ELTA is a Lithuanian news agency based in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. In a day, it receives about 5,000 news articles and produces about 300 articles in Lithuanian, Russian, and English. ELTA cooperates with foreign news agencies such as Reuters, ITAR-TASS, DPA, PAP, Xinhua, and others.
ELTA was founded in March 1920 in Kaunas, the temporary capital of Lithuania, by Juozas Eretas, the first director of the agency, a literature professor, publicist, and public figure of Swiss descent who sought to make the ELTA news wire as efficient and reliable as a " Swiss watch ". ELTA was founded based on Lithuanian press bureaus that were established in Switzerland, Denmark, France, Sweden, Germany during World War I. The agency was owned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Between 1920 and 1940, ELTA cooperated closely with the most prominent foreign agencies – its five teleprinters used to send news from Reuters (UK), DNB (Germany), Havas (France), Stefani (Italy) and TASS (Soviet Union). ELTA employed correspondents in Moscow and Berlin. When Soviet troops occupied Lithuania in 1940, ELTA was incorporated into TASS and relayed news from Moscow. Lithuanians who escaped the Soviet occupation established a free ELTA in Germany. The Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania (VLIK) published various ELTA bulletins in Lithuanian, German, Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese.
When Lithuania declared independence in 1990, ELTA also re-established its independence from TASS and its direct contacts with the leading global agencies. In 1996, ELTA was partially sold by the government of Lithuania (the law required the government to retain at least 35% of the shares). In 2003, MG Baltic owned 50.86% and Achema Group owned 6.75% of the shares.Companies controlled by Vitas Tomkus , publisher of the daily Respublika , acquired about 60% of ELTA in 2005. In 2006, Algirdas Pilvelis , publisher of the daily Lietuvos aidas , acquired 39.51% of shares that were owned by the government. In August 2017, Gitana Markovičienė announced plans to purchase the controlling stake in ELTA and became the new CEO. The deal for the purchase of 80% of the shares closed in February 2018. GM Media Invest, owned by Markovičienė, acquired the remaining 20% of shares in January 2020 to become the sole owner of ELTA.
ELTA directors were:
The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of 20,565 active personnel. Conscription was ended in September 2008 but reintroduced in 2015 because of concerns about the geopolitical environment in light of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania after Vilnius and an important centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the centre of a county in the Duchy of Trakai of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Trakai Palatinate since 1413. In the Russian Empire, it was the capital of the Kaunas Governorate from 1843 to 1915.
Russian News Agency TASS, abbreviated TASS (ТАСС), is a major news agency in Russia founded in 1904. TASS is the largest Russian news agency and one of the largest news agencies worldwide, along with Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The June Uprising was a brief period in the history of Lithuania between the first Soviet occupation and the Nazi occupation in late June 1941. Approximately one year earlier, on June 15, 1940, the Red Army invaded Lithuania and the unpopular Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic was soon established. Political repression and terror were used to silence its critics and suppress any resistance. When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, a diverse segment of the Lithuanian population rose up against the Soviet regime, declared renewed independence, and formed the short-lived Provisional Government. Two large Lithuanian cities, Kaunas and Vilnius, fell into the hands of the rebels before the arrival of the Wehrmacht. Within a week, the German Army took control of the whole of Lithuania. The Lithuanians greeted the Germans as liberators from the repressive Soviet rule and hoped that the Germans would re-establish their independence or at least allow some degree of autonomy. No such support came from the Nazis, who steadily replaced Lithuanian institutions with their own administration. The Reichskommissariat Ostland was established at the end of July 1941. Deprived of any real power, the Provisional Government disbanded itself on August 5.
Juozas Lukša, also known among other pseudonyms as Daumantas and Skirmantas, was a leader of the anti-Soviet Lithuanian partisan armed resistance movement.
The Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania or Act of 16 February was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The Act was signed by all twenty representatives of the Council, which was chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The Act of 16 February was the result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the Act of 8 January. The path to the Act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the Council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully maneuver between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people.
Lietuvos aidas is a daily newspaper in Lithuania. It was established on September 6, 1917 by Antanas Smetona, and became the semi-official voice of the newly formed Lithuanian government. When the government evacuated from Vilnius to the temporary capital, Kaunas, it ceased publication. The newspaper was revived in 1928 as the newspaper of the Lithuanian government and became the most popular newspaper in Lithuania. At its peak, it published three daily editions with combined circulation of 90,000 copies. World War II disrupted its publication. In 1990, after Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union, the newspaper once again became the official newspaper of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania. At the end of 1992, its circulation reached 103,000 copies. However, it was soon privatized and faced shrinking readership, financial difficulties, and other controversies. In April 2006, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated by the State Tax Inspectorate when its tax debts reached more than 4 million litas. The company was liquidated in 2015, but the newspaper continues to be published by a non-profit organization.
Kazys Škirpa was a Lithuanian military officer and diplomat. He is best known as the founder of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and his involvement in the attempt to establish Lithuanian independence in June 1941.
Juozas Urbšys was a prominent interwar Lithuanian diplomat, the last head of foreign affairs in independent interwar Lithuania, and a translator. He served in the military between 1916 and 1922, afterwards joining the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1938 Urbšys was named its head and served in this position until Lithuania's occupation in 1940. Urbšys was imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in 1940 and deported to Siberia, where he spent the next 13 years in various prisons. Urbšys died in 1991, having lived long enough to see Lithuania's independence restored, and was buried in Petrašiūnai Cemetery, Kaunas.
The Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed between the Soviet Union and Lithuania on October 10, 1939. According to provisions outlined in the treaty, Lithuania would acquire about one fifth of the Vilnius Region, including Lithuania's historical capital, Vilnius, and in exchange would allow five Soviet military bases with 20,000 troops to be established across Lithuania. In essence the treaty with Lithuania was very similar to the treaties that the Soviet Union signed with Estonia on September 28, and with Latvia on October 5. According to official Soviet sources, the Soviet military was strengthening the defenses of a weak nation against possible attacks by Nazi Germany. The treaty provided that Lithuania's sovereignty would not be affected. However, in reality the treaty opened the door for the first Soviet occupation of Lithuania and was described by The New York Times as "virtual sacrifice of independence."
Lithuania–Russia relations refers to bilateral foreign relations between Lithuania and Russia. Lithuania has an embassy in Moscow and consulates in Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Sovetsk. Russia has an embassy in Vilnius, with consulates in Klaipėda. The two countries share a common border through Kaliningrad Oblast.
Nachman Dushanski was an officer of Soviet security agencies in the Lithuanian SSR for over thirty years. He was heavily involved in the suppression of the Lithuanian partisans who fought against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. In Russia, he was regarded as a war hero and was awarded the Medal For Courage, Order of the Patriotic War, and Order of Lenin, while many Lithuanians perceived him as a war criminal. In 1989, Dushanski immigrated to Israel. After Lithuania declared independence in 1990, Lithuanian prosecutors began a criminal case, but Israel refused to extradite him.
The Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania or VLIK was an organization seeking independence of Lithuania. It was established on November 25, 1943, during the Nazi occupation. After World War II it moved abroad and continued its operations in Germany and the United States. VLIK claimed to be the legal representative of the Lithuanian parliament and government, but did not enjoy international recognition. It was dissolved in 1990 when Lithuania re-established its independence.
The Diplomatic Service of the Republic of Lithuania is the part of the governmental service tasked with enforcing the foreign policy set by the President, the Parliament, and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. The head of the service is the Foreign Minister.
Jeronimas Plečkaitis was a Lithuanian politician. He was a member the national parliament, the Seimas, from 1920 to 1927, representing the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania. After the military coup d'état of December 1926, Plečkaitis became an active member of the opposition to President Antanas Smetona and Prime Minister Augustinas Voldemaras. He participated in the failed Tauragė Revolt in September 1927 and fled abroad to avoid arrest. He organized a group of men, known as plečkaitininkai, that received assistance from Poland and continued to plot against the Lithuanian government. He was arrested by the German police in September 1929 and sentenced to three years in prison. He was arrested again by Lithuania in 1940. In 1944, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and sent to a Gulag camp in the Tyumen Oblast. He returned to Lithuania in 1955.
Edvardas Turauskas was a Lithuanian diplomat.
Pavasarininkai was the informal name for members of Pavasaris, a Lithuanian Catholic youth organization. It was active from 1912 to the Soviet occupation in 1940. It grew from various informal groups established around the Pavasaris magazine first published in May 1912. It was based in Kaunas, but most members were active in various rural location across Lithuania. With more than 90,000 members and 1,200 groups in 1940, it was one of the largest and most popular organizations in interwar Lithuania. Its motto was "For God and Fatherland" and it organized various events to educate the youth in the Catholic spirit and develop their national pride. Pavasarininkai were supported by local clergy and the Catholic hierarchy, but were frowned upon by the authoritarian regime of President Antanas Smetona. It was similar to and closely cooperated with the Catholic Youth Federation Ateitis.
Gitanas Nausėda is a Lithuanian economist, politician and banker, serving as the current president of Lithuania. He was previously the director of Monetary Policy at the Bank of Lithuania from 1996 until 2000, and chief economist to the chairman of SEB bankas from 2008 until 2018.
Ramybė Park is a public park in Kaunas, Lithuania, established in 1959 in the territory of the Kaunas City Old Cemetery that was also known as the Carmelite Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1847 and became the main city cemetery with sections for four different religions – Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxs, Lutherans, and Muslims. During World War I and subsequent Lithuanian Wars of Independence, Russian, German, and Lithuanian soldiers were buried in the cemetery. During the interwar period when Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania, many famous people were buried there and several buildings were constructed on the cemetery's territory. In 1930, a monument to fallen Lithuanian soldiers with a tomb of an unknown soldier was unveiled. Around the same time, a tradition to honor fallen soldiers on the All Saints' Day began. On All Saints' Day in 1956, a spontaneous anti-Soviet demonstration started in the cemetery in support of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. After smaller incidents in 1957 and 1958, Soviet authorities decided to demolish the cemetery and turn it into a recreational park. Families were given a few months to rebury their relatives elsewhere. Tombstones, monuments, crypts and a Catholic chapel were demolished. The Soviets installed a monument with ashes of four communists executed after the December 1926 coup. After Lithuania regained independence in 1990, the Soviet monument was moved to Grūtas Park. The monument to Lithuanian soldiers was reconstructed, and new monuments dedicated to the participants of the June Uprising and Lithuanian partisans were erected.