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LITHUANIA

Culture, History, Politics &


Political System

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic


www.see-vilnius.eu
info@see-vilnius.eu
© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2019
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BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT LITHUANIA/LIETUVA

ABOUT 2,8 mil.

65 000
km2

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ETHNIC COMPOSITION OF LITHUANIA

 Lithuanians - 84.3%

 Poles - 6.2%

 Russians - 5%
 Belarusians - 1.1%

 Ukrainians - 0.6%

 Jews - 0.1%

 Latvians, Tatars, Roma people and Germans make


up 0.1%
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WHERE IS LITHUANIA?

Lithuania is a member of Baltic states also with Latvia


and Estonia

Lithuania has borders


with:
•Latvia
•Belarus
•Poland
•Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast
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SHORT HISTORY OF LITHUANIA

•Ethnic Lithuanians are the Balts


•Lithuanian language – probably the most archaic from all
living Indo-European languages
•First time mentioned in historical sources in 1009
•Grand Duchy of Lithuania & Kingdom of Poland (1385-1795)
•Baptizing of Lithuania by Vatican from 1387 till 1413
•A part of Russian Empire (1795-1918)
•Independent Republic of Lithuania 1918-1940
•A part of the USSR 1940/44-1991
•Independent Republic of Lithuania 1991 onward
•From 2004 NATO’s and EU’s member 6
THE BALTIC TRIBES C. 1200 A.D.

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VILNIUS CASTLE, 15TH CENTURY

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VILNIUS UNIVERSITY, EST. 1579

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EUROLITHUANIA – 2004

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LITHUANIA – POSSIBLE GEOGRAPHIC CENTRE OF EUROPE?

This location is the only one listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the
geographical centre of Europe
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but...

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THE REAL CENTRAL EUROPE? STATES OF THE V4

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WHERE IS LITHUANIA?

 S. P. Huntington:
- Lithuania is a part of the West (from publ. Western
Civilization)
 B. Cywinski:
-Part of a „non-Russian“ East Europe (from pub. Moj kawalek
Europy)
 A. Bumblauskas:
- The eastern part of Central Europe (from pub. Senosios
Lietuvos istorija 1009-1795)
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BETWEEN WEST & EAST?! CENTRAL EUROPE!?

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MILAN KUNDERA: CENTRAL EUROPE IS REGION TORN AWAY
FROM THE WEST

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THE EASTERN EUROPE – ONLY RUSSIA?

The main (Lithuanian) argument why Lithuania cannot be a part


of the Eastern Europe:

CULTURE BASED ON RELIGION:


▪ Lithuania - Roman Catholicism
▪ Russia - Orthodoxy

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CONCEPT OF THE WESTERN EUROPE BY S. P. HUNTINGTON

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CENTRAL EUROPE ACCORDING TO PETER KATZENSTEIN

The Visegrád Group


countries are referred to as
Central Europe

Countries for which


there's no precise,
uncontestable way to decide
whether they are parts of
Central Europe or not

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CENTRAL EUROPE ACCORDING TO LONNIE R. JOHNSON

Countries usually
considered Central
European

Easternmost Western
European countries
considered to be Central
European only in the
broader sense of the term

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LITHUANIA – A MEMBER OF THE BALTIC STATES
EUROREGION

•Capitals: Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius


•Official languages:
Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian

•Membership:
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
•Area - Total 175,015 sq. km
•Population - (2010) 6,607,400

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POLITICS OF LITHUANIA
 The Baltic States cooperation
 Fear of Russia & anti-Russian political frustration
 During the Baltic States struggle for independence from the USSR in
1989-1991, a personal friendship was developed between the Baltic
States Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic States Ministers of
Foreign Affairs
 This friendship led to the creation of the Council of the Baltic Sea
States in 1992
 Currently governments of the Baltic States cooperate in multiple ways
 There is active cooperation among three Presidents, Parliament
speakers, Prime Ministers, and Foreign Ministers
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 The Baltic States have been the only former Soviet Union republics to
join either NATO or the EU so far
 On November 8th, 1991, the Baltic Assembly was established for co-
operation between the Parliaments
 15 to 20 MPs from each Parliament represent their countries in the
Baltic Assembly
 For co-operation between the governments a Baltic Council of
Ministers was established on June 13th, 1994
 Since 2003 the Baltic Assembly is co-ordinated with the Baltic Council
of Ministers
 Membership in NATO – March 29th, 2004
 Membership in EU - May 1st, 2004
 €uro currency in all three Baltic States
 All three Baltic States are in the Schengen Area 27
Minority rights of Poles and Russians?

Question of Vilnius/Wilno region

Question of Memel/Klaipėda

Question of holocaust in 1941-1944


Demographic collapse

Emigration question

National debt problem

Nationalism problem
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POLITICAL SYSTEM OF LITHUANIA

 Constitutional parliamentary democracy


 Semi-presidential or semi-parliamentary republic

 Power is divided between three (independent) sectors:

1. Legislative – the Parliament (Seimas)

2. Executive – the Government & the President (with veto


right)
3. Judicial – the Courts

 Representative democracy – the people’s deputies in the


Parliament
 Direct democracy – plebiscites/referendums 31
 The most liberal & democratic Constitution in Europe of the
time?:
 Constitution of the “Republic of Two Nations” (Poland-
Lithuania) on May 3rd, 1791
 Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania adopted by the
citizens of Lithuania in the Referendum of October 25th, 1992
 Unitary state, no federation, no special rights or autonomy
for some regions or provinces
 Article 1: “The State of Lithuania shall be an independent
democratic republic”
 Article 2: “The State of Lithuania shall be created by the
Nation. Sovereignty shall belong to the Nation”
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SUPREME GOVERNING INSTITUTIONS OF REPUBLIC OF
LITHUANIA – THE PARLIAMENT (SEIMAS)
 Single-house Parliament (Seimas)
 141 Members of the Parliament

 Public elections for the MPs

 MPs term – 4 years

 MP – a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania no


younger than 21
 Legislative power
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SUPREME GOVERNING INSTITUTIONS OF REPUBLIC OF
LITHUANIA – THE PRESIDENT
 5 years term

 No more than two terms in the line

 The President has to be a citizen of the Republic of


Lithuania “by descent” (“pagal kilmę” – Article 78),
living in the country at least three last years and to be
at least 40 years of age
 Executive & ceremonial power/role

 Veto right to the Parliament’s legislation


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SUPREME GOVERNING INSTITUTIONS OF REPUBLIC OF
LITHUANIA – THE GOVERNMENT
 Government is composed by the ministers with the
Prime Minister
 The PM is proposing the ministers to the President

 The President is appointing/dismissing the


ministers
 The PM is appointed/dismissed by the President
with the approval by the Parliament
 Executive power
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SUPREME GOVERNING INSTITUTIONS OF REPUBLIC OF
LITHUANIA – THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
 It is composed by 9 members
 9 years term

 Only one term

 1/3 of the Court members is renewed every 3 years

 3 members of the Court are proposed by the President of


Republic, the President of the Parliament and the President of
the Supreme Court
 They are formally appointed by the Parliament

 Audit power
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THANK YOU AND WELCOME TO LITHUANIA (LIETUVA)!

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