Lithuania. During the year, Lithuania was ranked as one
of the world's leading countries in complying with the Paris
agreement on greenhouse gas reduction. When 56 countries
were assessed, Lithuania came in third place after Sweden
In February, 26 people were arrested on suspicion of
corruption in the judiciary. Eight were high-ranking judges,
including in the Supreme Court. According to the prosecutor,
it was a "trade in justice", where bribes of up to € 100,000
were paid to influence the verdict.
It also emerged that a suspected bribe of the equivalent
of SEK 34 million to Ukraine's former President Viktor
Yanukovych went through an account with Swedbank in
In March, a Lithuanian court sentenced former Soviet
Defense Minister Dmitry Jazov in his absence to 10 years in
prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was
the case against the Lithuanian independence movement in
Vilnius in January 1991, when 14 people died and over 700
were injured. A further 67 former soldiers were sentenced to
prison. Only two of them were present.
When the government was reformed in May, Lithuania gained
the EU's only fully male government. The female opposition
leader described it as outrageous that no women could be
placed among the 14 ministers.
CountryAAH, popular President Dalia Grybauskaitė was not allowed to
run for more terms, and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis
decided to run for office in May. However, he was defeated
by former Finance Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and former bank
adviser Gitanas Nausėda. They went on to a second round,
where Gitanas Nausėda won with just over 66% of the vote
against just over 33% for Šimonytė.
The newly elected president emphasized the need to bridge
the social and economic gaps in society. The income gaps in
Lithuania are second highest in the EU. Nausėda also hoped
to improve Lithuania's poor relationship with the Russian
Skvernelis continued as prime minister but reformed the
government with two new parties, Order and Justice and the
Election Campaign for Poles in Lithuania. In the coalition
there was also the Skvernelis party of the Peasants and the
Greens and the Social Democrats.
During the year, two Lithuanian citizens were sentenced
to over four years in prison for spying for the Russian
Federation. They have for several years provided information
on the air base in Šiauliai used by NATO for patrolling the
Many tourists were attracted to the decommissioned
nuclear power plant Ignalina, which was the recording site
for the HBO series "Chernobyl". Ignalina had the same type
of reactors as the accidental Chernobyl in Ukraine.
The conflict over Lithuania's participation in the
Holocaust continued during the year. Vilnius Municipality
changed the name of a street named after a pronounced
anti-Semite, and the mayor decided to take down a disputed
public memorial plaque of Jonas Noreika, an officer and
anti-Soviet opponent who collaborated with Nazi occupiers in
the 1941 Jewish persecution.
The Jews of Vilnius welcomed the decision, but it was met
with harsh reactions from Noreika supporters, who put up the
memorial plaque again at a ceremony where hundreds of
participants sang patriotic songs.
A fierce debate was held in the fall between those who
honored Noreika as a patriotic hero in the fight against
Soviet occupation and those who felt that his part in the
genocide of the Jews made it impossible to pay tribute to
him. President Nausėda called for a broad discussion on the
principles that should apply to historical monuments.
Several anti-Semitic actions were carried out during the
year in Lithuania. Among other things, "Heil Hitler" was
written at the entrance to the Kaunas synagogue.
In August, around 12,000 people formed a human chain in
Vilnius in memory of the Baltic Way 20 years earlier, when
about two million people held hands in hand through
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in protest against the Soviet
In October, the United States began deploying US troops
in Lithuania, near the border with Belarus. 500 soldiers
with 30 tanks were expected to be deployed in six months.
Lithuania's defense minister said the intention was to deter
the Russian federation. Moscow responded that it did not
intend to invade the Baltics, but accused NATO of
destabilizing Europe by moving troops near the Russian