During the ceremony honoring the victims of the Holocaust at the Paneriai Memorial, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius stressed he firmly believes that Lithuanians and Jews would do everything to preserve the common values of mankind, to cherish the unique heritage of the Litvaks and to educate the coming generation in a spirit of humanism, reports ELTA. “We remember all the Jews living in Lithuania - friends, neighbors, culture and public figures. All of them worked in Lithuania and for Lithuania. All of them were dear and close to us. The Holocaust is a pain shared by all of us since we have lost Lithuanian Jews with whom we had been living for centuries, and with whom we had been building a more just and a better state,” said Butkevicius. On Sept. 20, the Fourth World Litvak Congress was launched in Vilnius. The Congress was attended by descendants of Jews from Israel, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil. The Congress was dedicated to commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto in 1943.
Based on data from the population and housing census in 2011, Vilnius is the most multicultural Lithuanian city, with 128 different nationalities represented there, reports ELTA. 63.2 percent of the city’s population consider themselves to be Lithuanian, while 16.4 percent class themselves as Polish, 11.9 percent as Russian and 3.4 percent as Belarusian. Meanwhile, people of other nationalities compose only 2.2 percent of residents in Vilnius. At the beginning of this year, 537,200 residents or 18 percent of all the country’s population lived in the territory of Vilnius City Municipality, whereof 296,500 were women and 240,700 were men. Vilnius, and another city Neringa, are the only cities in Lithuania were the vital statistics are positive: overall birth rates exceed overall death rates. On Jan. 1 of 2013, there were 28,000 economic entities, or a third of all the country’s entities, in Vilnius. In 2011, 38.1 percent of country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was generated in Vilnius district.
Chief Economist at bank Swedbank Nerijus Maciulis says that in case Lithuania does not deal with the shadow economy and state spending issues, the introduction of new taxes will be inevitable, reports ELTA. “The economic downturn is obviously over since for three consequent years Lithuania has been experiencing robust economic growth. Still there is one area that needs something to be done - public finance. The budget deficit in the public sector is large; it has to be reduced. That is what the IMF [proposal] says; thus, we cannot ignore its recommendations,” said Maciulis in an interview with radio Laisvoji Banga. New taxes could be introduced, incomes increased, spending reduced. Maciulis also said that at present there was a lack of a consistent and rational attitude of the ruling parties towards public finance. “An increase of state spending should also not be considered, as the distribution of current spending is inefficient and non-transparent,” said the economist.