Lithuania in the news
9th May, 2005
Lithuania and the End of World War II
Presidents Bush, Vyke-Freiberga, Ruutel
and Adamkus in Riga, Latvia

Prime Minister Brazauskas, President
Adamkus and Parliament Speaker Paulauskas
honouring the victims of World War II
at the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius
The end of hostilities in Europe at the end of the Second World War in 1945 did not bring peace to Lithuania, but was the start of another brutal occupation for nearly 50 years, which did not end until the last Russian troops left the country on August 31, 1993. Thus the recent end of World War II celebrations in Moscow on May 9, 2005, brought bitter memories to Lithuania and the other Baltic States, Estonia and Latvia. Presidents Adamkus of Lithuania and Ruutel of Estonia both boycotted the festivities in Moscow. Latvia’s President Vyke-Freiberga went to Moscow, but used the occasion to express disappointment that Russia still refuses to acknowledge Russia’s past wrongs to the Baltic States. President Adamkus and other Lithuanian leaders paid their respects to World War II victims in ceremonies in Lithuania.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
President Valdas Adamkus during the
NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Vilnius
The attitude of the Baltic Sates regarding the May 9th festivities infuriated Moscow, but received firm backing by America’s President Bush. Just before his visit to Moscow, president Bush in an interview for Lithuanian TV stated that the Baltic countries "don’t view the end of World War II as a great moment of celebration", because of the occupation by the Soviet Union that followed. Pointedly stopping over in Riga, Latvia’s capital, on his way to Moscow, President Bush met the presidents of all the three Baltic States and reiterated that the end of the World War II brought the "iron rule of another empire" to the Baltic States. The support of USA for Lithuania was likewise evident during the recent meeting of 26 NATO foreign ministers in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on April 20-21, 2005. Representing the USA was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who expressed admiration for Lithuania’s role within NATO and in fostering democracy in countries to the East. The European Parliament (EP) has also endorsed the Baltic States’ position. In a resolution on May 12, 2005, for the 60th anniversary the end of World War II, the EP emphasised that it should not be forgotten that the end of the War for some nations meant the start of a new Stalinist tyranny, during which the nations behind the Iron Curtain experienced immense social, political and economic losses. 463 Euro parliamentarians voted for the resolution, against were 49, with 33 abstentions.

"Kauno Diena" 09/05/05, 21/04/05 "Lietuvos Žinios" 09/05/05 "Sydney Morning Herald" 9-12/05/05 12/05/05