Lithuania. Lithuania switched to the euro as currency in
the New Year. The country became the nineteenth member of
the euro zone, but only a small majority of residents were
positive to the membership. Price increases followed the
currency exchange, and pensioners who saw their pension
change from 830 litas to 240 euros could experience it as a
COUNTRYAAH, the tense security situation in the region affected
Lithuania strongly. The country was a harsh critic of the
Russian occupation in Crimea and the war in Ukraine.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė said at the 70th anniversary of
the end of World War II in May that Lithuania could not
accept the extortion of an attacker who calls himself the
winner of Europe but who has started a new war against
Among other things, Lithuania's concern was expressed in
a brochure for schools on the theme of the war to come. The
country also decided to reintroduce a military service with
about 3,000 young men convened each year. The government
also planned a significant increase in the defense budget.
When the Russian Federation carried out military
exercises near the Baltic border at the beginning of the
year, NATO responded with three months of exercises in
Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia with several thousand
NATO soldiers. NATO also opened a command center in
The Russian Federation accused NATO that the exercise was
a preparation for the annexation of the Russian enclave
Kaliningrad. When the United States declared heavy weapons
to be stationed in the Baltic States, the Russian Federation
responded that it intended to deploy Iskander robots in
Kaliningrad, bordering Lithuania.
In the spring, a Russian citizen was arrested on
suspicion of espionage for the Russian security service FSB.
At the same time, Russian naval vessels were accused of
interfering with the work of the Swedish-Lithuanian
electricity cable Nordbalt on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
However, the work could be completed during the year. The
cable will give Lithuania electricity from Sweden and thus
the opportunity to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
For part of the year, the Lithuanian government banned
the Russian-language TV channel RTR Planeta from
broadcasting to Lithuania. The channel was accused, among
other things, of war propaganda.
In August, Lithuania prosecuted 66 Russian, Belarusian
and Ukrainian citizens who were charged with war crimes and
crimes against humanity in January 1991 in Vilnius.
According to the indictment, they were responsible for the
massacre of 13 people who tried to prevent Soviet soldiers
from storming the TV tower.
There was strong opposition to the EU's quota of 710
refugees to Lithuania. According to President Grybauskaitė,
Lithuania only managed 250. The government spoke of 40-50
refugees, and according to the Interior Minister, they would
"preferably match our cultural characteristics and be
Christians". One commentator accused the government of
hypocrisy. Lithuania demands respect as a full member of the
EU and NATO, but when it comes to jointly carrying the EU
refugee burden, the country assumes the role of a bad loser,
it was called.
Following pressure from the EU, the government accepted a
quota of 1,105 refugees over two years from Italy and
Greece. But according to a spokesman for the government, no
asylum seekers from there seemed to want to come to