何でもリトアニア from スウェーデン


by traku7
カレンダー
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Lithuania past, present and future

Since independence in February 1991, one can say that the economy of Lithuania has developed steadily. Privatization of the large, state-owned utilities, particularly in the energy sector, is nearing completion. Overall, more than 80% of enterprises have been privatized. The old command economy has been transferred to a market economy by the helps of foreign government and business support. Lithuania conducted most trade with Russia but trade is diversifying with a gradual shift away from the former Soviet Union to Western markets. Unemployment dropped from 11% in 2003 to 8% in 2004. Lithuania has gained membership in the World Trade Organization and joined the EU in May 2004. Judging by the figures in reports it looks like Lithuania has succeeded to transfer itself from communism to a possibility to get into the West. But the figures tell just an aspect. There is something left behind the progress.

My Lithuanian friend Edita is from a small town which is located north in Lithuania. I visited her hometown several times in the special occasions like Christmas, Easter and a summer holiday. The population of the town is around 500 people. There is one small grocery store and nothing more. People there are self-sufficient for food. They grow vegetables, berries and fruits and keep cows to supply milk and chickens mainly for eggs. In the village there is a wide two-story building once used for school students as a dormitory. They stayed there during the summer and picked apples in the apple garden as labor service. But nowadays it is just an abandoned house. Before the main industry here were dairy products but not anymore. During the Soviet era Moscow decided and ordered Vilnius what to do. Therefore under the Soviet Union the social system worked better and everybody had a job. There were 2 more shops in the town and there was much more of liveliness in the town. Just looking at a fact book Lithuania looks like climbing up the ladder but at the flip side of the coin small villages which are less important for the central business are being forgotten and it doesn’t reflect the figures in the reports.

Furthermore young people are lured by big cities and it accelerates the rural exodus. For example Edita’s youngest sister Simona, now 14 years old, told me that the life in the village was nothing but boring and wanted to live in Vilnius. There is a great contrast between city life and country life hence I understand why youngsters like her want to live in the city. As a consequence only old people will be left in villages and the villages are dying out gradually.

People in the West tend to take Lithuania’s joining the EU as a sign of being successful to transfer the country into being a member of the developed countries away from poor communism. But some people, especially old people, feel that the life in communism was better than now according to what I heard. On the other hand my friends from Vilnius University are playing an active roll in the business world. They are energetic and very positive about changes. I wish people like them are going to lead Lithuania and I’ll be very glad to see the country be glorious!
[PR]
by traku7 | 2005-06-01 05:43 | リトアニア再発見(英語コラム)