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.
According to countryaah, Vilnius is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Lithuania. 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.
The site, which has been built from about the year 1000, became the center of power in Lithuania in 1323 since Grand Duke Gediminas moved his residence there from Trakai. During the 1300s, the city became a link in the Hanseatic chain of trading cities in the Baltic Sea area. After the Polish-Lithuanian real union in 1569 and the founding of a Polish university in the city in 1579, Polish influence increased. The large influx of Jews also gave Vilnius the nickname “Jerusalem of Europe”. Since Poland was divided a third time in 1795 and disappeared from the map of Europe, Vilnius became the government and university city in Russia.
Both in 1831 and 1863 the city was the center of the Polish insurgency movements against the Tsarist regime. During World War I, Vilnius was occupied by German troops from 1915 to 1918. After the German surrender and during the subsequent Polish-Soviet war, the city was alternately occupied by Polish and Soviet troops.
After Russia’s collapse, Vilnius attacked Lithuania in 1920, but Poland also claimed the city with the surrounding country. The day before a referendum decided by the NF, Vilnius was conquered by superior Polish military forces, and the city remained despite Polish Lithuanian protests throughout the interwar period.
Following Poland’s fourth division and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the city was incorporated in 1940 with the Soviet Union as the capital of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic. Of the approximately 200,000 residents who lived in Vilnius when the German occupation began in July 1941, about 75,000 were Jews. Persecution, starvation and disease in the city ghetto, as well as murders and deportations to extermination camps, resulted in the death of only 2,000-3,000 when the Red Army entered Vilnius on July 13, 1944.
Since the fall of the Soviet state in 1991, Vilnius is again the capital of independent Lithuania.