Lithuania. At New Year, the oldest reactor in the
Ignalina nuclear power plant was closed. The second reactor
will be closed in 2009. The EU has called for shutdowns
because the reactors are of the same type as the Chernobyl
accident reactor. The decision has aroused opposition in Lithuania,
and Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said in January that
the country intends to seek international assistance to
build and finance a new nuclear reactor in Ignalina.
countryaah, President Valdas Adamkus declined the invitation of his
Russian colleague Vladimir Putin to participate in the 60th
anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany
in May in Moscow. There was a strong political pressure in
Lithuania for Adamkus to stay home, as the end of World War II
marked the beginning of nearly half a century of Soviet
occupation in the Baltic States. The decision had a negative
impact on Lithuanian-Russian relations.
Yet another crisis in relation to Russia occurred when a
Russian fighter plane crashed outside Kaunas in September.
The head of the Lithuanian Air Force was dismissed,
according to media reports because of "inappropriate"
behavior in contacts with Russian representatives in
connection with the crash.
President Adamkus, during his visit to Germany in
October, strongly criticized Germany's and Russia's plans
for a gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, a project which
Adamkus says poses an environmental threat to the region.
Domestic political crisis threatened in the fall after
Prime Minister Brazauskas was accused of corruption. He was
suspected of having, during his time as president in the
1990s, influenced the privatization of a large hotel so that
his girlfriend and future wife were favored. The wife
eventually became the main owner of the hotel. The
opposition demanded parliamentary scrutiny, which made
Brazauskas threaten to resign. President Adamkus then called
on the ordinary judicial body to investigate the charges,
and a prosecutor in November launched a preliminary
investigation into the privatization of the hotel.