviet
Union.[102] Nationalization
Nationalization
of property and deportation of the local population was in full swing.[92]

Session of the Provisional Government of Lithuania
Government of Lithuania
in Kaunas

LAF activists leads the arrested Commissar
Commissar
of the Red Army
Red Army
in Kaunas. Lithuanian rebels has killed thousands of the Soviet's occupants by suffering a low number of casualties.

Former Commander of the Lithuanian Army Stasys Raštikis
Stasys Raštikis
personally visited the Nazi Generals trying to plead the Jews

After the occupation, the Lithuanian Diplomatic Service
Lithuanian Diplomatic Service
did not recognized the new occupants authority and started the diplomatic liberation campaign of Lithuania.[102] In 1941, Kazys Škirpa, Leonas Prapuolenis, Juozas Ambrazevičius
Juozas Ambrazevičius
and their supporters, including the former Commander of the Lithuanian Army General Stasys Raštikis, whose whole family was deported to Siberia, began organizing an uprising.[103][101] After realizing the repressive and brutal Soviet rule reality, in early morning of 22 June 1941 (the first day when the Nazi Germany
Germany
attacked the Soviet
Soviet
Union) Lithuanians
Lithuanians
began the June Uprising, organized by the Lithuanian Activist Front, in Kaunas
Kaunas
where its main forces were concentrated. The uprising soon expanded to Vilnius
Vilnius
and other locations. Its main goal was not to fight with the Soviets, but to secure the city from inside (secure organizations, institutions, enterprises) and declare independence. By the evening of June 22, the Lithuanians
Lithuanians
controlled the Presidential Palace, post office, telephone and telegraph, radio station and radiophone. The control of Vilnius
Vilnius
and most of the Lithuania's territory was also shortly taken by the rebels.[104] Multiple Red Army
Red Army
divisions stationed in the Lithuania's territory, including the brutal 1st Motor Rifle Division NKVD
NKVD
responsible for the June deportation, and the marionette Lithuanian SSR regime commanders were forced to flee into the Latvian SSR through the Daugava
Daugava
river. Commander of the Red Army's 188th Rifle Division colonel Piotr Ivanov reported to the 11th Army Staff that during the retreat of his division through Kaunas
Kaunas
"local counterrevolutionaries from the shelters purposefully and severely fired to the Red Army, the flocks suffered heavy losses of soldiers and military equipment".[105][106] About 5,000 occupants were killed in Lithuania.[107] On 23 June 1941 at 9:28 AM Tautiška giesmė, the national anthem of Lithuania, was played on the radio in Kaunas. Many people listened to the Lithuanian national anthem then with tears in their eyes.[108] From Kaunas
Kaunas
radio broadcasts, Lithuania
Lithuania
learned that the rebellion was taking place in the country, the insurgents took Kaunas, the Proclamation of the Independence
Independence
Restoration of Lithuania and the list of the Provisional Government of Lithuania
Government of Lithuania
was announced.[104]

Memorial for the victims of the World War II
World War II
in Kaunas. Lithuania
Lithuania
lost over 1 million citizens (one third) during the war and the first post-war decade due to the Soviet's regime repressions.[109]

The Provisional Government hoped that the Germans
Germans
would re-establish Lithuania
Lithuania
independence or at least allow some degree of autonomy (similar to the Slovak Republic), was seeking for the protection of the citizens and did not supported the Nazis' Holocaust
Holocaust
policy.[104] The meant Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Stasys Raštikis personally met with the Nazi Generals to discuss the situation and tried to plead the Jews, while the Provisional Government, together with the former President Kazys Grinius, condemned Nazis
Nazis
for their actions with Jews
Jews
already in the beginning of the occupation.[110] Although, on July 17 the Reichskommissariat Ostland, German Civil Administration (Zivilverwaltung) was established.[111] Instead of using brute force, the Civil Administration slowly removed the government's powers (for example, did not allow to print its decrees in newspapers or broadcast radio announcements) and supplanted its institutions, forcing the Provisional Government to either self-disband or to become a puppet institution.[112] The government self-disbanded on August 5 after signing a protest for the Germans actions of suspending the Lithuanian Government powers. Members of the Provisional Government then in corpore went to the Garden of the Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
War Museum, where they laid wreath near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the presence of a numerous audience. Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
confiscated the pictures of the wreath-laying ceremony, thinking that it could be dangerous for the German occupation policy in Lithuania.[113] A new occupation had begun. Nationalized assets were not returned to the residents. Some of them were forced to fight for Nazi Germany
Germany
or were taken to German territories as a forced laborers. Jewish people were herded into ghettos and gradually killed by shooting or sending them out to concentration camps.[114][115] 1944–1990 Main article: Lithuanian Soviet
Soviet
Socialist Republic

Monument in Naujoji Vilnia
Naujoji Vilnia
in memory of the ferocious Soviet deportations from Lithuania
Lithuania
of approx 129,475 people in animals wagons. Many of them died suffering due to the unbearable living conditions. One tenth of them were children, 5,000 died.[116]

After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets reestablished the annexation of Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1944. Under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
of 1945, the former German Memelland, with its Baltic port Memel (Lithuanian: Klaipėda), was again transferred to Lithuania, which was now referred to as the Lithuanian SSR. Most of Memelland's German residents had fled the area in the final months of World War II. As the front was heading towards west, in July–October 1944 the USSR took over Lithuania
Lithuania
again. The second Soviet
Soviet
occupation commenced. The massive deportations to Siberia
Siberia
were resumed and lasted until the death of Stalin in 1953. All Lithuanian national symbols were banned. People were persecuted for using them. Under the pretext of Lithuania’s economic recovery, the Moscow
Moscow
authorities encouraged the migration of workers and other specialists to Lithuania
Lithuania
with intention to further integrate Lithuania
Lithuania
into the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and develop country’s industry. At the same time, Lithuanians
Lithuanians
were lured to work in the USSR by promising them all the privileges of settling in a new place.

Members of the Lithuanian partisans, decorated with the national symbols of Lithuania
Lithuania
and the independent state army uniforms, persistently fought with the occupants. President Jonas Žemaitis
Jonas Žemaitis
was the Chairman of the Freedom Fighters.

The second Soviet
Soviet
occupation was accompanied by the armed resistance of the Lithuanian population, which took place in 1944-1953. It sought to restore an independent state of Lithuania, to consolidate democracy by destroying communism in the country, returning national values and the freedom of religion. People from all walks of life, different age groups and education joined the resistance. The government classified them as bandits. The Soviet
Soviet
occupation made them to go to the forests and fight against the new system with a gun in their hands.[117] Lithuanian partisan warfare is divided into three stages. The first stage started in summer 1944 and lasted until summer 1946. During this time, large partisan groups were created, but they lacked one unified organization. There were frequent military encounters with the Red Army. The second stage covered summer 1946 until the end of 1948. At that time, the organizational structure of the partisans was formed, and the size of the groups was reduced to 5-15 people living in bunkers. Partisans used the tactics of underground combat and organized unexpected attacks. The third stage lasted from 1949 to the end of 1953. At that time, the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters was founded under the leadership of Jonas Žemaitis
Jonas Žemaitis
(codename Vytautas). The number of people in a group fell to 3–5 people.[118] Open encounters with the Red Army
Red Army
took place rarely; the guerillas used mostly sabotage and terror. Despite the fact that the guerrilla warfare did not achieve its goal of liberating Lithuania
Lithuania
and that it resulted in more than 20,000 deaths, the armed resistance showed the world that Lithuania
Lithuania
did not voluntarily join the USSR and it also legitimized the will of the people of Lithuania
Lithuania
to be independent.[119]

Protesters' damaged bust of Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
in Grūtas Park

Even with the suppression of partisan resistance, the Soviet government failed to stop the movement for the independence of Lithuania. The underground dissident groups were active publishing the underground press and Catholic literature. The most active participants of the movement had been Vincentas Sladkevičius, Sigitas Tamkevičius and Nijolė Sadūnaitė. In 1972, after Romas Kalanta’s public self-immolation, the unrest in Kaunas
Kaunas
lasted for several days.[120]

Baltic Way, the human chain connecting the three Baltic capitals

The Helsinki
Helsinki
Group, which was founded in Lithuania
Lithuania
after the international conference in Helsinki
Helsinki
(Finland), where the post-WWII borders were acknowledged, announced a declaration for Lithuania’s independence on foreign radio station.[121] The dissident movement lifted up the spirit of the people and did not allow forgetting history and national values. The Helsinki
Helsinki
Group informed the Western world about the situation in the Soviet
Soviet
Lithuania
Lithuania
and violations of human rights. All these activities made Moscow
Moscow
to soften its grip. With the beginning of the increased openness and transparency in government institutions and activities (glasnost) in the Soviet
Soviet
Union, on June 3, 1988, the Sąjūdis
Sąjūdis
was established in Lithuania. Very soon it began to seek country's independence.[122] Vytautas Landsbergis became movement's leader.[123] The supporters of Sąjūdis
Sąjūdis
joined movement's groups all over Lithuania. On 23 August 1988 a big rally took place at the Vingis Park
Vingis Park
in Vilnius. It was attended by approx. 250,000 people. A year later, on 23 August 1989 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and aiming to draw the attention of the whole world to the occupation of the Baltic States, a political demonstration, the Baltic Way, was organized.[124] The event, led by Sąjūdis, was a human chain spanning about 600 kilometers across the three Baltic capitals—Vilnius, Riga
Riga
and Tallinn. The peaceful demonstration showed the desire of the people of Lithuania, Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia
Estonia
to break away from the USSR. 1990–present

On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council announced the restoration of Lithuania's independence. After refusal to revocate the Act, the Soviet
Soviet
forces stormed the Seimas
Seimas
Palace, while Lithuanians irresistibly defended their democratically elected Council. The Act was the first such declaration in the USSR and later served as a model, inspiration to other Soviet
Soviet
republics, and strongly influenced the dissolution of the USSR.

On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council announced the restoration of Lithuania's independence. Lithuania
Lithuania
became the first Soviet
Soviet
republic to announce its secession from the USSR. But the process was not so simple. On 20 April 1990, the USSR imposed an economic blockade by stopping to deliver supplies of raw materials (primarily oil) to Lithuania. Not only the domestic industry, but also the population started feeling the lack of fuel, essential goods, and even hot water. Although, the blockade lasted for 74 days, Lithuania
Lithuania
did not renounce the declaration of independence.

On 13 January 1991, Soviets began shooting and crushing with tanks unarmed independence supporters

Gradually, the economic relations had been restored. But the tension had peaked again in January 1991. At that time, attempts were made to carry out a coup using the Soviet
Soviet
Armed Forces, the Internal Army of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the USSR Committee for State Security (KGB). Because of the bad economic situation in Lithuania, the forces in Moscow
Moscow
thought the coup d’état will receive a strong public support. But the situation was the opposite. People from all over Lithuania
Lithuania
flooded to Vilnius
Vilnius
to defend their legitimately elected Supreme Council of the Republic
Republic
of Lithuania
Lithuania
and independence. The coup ended with a few casualties of peaceful civilians and caused huge material loss. Not a single person who defended Lithuanian Parliament or other state institutions used a weapon, but the Soviet
Soviet
Army did. Soviet
Soviet
soldiers killed 14 people and injured hundreds. A large part of the Lithuanian population participated in the January Events.[125] Shortly after, on February 1991 Iceland
Iceland
became the first country to recognize the independence of Lithuania.[126] On 31 July 1991, Soviet
Soviet
paramilitaries killed seven Lithuanian border guards on the Belarusian border in what became known as the Medininkai Massacre.[127] On 17 September 1991, Lithuania
Lithuania
was admitted to the United Nations. On 25 October 1992, the citizens of Lithuania
Lithuania
voted in the referendum to adopt the current constitution. On 14 February 1993, during the direct general elections, Algirdas
Algirdas
Brazauskas became the first president after the restoration of independence of Lithuania. On 31 August 1993, the last units of the Soviet
Soviet
Army left the territory of Lithuania.[128] Since 29 March 2004, Lithuania
Lithuania
has been part of the NATO. On 1 May 2004, it became a full-fledged member of the European Union, and a member of the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
on 21 December 2007. Geography Main article: Geography of Lithuania

The Geographic Centre of Europe
Europe
is in Lithuania

Lithuania
Lithuania
is located in northern-eastern EuropeNote and covers an area of 65,200 km2 (25,200 sq mi).[129] It lies between latitudes 53° and 57° N, and mostly between longitudes 21° and 27° E (part of the Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
lies west of 21°). It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 mi) of sandy coastline, only about 38 kilometres (24 mi) of which face the open Baltic Sea, less than the other two Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
countries. The rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon
Curonian Lagoon
(Lithuanian: Kuršių marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The country's main and largest river, the Nemunas River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping.

The Nemunas (Nieman) River between Lithuania
Lithuania
and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast.

Lithuania
Lithuania
lies at the edge of the North European Plain. Its landscape was smoothed by the glaciers of the last ice age, and is a combination of moderate lowlands and highlands. Its highest point is Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (965 ft) in the eastern part of the country. The terrain features numerous lakes (Lake Vištytis, for example) and wetlands, and a mixed forest zone covers over 33% of the country. After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe
Europe
in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the Institut Géographique National (French National Geographic Institute), determined that the geographic centre of Europe
Europe
was in Lithuania, at 54°54′N 25°19′E / 54.900°N 25.317°E / 54.900; 25.317 (Purnuškės (centre of gravity)), 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius.[130] Affholder accomplished this by calculating the centre of gravity of the geometrical figure of Europe. Climate Main article: Geography of Lithuania
Geography of Lithuania
§ Climate

Aukštaitija National Park

Sand dunes of the Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
near Nida, which are the highest drifting sand dunes in Europe
Europe
( UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site)[131]

Lithuania's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are −2.5 °C (27.5 °F) in January and 16 °C (61 °F) in July. In Vilnius
Vilnius
the average temperatures are −6 °C (21 °F) in January and 17 °C (63 °F) in July. During the summer, 20 °C (68 °F) is common during the day while 14 °C (57 °F) is common at night; in the past, temperatures have reached as high as 30 or 35 °C (86 or 95 °F). Some winters can be very cold. −20 °C (−4 °F) occurs almost every winter. Winter
Winter
extremes are −34 °C (−29 °F) in coastal areas and −43 °C (−45 °F) in the east of Lithuania. The average annual precipitation is 800 mm (31.5 in) on the coast, 900 mm (35.4 in) in the Samogitia highlands and 600 mm (23.6 in) in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania
Lithuania
but common in the coastal areas. The longest records of measured temperature in the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then.[132] Lithuania
Lithuania
experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires.[133] The country suffered along with the rest of Northwestern Europe
Europe
during a heat wave in the summer of 2006.

Climate data for Lithuania

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high °C (°F) 12.6 (54.7) 16.5 (61.7) 21.8 (71.2) 31.0 (87.8) 34.0 (93.2) 35.0 (95) 37.5 (99.5) 37.1 (98.8) 35.1 (95.2) 26.0 (78.8) 18.5 (65.3) 15.6 (60.1) 37.5 (99.5)

Average high °C (°F) −1.7 (28.9) −1.3 (29.7) 2.3 (36.1) 9.4 (48.9) 16.5 (61.7) 19.9 (67.8) 20.9 (69.6) 20.6 (69.1) 15.8 (60.4) 9.9 (49.8) 3.5 (38.3) −0.1 (31.8) 9.5 (49.1)

Daily mean °C (°F) −3.9 (25) −3.5 (25.7) −0.1 (31.8) 5.5 (41.9) 11.6 (52.9) 15.2 (59.4) 16.7 (62.1) 16.1 (61) 12.2 (54) 7.0 (44.6) 1.8 (35.2) −1.7 (28.9) 6.2 (43.2)

Average low °C (°F) −6.3 (20.7) −6.6 (20.1) −2.8 (27) 1.5 (34.7) 7.0 (44.6) 10.5 (50.9) 12.2 (54) 11.9 (53.4) 8.3 (46.9) 4.0 (39.2) 0.1 (32.2) −3.7 (25.3) 2.7 (36.9)

Record low °C (°F) −40.5 (−40.9) −42.9 (−45.2) −37.5 (−35.5) −23.0 (−9.4) −6.8 (19.8) −2.8 (27) 0.9 (33.6) −2.9 (26.8) −6.3 (20.7) −19.5 (−3.1) −23.0 (−9.4) −34.0 (−29.2) −42.9 (−45.2)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.2 (1.425) 30.1 (1.185) 33.9 (1.335) 42.9 (1.689) 52.0 (2.047) 69.0 (2.717) 76.9 (3.028) 77.0 (3.031) 60.3 (2.374) 49.9 (1.965) 50.4 (1.984) 47.0 (1.85) 625.5 (24.626)

Source #1: Records of Lithuanian climate[134][135]

Source #2: Weatherbase[136]

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Lithuania
Lithuania
has all four seasons of the year with hot summers and cold winters

Biodiversity Main article: Fauna of Lithuania Lithuanian ecosystems include natural and semi-natural (forests, bogs, wetlands, meadows), and anthropogenic (agrarian and urban) ecosystems. Among natural ecosystems, forests are particularly important to Lithuania, covering 33% of the country’s territory. Wetlands (raised bogs, fens, transitional mires, etc.) cover 7.9% of the country, with 70% of wetlands having been lost due to drainage and peat extraction between 1960 and 1980. Changes in wetland plant communities resulted in the replacement of moss and grass communities by trees and shrubs, and fens not directly affected by land reclamation have become drier as a result of a drop in the water table. There are 29,000 rivers with a total length of 64,000 km in Lithuania, the Nemunas River
Nemunas River
basin occupying 74% of the territory of the country. Due to the construction of dams, approximately 70% of spawning sites of potential catadromous fish species have disappeared. In some cases, river and lake ecosystems continue to be impacted by anthropogenic eutrophication.[137] Agricultural land comprises 54% of Lithuania’s territory (roughly 70% of that is arable land and 30% meadows and pastures), approximately 400,000 ha of agricultural land is not farmed, and acts as an ecological niche for weeds and invasive plant species. Habitat deterioration is occurring in regions with very productive and expensive lands as crop areas are expanded. Currently, 18.9% of all plant species, including 1.87% of all known fungi species and 31% of all known species of lichens, are listed in the Lithuanian Red Data Book. The list also contains 8% of all fish species.[137] Lithuania's dark forests are teeming with wildlife. The populations have rebounded as the hunting became more restricted and urbanization allowed replanting forests (forests already tripled in size since their lows). Currently, Lithuania
Lithuania
has approximately 250,000 larger wild animals or 5 per each square kilometer. The most prolific large wild animal in every part of Lithuania
Lithuania
is the roe deer, with 120,000 of them. They are followed by boars (55,000). Other ungulates are the deer (~22,000), fallow-deer (~21,000) and the largest one: moose (~7,000). Among the Lithuanian predators, foxes are the most common (~27,000). Wolves are, however, more ingrained into the mythology as there are just 800 in Lithuania. Even rarer are the lynxes (~200). The large animals mentioned above exclude the rabbit, ~200,000 of which may live in the Lithuanian forests.[138]

White stork
White stork
is the national bird of Lithuania[139]

Mute swans are the largest wild birds in Lithuania[140]

Tawny owl, a predatory night bird

Moose, known for their distinctive horns

Wild European bisons are found in Lithuania

Gray wolves, hunters in the Lithuanian forests

Red squirrels live even in urban places

Politics Main articles: Politics of Lithuania
Politics of Lithuania
and Elections in Lithuania Government Main article: Government of Lithuania

Dalia Grybauskaitė President Saulius Skvernelis Prime Minister

Since Lithuania
Lithuania
declared the restoration of its independence on 11 March 1990, it has maintained strong democratic traditions. It held its first independent general elections on 25 October 1992, in which 56.75% of voters supported the new constitution.[141] There were intense debates concerning the constitution, particularly the role of the president. A separate referendum was held on 23 May 1992 to gauge public opinion on the matter, and 41% of voters supported the restoration of the President of Lithuania.[141] Through compromise, a semi-presidential system was agreed on.[2]

Seimas
Seimas
— (Parliament of Lithuania)

The Lithuanian head of state is the president, directly elected for a five-year term and serving a maximum of two terms. The president oversees foreign affairs and national security, and is the commander-in-chief of the military. The president also appoints the prime minister and, on the latter's nomination, the rest of the cabinet, as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts. The current Lithuanian head of state, Dalia Grybauskaitė
Dalia Grybauskaitė
was elected on 17 May 2009, becoming the first female president in the country's history, and the second female head of state in the Baltic States after Latvia
Latvia
elected their first female political leader in 1999.[142] Dalia Grybauskaitė
Dalia Grybauskaitė
was re-elected for a second term in 2014. The judges of the Constitutional Court (Konstitucinis Teismas) serve nine-year terms. They are appointed by the President, the Chairman of the Seimas, and the Chairman of the Supreme Court, each of whom appoint three judges. The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members who are elected to four-year terms. 71 of the members of its members are elected in single member constituencies, and the others in a nationwide vote by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be eligible for any of the 70 national seats in the Seimas. Law Main articles: Law of Lithuania
Law of Lithuania
and Constitution
Constitution
of Lithuania

The Third Statute of Lithuania
Lithuania
had many humane features and was in force in the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
from 1588 to 1840

The Casimir Code (Lithuanian: Kazimiero teisynas) from 1468 is considered to be the first codified law of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Third variant of the Statute was in force in the territory of Lithuania
Lithuania
until 1840 when it got replaced by the Russian laws.[143] However, under the rule of the Russian Empire, there were three separate civil law systems in force in Lithuania: in Suvalkija
Suvalkija
the Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic Code
was still applied, whereas the German law was in force in Klaipėda
Klaipėda
Region.[144] After regaining of independence in 1990, the largely modified Soviet legal codes were in force for about a decade. The modern Constitution of Lithuania
Lithuania
was adopted on 25 October 1992.[145] In 2001 the Civil Code of Lithuania
Lithuania
was passed in Seimas. It was succeeded by the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code in 2003. The approach to the criminal law is inquisitorial, as opposed to adversarial; it is generally characterised by an insistence on formality and rationalisation, as opposed to practicality and informality. Normative legal act enters into force on the next day after its publication in the Teisės aktų registras, unless it has a later entry into force date.[146] The European Union
European Union
law is an integral part of the Lithuanian legal system since 1 May 2004.[147] Administrative divisions Main article: Administrative divisions of Lithuania See also: Counties of Lithuania, Municipalities of Lithuania, and Elderships of Lithuania

Alytus
Alytus
County

Kaunas
Kaunas
County

Klaipėda County

Marijampolė County

Panevėžys
Panevėžys
County

Šiauliai
Šiauliai
County

Tauragė
Tauragė
County

Telšiai
Telšiai
County

Utena
Utena
County

Vilnius
Vilnius
County Baltic sea Latvia Belarus Poland Russia

The current system of administrative division was established in 1994 and modified in 2000 to meet the requirements of the European Union. The country's 10 counties (Lithuanian: singular – apskritis, plural – apskritys) are subdivided into 60 municipalities (Lithuanian: singular – savivaldybė, plural – savivaldybės), and further divided into 500 elderships (Lithuanian: singular – seniūnija, plural – seniūnijos). Municipalities have been the most important unit of administration in Lithuania
Lithuania
since the system of county governorship (apskrities viršininkas) was dissolved in 2010.[148] Some municipalities are historically called "district municipalities" (often shortened to "district"), while others are called "city municipalities" (sometimes shortened to "city"). Each has its own elected government. The election of municipality councils originally occurred every three years, but now takes place every four years. The council appoints elders to govern the elderships. Mayors have been directly elected since 2015; prior to that, they were appointed by the council.[149] Elderships, numbering over 500, are the smallest administrative units and do not play a role in national politics. They provide necessary local public services—for example, registering births and deaths in rural areas. They are most active in the social sector, identifying needy individuals or families and organizing and distributing welfare and other forms of relief.[150] Some citizens feel that elderships have no real power and receive too little attention, and that they could otherwise become a source of local initiative for addressing rural problems.[151]

County Area (km²) Population (thousands) in 2015[152] Nominal GDP billions EUR in 2016[152] Nominal GDP billions USD
USD
in 2016[152] Nominal GDP per capita EUR in 2016[152] Nominal GDP per capita USD
USD
in 2016[152]

Alytus
Alytus
County 5,425 149 1.2 1.3 8,500 9,100

Kaunas
Kaunas
County 8,089 585 7.7 8.5 13,500 14,900

Klaipėda
Klaipėda
County 5,209 328 4.3 4.7 13,300 14,600

Marijampolė
Marijampolė
County 4,463 153 1.2 1.3 8,000 8,800

Panevėžys
Panevėžys
County 7,881 237 2.3 2.5 9,900 10,900

Šiauliai
Šiauliai
County 8,540 284 2.7 3.0 10,000 11,000

Tauragė
Tauragė
County 4,411 104 0.7 0.8 7,400 8,100

Telšiai
Telšiai
County 4,350 145 1.3 1.4 9,400 10,300

Utena
Utena
County 7,201 141 1.1 1.2 8,400 9,200

Vilnius
Vilnius
County 9,729 807 16.1 17.7 20,000 22,000

Lithuania 65,300 2907 38.7 42.6 13,500 14,900

Foreign relations Main article: Foreign relations of Lithuania

Lithuania
Lithuania
is a member of the European Union

Lithuania
Lithuania
became a member of the United Nations
United Nations
on 18 September 1991, and is a signatory to a number of its organizations and other international agreements. It is also a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as NATO
NATO
and its adjunct North Atlantic Coordinating Council. Lithuania
Lithuania
gained membership in the World Trade Organization on 31 May 2001, and currently seeks membership in the OECD and other Western organizations. Lithuania
Lithuania
has established diplomatic relations with 149 countries.[153] In 2011, Lithuania
Lithuania
hosted the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Europe
Ministerial Council Meeting. During the second half of 2013, Lithuania
Lithuania
assumed the role of the presidency of the European Union.

The stamp is dedicated to Lithuania's presidency of the European Union. Post of Lithuania, 2013.

Lithuania
Lithuania
is also active in developing cooperation among northern European countries. It has been a member of the Baltic Council since its establishment in 1993. The Baltic Council, located in Tallinn, is a permanent organisation of international cooperation that operates through the Baltic Assembly
Baltic Assembly
and the Baltic Council of Ministers. Lithuania
Lithuania
also cooperates with Nordic and the two other Baltic countries through the NB8
NB8
format. A similar format, NB6, unites Nordic and Baltic members of EU. NB6's focus is to discuss and agree on positions before presenting them to the Council of the European Union and at the meetings of EU foreign affairs ministers. The Council of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
States (CBSS) was established in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
in 1992 as an informal regional political forum. Its main aim is to promote integration and to close contacts between the region's countries. The members of CBSS are Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and the European Commission. Its observer states are Belarus, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers and Lithuania
Lithuania
engage in political cooperation to attain mutual goals and to determine new trends and possibilities for joint cooperation. The Council's information office aims to disseminate Nordic concepts and to demonstrate and promote Nordic cooperation.

Lithuania
Lithuania
was recently a member of the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council

Lithuania, together with the five Nordic countries
Nordic countries
and the two other Baltic countries, is a member of the Nordic Investment Bank
Nordic Investment Bank
(NIB) and cooperates in its NORDPLUS programme, which is committed to education. The Baltic Development Forum (BDF) is an independent nonprofit organization that unites large companies, cities, business associations and institutions in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
region. In 2010 the BDF's 12th summit was held in Vilnius.[154] Lithuania
Lithuania
maintains greatly warm mutual relations with Georgia and strongly supports its European Union
European Union
and NATO aspirations.[155][156][157] During the Russo-Georgian War
Russo-Georgian War
in 2008, when the Russian troops were occupying the territory of Georgia and approaching towards the Georgian capital Tbilisi, President Valdas Adamkus, together with the Polish and Ukrainian presidents, went to Tbilisi
Tbilisi
by answering to the Georgians request of the international assistance.[158][159] Shortly, Lithuanians
Lithuanians
and the Lithuanian Catholic Church also began collecting financial support for the war victims.[160][161] In 2013, Lithuania
Lithuania
was elected to the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council for a two-year term,[162] becoming the first Baltic country elected to this post. During its membership, Lithuania
Lithuania
actively supported Ukraine and often condemned Russia
Russia
for the military intervention in Ukraine, immediately earning vast Ukrainians
Ukrainians
esteem.[163][164] As the War in Donbass progressed, President Dalia Grybauskaitė
Dalia Grybauskaitė
has compared the Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
to Josef Stalin
Josef Stalin
and to Adolf Hitler, she has also called Russia
Russia
a “terrorist state”.[165] Military Main article: Lithuanian Armed Forces

Soldier of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces

The Lithuanian Armed Forces
Lithuanian Armed Forces
is the name for the unified armed forces of Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Air Force, Lithuanian Naval Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Force
Lithuanian Special Operations Force
and other units: Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Headquarters Battalion, Military Police. Directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence
Chief of Defence
are the Special Operations Forces
Special Operations Forces
and Military Police. The Reserve Forces are under command of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces.

Lithuanian soldiers on the international NATO
NATO
mission in Afghanistan

Lithuanian Army soldiers marching with their dress uniforms in Vilnius

The Lithuanian Armed Forces
Lithuanian Armed Forces
consist of some 15,000 active personnel, which may be supported by reserve forces.[166] Compulsory conscription ended in 2008 but was reintroduced in 2015.[167] The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently have deployed personnel on international missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Mali
Mali
and Somalia.[168] In March 2004, Lithuania
Lithuania
became a full member of the NATO. Since then, fighter jets of NATO
NATO
members are deployed in Zokniai airport
Zokniai airport
and provide safety for the Baltic airspace. Since the summer of 2005 Lithuania
Lithuania
has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
(ISAF), leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the town of Chaghcharan
Chaghcharan
in the province of Ghor. The PRT includes personnel from Denmark, Iceland
Iceland
and USA. There are also special operation forces units in Afghanistan, placed in Kandahar Province. Since joining international operations in 1994, Lithuania
Lithuania
has lost two soldiers: 1st Lt. Normundas Valteris fell in Bosnia, as his patrol vehicle drove over a mine. Sgt. Arūnas Jarmalavičius was fatally wounded during an attack on the camp of his Provincial Reconstruction Team
Provincial Reconstruction Team
in Afghanistan.[169] The Lithuanian National Defence Policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters and airspace, and its constitutional order. Its main strategic goals are to defend the country's interests, and to maintain and expand the capabilities of its armed forces so they may contribute to and participate in the missions of NATO
NATO
and European Union
European Union
member states.[170] The defense ministry is responsible for combat forces, search and rescue, and intelligence operations. The 5,000 border guards fall under the Interior Ministry's supervision and are responsible for border protection, passport and customs duties, and share responsibility with the navy for smuggling and drug trafficking interdiction. A special security department handles VIP protection and communications security. According to NATO, in 2017 Lithuania
Lithuania
allocated 1.77% of its GDP to the national defense. For a long time Lithuania
Lithuania
lagged behind NATO
NATO
allies in terms of defense spending, but in recent years it has begun to rapidly increase the funding. In 2018 Lithuania
Lithuania
intends to allocate 2.06% of its GDP to the defense sector and reach the required funding standard for NATO.[171] Law enforcement and crime Main article: Law enforcement in Lithuania

Lithuanian Police officers

Lithuania, after breaking the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had difficult crime situation, however the Lithuanian law enforcement agencies eliminated most of these criminals over the years, making Lithuania
Lithuania
a reasonably safe country.[172] Crime in Lithuania
Lithuania
has been declining rapidly.[173] Law enforcement in Lithuania
Law enforcement in Lithuania
is primarily the responsibility of local Lietuvos policija (Lithuanian Police) commissariats. They are supplemented by the Lietuvos policijos antiteroristinių operacijų rinktinė Aras (Anti-Terrorist Operations Team of the Lithuanian Police Aras), Lietuvos kriminalinės policijos biuras (Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau), Lietuvos policijos kriminalistinių tyrimų centras (Lithuanian Police Forensic Research Center) and Lietuvos kelių policijos tarnyba (Lithuanian Road Police Service).[174] In 2017, there were 63,846 crimes registered in Lithuania. Of them, thefts took large part of it with 19,630 cases (13.2% less than in 2016). While 2,835 crimes were very hard and hard (crimes that may result in more than 6 years imprisonment), which is 14.5% less than in 2016. Totally, 129 homicides or attempts of it occurred (19.9% less than in 2016), while the serious bodily injuries were registered 178 times (17.6% less than in 2016). Another problematic crime contraband cases also decreased by 27.2% from 2016 numbers. Meanwhile, crimes in electronic data and information technology security fields noticeably increased by 26.6%.[175] In the 2013 Special
Special
Eurobarometer, 29% Lithuanians
Lithuanians
said that corruption affects their daily lives (EU average 26%). Moreover, 95% of Lithuanians
Lithuanians
regard corruption as widespread in their country (EU average 76%), and 88% agree that bribery and the use of connections is often the easiest way of obtaining certain public services (EU average 73%).[176] Though, according to local branch of Transparency International, corruption levels have been decreasing over the past decade.[177] In 2017, 24,769 men committed crimes, while only 2,969 women did the same.[178] On the other side, 44,023 people were crime victims, almost half of them (21,523) were women.[179] Most of the crimes occurred in the largest cities.[180] Capital punishment
Capital punishment
was suspended in Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1996. On 21 December 1998, Seimas
Seimas
eliminated it.[181] Lithuania
Lithuania
has the highest amount of prisoners in the EU. According to scientist Gintautas Sakalauskas, this is not because of a high criminality rate in the country, but due to the Lithuania's high repression level and the lack of trust in convicted, who are frequently sentenced to a jail imprisonment.[182] Economy Main article: Economy of Lithuania

Lithuania, GNI per capita, PPP (current international $), 2016[183]

Lithuania
Lithuania
is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

What does Lithuania
Lithuania
export? (2016)[184]

Lithuania
Lithuania
has open and mixed economy that is classified as high-income economy by the World Bank.[185] According to data from 2016, the three largest sectors in Lithuanian economy are – services (68.3% of GDP), industry (28.5%) and agriculture (3.3%).[186] Lithuania
Lithuania
joined NATO
NATO
in 2004,[187] EU in 2004[188] and Schengen in 2007.[189] On Jan 1 of 2015, euro became the national currency replacing litas at the rate of EUR 1.00 = LTL 3.45280.[190] The lion's share of Lithuanian industry is concentrated in food manufacturing and manufacturing of wood products, primarily furniture. Wood furniture makes around half of all Lithuanian exports and[191][192] food products stand for around 25% of all exports.[193] According to data from 2016, more than half of all Lithuanian exports go to 7 countries including Russia
Russia
(14%), Latvia
Latvia
(9,9%), Poland (9,1%), Germany
Germany
(7,7%), Estonia
Estonia
(5,3%), Sweden
Sweden
(4,8%) and United Kingdom (4,3%).[194] Export generated 74 percent of Lithuania's GDP in 2016.[195] Lithuanian GDP experienced very high real growth rates for decade up to 2009, peaking at 11.1% in 2007. As a result, the country was often termed as a Baltic Tiger. However, 2009, due to Global financial crisis marked experienced a drastic decline – GDP contracted by 14.9%[196] and unemployment rate reached 17.8% in 2010.[197] After the decline of 2009, Lithuanian annual economic growth has been much slower compared to pre-2009 years. According to IMF, financial conditions are conducive to growth and financial soundness indicators remain strong. The public debt ratio in 2016 fell to 40 percent of GDP, to compare with 42.7 in 2015 (before global finance crisis - 15 percent of GDP in 2008).[198] On average, more than 95% of all foreign direct investment in Lithuania
Lithuania
comes from European Union
European Union
countries. Sweden
Sweden
is historically the largest investor with 20% – 30% of all FDI in Lithuania.[199] FDI into Lithuania
Lithuania
spiked in 2017, reaching its highest ever recorded number of greenfield investment projects. The US was the leading source country in 2017, 24.59% of total FDI. Next up are Germany
Germany
and the UK, each representing 11.48% of total project numbers.[200] World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report ranks Lithuania
Lithuania
41st (of 137 ranked countries). In the period between 2004 and 2016, one out of five Lithuanians
Lithuanians
left the country, mostly because of poor financial situation,[201] perceived social injustice[202] or better career opportunities abroad. Long term mass emigration has resulted in noticeable shortages on the labor market[203] and growth in salaries being larger than growth in labor efficiency.[204] As of 2016, Lithuanian median adult wealth was $10,915.[205] One out of five Lithuanian citizens lives below poverty line[206] and more than 30% live on the verge of poverty.[207] As of 2017, average gross (pre-tax) salary in Lithuania
Lithuania
is 838,7 euros translating to 659 euros net (after tax)[208] while average pre-tax pension is 288 euros.[209] Average wage adjusted for purchasing power parity, is around 1912 USD per month, one of the lowest in EU.[210]Although, cost of living in the country also is sufficiently less with the price level for household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) - 63, being 39% lower than EU average - 102 in 2016.[211] Lithuania
Lithuania
has a flat tax rate rather than a progressive scheme. According to Eurostat,[212] the personal income tax (15%) and corporate tax (15%) rates in Lithuania
Lithuania
are among the lowest in the EU. The country has the lowest implicit rate of tax on capital (9.8%) in the EU. Corporate tax rate in Lithuania
Lithuania
is 15% and 5% for small businesses. Information technology
Information technology
production is growing in the country, reaching 1.9 billion euros in 2016.[213] In 2017 only, 35 [214] FinTech companies came to Lithuania
Lithuania
- a result of Lithuanian government and Bank of Lithuania
Bank of Lithuania
simplified procedures for obtaining licences for the activities of e-money and payment institutions.[215] Science and technology

Lithuanian bajoras and artillery expert Kazimieras Simonavičius
Kazimieras Simonavičius
is an inventor of a multistage rocket

Archaeologist and anthropologist Marija Gimbutas

Algirdas
Algirdas
Julius Greimas, known for Semiotic square

Lithuanian bajoras and Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
artillery expert Kazimieras Simonavičius
Kazimieras Simonavičius
is a pioneer of rocketry, who has published Artis Magnae Artilleriae in 1650 that for over two centuries was used in Europe
Europe
as a basic artillery manual and contains a large chapter on caliber, construction, production and properties of rockets (for military and civil purposes), including multistage rockets, batteries of rockets, and rockets with delta wing stabilizers.[216][217] Rimantas Stankevičius is the only ethnically Lithuanian astronaut.[218] Lithuania
Lithuania
has launched three satellites to the cosmos: LitSat-1, Lituanica SAT-1
Lituanica SAT-1
and LituanicaSAT-2.[219] Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology and Molėtai Astronomical Observatory
Molėtai Astronomical Observatory
is located in Kulionys.[220] Due to the World Wars, Lithuanian science and scientists suffered heavily from the occupants, however some of them reached a world-class achievements in their lifetime. Most notably, Antanas Gustaitis, Vytautas Graičiūnas, Marija Gimbutas, Birutė Galdikas, A. J. Kliorė, Algirdas
Algirdas
Julius Greimas, Algirdas
Algirdas
Antanas Avižienis.[221][222][223][224][225] Jonas Kubilius, long-term rector of the University of Vilnius
Vilnius
is known for works in Probabilistic number theory, Kubilius models and Turán–Kubilius inequality bear his name. Jonas Kubilius
Jonas Kubilius
successfully resisted attempts to Russify the University of Vilnius.[226] Nowadays, the country is among moderate innovators group in the International Innovation Index.[227] and in the European Innovation Scoreboard ranked 15th among EU countries.[228] Lasers and biotechnology are flagship fields of the Lithuanian science and high tech industry.[229][230] Lithuanian "Šviesos konversija" (Light Conversion) has developed a femtosecond laser system that has 80% marketshare worldwide, and is used in DNA research, ophthalmological surgeries, nanotech industry and science.[231][232] Vilnius
Vilnius
University Laser
Laser
Research Center has developed one of the most powerful femtosecond lasers in the world dedicated primarily to oncological diseases.[233]In 1963, Vytautas Straižys and his coworkers created Vilnius
Vilnius
photometric system that is used in astronomy.[234] Lithuania in 2018 became Associated Member State of CERN.[235] As of 2016 calculations, yearly growth of Lithuania’s biotech and life science sector was 22% over the past 5 years. 16 academic institutions, 15 R&D centres (science parks and innovation valleys) and more than 370 manufacturers operate in the Lithuanian life science and biotech industry.[236] In 2008 the Valley development programme was started aiming to upgrade Lithuanian scientific research infrastructure and encourage business and science cooperation. Five R&D Valleys were launched - Jūrinis (maritime technologies), Nemunas (agro, bioenergy, forestry), Saulėtekis (laser and light, semiconductor), Santara (biotechnology, medicine), Santaka (sustainable chemistry and pharmacy).[237] Tourism Main article: Tourism in Lithuania

Druskininkai
Druskininkai
is a popular spa town

Statistics of 2016 showed that 1.49 million tourists from foreign countries visited Lithuania
Lithuania
and spent at least one night in the country. The largest number of tourists came from Germany
Germany
(174,8 thousand), Belarus
Belarus
(171,9 thousand), Russia
Russia
(150,6 thousand), Poland (148,4 thousand), Latvia
Latvia
(134,4 thousand), Ukraine
Ukraine
(84,0 thousand), and the UK (58,2 thousand). The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to country GDP was EUR 2,005.5mn, 5.3% of GDP in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 7.3% in 2017, and to rise by 4.2% pa to EUR 3,243.5mn, 6.7% of GDP in 2027.[238] Domestic tourism has been on the rise as well. Currently there are up to 1000 places of attraction in Lithuania. Most tourists visit the big cities—Vilnius, Klaipėda, and Kaunas
Kaunas
and the resorts, such as Neringa, Palanga, Druskininkai, and Birštonas.[239] Infrastructure Communication Main article: Telecommunications in Lithuania Lithuania
Lithuania
has a well developed communications infrastructure. The country has 2,8 million citizens[240] and 5 million SIM cards.[241] The largest mobile network covers 85% of Lithuania's territory.[242] Fixed phone network is "adequate" according to CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook
and is in process of being modernised,[243] but usage of fixed phone lines has been rapidly decreasing due to rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services.[244] In 2017, Lithuania
Lithuania
was top 30 in the world by average mobile broadband speeds and top 20 by average fixed broadband speeds.[245] Lithuania was also top 7 in 2017 in the List of countries by 4G LTE penetration. In 2016, Lithuania
Lithuania
was ranked 17th in United Nations' e-participation index.[246][247] There are four TIER III datacenters in Lithuania.[248] Lithuania
Lithuania
is 44th globally ranked country on data center density according to Cloudscene.[249] Long-term project (2005-2013) - Development of Rural Areas Broadband Network (RAIN) was started with the objective to provide residents, state and municipal authorities and businesses with fibre-optic broadband access in rural areas. RAIN infrastructure allows 51 communications operators to provide network services to their clients. The project was funded by the European Union
European Union
and the Lithuanian government.[250][251] 72% of Lithuanian households have access to internet, a number which in 2017 was among EU's lowest[252] and in 2016 ranked 97th by CIA World Factbook.[253] Number of households with internet access is expected to increase and reach 77% by 2021.[254] Almost 50% of Lithuanians
Lithuanians
had smartphones in 2016, a number that is expected to increase to 65% by 2022.[255] Lithuania
Lithuania
has the highest FTTH (Fiber to the home) penetration rate in Europe
Europe
(36.8% in September 2016) according to FTTH Council Europe.[256] Transport Main article: Transport in Lithuania

Major highways in Lithuania

Construction of the dual-gauge railway track in Lithuania
Lithuania
(Rail Baltica project)

Lithuania
Lithuania
received its first railway connection in the middle of the 19th century, when the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway
Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway
was constructed. It included a stretch from Daugavpils
Daugavpils
via Vilnius
Vilnius
and Kaunas
Kaunas
to Virbalis. The first and only still operating tunnel was completed in 1860. Lithuanian Railways' main network consists of 1,762 km (1,095 mi) of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11.8 in) Russian gauge railway of which 122 km (76 mi) are electrified. This railway network is incompatible with European standard gauge and requires train switching. However, Lithuanian railway network also has 115 km (71 mi) of standard gauge lines.[257] More than half of all inland freight transported in Lithuania
Lithuania
is carried by rail.[258] The Trans-European standard gauge Rail Baltica
Rail Baltica
railway, linking Helsinki–Tallinn–Riga–Kaunas– Warsaw
Warsaw
and continuing on to Berlin is under construction. In 2017, Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, a company that operates most railway lines in Lithuania, received almost maximum possible EU penalty for breaching EU's antitrust laws and restricting competition.[259] Transportation is the 3rd largest sector in Lithuanian economy.[260] Lithuanian transport companies drew attention in 2016[261] and 2017[262] with huge and record-breaking orders of trucks. Almost 90% of commercial truck traffic in Lithuania
Lithuania
is international transports, the highest of any EU country.[263] Lithuania
Lithuania
has an extensive network of motorways. WEF grades Lithuanian roads at 4,7 / 7,0[264] and Lithuanian road authority (LAKD) at 6,5 / 10,0.[265] The Port of Klaipėda
Klaipėda
is the only commercial cargo port in Lithuania. In 2011 45.5 million tons of cargo were handled (including Būtingė oil terminal figures)[266] Port of Klaipėda
Klaipėda
is outside of EU's 20 largest ports,[267][268] but it is the 8th largest port in the Baltic Sea region[269] [270] with ongoing expansion plans.[271] Vilnius
Vilnius
International Airport is the largest airport in Lithuania, but not among EU's 100 largest airports.[citation needed] It served 3.8 million passengers in 2016.[272] Other international airports include Kaunas
Kaunas
International Airport, Palanga
Palanga
International Airport and Šiauliai
Šiauliai
International Airport. Kaunas
Kaunas
International Airport is also a small commercial cargo airport which started regular commercial cargo traffic in 2011.[273] Energy Main article: Energy in Lithuania

FSRU Independence
Independence
in port of Klaipėda

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
was a Soviet-era nuclear station. Unit No. 1 was closed in December 2004, as a condition of Lithuania's entry into the European Union; the plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in its lack of a robust containment structure. The remaining unit, as of 2006[update], supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand.[274] Unit No. 2 was closed down on 31 December 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another – Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania.[275] However, a non-binding referendum held in October 2012 clouded the prospects for the Visaginas
Visaginas
project, as 63% of voters said no to a new nuclear power plant.[276] The country's main primary source of electrical power is Elektrėnai Power Plant. Other primary sources of Lithuania's electrical power are Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant
Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant
and Kaunas
Kaunas
Hydroelectric Power Plant. Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant
Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant
is the only in the Baltic states
Baltic states
power plant to be used for regulation of the power system's operation with generating capacity of 900 MW for at least 12 hours.[277] As of 2015[update], 66% of electrical power was imported.[278] Lithuania– Sweden
Sweden
submarine electricity interconnection NordBalt
NordBalt
and Lithuania– Poland
Poland
electricity interconnection LitPol Link
LitPol Link
were launched at the end of 2015.[279] Since 2014, all of Lithuania’s gas supply is provided by an LNG terminal, allowing natural gas import from other than Gazprom.[280][281] Gas Interconnection Poland–Lithuania
Gas Interconnection Poland–Lithuania
(GIPL), also known as Lithuania– Poland
Poland
pipeline, is a proposed natural gas pipeline interconnection between Lithuania
Lithuania
and Poland
Poland
that is expected to be finished by 2019. In 2016, 20,8% of electricity consumed in Lithuania
Lithuania
came from renewable sources.[282] Demographics Main article: Demographics of Lithuania

Population of Lithuania
Lithuania
1915-2014

Population density

Since the Neolithic
Neolithic
period the native inhabitants of the Lithuanian territory have not been replaced by any other ethnic group, so there is a high probability that the inhabitants of present-day Lithuania have preserved the genetic composition of their forebears relatively undisturbed by the major demographic movements,[283] although without being actually isolated from them.[284] The Lithuanian population appears to be relatively homogeneous, without apparent genetic differences among ethnic subgroups.[285] A 2004 analysis of MtDNA
MtDNA
in the Lithuanian population revealed that Lithuanians
Lithuanians
are close to the Slavic and Finno-Ugric speaking populations of Northern and Eastern Europe. Y-chromosome SNP haplogroup analysis showed Lithuanians
Lithuanians
to be closest to Latvians
Latvians
and Estonians.[286] According to 2014 estimates, the age structure of the population was as follows: 0–14 years, 13.5% (male 243,001/female 230,674); 15–64 years: 69.5% (male 1,200,196/female 1,235,300); 65 years and over: 16.8% (male 207,222/female 389,345).[287] The median age was 41.2 years (male: 38.5, female: 43.7).[288] Lithuania
Lithuania
has a sub-replacement fertility rate: the total fertility rate (TFR) in Lithuania
Lithuania
is 1.59 children born/woman (2015 estimates).[289] As of 2014[update], 29% of births were to unmarried women.[290] The age at first marriage in 2013 was 27 years for women and 29.3 years for men.[291] Ethnic groups Main article: Ethnic minorities in Lithuania

Residents of Lithuania
Lithuania
by ethnicity (2015)[1]

Lithuanians

86.7%

Poles

5.6%

Russians

4.8%

Belarusians

1.3%

Ukrainians

0.7%

Others

0.9%

Ethnic Lithuanians
Lithuanians
make up about five-sixths of the country's population and Lithuania
Lithuania
has the most homogeneous population in the Baltic States. In 2015, the population of Lithuania
Lithuania
stands at 2,921,262, 86.7% of whom are ethnic Lithuanians
Lithuanians
who speak Lithuanian, which is the official language of the country. Several sizeable minorities exist, such as Poles
Poles
(5.6%), Russians
Russians
(4.8%), Belarusians (1.3%) and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
(0.7%).[1] Poles
Poles
in Lithuania
Lithuania
are the largest minority, concentrated in southeast Lithuania
Lithuania
(the Vilnius
Vilnius
region). Russians
Russians
in Lithuania
Lithuania
are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in two cities. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius
Vilnius
(12%)[292] and Klaipėda
Klaipėda
(19.6%),[293] and a majority in the town of Visaginas
Visaginas
(52%).[294] About 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania, mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas
Kaunas
and Panevėžys; their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department.[295] For centuries a small Tatar community has flourished in Lithuania.[296] The official language is Lithuanian, other languages, such as Polish, Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian, are spoken in the larger cities, and several municipalities such as Šalčininkai District Municipality, Vilnius
Vilnius
District Municipality and Visaginas Municipality. Yiddish
Yiddish
is spoken by members of the tiny remaining Jewish community in Lithuania. According to the Lithuanian population census of 2011,[293] about 85% of the country's population speak Lithuanian as their native language, 7,2% are native speakers of Russian and 5,3% of Polish. About 44% of Lithuanian citizens speak Russian as a foreign language, 21% - English, 9% - Polish, 9% - German.[297] Most Lithuanian schools teach English as the first foreign language, but students may also study German, or, in some schools, French or Russian. Schools where Russian or Polish are the primary languages of education exist in the areas populated by these minorities. Minority schools are public, where the education is free (taxpayer-funded).[298] Urbanization See also: List of cities in Lithuania There has been a steady movement of population to the cities since the 1990s, encouraged by the planning of regional centres, such as Alytus, Marijampolė, Utena, Plungė, and Mažeikiai. By the early 21st century, about two-thirds of the total population lived in urban areas. As of 2015[update], 66.5% of the total population lives in urban areas.[287] The largest city is Vilnius, followed by Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys.

 

v t e

Largest cities or towns in Lithuania Statistics Lithuania (2015)[299]

Rank Name County Pop. Rank Name County Pop.

Vilnius

Kaunas 1 Vilnius Vilnius 542,990 11 Kėdainiai Kaunas 25,107

Klaipėda

Šiauliai

2 Kaunas Kaunas 299,466 12 Telšiai Telšiai 24,855

3 Klaipėda Klaipėda 155,032 13 Tauragė Tauragė 24,681

4 Šiauliai Šiauliai 103,676 14 Ukmergė Vilnius 21,981

5 Panevėžys Panevėžys 94,399 15 Visaginas Utena 20,028

6 Alytus Alytus 55,012 16 Kretinga Klaipėda 19,999

7 Mažeikiai Telšiai 38,120 17 Radviliškis Šiauliai 18,882

8 Marijampolė Marijampolė 37,914 18 Plungė Telšiai 18,717

9 Jonava Kaunas 28,719 19 Vilkaviškis Marijampolė 16,707

10 Utena Utena 27,120 20 Šilutė Klaipėda 16,686

Map of the 20 largest cities or towns in Lithuania

Functional urban areas Functional urban areas in Lithuania:[300]

Functional urban areas Population (thousands) 2016

Vilnius 696

Kaunas 387

The fDI of the Financial Times in their research Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19 ranked Vilnius
Vilnius
4th in the mid-sized European cities category and Vilnius
Vilnius
county was ranked 10th in the small European regions category.[301] Health Main article: Health in Lithuania

Kaunas
Kaunas
Clinics is the largest and the most advanced medical institution in Lithuania, capable of performing the most advanced surgeries

Lithuania
Lithuania
provides free state-funded healthcare to all citizens and registered long-term residents.[302] Private healthcare is also available in the country. In 2003–2012, the network of hospitals was restructured, as part of wider healthcare service reforms. It started in 2003–2005 with the expansion of ambulatory services and primary care.[303] As of 2015[update] Lithuanian life expectancy at birth was 73.4 (67.4 years for males and 78.8 for females)[304] and the infant mortality rate was 6.2 per 1,000 births. The annual population growth rate increased by 0.3% in 2007. At 33.5 people per 100,000 in 2012, Lithuania
Lithuania
has seen a dramatic rise in suicides in the post-Soviet years, and now records the highest in Europe
Europe
(cases in rural areas are five times more frequent than in cities)[305] and fourth highest age-standardized suicide rate in the world, according to WHO.[306] According to experts, this number was largely influenced by the Soviets authority because mostly Christian
Christian
country's inhabitants previously considered it as a severe sin and were afraid to took their lives.[307] Alcoholism
Alcoholism
is yet another problem that was introduced during the Soviet
Soviet
times.[308] Trying to combat this issue, Seimas prohibited to sell alcohol to people younger than 20 years old and it is prohibited for shops to sell alcohol from 8:00 p.m to 10:00 a.m from Monday to Saturday, while on Sundays it is limited to 3:00 p.m.[309] By 2000 the vast majority of Lithuanian health care institutions were non-profit-making enterprises and a private sector developed, providing mostly outpatient services which are paid for out-of-pocket. The Ministry of Health also runs a few health care facilities and is involved in the running of the two major Lithuanian teaching hospitals. It is responsible for the State Public Health Centre which manages the public health network including ten county public health centres with their local branches. The ten counties run county hospitals and specialised health care facilities.[310] There is now Compulsory Health Insurance for Lithuanian residents. There are 5 Territorial Health Insurance Funds, covering Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai
Šiauliai
and Panevėžys. Contributions for people who are economically active are 9% of income.[311] Emergency medical services are provided free of charge to all residents. Access to hospital treatment is normally by referral by a General Practitioner.[312] Lithuania
Lithuania
also has one of the lowest health care prices in Europe.[313] Religion Main article: Religion
Religion
in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses
Hill of Crosses
near Šiauliai

As per the 2011 census, 77.2% of Lithuanians
Lithuanians
belonged to the Roman Catholic Church.[314] The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania
Christianisation of Lithuania
at the end of the 14th century. The Reformation
Reformation
initiated by Abraomas Kulvietis
Abraomas Kulvietis
did not impact Lithuania
Lithuania
to a great extent as seen in Estonia
Estonia
or Latvia
Latvia
as generally only local Germans
Germans
in the Klaipėda/Memel area turned Protestant, while Lithuanians
Lithuanians
and Poles
Poles
remained Catholic, and Russians, Belarusians
Belarusians
and Ukrainians—Eastern Orthodox.[315] Some priests actively led the resistance against the Communist regime (symbolised by the Hill of Crosses).

Residents of Lithuania
Lithuania
by religion (2011)[314]

Roman Catholic

77.2%

Orthodox

4.1%

Orthodox (Old Believers)

0.8%

Lutheran

0.6%

Reformed

0.2%

Others

0.9%

No religion

6.1%

Did not specify

10.1%

4.1% are Eastern Orthodox, mainly among the Russian minority. This group is distinguishable into the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
and Old Believers. Protestants
Protestants
are 0.8%, of which 0.6% are Lutheran and 0.2% are Reformed. According to Losch (1932), the Lutherans were 3.3% of the total population;[316] they were mainly Germans
Germans
in the Memel territory (now Klaipėda). There was also a tiny Reformed community (0,5%),[316] which still persists. Protestantism has declined with the removal of the German population, and today it is mainly represented by ethnic Lithuanians
Lithuanians
throughout the northern and western parts of the country, as well as in large urban areas. Believers and clergy suffered greatly during the Soviet
Soviet
occupation, with many killed, tortured or deported to Siberia. Newly arriving evangelical churches have established missions in Lithuania
Lithuania
since 1990.[317] Lithuanian Tatars
Lithuanian Tatars
maintained Islam
Islam
as their religion. 6.1% of Lithuanians
Lithuanians
have no religion. Lithuania
Lithuania
was historically home to a significant Jewish community and was an important center of Jewish scholarship and culture from the 18th century until the eve of World War II. Prior to the war, the Jewish population, outside of the Vilnius
Vilnius
region (which was then in Poland), numbered about 160,000. In September 1939, tens of thousands of Polish Jews
Jews
became Lithuanian subjects when the Soviets transferred the Vilnius
Vilnius
region (of the former Polish state) to Lithuania
Lithuania
and additional Jewish refugees arrived in Lithuania
Lithuania
during the period prior to June 1941. Of the approximately 220,000 Jews
Jews
who lived in the Republic
Republic
of Lithuania
Lithuania
in June 1941, almost all were entirely annihilated during the Holocaust.[318][319] The community numbered about 4,000 at the end of 2009.[320] Romuvan religion has gained popularity over the years. It is the contemporary continuation of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the ancient religious practices of the Lithuanians
Lithuanians
before their Christianization in 1387. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions, which survived in folklore and customs.[321][322][323] Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith, which asserts the sanctity of nature and has elements of ancestor worship. Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.[324] According to the 2001 census, there were 1,270 people of Baltic faith in Lithuania.[325] That number jumped to 5,118 in the 2011 census.[326] Inija Trinkūnienė is the current Krivė (high priest) of the community since 2015, being the first known woman Krivė in the long pagan history.[327] Oak
Oak
was considered as a divine tree, their groves were kept as sacred places with burning altars and were usually associated with the chief god Perkūnas
Perkūnas
(thunder god) by Lithuanians
Lithuanians
in the ancient times.[328] Stelmužė Oak
Oak
is the most significant oak, being at least 1,500 years old.[329] Nowadays, Lithuanians
Lithuanians
are still planting oaks or other trees on special occasions.[330] Linden of the then 16-year-old Olympic Champion Rūta Meilutytė was planted in 2012, and is located in the Laisvės alėja.[331]

Romuva sanctuary in Sambia, where Krivis, the chief priest or "pagan pope", lived and ruled over the religion of all the Balts.[332]

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius. Lithuania
Lithuania
has strong Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
traditions.

Interior of the Pažaislis Monastery.

Cathedral of the Theotokos, Russian Orthodox Church, which is one of the most ancient churches of Vilnius. It was built in 1346 during the reign of the Grand Duke of Lithuania
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Algirdas.

Choral Synagogue of Vilnius, the only synagogue in the city to survive the Nazi Holocaust. Almost whole rich culture of the Litvaks was destroyed during the occupation.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll in 2010,[333] 47% of Lithuanian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 37% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", and 12% said that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force". Education Main article: Education in Lithuania

Vilnius
Vilnius
University, one of the oldest universities in Eastern and Central Europe

Modern Lithuanian education system has multiple structural problems. Insufficient funding and quality issues are the most prevalent. School attendance rates are above EU average and school leave is less common than EU average. However, PISA report from 2010 found that Lithuanian results in math, science and reading were below OECD average.[334] PISA report from 2015 reconfirmed these findings.[335] Lithuanian teacher salaries are lowest in entire EU.[336] Low teacher salaries was the primary reason behind national teacher strikes in 2014,[337] 2015,[338] and 2016.[339][340] A strike was planned in 2017, but it did not materialise.[341] Instead, a protest was arranged at the end of 2017.[342] Salaries in the higher education sector are also low. Many Lithuanian professors supplement their income by having a second job.[343] In an attempt to reduce costs[344] and adapt to sharply decreasing number of high-school students,[345] Lithuanian parliament decided to reduce the number of universities in Lithuania.[346][347] In early 2018, Lithuanian Sports University
Lithuanian Sports University
was merged into Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.[348] Around the same time, two other universities – Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
and Aleksandras Stulginskis
Aleksandras Stulginskis
University were merged into Vytautas Magnus University.[349] Many Lithuanian academics,[350] as well as minister of education,[351] students,[352] researchers,[353] and university administrations[354] fought against the mergers. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic
Republic
of Lithuania proposes national educational policies and goals. These are sent to the Seimas
Seimas
for ratification. Laws govern long-term educational strategy along with general laws on standards for higher education, vocational training, law and science, adult education, and special education.[355] County administrators, municipal administrators, and school founders (including non-governmental organizations, religious organizations, and individuals) are responsible for implementing these policies.[355] By constitutional mandate, ten years of formal enrollment in an educational institution is mandatory, ending at age 16.[356]

One of the Vilnius
Vilnius
University Library reading rooms, decorated in 1803 with the portraits of the 12 most prominent figures in antique art and science

Raudonė
Raudonė
Basic School, located in Raudonė
Raudonė
Castle

5.4% of GDP was spent for education in 2016.[357]Primary and secondary schools receive funding from the state via their municipal or county administrations. The Constitution
Constitution
of Lithuania
Lithuania
guarantees tuition-free attendance at public institutions of higher education for students deemed 'good'. The World Bank
World Bank
designates the literacy rate of Lithuanian persons aged 15 years and older as 100%[358] and, according to Eurostat
Eurostat
Lithuania leads among other countries of EU by people with secondary education (93.3%).[359] Based on OECD data, Lithuania
Lithuania
is among the top 4 countries in the world by postsecondary (tertiary) education attainment. As of 2016[update], 54,9% of the population aged 25 to 34, and 30,7% of the population aged 55 to 64 had completed tertiary education.[360]The share of tertiary-educated 25-64 year-olds in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields in Lithuania
Lithuania
were above the OECD average (29% and 26% respectively), similarly to business, administration and law (25% and 23% respectively).[361] As with other Baltic nations, in particular Latvia, the large volume of higher education graduates within the country, coupled with the high rate of spoken second languages is contributing to an education brain drain. Many Lithuanians
Lithuanians
are choosing to emigrate seeking higher earning employment throughout Europe. As of 2008[update], there were 15 public universities in Lithuania, 6 private institutions, 16 public colleges, and 11 private colleges.[362] Vilnius
Vilnius
University is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe
Europe
and the largest university in Lithuania. Kaunas University of Technology is the largest technical university in the Baltic States and the 2nd largest university in Lithuania. Other universities include Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Vytautas Magnus University, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education, Vilnius Gediminas
Gediminas
Technical University, The General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Klaipėda
Klaipėda
University, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Šiauliai
Šiauliai
University, Vilnius
Vilnius
Academy of Art, and LCC International University. Culture Main article: Culture
Culture
of Lithuania Lithuanian language Main article: Lithuanian language

Jonas Jablonskis
Jonas Jablonskis
is the father of standard Lithuanian language

The Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
(lietuvių kalba) is the official state language of Lithuania
Lithuania
and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania
Lithuania
and about 0.2 million abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they are not mutually intelligible. It is written in an adapted version of the Roman script. Lithuanian is believed to be the linguistically most conservative living Indo-European tongue, retaining many features of Proto Indo-European.[363] In the modern times, the Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
is divided into two dialects: Aukštaitian dialect
Aukštaitian dialect
and Samogitian dialect. The pronunciation of words varies in both dialects.[364] The Samogitian dialect also has many completely different words and is even considered as a separate language by many linguists.[365] Jonas Jablonskis works and activities are especially important for the Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature
moving from the use of dialects to a standard Lithuanian language. The linguistic material which he collected was published in the 20 volumes of Academic Dictionary of Lithuanian
Academic Dictionary of Lithuanian
and is still being used in research and in editing of texts and books. He also introduced the letter ū into Lithuanian writing.[366] Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
studies are important for comparative linguistics and for reconstruction of Proto- Indo-European language.[367] Lithuanian was studied by linguists such as Franz Bopp, Louis Hjelmslev[368], Ferdinand de Saussure,[369] Winfred P. Lehmann, Vladimir Toporov[370] and others. Literature Main article: Lithuanian literature

The first Lithuanian printed book Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (1547, Königsberg)

There is a great deal of Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature
written in Latin, the main scholarly language of the Middle Ages. The edicts of the Lithuanian King Mindaugas
Mindaugas
is the prime example of the literature of this kind. The Letters of Gediminas
Gediminas
are another crucial heritage of the Lithuanian Latin
Latin
writings. Lithuanian literary works in the Lithuanian language
Lithuanian language
started being first published in the 16th century. In 1547 Martynas Mažvydas compiled and published the first printed Lithuanian book The Simple Words of Catechism, which marks the beginning of printed Lithuanian literature. He was followed by Mikalojus Daukša
Mikalojus Daukša
with Katechizmas. In the 16th and 17th centuries, as in the whole Christian
Christian
Europe, Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature
was primarily religious. The evolution of the old (14th–18th century) Lithuanian literature ends with Kristijonas Donelaitis, one of the most prominent authors of the Age of Enlightenment. Donelaitis' poem The Seasons is a landmark of the Lithuanian fiction literature, written in hexameter.[371] With a mix of Classicism, Sentimentalism and Romanticism, the Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature
of the first half of the 19th century is represented by Maironis, Antanas Baranauskas, Simonas Daukantas
Simonas Daukantas
and Simonas Stanevičius.[371] During the Tsarist annexation of Lithuania in the 19th century, the Lithuanian press ban
Lithuanian press ban
was implemented, which led to the formation of the Knygnešiai
Knygnešiai
( Book
Book
smugglers) movement. This movement is thought to be the very reason the Lithuanian language and literature survived until today. 20th-century Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature
is represented by Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Antanas Vienuolis, Bernardas Brazdžionis, Antanas Škėma, Balys Sruoga, Vytautas Mačernis and Justinas Marcinkevičius. Architecture Several famous Lithuania-related architects are notable for their achievements in the field of architecture. Johann Christoph Glaubitz, Marcin Knackfus, Laurynas Gucevičius
Laurynas Gucevičius
and Karol Podczaszyński
Karol Podczaszyński
were instrumental in introducing Baroque and neoclassical architectural movements to the Lithuanian architecture during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.[372] Vilnius
Vilnius
is considered as a capital of the Eastern Europe
Europe
Baroque.[373] Vilnius
Vilnius
Old Town that is full of astonishing Baroque churches and other buildings is a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site.[374] Lithuania
Lithuania
is also known for numerous castles. About twenty castles exist in Lithuania. Some castles had to be rebuilt or survive partially. Many Lithuanian nobles' historic palaces and manor houses have remained till the nowadays and were reconstructed.[375] Lithuanian village life has existed since the days of Vytautas the Great. Zervynos
Zervynos
and Kapiniškės
Kapiniškės
are two of many ethnographic villages in Lithuania.[376] During the interwar period, countless Art Deco, Lithuanian National Romanticism
Romanticism
architectural style buildings were constructed in the Lithuania's temporary capital Kaunas. Its architecture is regarded as one of the finest examples of the European Art Deco
Art Deco
and have received the European Heritage Label.[377]

Traditional Lithuanian house with white window shutters

Traditional fishermen house in Nida, Curonian Spit

Vilnius
Vilnius
Cathedral by Laurynas Gucevičius
Laurynas Gucevičius
considered as an example of palladianism

Panemunė Castle

Biržai Castle

Plungė
Plungė
Manor

Tiškevičiai Palace in Palanga

Kaunas
Kaunas
Garrison Officers' Club Building in Kaunas

Lithuanian pagan mythology Main articles: Lithuanian mythology
Lithuanian mythology
and Baltic mythology

Depiction of praying Lithuanians
Lithuanians
and two altars, one with a snake and one with a fire by Olaus Magnus
Olaus Magnus
(1555)

Lithuanians
Lithuanians
were the last European pagans, practicing the Indo-European[disambiguation needed] origin polytheistic religion that was the official cause for the Lithuanian Crusade
Lithuanian Crusade
campaigns. This ancient religion rituals, beliefs were still widely practiced after the Christianization of Lithuania
Christianization of Lithuania
and have survived even till the nowadays. For example, Užgavėnės
Užgavėnės
is a pagan origin festival that was adapted to the Christianity, which takes place during the seventh week before Easter
Easter
(Ash Wednesday). During it, Lithuanians
Lithuanians
dances around bonfire and burns Morė, which symbolises Marzanna, believing that it will help bring spring faster.[378] In the 13th and 14th centuries Grand Dukes and warriors were practicing the Pagan
Pagan
faith as an official religion. It was largely affected by the war mythology and žyniai or kriviai (priests) caste existed. In the 15th century Lithuanian nobles and higher society layers were Christianized, however peasants continued the old traditions and worshiped the agro-cultural deities. Hypatian Codex around 1252, documenting the baptizing of Mindaugas
Mindaugas
insists that the royal baptizing was feign and Mindaugas
Mindaugas
would continue present offerings to his old gods: to the chief Nunadievis and Teliavelis and Diviriks and to the God of Hares and to Medeina.[379] Šventaragis' Valley - close to current Vilnius
Vilnius
Cathedral was a sacred place with the Temple of Perkūnas
Perkūnas
and eternal flame, where cremation of Lithuanian rulers took place.[380] Dievas was the supreme deity, however many other gods were also connected with nature elements. For example, goddess of the morning Aušrinė, the god of the seas and storms Bangpūtys, the foster of the Holy Fire Gabija, goddess of Fate and pregnant women Laima, Mėnuo (the Moon, a son of Dievas), the Thunder, the main god Perkūnas, the Sun Goddess Saulė, goddess of the Evening Star Vakarinė, god of the wind and master of Dausos (paradise) Vėjopatis, goddess and the deified soil Žemyna, žvaigždės (stars). Žaltys
Žaltys
(grass snake) was considered as a sacred animal of the sun goddess Saulė,[381] a guardian of the home and a symbol of fertility.[382] People used to keep it as a pet by the stove or other special area of the house and fed with milk,[381] believing that it would bring good harvest and wealth.[382] Killing žaltys was said to bring great misfortunes upon the household.[381] Demonic creatures in the Lithuanian mythology included the evil spirit Baubas, goddess of death Giltinė, Ragana (an old-looking female or witch), Slogutis (means pain, misery or nightmare), devil trickster Pinčiukas, a scary forest spirit that appears as a phosphorescent skeleton Žiburinis. Velnias was the protector of the treasures hidden in the soil, was taking care of the poor and was punishing rogue people, offenders, grabbers and drunkards.[379]

Eglė the Queen of Serpents
Eglė the Queen of Serpents
in Palanga. Žaltys
Žaltys
was considered as a sacred creature by Lithuanians.

Reconstructed ancient sky observation circle in Kulionys
Kulionys
with ten poles that are decorated with calendar signs and altar in the centre.[383]

Ceremonial idol of the Sun goddess Saulė.

Romuvan believers participating in a paganic ceremony.

Romuvan paganic aukuras (altar).

Lūžų akmuo (lt), a remaining ritual stone from the ancient paganic sanctuary.

Žemaičių Alkas (lt), a reconstructed pagan sanctuary in Šventoji, based on a 5000 years old archaeological finding.

Lithuanians
Lithuanians
once believed that evil Laumės were appearing near water from forests and were stealing children.[384]

Arts and museums Main article: List of museums in Lithuania

Kings' Fairy Tale (1908-1909) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Jonas Mekas
Jonas Mekas
is regarded as godfather of American avant-garde cinema

Pranciškus Smuglevičius, Jan Rustem, Juozapas Oleškevičius
Juozapas Oleškevičius
and Kanutas Ruseckas
Kanutas Ruseckas
are the most prominent Lithuanian painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Lithuanian Art Museum
Lithuanian Art Museum
was founded in 1933 and is the largest museum of art conservation and display in Lithuania.[385] Among other important museums are the Palanga
Palanga
Amber
Amber
Museum, where amber pieces comprise a major part of the collection, National Gallery of Art, presenting collection of Lithuanian art of the 20th and 21st Century, National Museum of Lithuania
National Museum of Lithuania
presenting Lithuanian archaeology, history and ethnic culture. Perhaps the most renowned figure in Lithuania's art community was the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis
Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis
(1875–1911), an internationally renowned musician. The 2420 Čiurlionis asteroid, identified in 1975, honors his achievements. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum, as well as the only military museum in Lithuania, Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
War Museum, are located in Kaunas. Other notable artists includes Jonas Mekas, Jurgis Mačiūnas, Petras Kalpokas, Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, Jonas Šileika, Justinas Vienožinskis (lt), Kajetonas Sklėrius (lt), Adomas Varnas, Petras Rimša, Juozas Zikaras, Vytautas Kairiūkštis, Vincas Grybas, Stasys Ušinskas, Bronius Pundzius (lt), Liudas Truikys (lt), Robertas Antinis, Antanas Gudaitis, Antanas Samuolis (lt), Jonas Mikėnas (lt), Antanas Žukauskas, Viktoras Vizgirda, Rimantas Dichavičius, Elvyra Katalina Kriaučiūnaitė, Šarūnas Sauka, Juozas Statkevičius (lt). Theatre

Lithuanian National Drama Theatre

Lithuania
Lithuania
has some very famous theatre directors well known in the country and abroad. One of them is Oskaras Koršunovas. He was awarded more than forty times with special prizes. Possibly most prestigious award is Swedish Commander Grand Cross: Order of the Polar Star.[386] Today's the most famous theatres in Lithuania
Lithuania
are in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda
Klaipėda
ir Panevėžys. It is Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Keistuolių teatras (Theatre of Freaks) in Vilnius, Kaunas
Kaunas
National Drama Theatre, Theatre of Oskaras Koršunovas, Klaipėda
Klaipėda
Drama Theatre, Theatre of Gytis Ivanauskas, Miltinis Drama Theatre in Panevėžys, The Doll's Theatre, Russian Drama Theatre and others.[387] There are some very popular theatre festivals like Sirenos (Sirens), TheATRIUM, Nerk į teatrą (Dive into the Theatre) and others.[388][389][390] The figures dominating in Lithuanian theatre world are Adolfas Večerskis, the general director of Lithuanian National Drama National Drama Theatre, also directors like Eimuntas Nekrošius, Jonas Vaitkus, Cezaris Graužinis, Rimas Tuminas, number of talented actors like Rimantas Bagdzevičius, Vytautas Rumšas, Saulius Balandis, Marius Jampolskis, Rimantė Valiukaitė and many others.[391] Music Main article: Music of Lithuania

Lithuanians
Lithuanians
with national clothes singing and dancing to the traditional songs in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Lithuanian folk music belongs to Baltic music branch which is connected with neolithic corded ware culture. Two instrument cultures meet in the areas inhabited by Lithuanians: stringed (kanklių) and wind instrument cultures. Lithuanian folk music is archaic, mostly used for ritual purposes, containing elements of paganism faith. There are three ancient styles of singing in Lithuania
Lithuania
connected with ethnographical regions: monophony, heterophony and polyphony. Folk song genres: Sutartinės (Multipart Songs), Wedding Songs, War-Historical Time Songs, Calendar Cycle and Ritual Songs and Work Songs.[392] Italian artists organized the first opera in Lithuania
Lithuania
on 4 September 1636 in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Grand Dukes of Lithuania
by Władysław IV Vasa order.[393] Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis
Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis
is the most renowned Lithuanian painter and composer. During his short life he created about 200 pieces of music. His works have had profound influence on modern Lithuanian culture. His symphonic poems In the Forest (Miške) and The Sea (Jūra) were performed only posthumously. Čiurlionis contributed to symbolism and art nouveau and was representative of the fin de siècle epoch. He has been considered one of the pioneers of abstract art in Europe.[394]

Under a firm censorship, Vytautas Kernagis
Vytautas Kernagis
and band Antis
Antis
with its main vocalist Algirdas
Algirdas
Kaušpėdas actively mocked the Soviet
Soviet
Union regime by using metaphors in their lyrics.

After the Soviet
Soviet
reoccupation of Lithuania
Lithuania
in 1944, the Soviet's censorship continued firmly controlling all artistic expressions in Lithuania, and any violations by criticizing the regime would immediately result in punishments.[395] Unable to express their opinions directly, the Lithuanian artists began organizing patriotic Roko Maršai and were using metaphors in their songs lyrics, which were easily identified for their true meanings by the locals.[396][397] Postmodernist
Postmodernist
rock band Antis
Antis
and its vocalist Algirdas
Algirdas
Kaušpėdas were one of the most active performers who mocked the Soviet
Soviet
regime by using metaphors. For example, in the song Zombiai (Zombies), the band indirectly sang about the Red Army
Red Army
soldiers who occupied the state and its military base in Ukmergė.[398][399] Vytautas Kernagis' song Kolorado vabalai (Colorado beetles) was also a favorite due to its lyrics in which true meaning of the Colorado beetles was intended to be the Soviets decorated with the Ribbons of Saint George.[400]

Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival

In Lithuania, choral music is very important. Vilnius
Vilnius
is the only city with three choirs laureates (Brevis, Jauna Muzika and Chamber Choir of the Conservatoire) at the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. There is a long-standing tradition of the Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival
Festival
(Dainų šventė). The first one took place in Kaunas
Kaunas
in 1924. Since 1990, the festival has been organised every four years and summons roughly 30,000 singers and folk dancers of various professional levels and age groups from across the country.[401] In 2008, Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival
Festival
together with its Latvian and Estonian versions was inscribed as UNESCO
UNESCO
Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[402] Gatvės muzikos diena (Street Music Day) gathers musicians of various genres annually.[403] Modern classical composers emerged in seventies - Bronius Kutavičius, Feliksas Bajoras, Osvaldas Balakauskas, Onutė Narbutaitė, Vidmantas Bartulis and others. Most of those composers explored archaic Lithuanian music and its harmonic combination with modern minimalism and neoromanticism.[404] Jazz scene was active even during the years of Soviet
Soviet
occupation. The real breakthrough would occur in 1970-71 with the coming together of the Ganelin/Tarasov/Chekasin trio, the alleged instigators of the Vilnius
Vilnius
Jazz School.[405] Most known annual events are Vilnius
Vilnius
Jazz Festival, Kaunas
Kaunas
International Jazz Festival, Birštonas
Birštonas
Jazz. In the early independence years, rock band Foje was particularly popular and gathered tens of thousands of spectators to the concerts.[406] After disbanding in 1997, Foje vocalist Andrius Mamontovas remained one of the most prominent Lithuanian performers and an active participant in various charity events.[407] Marijonas Mikutavičius is famous for creating unofficial Lithuania
Lithuania
sport anthem Trys milijonai (Three million) and official anthem of the EuroBasket 2011 Nebetyli sirgaliai (English version was named Celebrate Basketball).[408][409] Cuisine Main article: Lithuanian cuisine

Lithuanian dark rye bread

Lithuanian cuisine
Lithuanian cuisine
features the products suited to the cool and moist northern climate of Lithuania: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Fish
Fish
dishes are very popular in the coastal region.[410] Since it shares its climate and agricultural practices with Northern Europe, Lithuanian cuisine
Lithuanian cuisine
has some similarities to Scandinavian cuisine. Nevertheless, it has its own distinguishing features, which were formed by a variety of influences during the country's long and difficult history. Dairy products traditionally is an important part of Lithuanian cuisine
Lithuanian cuisine
- cottage cheese (varškės sūris), curd (varškė), soured milk (rūgpienis), sour cream (grietinė), butter (sviestas). Traditional meat products are usually seasoned, matured and smoked - smoked sausages (dešros), lard (lašiniai), skilandis, smoked ham (kumpis). Soups (sriubos) - boletus soup, cabbage soup, beer soup, milk soup and various kinds of porages (košės) are part of tradition and daily diet. Freshwater fish, herring, wild berries and mushrooms, honey are highly popular diet to this day.[411][412] One of the oldest and most fundamental Lithuanian food products was and is rye bread. Rye
Rye
bread is eaten every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bread played an important role in family rituals and agrarian ceremonies.[413] Because of their common heritage, Lithuanians, Poles, and Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
share many dishes and beverages. Namely, similar versions of: dumplings (koldūnai, kreplach or pierogi), doughnuts (spurgos or pączki), and blynai (blini). German traditions also influenced Lithuanian cuisine, introducing pork and potato dishes, such as potato pudding (kugelis or kugel) and potato sausages (vėdarai), as well as the baroque tree cake known as Šakotis. The most exotic of all the influences is Eastern (Karaite) cuisine, and the dishes kibinai and čeburekai are popular in Lithuania. Lithuanian noblemen usually hired French chefs - French cuisine influence came to Lithuania
Lithuania
it this way .[414] Beer is the most common alcoholic beverage. Lithuania
Lithuania
has a long farmhouse beer tradition, first mentioned in 11th century chronicles. Beer was brewed for ancient Baltic festivities and rituals.[415] Farmhouse brewing survived to a greater extent in Lithuania
Lithuania
than anywhere else, and through accidents of history the Lithuanians
Lithuanians
then developed a commercial brewing culture from their unique farmhouse traditions.[416] Lithuania
Lithuania
is top 5 by consumption of beer per capita in Europe
Europe
in 2015, counting 75 active breweries, 32 of them are microbreweries.[417] The microbrewery scene in Lithuania
Lithuania
has been growing in later years, with a number of bars focusing on these beers popping up in Vilnius
Vilnius
and also in other parts of the country. 8 Lithuanian restaurants are listed in White Guide Baltic Top 30.[418]

Cepelinai, a potato-based dumpling dish characteristic of Lithuanian cuisine with meat, curd or mushrooms.

The pink-colored cold borscht šaltibarščiai. Often eaten with a hot boiled potato, sour cream and dill in summer.

Skilandis
Skilandis
is a Lithuanian matured sausage made of meat, fat, salt, pepper and garlic.

Kibinai
Kibinai
filled with mutton and onion are popular with Karaite ethnic minority, particularly in Trakai.

Tall šakotis, a spit cake, decorated with chocolate and flowers.

Lithuanian craft beer

Midus, Balts
Balts
were using mead for thousands of years.[419]

Sports Main article: Sport in Lithuania

Lithuania men's national basketball team
Lithuania men's national basketball team
is ranked 5th worldwide in FIBA Rankings.

Rūta Meilutytė
Rūta Meilutytė
– Olympic, multiple World and European champion.

Basketball is the most popular and national sport of Lithuania. The Lithuania
Lithuania
national basketball team has had significant success in international basketball events, having won the EuroBasket
EuroBasket
on three occasions (1937, 1939 and 2003), as well a total of 8 other medals in the Eurobasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games. The men's national team also has extremely high TV ratings as about 76% of the country's population watched their games live in 2014.[420] Lithuania
Lithuania
hosted the Eurobasket in 1939 and 2011. The historic Lithuanian basketball team BC Žalgiris, from Kaunas, won the European basketball league Euroleague
Euroleague
in 1999. Lithuania
Lithuania
has produced a number of NBA players, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees Arvydas Sabonis
Arvydas Sabonis
and Šarūnas Marčiulionis[421] and current NBA players Jonas Valančiūnas, Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis
and Mindaugas Kuzminskas.[422] Lithuania
Lithuania
has won a total of 25 medals at the Olympic Games, including 6 gold medals in athletics, modern pentathlon, shooting, and swimming. Numerous other Lithuanians
Lithuanians
won Olympic medals representing Soviet Union. Discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna
Virgilijus Alekna
is the most successful Olympic athlete of independent Lithuania, having won gold medals in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens
2004 Athens
games, as well as a bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics and numerous World Championship medals. More recently, the gold medal won by a then 15-year-old swimmer Rūta Meilutytė
Rūta Meilutytė
at the 2012 Summer
Summer
Olympics in London sparked a rise in popularity for the sport in Lithuania.

Druskininkai
Druskininkai
Snow Arena

Lithuania
Lithuania
has produced prominent athletes in athletics, modern pentathlon, road and track cycling, chess, rowing, aerobatics, strongman, wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, Kyokushin
Kyokushin
Karate and other sports. Few Lithuanian athletes have found success in winter sports, although facilities are provided by several ice rinks and skiing slopes, including Snow Arena, the first indoor ski slope in the Baltics.[423] International rankings The following are links to international rankings of Lithuania
Lithuania
from selected research institutes and foundations including economic output and various composite indices.

Index Rank Countries reviewed

Index of Economic Freedom 2017 16th 180

Ease of Doing Business Index
Ease of Doing Business Index
2017 21st 190

EF English Proficiency Index
EF English Proficiency Index
2017[424] 24th 80

Logistics Performance Index
Logistics Performance Index
2016[425] 29th 160

Inequality adjusted Human Development Index
Human Development Index
2016 30th 151

Networked Readiness Index 2015[426] 31st 148

Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
2015 32nd 175

Privacy International
Privacy International
2007 34th 45

Globalization Index 2015 35th 207

Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Press Freedom Index
Press Freedom Index
2016 35th 180

Human Development Index
Human Development Index
2016 37th 188

Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index
2016 37th 163

Legatum Prosperity Index 2016[427] 42nd 149

European Innovation Scoreboard (in EU context) 2017[428] 15th 28

United Nations
United Nations
Ranking of Happiness 2015–2017[429] 50th 156

See also

Index of Lithuania-related articles List of Lithuanians Outline of Lithuania

Notes ^ Various sources classify Lithuania
Lithuania
differently for statistical and other purposes. For example, United Nations[430] and Eurovoc,[431] among others, classify it as northern Europe, the CIA World Factbook[287] classifies it as eastern Europe, and Encyclopedia Britannica locates it in northeastern Europe.[432] Usage varies greatly, and controversially,[433] in press sources. References

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Constitution
of the Republic
Republic
of Lithuania] (in Lithuanian). Native History, CD. ISBN 9986-9216-7-8.  ^ Veser, Ernst (23 September 1997). "Semi-Presidentialism-Duverger's Concept — A New Political System Model" (PDF) (in English and Chinese). Department of Education, School of Education, University of Cologne: 39–60. Retrieved 23 August 2017. Duhamel has developed the approach further: He stresses that the French construction does not correspond to either parliamentary or the presidential form of government, and then develops the distinction of 'système politique' and 'régime constitutionnel'. While the former comprises the exercise of power that results from the dominant institutional practice, the latter is the totality of the rules for the dominant institutional practice of the power. In this way, France
France
appears as 'presidentialist system' endowed with a 'semi-presidential regime' (1983: 587). By this standard he recognizes Duverger's pléiade as semi-presidential regimes, as well as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria
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and Lithuania
Lithuania
(1993: 87).  ^ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (September 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive and Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. United States: University of California, San Diego. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2017.  ^ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). French Politics. Palgrave Macmillan
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Journals. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087 . Retrieved 23 August 2017. A pattern similar to the French case of compatible majorities alternating with periods of cohabitation emerged in Lithuania, where Talat-Kelpsa (2001) notes that the ability of the Lithuanian president to influence government formation and policy declined abruptly when he lost the sympathetic majority in parliament.  ^ "Statistikos departamentas".  ^ a b "Lithuania". International Monetary Fund. 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.  ^ Lithuania. Imf.org. ^ " The World Factbook
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– General Information ERASMUS programme
ERASMUS programme
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Lithuania
(Lietuva in Lithuanian) comes from the word "lietus" (rain)." ^ The Origin of the Name of Lithuania[permanent dead link]. Zigmas Zinkevicius, Delfi.lt, 1999. "After the ineffectual efforts to find the name of Lithuania
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in foreign countries, it was finally associated to the Lithuanian word lietus ‘rain’, as though Lithuania
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were an extremely rainy land." ^ a b Zigmas Zinkevičius. Kelios mintys, kurios kyla skaitant Alfredo Bumblausko Senosios Lietuvos istoriją 1009-–1795m. Voruta, 2005. ^ " Indo-European etymology : Query result". starling.rinet.ru. Retrieved 28 February 2018.  ^ "Lietuvos vardo kilmė". www.voruta.lt. Retrieved 10 January 2010.  ^ a b Zinkevičius, Zigmas (1999-11-30). "Lietuvos vardo kilmė". Voruta (in Lithuanian). 3 (669). ISSN 1392-0677. [permanent dead link] ^ Dubonis, Artūras (1998). Lietuvos didžiojo kunigaikščio leičiai: iš Lietuvos ankstyvųjų valstybinių struktūrų praeities ( Leičiai of Grand Duke of Lithuania: from the past of Lithuanian stative structures (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Lietuvos istorijos instituto leidykla.  ^ Dubonis, Artūras. "Leičiai". www.LDKistorija.lt. Retrieved 29 January 2018.  ^ Patackas, Algirdas. "Lietuva, Lieta, Leitis, arba ką reiškia žodis "Lietuva"". Lrytas .lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 11 August 2009.  ^ Šapoka, Adolfas (1936). Lietuvos istorija (PDF). Kaunas: Šviesa. pp. 13–17.  ^ Eidintas, Alfonsas; Bumblauskas, Alfredas; Kulakauskas, Antanas; Tamošaitis, Mindaugas
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(2013). The History of Lithuania
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Poland
(1370–1506)]. Kraków: Fogra. pp. 55–61. ISBN 83-85719-40-7.  ^ "History of Lithuania: Introduction". TrueLithuania.com. Retrieved 26 January 2018.  ^ "Tautinė ir religinė įvairovė / XVI vidurio - XVII a". LDKistorija.lt. Retrieved 26 January 2018.  ^ (in Lithuanian) Tomas Baranauskas (2001). Lietuvos karalystei – 750 Archived 1 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. voruta.lt. ^ Zikaras, Karolis (2014). Battle of Saulė
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- Gediminas
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Geographic national

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Counties of Lithuania

Alytus Kaunas Klaipėda Marijampolė Panevėžys Šiauliai Tauragė Telšiai Utena Vilnius

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Municipalities of Lithuania

District municipalities

Akmenė Alytus Anykščiai Biržai Ignalina Jonava Joniškis Jurbarkas Kaišiadorys Kaunas Kėdainiai Kelmė Klaipėda Kretinga Kupiškis Lazdijai Mažeikiai Molėtai Pakruojis Panevėžys Pasvalys Plungė Prienai Radviliškis Raseiniai Rokiškis Skuodas Šakiai Šalčininkai Šiauliai Šilalė Šilutė Širvintos Švenčionys Tauragė Telšiai Trakai Ukmergė Utena Varėna Vilkaviškis Vilnius Zarasai

City municipalities

Alytus Kaunas Klaipėda Palanga Panevėžys Šiauliai Vilnius

Municipalities

Birštonas Druskininkai Elektrėnai Kalvarija Kazlų Rūda Marijampolė Neringa Pagėgiai Rietavas Visaginas

Geographic international

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Sovereign states and dependencies of Europe

Sovereign states

Albania Andorra Armenia2 Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia
Bosnia
and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus2 Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland1 Ireland Italy Kazakhstan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Vatican City

States with limited recognition

Abkhazia2 Artsakh2 Kosovo Northern Cyprus2 South Ossetia2 Transnistria

Dependencies

Denmark

Faroe Islands1

autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark

United Kingdom

Akrotiri and Dhekelia2

Sovereign Base Areas

Gibraltar

British Overseas Territory

Guernsey Isle of Man Jersey

Crown dependencies

Special
Special
areas of internal sovereignty

Finland

Åland Islands

autonomous region subject to the Åland Convention of 1921

Norway

Svalbard

unincorporated area subject to the Svalbard
Svalbard
Treaty

United Kingdom

Northern Ireland

country of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
subject to the British-Irish Agreement

1 Oceanic islands within the vicinity of Europe
Europe
are usually grouped with the continent even though they are not situated on its continental shelf. 2 Some countries completely outside the conventional geographical boundaries of Europe
Europe
are commonly associated with the continent due to ethnological links.

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Baltic states

 Estonia  Latvia  Lithuania

History

Territorial changes Baltic Entente United Baltic Duchy Occupation

Timeline Background by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(1940) by Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(1944)

Deportations

June deportation (1941) Operation Priboi
Operation Priboi
(1949)

State continuity

Diplomatic services

Under Soviet
Soviet
rule (1944-91)

Guerrilla war

Forest Brothers

Sovietization Singing Revolution Baltic Way

Geography

Largest cities

tallest buildings

National parks

Politics

Baltic Assembly Military

Air Policing Air Surveillance Network Defence College Naval Squadron

Economy

Baltic Tiger Housing bubble Busiest airports

Sport

Baltic Cup (football) Baltic Basketball League Swimming Championships Baltic Chain Tour Records

in athletics in swimming

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Countries bordering the Baltic Sea

 Denmark  Estonia  Finland  Germany  Latvia  Lithuania  Poland  Russia  Sweden

International membership

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 United Nations

António Guterres, Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General Miroslav Lajčák, General Assembly President

United Nations
United Nations
System

United Nations
United Nations
Charter

Preamble

Principal organs

General Assembly

President

Security Council

Members

Economic and Social Council Secretariat

Secretary-General Deputy Secretary-General Under-Secretary-General

International Court of Justice

statute

Trusteeship Council

Secretariat Offices and Departments

Headquarters Envoy on Youth Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Geneva Palace of Nations Nairobi Vienna Economic and Social Affairs Political Affairs Public Information

Dag Hammarskjöld Library

Safety and Security Palestinian Rights Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Operations Internal Oversight Legal Affairs Developing Countries Sport for Development and Peace Disarmament Affairs Outer Space Affairs Partnerships Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs UN organizations by location United Nations
United Nations
Office for Developing Countries Sexual Violence in Conflict

Programmes and specialized agencies

FAO ICAO IFAD ILO IMO ITC IPCC IAEA MINURSO UNIDO ITU UNAIDS SCSL UNCTAD UNCITRAL UNCDF UNDG UNDP UNDPI UNDPKO

peacekeeping

UNEP

OzonAction UNEP/GRID-Arendal UNEP-WCMC

UNESCO UNFIP UNFPA UN-HABITAT OHCHR UNHCR UNHRC UNICEF UNICRI UNIDIR UNITAR UN-Oceans UNODC UNOPS UNOSAT UNRISD UNRWA UNSSC UNU

UNU-OP UNU-CRIS

UNV UN Women UNWTO UPU WFP WHO WIPO WMO

Members / observers

Full members Founding members

UNSC Permanent members

Observers

European Union

History

League of Nations Four Policemen Declaration by United Nations Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
missions

history timeline

Enlargement

Resolutions

Security Council vetoes General Assembly

66th 67th

Security Council

Cyprus Iran Iraq Israel Lebanon Nagorno-Karabakh North Korea Palestine Syria Western Sahara

Elections

Secretary-General (2006 2016) International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
2011 General Assembly President (2012 2016) Security Council (2015 2016)

Related

Bretton Woods system Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Criticism Delivering as One Flag

Honour Flag

Four Nations Initiative Genocide Convention UN Global Compact ICC International Decade for a Culture
Culture
of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World International Years UN laissez-passer Military Staff Committee Official languages Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Peacekeeping Treaty Series UN Day Universal Declaration of Human Rights Millennium Declaration

Summit Development Goals

Security Council veto power UN reform

Security Council reform

UN Art Collection UN Memorial Cemetery Korea

Other

Outline UN television film series (1964–1966) In popular culture

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Member states of the European Union

Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Denmark
(details) Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland
Poland
(details) Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(details)

Future enlargement of the European Union

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North Atlantic Treaty
North Atlantic Treaty
Organization

History

North Atlantic Treaty Summit Operations Enlargement

Structure

Council Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

Air Command Land Command Maritime Command JFC Brunssum JFC Naples

Allied Command Transformation Parliamentary Assembly Standardization Agreement

People

Secretary General Chairman of the Military Committee Supreme Allied Commander Europe Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

Members

Albania Belgium Bulgaria Canada Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Turkey United Kingdom United States

Multilateral relations

Atlantic Treaty Association Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Mediterranean Dialogue Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Partnership for Peace

Portal

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Council of Europe

Institutions

Secretary General Committee of Ministers Parliamentary Assembly Congress Court of Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights Commission for the Efficiency of Justice Commission against Racism and Intolerance

Members

Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belgium Bosnia
Bosnia
and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia1 Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom

Observers

Canada Holy See Israel Japan Mexico United States Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Former members

Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
(1991–1992) Saar (assoc. 1950–1956)

1 Provisionally referred to by the Council of Europe
Europe
as "the former Yugoslav Republic
Republic
of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.

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Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD)

History

Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Guidelines

Multinational Enterprises Testing of Chemicals

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World Trade Organization

System

Accession and membership Appellate Body Dispute Settlement Body International Trade Centre Chronology of key events

Issues

Criticism Doha Development Round Singapore issues Quota Elimination Peace Clause

Agreements

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Agriculture Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Technical Barriers to Trade Trade Related Investment Measures Trade in Services Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Government Procurement Information Technology Marrakech Agreement Doha Declaration Bali Package

Ministerial Conferences

1st (1996) 2nd (1998) 3rd (1999) 4th (2001) 5th (2003) 6th (2005) 7th (2009) 8th (2011) 9th (2013) 10th (2015)

People

Roberto Azevêdo
Roberto Azevêdo
(Director-General) Pascal Lamy Supachai Panitchpakdi Alejandro Jara Rufus Yerxa

Members

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belize Benin Bolivia Botswana Brazil Brunei Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Democratic Republic
Republic
of the Congo Republic
Republic
of the Congo Costa Rica Côte d'Ivoire Cuba Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Fiji Gabon The Gambia Georgia Ghana Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Hong Kong1 Iceland India Indonesia Israel Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya South Korea Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lesotho Liberia Liechtenstein Macau1 Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Moldova Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nepal New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Norway Oman Pakistan Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Qatar Russia Rwanda St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia St. Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa Saudi Arabia Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Solomon Islands South Africa Sri Lanka Suriname Swaziland Switzerland Tajikistan Taiwan2 Tanzania Thailand Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States Uruguay Venezuela Vietnam Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe

European Union

Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom

Special
Special
administrative regions of the People's Republic
Republic
of China, participates as "Hong Kong, China" and "Macao China". Officially the Republic
Republic
of China, participates as "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu", and "Chinese Taipei" in short.

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Member states of the Council of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
States

Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Iceland Latvia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Sweden European Commission

Observer member status: France Italy Netherlands Slovakia Ukraine United Kingdom United States
United States
of America

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La Francophonie

Membership

Members

Albania Andorra Armenia Belgium

French Community

Benin Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada

New Brunswick Quebec

Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros Cyprus1 Democratic Republic
Republic
of the Congo Republic
Republic
of the Congo Djibouti Dominica Egypt Equatorial Guinea France

French Guiana Guadeloupe Martinique St. Pierre and Miquelon

Gabon Ghana1 Greece Guinea Guinea-Bissau Haiti Ivory Coast Laos Luxembourg Lebanon Macedonia2 Madagascar Mali Mauritania Mauritius Moldova Monaco Morocco Niger Qatar Romania Rwanda St. Lucia São Tomé and Príncipe Senegal Seychelles Switzerland Togo Tunisia Vanuatu Vietnam

Observers

Argentina Austria Bosnia
Bosnia
and Herzegovina Croatia Czech Republic Dominican Republic Georgia Hungary Kosovo Latvia Lithuania Montenegro Mozambique Ontario Poland Serbia Slovakia Slovenia South Korea Thailand Ukraine United Arab Emirates Uruguay

1 Associate member. 2 Provisionally referred to by the Francophonie as the "former Yugoslav Republic
Republic
of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.

Organization

Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique Agence universitaire de la Francophonie

Secretaries-General

Boutros Boutros-Ghali Abdou Diouf Michaëlle Jean

Culture

French language UN French Language Day International Francophonie Day Jeux de la Francophonie Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie Senghor University AFFOI TV5Monde LGBT rights

Category

Geography portal Europe
Europe
portal European Union
European Union
portal NATO
NATO
portal Lithuania
Lithuania
portal

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 251794719 LCCN: n82209573 ISNI: 0000 0001 2364 1220 GND: 4074266-0 HDS:

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