Earlier this year in Vilnius, the Socialist People’s Front leader Algirdas Paleckis was fined 10,400 litas (about 3,000 euros) for denying and grossly downplaying Soviet aggression against Lithuania the night of January 13, 1991.
Articles written by Arne Bengtsson
Populist temptation has always haunted Latvia. Not less now, when voters are struggling to recover from Europe´s deepest GDP-fall. “People want change”, says professor Runcis who fears that Zatlers can not deliver that, and so distrust of politicians might grow. The political scientist is worried about the ex-presidents lack of competence in the economic field, and he is critical of Zatler´s political ambitions.
After a fall in GDP of 25 percent and two and a half years of hard budget slashing, Latvia’s economy is growing again. In this moment of hope, the country is suddenly thrown into political turmoil. Corruption has grown out of hand, and the Latvian president has decided that enough is enough.
A specter is haunting the Baltic States. It appears in different forms and with different names: Air Baltic, Mažeikių Nafta, Lattelecom, Ventspils Nafta, Latvenergo, Estonian Air. With their independence in 1991, the Baltic nations inherited enormous state enterprises, built to serve large parts of the Soviet Union, and thus too big for small republics like Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
Poles in Lithuania are a minority who want to strengthen their identity. They are now demanding to have their names spelled correctly in official records.
Latvia’s deep economic down-turn has brought about a historical political change. A left-wing party has won an election and come to power in Riga. The local party is dominated by ethnic Russian politicians.
Narva is the EU’s port to Russia. Here, Swedes, Germans, Russians, and Estonians have had their interests. Today, the official language is Estonian and it is difficult for the Russian minority to obtain citizenship.
Of Lithuania’s 220,000 Jews, 94 percent were killed during the Holocaust. But few in Lithuania want to talk about crimes other than those committed by the Soviets against the Lithuanian minority. Today, slogans such as “Juden Raus” can again be heard on the streets of Vilnius.