Lithuania
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Lithuania. Dan Natzke Geog. 308.001. Location. Southeast corner of the Baltic Littoral. Borders with Russia, Poland, Belarus and Latvia Geographical center of Europe near Moletai, 25 km north of Vilnius. Russia. Landscape. Characterized by low rolling hills,

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Lithuania

Lithuania

Dan Natzke

Geog. 308.001


Lithuania

Location

  • Southeast corner of the Baltic

  • Littoral.

  • Borders with Russia, Poland,

  • Belarus and Latvia

  • Geographical center of Europe

  • near Moletai, 25 km north of

  • Vilnius

Russia


Lithuania

Landscape

  • Characterized by low rolling hills,

  • mixed coniferous and deciduous for-

  • ests, numerous small lakes, ponds, rivers

  • and streams typical of a glaciated land-

  • scape.

  • The Curonian Spit, below right, is a

  • Unique feature on the shores of the

  • Baltic. It consists of a stabilized string

  • of sand dunes that began to accumu-

  • late at the end of the last ice age. Today

  • it is a popular tourist destination.


Lithuania

Early History

  • Indo-European ancestors of the Balts

  • move toward the shores of the S.E. Baltic

  • 2300 – 2000 BC replacing earlier Finno-

  • Ugrians.

  • Differentiation of Baltic peoples into

  • tribes 1600-100 BC.

  • Pressure from E. Slavs forced Eastern

  • Balts (including tribes later becoming

  • Lithuanian) to the eastern Baltic Sea in the

  • 6th century AD.

  • Up to the 13th century developed highly

  • militaristic feudal society led by dukes.


Lithuania

The Grand Duchy and

Golden Age (13 – 14thC)

  • Grand Duke Mindaugas formed a state to

  • face German crusading orders and began

  • eastward expansion (early 13th C).

  • Established capitol at Kernave (right).

  • Successive Grand Dukes continued to

  • hold out against the crusaders and greatly

  • expand the Duchy into Slavic lands.

  • The 14th and 15th centuries marked Lithuania’s

  • golden age.

  • Grand Duke Vytautas ruled from Vilnius and

  • Trakai (left) and briefly expanded the Duchy

  • to the Black Sea.

  • His cousin, Jogaila, was chosen by Polish

  • nobles to be the Polish king. Jogaila converted

  • to the Roman Church in 1385 and began the

  • 400-year long union of Poland and Lithuania.


Lithuania

The Golden Age

1385 – Last state in Europe to Christianize.

1410 – Battle of Zalgiris (Tannenberg).

1569 – Union of Lublin formalized the poli-

tical union between Poland and Lithuania.

1569 – 1795 The Commonwealth of Poland-

Lithuania.

Grand Duchy of Lithuania

K. of Poland


Lithuania

Partition of the Commonwealth

  • Rise of Muscovy challenges the Common-

  • wealth hold on eastern frontier beginning

  • with Ivan III and especially Ivan IV.

  • Increasing weakness of the Polish Sejm.

  • Increasing Russian influence in Poland.

  • Poland partitioned out of existence

  • I 1772 (Russia, Prussia, Austria)

  • II 1793 (Russia, Prussia)

  • III 1795 (Russia, Prussia, Austria)


Lithuania

Russian Occupation

Russification 1863 – 1905

-Religion

-Language and alphabet

-Simultaneous national revival


Lithuania

Independence, 1918 -- 1939

  • Independence, 16 February 1918

  • Parliamentary democracy

  • Smetona coup, 1926 – democracy’s end

  • Increasing national chauvinism

  • End of sovereignty through Soviet base agree-

  • ment, 10 October 1939

  • Holocaust in Lithuania – upwards of 200,000

  • murdered, 1941– 1942


Lithuania

Occupation 1940 – 1991

  • Soviet military occupation, June 1940.

  • “elections”, then incorporation to the USSR,

  • August 1940.

  • Abbreviated sovietization

  • -nationalization

  • -collectivization

  • -deportations

  • German occupation June 1941 – Fall 1944.

  • Soviet control returns 1944.

  • 1944 – 53 Sovietization finished what re-

  • mained undone in 1940-41.

  • 1944 – 53 partisan war.

  • Strict communist party control of economic,

  • social, political life remained to 1980’s.


Lithuania

Independence Renewed

  • Gorbachev’s reforms, 1985 – 1991

  • formation of independent

  • cultural, ecological organizations with nationalist

  • undercurrent.

  • Sajudis

  • Calendar protest/singing revolution/”Baltic Way”

  • Independence renewed 11 March 1991

  • Two failed Soviet attempts to reverse secession

    • -10 -- 13 January 1991

    • -August 1991


Lithuania

Religion

Predominantly Roman Catholic (79%)

Non-believers 9.5%

Orthodox 4.1%

Old Believers 0.8%

Lutherans 0.7%

Historically large Jewish population (up

to 240,000 before WWII).

Practicing Jews in 2002 at 1,272 (.037%).

Small Sunni Muslim population at

2860 (.082%).

Karaim – originally a Turkic people who

practice the Mosaic/Karaim faith

number 258 faithful.


Lithuania

Demography

  • Relatively homogeneous

  • Population of over 80%

  • Lithuanians.

  • Total population dropped

  • By 5% between 1989 and

  • 2002.

  • Ethnic minorities gradually

  • emigrating from Lithuania.

  • At 6.7% of the current population Poles replaced Russians as the Second

  • largest minority in the years since independence.

  • Tatars outnumber the neighboring Latvians (3,235 to 2,955 respectively).

  • 4,007 are of Jewish background.

  • Belarusians and Ukrainians made up under 2% of the population in 2002.

  • The countryside is almost entirely Lithuanian.

  • Urban areas contain most of the non-ethnic Lithuanian population,

  • especially Russians.


Lithuania

Ethnic Distribution as of 1989


Lithuania

Traditional Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions of the 19th Century


Lithuania

The Karaim

  • One of Lithuania’s smallest minorities.

  • Currently (2002) number 258 – about half their

  • number in 1959.

  • Community centered at Trakai with outposts in

  • Vilnius and Panevezys.

  • -Related to other smaller communities

  • in Ukraine and Poland

  • Lithuanian Karaim take part in the national eco-

  • nomic, political and social life of the state.

  • Prominent Karaim, Helena Kobeckaite, served

  • as Lithuanian Minister of Minorities in 1992 and

  • helped to shape the minorities policies of the

  • newly independent state.


Lithuania

Karaim Culture and Language under Threat

  • Lithuanian Karaim community strongest, most numerous in ECE.

  • If the community dies out, the rest of ECE Karaim will likely follow.

  • Closely associated with Lithuania, especially at Trakai, Vilnius and

  • in the north near the Latvian border in Birzai and Panavezys.

  • “Karaim” – describes their ethnicity, language and culture.

  • “Karaism” – along with “Mosaic religion”, describes their religion.

  • “Karaite” – is an adherent to Karaism.


Lithuania

Karaim Culture and Language under Threat

  • Surrounded by Baltic and Slavic speakers.

  • -About 50 in Lithuania still conversant in Karaim, a Turkic language.

  • -8 Still speak the language in Ukraine and none in Poland.

  • Dwindling numbers threaten complete absorption into the surrounding population.

  • Traditional practices limit growth

    • -Endogamy

    • -No proselytism for new members

    • -In a mixed marriage the non-

    • Karaite is not allowed to join

    • the community. Mixed mar-

    • riages effectively pull the small

    • community apart.


Lithuania

Origins of the Karaim

  • Most likely from Khazaria, located between the Don

  • And Volga Rivers (West/East), and the steppe from the

  • Caucasus northward.

  • Khazars – nomadic Turkic tribes that controlled east-

  • west trade in the region between 6-10 centuries AD.

  • During Khazaria’s peak of power the region was a

  • center of a new religion – Karaism.

  • Karaism – from a sect of Mesopotamian Jews in 8th C

  • who based their beliefs solely on a literal interpretation

  • of the first books of the Bible in reaction to the increa-

  • sing influence of the Talmud and Rabbinical scholar-

  • ship in mainstream Judaism.

  • Strong Islamic influence in dogma of the religion inc-

  • luding:

  • -trust in human free will

  • -avoiding human depiction of the Holy

  • “Karaim” derives from Hebrew and Arabic words for

  • “to read/recite the Holy Writ”.

  • Spread into Khazaria in the following centuries.


Lithuania

How the Karaim Came to Lithuania

  • By the 11th century the Mosaic reli-

  • gion (Karaism) and

  • Turkish culture melded in the Crimea

  • creating a distinct Karaim ethnicity.

  • In the late 14th century the former

  • Khan of the Golden Horde, Tokh-

  • tamysh, whom Tamerlane had bani-

  • shed, sought refuge with Lithuanian

  • Grand Duke Vytautas.

  • 1397 – Lithuania involved in a

  • conflict between Tatar factions, meets

  • with some military success.

  • 1397 – 1398 upwards of 600 Karaim

  • and Tatar families move to Lithuania

  • and settle primarily in Trakai but also

  • At major frontier towns such as

  • Panevezys and Birzai.


Lithuania

Karaim in Lithuania

  • Special privileges given to the Karaim probably part of the agreement for

  • their participation in the conflict with the Golden Horde.

  • Trakai palace guard

  • Magdeburg rights to Karaim communities in 1441

    • Legal status equal to other cities in the duchy

    • Legal self-jurisdiction

    • Independent Karaim administration

    • Elected leader (nominated by representatives of the Duke)

  • At Trakai, Karaim lived seperately from Lithuanians and had their own

  • city seal.

  • Spatial, legal separation helped to deflect assimilation pressure.


Lithuania

Traditional Occupations

  • Served a role similar to Cossacks

  • in Ukraine – border guard.

  • Military – fighting and frequently

  • suffering disproportionately in Lithuania’s

  • wars.

  • - possible separate military unit

  • - some Karaim might have held

  • leadership roles in the military

  • Agriculture – especially breeding horses.

  • Interpreters and envoys between the Gol-

  • den Horde and Lithuania.

  • Several Karaim were physicians to im-

  • portant Lithuanian and Polish magnate

  • Families.


Lithuania

Recent History

  • Russian authorities granted partial rights to

  • Karaim after they avoided conflict in 1863 revolution.

  • -independent religious leadership maintained

  • -exemption from military service

  • -similar rights as rest of the empire’s subjects

  • -disassociated from Jews – labeled as

  • “Karaim” not “Jews-Karaim”

  • Change in classification helped the small population

  • of Karaim avoid decimation in the Holocaust.

  • Independence of Lithuania and Poland encouraged a

  • Karaim revival.

  • Revival interrupted during Soviet occupation when

  • the Karaim Kenessas closed and cultural activity

  • slowed.

  • 1991 Independence brought another revival in

  • Karaim heritage.


Lithuania

Ignalina–Background

  • Lithuania primarily agricultural to 1960’s

  • lacked preexisting industrial base

  • partisan conflict 1944-53

  • surplus of rural labor

  • Industrialization/urbanization programs begin in

  • 1960’s.

  • In 1960 peat made up 26% of fuel consumed

  • By 1970 this declined to 5%

  • Moscow dictated industrial and urban policy –re-

  • public level cut out of decision making.


Lithuania

1970’s Energy Crisis

1970’s – demand for energy doubled

every four years.

Energy resource poor Lithuania depen-

dent on foreign fuel.

Druzhba oil pipeline

coal and gas

meager hydropower

Baltic oil exploration beginning

Increasing industrialization and urba-

nization required greater fuel supply,

potentially straining available resources.

Nuclear power provided the answer.


Lithuania

Central Planning and the Ignalina NPP

  • Mid ’70’s Brezhnev plan to increase number

  • of nuclear stations in European portions of

  • USSR.

  • Sites chosen virtually without consent of local

  • authorities, scientists.

  • Ignalina location – near Latvian and Belorusian

  • SSR’s at Lithuania’s largest lake, Druksai.

  • Ignalina to solve energy problem in Baltic.

  • INPP original plans of 1970’s – two 1,000 MW

  • RBMK graphite moderated (Chernobyl-type)

  • reactors.


Lithuania

Opposition to INPP

  • Moscow did not confer with Lithuanian

  • scientists or conduct geological study (deter-

  • mine earthquake threat, effects to ground

  • water).

  • Lake Druksai in popular vacation area near

  • Aukstaitija National Park.

  • Situated near densely populated areas.

  • Moscow – size of INPP increased to four

  • 1,500 MW reactors – planned facility to be

  • the largest in the USSR.

  • Lithuanian Academy of Sciences – Druksai

  • not large enough to cool the plant’s giant re-

  • actors. 2.5-3 MW was the maximum.

  • Lithuanian scientists publicly criticize INPP

  • Plans in 1980 article.

  • Lithuanian and Russian scientists discuss.

  • Moscow reduced the number to 3 reactors –

  • still too much for the lake to cool.

  • Concession remarkable pre-Gorbachev.


Lithuania

Gorbachev’s Reforms and Chernobyl

  • Before 1986, few Lithuanians even knew of

  • Ignalina.

  • Glasnost allows for freer discussion.

  • Perestroika restructuring allows for the

  • formation of some independent organizations.

  • Chernobyl + reform = public opposition

  • Lith. media quiet in analysis of Chernobyl

  • No fanfare as Ignalina reactor 2 goes online

  • In 1987.

  • Jan 1988 strict military censorship on NPP’s

  • lifted – floodgates open for protest.

  • The nascent environmental protest movement

  • emboldened by success fighting oil exploration

  • at Nida. Academy of Sciences scaled down

  • Ignalina’s size.


Lithuania

Independent Organizations

  • Late 1987, early 1988 Zemyna, the first independent organization,

  • formed under auspices of Komsomol and Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

  • Environmental focus.

  • Scathing criticism of Ignalina, seemingly with support of Science Acad.

  • March 1988 – claimed Ignalina caused mutations at Druksai.

  • Spring 1988 – collected up to 70k signatures against Ignalina.

  • By late spring, Lithuanian politicians began to back the environmental

  • movement noting the surge in public opinion against the plant.

  • Sensed popular dissatisfaction with Moscow policy and the party.


Lithuania

Environmental  Independence

Movement

  • Zemyna and eco-mvt plays the nat’l card

  • --Moscow policy = nat’l annihilation

  • Zemyna  mass movement, the environ-

  • mental wing of Sajudis (Lith. Mvt. for

  • Perestroika)

  • Sajudis, Ignalina central role in national

  • movement.

  • Ignalina, symbol of Soviet impositions

  • -colonization

  • -threat to environment

  • -fear of assimilation

  • Protest stops construction of reactor #3

  • Public backed politicians supporting pop-

  • ular ecological movement. Necessary to

  • maintain public support to hold power –

  • not Moscow’s sanction.


Lithuania

Nationalist Character of Protest

  • Protests at Ignalina took on nationalistic over-

  • tones

  • -plays

  • -concerts

  • -folk dances

  • For the protesters, these events became a

  • Showcase of ethnic Lithuanian vitality in the

  • face of Soviet oppression.

  • Not long after mass protests at Ignalina, Sa-

  • judis moved away from the Ignalina, environ-

  • mental issues and focused on political change.

  • Popular concern for environmental issues

  • caused by Soviet occupation was the founda-

  • tion for a mass political movement opposing

  • Moscow.


Lithuania

Ignalina after Independence

  • Ignalina ensures energy self-sufficiency.

  • (traditional plants require energy imports –

  • can meet energy needs but at twice the cost)

  • A matter of survival for Lithuania.

  • Lithuania became the state most depen-

  • dent on nuclear energy.

  • -around 80% from Ignalina

  • (delays in modernization, less use

  • of non-nuclear sources)

  • Energy export to Latvia, Belarus.

  • Economics Ministry wants to export Igna-

  • lina’s power to Poland, west to EU.

  • Important source of revenue.


Lithuania

Ignalina and EU Accession

  • Neighboring countries, esp in Scandinavia

  • fear a second Chernobyl.

  • Considered the 3rd least safe plant in Europe.

  • Requirement for Lithuanian accession to EU –

  • shut down Ignalina, reactor #1 2005, #2 2009.

  • EU pledged up to 375 million Euros by 2006

  • for safety upgrades, preparations to decom-

  • mission.

  • Lith. Government agreed to the stipulations in

  • 1999.

  • Currently Vilnius claims $3 billion beyond EU

  • agreement to decommission and arrange a

  • replacement.


Lithuania

The Battle over the INPP

  • Lithuanian gov’t – without extra EU funds social,

  • economic effects drastic, gov’t lacks funds to meet

  • the agreement.

  • If the plant begins decommission in 2005 the result

  • could be great detriment to economy as European

  • energy market opens to Lithuania.

  • Yet agrees the plant must close, unsafe.

  • “Euroskepticism” high among Lithuanians

  • -EU stand on Ignalina

  • -small agricultural subsidies

  • Some Lithuanian authorities want to keep the station

  • into 2017 or later.


Lithuania

The Battle over the INPP

  • Visaginas built 1975 specifically to house workers

  • at Ignalina.

  • -Current population: 33,800

  • -86% ethnic minorities (Russian, Russian

  • speakers)

  • -80% of region’s income from INPP

  • Economically least developed region in Lithuania

  • At plant’s closure Ministry of Economy predicts

  • depression in the region.

  • -78% business may face bankruptcy

  • -22% cut jobs

  • National Labor Exchange predicts that $16,500

  • necessary for creation of each new job.

  • Visaginas region now administratively separated

  • from Utena county to deal with future economic,

  • social problems.

  • NGO’s attempt to mitigate negative affects in

  • region by developing business sector.


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