Lithuania

Lithuania Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

Flag of Lithuania

Language: Lithuanian
Currency: Lithuanian litas
Calling Code: 370

 

Lithuania (lit. Lietuva), the official name is the Republic of Lithuania (lit. Lietuvos Respublika) - a state located in the northern part of Europe. The capital of the country is Vilnius.

Area - 65,300 km². The length from north to south is 280 km, and from west to east - 370 km. The population is 2,793,000 people (September, 2019). It has access to the Baltic Sea, located on its east coast. The coastline is only 99 km (the lowest indicator among the Baltic states). In the north it borders with Latvia, in the southeast - with Belarus, in the south-west - with Poland and the Kaliningrad region of Russia.

Member of the UN since 1991, EU and NATO since 2004, OECD since May 2018. Included in the Schengen zone and the Eurozone.

The country's independence was proclaimed on March 11, 1990, and legally registered on September 6, 1991.

 

Travel Destinations in Lithiania

Vilnius

 

Aukštaitija

Jonava
Kėdainiai
Panevėžys
Ukmergė
Utena
Aukštaitija National Park
Biržai Castle

 

Samogitia

Kretinga
Palanga
Šiauliai
Telšiai
Tytuvėnai
Židikai
Hill of Crosses
Panemune Castle
Žemaitija National Park

 

Dzūkija (Dainava)

Alytus
Daugai
Druskininkai
Purnuškės
Trakai
Dzūkija National Park
Kernave

 

Sūduva (Suvalkija)

Kaunas
Marijampolė
Birštonas
Pazaislis Monastery

 

Lithuania Minor

Klaipeda
Juodkrantė
Neringa
Nida
Šilutė
Kuršių Nerija National Park

 

Visitor Information

www.tourism.lt

 

Embassies in Lithuania

United States

Akmenu 6, Vilnius

www.usembassy.lt

 

United Kingdom

Antakalnio 2, Vilnius

www.britain.lt

 

Australia

Vilnius 23

Tel. (5) 212 3369

 

Canada

Jogailos 4, Vilnius

www.canada.lt

 

Emergency Numbers

Ambulance 03, 112

Fire fighters 01, 112

Police 02, 112

 

Etymology

The etymology of the word "Lithuania" is not exactly known, while there are many versions, none of which has received universal recognition. The root "lit" and its variants "years" / "lyut" allow for various interpretations both in the Baltic and Slavic, and in other Indo-European languages. So, for example, there are consonant toponyms on the territory of Slovakia "Lytva" and Romania "Litua", known from the 11th-12th centuries. According to E. Pospelov, the toponym was formed from the ancient name of the Letava River (Lietavà from the lit. lieti “to pour”, Russian “Letauka”). The feudal principality, through the lands of which this river flowed, eventually occupied a leading position and the name was extended to the entire state. The Tale of Bygone Years (XII century) mentions the ethnonym "Lithuania", which completely coincides with the name of the area "Lithuania" both in meaning (the territory where Lithuanians live) and in form.

 

Geography

The surface is flat, with traces of ancient glaciation. Fields and meadows occupy 57% of the territory, forests and shrubs - 30%, swamps - 6%, inland waters - 1%.

The highest point - 293.84 m above sea level - Aukshtoyas hill (or Aukshtasis kalnas) in the southeastern part of the country, 23.5 km from Vilnius.

The largest rivers are the Neman and the Viliya. More than 3 thousand lakes (1.5% of the territory): the largest of them is Druksiai on the border of Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus (area 44.8 km²), the deepest is Tauragnas, 61 m), the longest is Asveya, 30 km long near the town of Dubingiai.

The climate is transitional from maritime to continental. The average temperature in winter is −5°C, in summer +17°C. 748 mm of precipitation falls annually.

Minerals: peat, mineral materials, building materials.

 

History

Ancient history
The territory of modern Lithuania was inhabited by people from the end of the X — IX millennium BC. e. Residents engaged in hunting and fishing, used bows and flint-tipped arrows, scrapers for leather, fishing rods and nets. At the end of the Neolithic (III – II millennium BC), Indo-European tribes entered the territory of modern Lithuania. They were engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding, while hunting and fishing remained the main occupations of local residents until the widespread use of iron tools. The Indo-Europeans, who settled the lands between the mouths of the Vistula and the Western Dvina, stood out in a separate group called the learned Baltic.

It is traditionally believed that the ethnic basis of Lithuania is formed by the bearers of the archaeological culture of the East Lithuanian mounds that developed in the 5th century AD e. in the territory of modern Eastern Lithuania and North-Western Belarus. Around the 7th century, the Lithuanian language separated from Latvian.

The origin of the state
The emergence of statehood on the territory of modern Lithuania dates back to the 13th century, while the very name “Lithuania” was first mentioned in the Quedlinburg annals under 1009 in a report on the murder by pagans of the missionary Bruno on the border of Russia and Lithuania. According to the most common version, the toponym arose from the name of the small river Letauka, a tributary of Nyaris. According to a more modern hypothesis, the name of the country could come from the ethnonym "years" or "leiti", which the inhabitants of the surrounding lands called the warriors of the Lithuanian princes.

At the beginning of the XIII century, the invasion of the German crusader knights began in the lands of the Gentile Baltic pagans. They conquered Prussia and Livonia. At the same time, the expansion of the Galician-Volyn principality began in the south. By the middle of the XIII century, many Lithuanian lands were united under the rule of Prince Mindovg, who received Catholic baptism in 1251 and was crowned in 1253. A few years later Mindovg renounced Christianity and until the beginning of the XIV century the Lithuanian lands remained pagan. Despite the fact that already in 1263 Mindovg was overthrown, his rule marked the beginning of the existence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for more than five hundred years.

Grand Duchy of Lithuania
In the XIV - early XV centuries, the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania grew rapidly, mainly due to the annexation of the lands of Western Russia. The inclusion of Slavic lands in the state, many times larger than the actual Lithuanian lands in terms of area and population, led to the adoption by the Lithuanian princes, who took possession of the Russian lands, Orthodox culture and the West Russian language. Over time, the West Russian language became the official language of the office of the Grand Dukes. Actually, the Lithuanian language until the 16th century remained unwritten, although it continued to be used on ethnically Lithuanian lands.

In 1385, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Jagiello concluded the Union of Krev with the Kingdom of Poland. Under the terms of the union, Jagiello undertook to annex the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Kingdom of Poland and baptize Lithuanian lands according to the Catholic rite, and he himself became king of Poland and retained the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania. However, he was soon forced to cede power in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to his cousin Vitovt. The latter, although he recognized himself as a vassal of Jagiello, pursued an independent foreign policy and thus a complete unification of states did not take place. During the reign of Vytautas (1392-1430), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania reached its highest peak, and its territory amounted to approximately 930 thousand km².

In the same period, the Lithuanian princes from the Gediminovich dynasty fought a hard battle with the Teutonic Order, which was defeated in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald by the combined forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. In 1422, Jemaitia finally entered the Grand Duchy, which for a long time served as the main subject of disputes with the crusaders.

The Grand Duke Casimir, who was also the king of Poland, expanded the influence of the Jagiellonian dynasty - subjugated Prussia, put his son on the Czech and Hungarian thrones. In 1492-1526 there was a political system of the Jagiellonian states, covering Poland (with vassals of Prussia and the Principality of Moldova), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The legal basis of the state was the statute published in three editions (1529, 1566, 1588), reflecting socio-economic and political changes. The statute regulated issues of civil, criminal and procedural law. On the territory of the Grand Duchy, the third edition of the statute was valid until 1840.

In the Commonwealth

In 1569, a new union with Poland was concluded in Lublin, as a result of which the Commonwealth was formed. According to the Act of the Union of Lublin, Lithuania and Poland were ruled by a jointly elected king, and state affairs were decided in the general Sejm. However, legal systems, the army, and officials remained separate.

In the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, a political system, known as gentry democracy, developed in Lithuania according to the Polish model. It was characterized by the presence of broad rights of the gentry (nobility) in government. At the same time, there was a polonization of the gentry, expressed in the adoption by the ruling estate of the Grand Duchy of the Lithuanian Polish language, culture and identity. Polonization did not have such a significant effect on the unprivileged classes.

As part of the Russian Empire
In the 18th century, as a result of devastating wars and a comprehensive state crisis, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth fell into decay and came under the influence of the Russian Empire. In 1772, 1793 and 1795, sections of the Commonwealth took place between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Almost the entire territory of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania was annexed to the Russian Empire.

In attempts to restore statehood, the Polish-Lithuanian nobility took Napoleon's side in 1812, and also repeatedly raised revolts (1830–1831, 1863–1864), which, however, ended in defeat. In an effort to eliminate Polish influence in Lithuania, the Russian authorities launched a broad campaign of depolonization and Russification. In 1864 the Lithuanian Latin alphabet was banned. The Lithuanian population, especially the Catholic clergy, resisted Russification: Cyrillic editions were ignored, and books printed in Latin letters were smuggled from neighboring Prussia. In 1904, the ban on Lithuanian Latin letters was canceled.

During the first world war
The outbreak of World War I quickly spread throughout Lithuania; by the end of 1915, all ethnically Lithuanian lands were controlled by Germany. Lithuanians have lost all political rights. In the beginning, Lithuanian periodicals were even banned. However, the Lithuanian intelligentsia tried to take advantage of the geopolitical situation and began to look for opportunities to restore the independence of Lithuania. On September 18-22, 1917, the Lithuanian Conference was held in Vilnius, during which the Lithuanian Tariba (“Council of Lithuania”) was elected. During the conference, a decision was made on the need to create an independent Lithuanian state within ethnographic borders and with the capital in Vilnius. A. Smeton was elected Chairman of the Council.

On December 11, 1917, the restoration of the State of Lithuania was proclaimed. On March 23, 1918, Emperor William II recognized the independence of Lithuania. On the basis of the act recognizing Lithuanian statehood, Tariba was transformed into the State Council of Lithuania.

On July 13, 1918, the Council of State decided to establish a constitutional monarchy in Lithuania and propose a crown to Prince Württemberg Wilhelm von Urach. However, on November 2, 1918, this decision was withdrawn. The main provisions of the Interim Constitution of Lithuania were adopted. On November 11, 1918, the Presidium of the State Council approved the first interim government of Lithuania out of six ministers under the leadership of Augustinas Voldemaras, thereby initiating the creation of the Lithuanian state apparatus.

Republic of Lithuania
After the departure of the main German units and the start of battles with the Bolshevik Red Army, the Lithuanian Soviet Republic was formed on December 16, 1918. February 27, 1919 in Vilnius, a joint meeting of the CECs of Lithuania and Belarus was held, where the formation of the Lithuanian-Belarusian SSR (Litbel) was proclaimed.

In February - March 1919, the troops of the Lithuanian Tariba, supported by German garrisons, began military operations against Litbel, in April 1919 the Polish army joined them. As a result, the territory of Litbel was occupied by Polish units. In order to fight Poland, Soviet Russia required neutrality of Lithuania, for which July 12, 1920, a Soviet-Lithuanian treaty was concluded in Moscow. Litbel ceased to exist, Soviet Russia recognized the independence of Lithuania and the transfer of the disputed Vilna Territory to it.

After the defeat of the Red Army near Warsaw and the Soviet retreat, the Polish units under the command of General L. Zheligovsky staged a rebellion and allegedly arbitrarily occupied the territory of the Vilnius Region. On October 12, 1920, it was announced that Middle Lithuania was created on the territory of the territory of the region, but already in 1922 it became part of the Polish Republic as a voivodship. The Lithuanian authorities continued to consider Vilnius the capital of Lithuania, although in fact the leadership was from Kaunas.

 

In 1919, the post of president was introduced in Lithuania, A. Smeton was elected the first president of the state. On May 5, 1920, the first meeting of the democratically elected Constituent Assembly was held. In 1921, the country was admitted to the League of Nations. In 1922, a permanent constitution was adopted. Reforms in the field of land resources, finance and education are presented, the Lithuanian currency (lit) is introduced, the University of Lithuania is opened.

Klaipeda region (Memelland), populated mainly by Prussian Lithuanians and Germans, was decided by the League of Nations under the temporary control of the French administration. In 1923, as a result of an uprising of local Lithuanians and with the secret participation of the Lithuanian police, Klaipeda Territory was annexed to Lithuania on the basis of autonomy. The French administration did not take any steps to combat the uprising; on February 16, 1923, the Entente countries recognized the accession of Klaipeda Krai to Lithuania.

In December 1926, a military coup took place in Lithuania, which returned the nationalist leader A. Smetonu to power. The so-called authoritarian phase of government has begun. In 1928, a constitution was adopted that expanded presidential powers. Opposition parties were banned, censorship tightened, and the rights of national minorities cut back.

On March 17, 1938, Poland presented an ultimatum to Lithuania demanding that the Vilnius Region be recognized as an integral part of the Polish state. A year later, on March 20, 1939, Lithuania received an ultimatum from Germany demanding that Klaipeda Territory be returned to it. Lithuania was forced to accept both ultimatums.

World War II and accession to the USSR
According to the secret protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact concluded in August 1939, Lithuania was included in the sphere of interests of Germany. On September 1, Germany launched an invasion of Poland, and on September 17, the USSR liberated the lands conquered by Poland during the Soviet-Polish war, which resulted in the return of the western lands of Belarus and Ukraine, including Vilnius.

On September 25, the USSR initiated negotiations on Germany’s refusal of claims for Lithuania in exchange for the territory of the Warsaw and Lublin Voivodeships of Poland. On October 10, 1939, an “Agreement on the transfer of Lithuania to the city of Vilnius and the Vilnius region and on mutual assistance between the USSR and Lithuania with a confidential protocol thereto” was signed for a period of 15 years, which provided for the introduction of a 20,000-strong contingent of Soviet troops into Lithuania. On July 14-15, 1940, after the adoption of the Soviet ultimatum and the introduction of an additional Soviet military contingent, elections were held in Lithuania for the People’s Diet, in which only the pro-Soviet “Bloc of the working people” was allowed to participate. On July 21, the People’s Sejm proclaimed the formation of the Lithuanian SSR; on August 3, 1940, it was accepted into the USSR. In 1940, already being part of the USSR, Lithuania received part of the territory of Soviet Belarus.

June 22, 1941, after the German attack on the USSR, anti-Soviet actions in Lithuania followed. In Kaunas, the Provisional Government of Lithuania was proclaimed, maintaining close contacts with the Germans. However, after the start of the actual German occupation, this Provisional Government was dissolved, and the territory of Lithuania was included in the Reichskommissariat Ostland (general district of Lithuania), under which it was granted some autonomy. The occupation administration was led by General P. Kubiliunas.

In 1944, the Nazis were expelled by the Red Army from the territory of the Lithuanian SSR (see Belorussian operation (1944)).

Post-war period
In 1944-1953, clashes occurred between law enforcement agencies and armed nationalist groups. The "Forests" or "Greens," as they were called in Lithuania, carried out terror against representatives of the Soviet government, military personnel, as well as civilians, including children. The main backbone of the "Forests" was made up of people who stained themselves by collaborating with the German occupation regime, participated in armed formations created by the Nazis, participated in punitive actions in Lithuania, Belarus and Russia, destroying the Jewish population. They were also joined by former large landowners who lost property.

Later, the Soviet authorities encountered non-violent resistance from the local nationalist intelligentsia and the Catholic clergy.

During the years of perestroika, the Lithuanian independence movement intensified significantly and was increasingly supported by local authorities. In 1989, the Baltic Way campaign was organized. Residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, expressing their desire to secede from the USSR, built a live chain with a length of almost 600 km.

Restoration of independence

On March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council announced the restoration of independence of Lithuania. Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to announce its withdrawal from the USSR.

On April 20, 1990, the USSR imposed an economic blockade, cutting off oil supplies. The blockade lasted 74 days, but the Lithuanian authorities continued the course towards independence. Gradually, economic relations were restored. Tension reappeared in January 1991, when Soviet separate parts of the army, police and the KGB tried to seize power by force. The peaceful resistance of the Lithuanian population led to the defeat of the putsch, 14 were killed and 900 wounded civilians. Soon after, in February 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognize the independence of Lithuania.

On September 6, 1991, the USSR State Council recognized the independence of Lithuania. On September 17 of the same year, Lithuania was admitted to the United Nations.

On October 25, 1992, citizens of the Republic of Lithuania voted in a referendum to adopt the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. On February 14, 1993, Algirdas Brazauskas was elected president of the country by universal suffrage. On August 31 of the same year, the last units of the Soviet army left Lithuania.

On March 29, 2004, Lithuania joined the NATO bloc, and on May 1, 2004 became a full member of the European Union. On January 1, 2015, Lithuania entered the eurozone.

 

Administrative division

The territory of Lithuania is divided into 10 counties. The counties form the territories of self-governments of 9 cities and 43 districts, as well as 8 newly formed self-governments. Self-governments are divided into elderships.

Cities of Lithuania
In Lithuania, there are 3 types of settlements: cities, towns (towns) and villages. City status is granted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. In 2004, there were 106 cities.

Cities with a population of over 100 thousand people:
Vilnius (556.5 thousand);
Kaunas (298.8 thousand);
Klaipeda (152.0 thousand);
Siauliai (100.7 thousand).

 

Population

According to the World Bank data for 2013-2014, Lithuania was included in the list of the fastest disappearing countries in the world. The catastrophic decrease in the population - 28,366 (1%) - was exacerbated by the rapid emigration of residents, increased mortality, and a decline in the birth rate. According to various sources, since gaining independence and joining the EU (2004), about a million people have left Lithuania. Most of them went to work in Western Europe. According to the estimates of the Department of Statistics of the Republic of Lithuania, at the beginning of September 2015, 2,898,062 people lived in the country. Since 1992, the country has been depopulating, caused by both emigration and negative natural population growth.

As of 2019, according to UN estimates, 117,218 immigrants lived in Lithuania, or 4.2% of the country's population.

According to the 2021 Lithuanian census, Lithuanians make up 84.6% of the country's population, Poles - 6.5%, Russians - 5.0%, Belarusians - 1.0%, Ukrainians - 0.5%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, Lithuania is recognized as the most drinking country in Europe and in the world.

Religiously, more than 80% are Christians, of which 77.3% of Lithuanian residents are Catholics, 4.1% are Orthodox, and 6.1% are non-believers.

 

Language

The official language of Lithuania is the Lithuanian language, one of the Baltic languages, native to 84.1% of the population of Lithuania (about 2.45 million people). Since May 1, 2004, the Lithuanian language has been declared one of the official languages ​​of the European Union. According to the 1989 census, Russian was the native language for 12% of the population of the Lithuanian SSR.

According to the results of the 2011 census, 63% of Lithuanian residents speak Russian; the next place in terms of proficiency among foreign languages ​​is English, which is spoken by 30% of the inhabitants of Lithuania National minorities are more likely to be bilingual, that is, to speak their native language and the state language. A special linguistic situation is developing in Vilnius, where a significant part of the population is made up of residents of Slavic nationalities, especially Poles. In some areas (for example, in eastern Lithuania), Russians also speak Polish or Belarusian and their dialects. The second largest native language in Lithuania is Russian (see Russian language in Lithuania).

The speakers of the Old Russian language have long lived and numerically dominated the Slavic lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Subsequently, Russian-speaking residents appeared in some numbers in the ethnically Lithuanian lands as a result of the emigration of the Old Believers, then after the incorporation of Lithuania into the Russian Empire (1795).

 

Political system

Lithuania is a parliamentary republic, with the characteristic features of a presidential republic. The term of office of the popularly elected President is 5 years. Currently, the President of the Republic of Lithuania is Gitanas Nauseda, who was elected in 2019.

The Parliament of the Republic is the unicameral Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with 141 seats. Of these, 71 deputies are elected by the majority system in single-member districts and the remaining 70 - by the proportional-list system with a barrier of 5%. The term of deputy powers is 4 years.

Legal system
The constitution was adopted by referendum on 10/25/1992. The highest judicial instance is the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal are the appellate instances, the courts of first instance are the district courts, the lowest level of the judicial system is the district courts.

Political life
Parties
Domestic politics
In June 2008, the Lithuanian parliament passed a law equating Nazi and Soviet symbols and banning their use in public places: they "can be perceived as propaganda of the Nazi and communist occupation regimes." It is forbidden to "demonstrate flags and coats of arms, signs and uniforms of Nazi Germany, the USSR, the Lithuanian SSR, as well as flags, banners, coats of arms, signs, uniforms, the components of which are flags, coats of arms of Nazi Germany, the USSR and the Lithuanian SSR." The use of "the Nazi swastika, the Soviet hammer and sickle, the Soviet five-pointed red star, as well as the performance of the anthems of Nazi Germany, the USSR and the Lithuanian SSR" is prohibited.

Foreign policy
Lithuanian soldiers took part in the Iraq War and were in Afghanistan as part of a NATO operation.
For relations with Russia, see Lithuanian-Russian relations.
For relations with Belarus, see Belarus and Lithuania.
For relations with the United States, see US-Lithuanian Relations.

 

Economy

The average gross salary (before taxes) in Lithuania in the second quarter of 2022 was €1,780.5. The average net salary (after taxes) in Lithuania in the second quarter of 2022 was €1,116.2.

From July 1, 2017, after the entry into force of the new Labor Code, the minimum wage can only be applied to unskilled work (that is, which is not subject to special qualification requirements).

From January 1, 2021, the minimum wage is €642, the hourly rate is €3.93. The Keitz index (the ratio of the minimum wage to the average salary) in 2021 is projected to be 48.1% (in the EU it ranges from 45% to 51%). The increase in the minimum wage from €607 to €642 increased the minimum unemployment benefit, which is 23.27% of the minimum wage, by 5.76% or €8.1 from €141.25 to €149.39.

From 1 January 2022, the minimum wage is €730 (gross) and €533.65 (net) per month. From June 1, 2022, the minimum wage is €730 (gross) and €549.65 (net) per month.

The unemployment rate in Lithuania in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 9%. According to Eurostat, in June 2021, the unemployment rate in Lithuania was 6.4%.

Advantages: Successfully transitioned to a stable market economy. Low inflation (2.26%). The national currency is the euro. The country is a member of the EU single market. Relatively high economic growth (above the EU average), and low public debt (below the EU average). Still relatively cheap, and well-educated, in comparison with the EU countries, the workforce. With the unemployment rate plummeting and the labor shortage widening, wage growth as of 2019 is not constrained by the economic slowdown.

Weaknesses: Poor resource base. The biggest problem (as in other countries of the new EU members) is the increasing shortage of able-bodied labor force every year and the increase in the number of pensioners, due to low birth rates and high emigration of the population to other, richer, EU countries, which in turn forces employers to pay more to their employees, thereby artificially raising wages, which leads to an imbalance between productivity and wages.

Lithuania has an open and mixed economy, which the World Bank classifies as a high-income economy. According to 2016 data, the 3 largest sectors of the Lithuanian economy are the service sector (68.3%), industry (28.5%) and agriculture (3.3%). In the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, Lithuania ranks 41st (out of 137 countries).

Lithuania joined NATO and the EU in 2004, Schengen in 2007 and OECD in 2018.

On January 1, 2015, the euro became the national currency, replacing the litas at the rate of 1€ = 3.4528 litas.

Agricultural goods and foodstuffs accounted for 18.3% of exports, chemicals and plastics - 17.8%, machinery and equipment - 15.8%, mineral products - 14.7%, wood and furniture - 12.5%. According to 2017 data, more than half of all Lithuanian exports go to 7 countries, including Russia (15%), Latvia (9.9%), Poland (8.1%), Germany (7.3%), USA (5. 3%), Estonia (5%) and Sweden (4.8%). In 2016, exports amounted to 74% of Lithuania's GDP.

Lithuania's GDP experienced very high growth rates during the decade leading up to 2009, peaking at 11.1% in 2007. As a result, the country was often referred to as the Baltic tiger. However, in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, the GDP contracted by 14.9% and the unemployment rate reached 17.8% in 2010. After the recession in 2009, the annual economic growth in Lithuania was much slower compared to the data before 2009. According to the IMF, financial conditions are supportive of growth and financial soundness indicators remain strong. Public debt in 2016 decreased to 40% compared to 42.7% in 2015 (before the global financial crisis - 15% of GDP in 2008).

According to preliminary data from the Lithuanian Statistical Office, Lithuania's gross domestic product (GDP) was €48.7 billion in 2020. In 2020, the Lithuanian economy was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic; compared to 2019, there was a decrease in GDP by -1.3%. A negative impact on the change in Lithuanian GDP in 2020 was the reduction in the volume of services: hotel, catering, transport and storage.

The inflation rate in Lithuania in 2020 (December 2020 to December 2019) was 0.2%.

Lithuania ranks 14th in the world in the World Bank Group's Ease of Doing Business Index and 19th out of 178 countries in the Economic Freedom Index measured by the Heritage Foundation. On average, more than 95% of all foreign direct investment in Lithuania comes from the countries of the European Union. Historically, Sweden is the largest investor with 20-30% of all FDI in Lithuania. FDI in Lithuania rose in 2017, reaching the highest investment project ever recorded. In 2017, Lithuania was the third country after Ireland and Singapore in terms of the average cost of investment projects. According to Eurostat, in 2017 the value of Lithuanian exports was marked by the fastest growth not only in the Baltic States, but throughout Europe, amounting to 16.9%.

Lithuania has a flat taxation system. According to Eurostat, personal income tax (15%) and corporate tax (15%) rates in Lithuania are among the lowest in the EU. The country has the lowest implicit tax rate on capital (9.8%) in the EU. The corporate tax rate in Lithuania is 15% and 5% for small businesses. There are 7 free economic zones in Lithuania.

Information technology production in the country is growing, reaching €1.9 billion in 2016. In 2017 alone, 35 Fintech companies arrived in Lithuania, as a result, the Lithuanian government and the Bank of Lithuania have simplified the procedures for obtaining licenses for the activities of electronic money and payment institutions. The first international blockchain center in Europe was opened in Vilnius in 2018. The Lithuanian government is also looking to attract financial institutions looking for a new location after Brexit. Lithuania has issued a total of 39 e-money licenses, second only to the UK in the EU with 128 licenses. In 2018, Google created a payment company in Lithuania.

 

Transport

Automotive
In 2019, the total length of motorways in Lithuania is 365.83 km. The maximum allowed speed is 130 km/h (summer) and 110 km/h (winter). Lithuania is the only Baltic state with motorways. In 2018, Lithuania ranked 37th in the world in terms of road quality in the Global Competitiveness Index, compiled annually by experts from the World Economic Forum. The highest place in the Baltic States. By 2022, it is planned to reconstruct the remaining 40.23 km section of the A5 motorway (between Marijampole and the border with Poland) to motorway standards and connect it to the S61 Polish motorway.

Motorway sections
A1 – 195 km motorway section (between Kaunas and Klaipeda)
A2 – 114 km motorway section (between Vilnius and Panevezys)
A5 – 56.83 km motorway section (between Marijampole and Kaunas)

Railway
Lithuanian railways, as in other countries of the former USSR, have a wide gauge (1520 mm versus 1435 mm in Western Europe).

On February 6, 2003, the regular movement of the Viking combined transport train began.

Viking is a joint project of the railways of Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus, stevedoring companies and the ports of Klaipeda, Chornomorsk and Odessa, connecting the chain of marine container and piggyback lines of the Baltic region with a similar system of the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian seas.

The Lithuanian section of the pan-European railroad Rail Baltica is under construction.

Aviation
Vilnius International Airport;
Palanga International Airport;
Kaunas International Airport;
Siauliai International Airport.

Nautical
Klaipeda port is the largest port in Lithuania, connected by ferries to most important cities on the Baltic coast.

 

Science

The founding of Vilnius University in 1579 was the main factor in the creation of a local community of scientists in Lithuania and the establishment of links with other universities and scientists in Europe. G. Forster, J. Gilibert, I. Frank and many other invited scientists worked at Vilnius University. The Lithuanian nobleman, military engineer and artillery theorist of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Kazimir Semenovich, is considered a pioneer of rocket science, who wrote in Latin and published in 1650 the book Artis Magnae Artilleriae (from English - "lt", "The Great Art of Artillery"), which for more than used in Europe for two centuries as the main guide to artillery. The books featured standard designs for rockets, incendiary projectiles, and other pyrotechnic devices. Here, for the first time, the idea of ​​​​using jet propulsion in artillery was presented. A large section is devoted to the calibers, design, structure and qualities of missiles (both military and civilian), including multi-stage missiles, missile batteries and missiles with delta-wing stabilizers. The botanist Jurgis Pabreza (1771-1849) created the first systematic guide to the Lithuanian flora Taislius auguminis (Botany), written in the Samogitian dialect, a Latin-Lithuanian dictionary of plant names, and the first Lithuanian geography textbook.

In the interwar period, social scientists appeared, such as Vasily Seseman, Lev Karsavin, Michal Pius Römer. Because of the world wars, Lithuanian science and scientists suffered greatly, but some of them achieved world fame. In particular, Antanas Gustaitis, Vytautas Graiciunas, Marija Gimbutas, Birutė Galdikas, A. J. Cliore, Algirdas Julien Greimas, Jurgis Baltrušaitis, Algirdas Antanas Avizhenis. J. Kubilius, rector of Vilnius University (1958-1991) is known for his work in probabilistic number theory, the Kubilius model, and the Turan-Kubilius inequality bear his name. Jonas Kubilius successfully resisted attempts to Russify Vilnius University.

Currently, Lithuania is included in the group of countries of moderate innovators in the International Innovation Index, and ranks 15th among the EU countries in the European Innovation Ranking. Lasers and biotechnologies are the leading areas of Lithuanian science and high technology industry. The Lithuanian "Šviesos konversija" (Light Conversion) has developed a femtosecond laser system that has an 80% market share worldwide and is used in DNA research, ophthalmic surgery, nanotechnology industry and science. The Laser Research Center of Vilnius University in 2017 developed one of the most powerful femtosecond lasers in the world, mainly intended for the treatment of oncological diseases. In 1963, Vytautas Strazhis and his collaborators created the Vilnius photometric system, which is used in astronomy. KTU scientist A. Ragauskas has developed non-invasive devices for measuring intracranial pressure and blood flow. K. Piragas contributed to the control of chaos with his feedback control method - the Piragas method. Kavli Prize winner V. Shikshnis is known for his discoveries in the field of CRISPR - the invention of CRISPR-Cas9.

Lithuania cooperates with the European Space Agency (ESA); With the help of ESA and NASA rockets, 4 Lithuanian nanosatellites were launched into space: LitSat-1 (2014), LituanicaSAT-1 (2014), LituanicaSAT-2 and Charlie (2021).
The Lithuanian Ethnocosmological Museum and the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory are located in Kulionis. 15 research institutions are members of the Lithuanian Space Association. R. Stankevičius is the only ethnically Lithuanian cosmonaut. Lithuania became an Associate Member State of CERN in 2018. Lithuania will host 2 CERN incubators in Vilnius and Kaunas.

The most up-to-date scientific research in Lithuania is carried out at the Center for Life Sciences and the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology.

According to estimates in 2016, the annual growth of the biotechnology and life sciences sector in Lithuania over the past 5 years was 22%. 16 Lithuanian institutions, 15 research centers (science parks and innovation valleys) and more than 370 manufacturers operate in the Lithuanian biotechnology industry.

In 2008, the Innovation Valley Development Program was launched to modernize the Lithuanian research infrastructure and stimulate cooperation between business and science. 5 research and development valleys were launched - Jūrinis (marine technology), Nemunas (agro, bioenergy, forestry), Saulėtekis (laser, semiconductors), Santara (biotechnology, medicine), Santaka (sustainable chemistry and pharmaceuticals). The Lithuanian Innovation Center was established to support innovation and research institutions.

 

Sport

In 1924 the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee was founded; Lithuanian athletes made their debut at the Olympic Games in Paris (1924). In 1937 and 1939 the Lithuanian men's basketball team won the 1st and 2nd European Championships. In 1992-2016, Lithuanian athletes won 25 medals at the Olympic Games, including 6 gold ones. Discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna won two Olympic gold medals (2000, 2004).

Basketball is the national sport in Lithuania. Lithuanian basketball teams and the national team regularly participate in the most important competitions in Europe and the world.

 

Мass media

Numerous newspapers (including Russian, Polish, Belarusian, see Category:Lithuanian Newspapers). Lots of magazines.

Two state-owned (LRT and LRT Plius) and many private TV channels (there is one operating Vilnius TV tower in the capital. Since 2012, broadcasting has been digitized).

More than two dozen radio stations (also broadcasting in Russian, Polish, English) in the FM band, both from their own transmitters and from rented state ones.

In Lithuania, 54.7% of households were connected to the Internet (2009).

 

Armed forces

Since 2015, military duty has been returned in the country, about 10% of fit men of military age are recruited every year. Prior to that, in the period from 2008 to 2015, the Lithuanian army consisted of only contract soldiers.