Nr 80 • Aprill 2010

In Memoriam: Lech Kaczyński

He was a figure from another age. Weekend guests at Lech Kaczyński’s presidential retreat on Poland’s Baltic coast usually found the conversation turning to Gdansk opposition politics of the 1970s.

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Lithuania: New Brooms, Old Problems

“Politicians and History”, Raimundas Lopata’s latest book on political leadership in Lithuania, gives the reader a rare opportunity to compare what two of the most influential Lithuanian politicians think about their country. The most interesting topic to the journalists who covered this book was that Algirdas Brazauskas, a former communist and leading figure in Soviet times is, paradoxically, much more religious, and religiously conservative, than Vytautas Landsbergis, a leader of the Lithuanian independence movement, whose relationship with religion is more sophisticated and more politically motivated.

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Public Attitudes towards Changes in the Armed Forces of Lithuania

The gradual reduction of the mass army and the need to change to a professional army, encouraged by radical changes in the international security environment and Lithuania’s membership of NATO, have become a considerable challenge to the national defence authorities. The structural shift in international relations around the world implied that, all of a sudden, the enemy was gone, leading to expectations concerning a new peaceful world order. But not in the Lithuanian case.

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Nord Stream: Estonia’s Lost Battle

It must have come as a most unpleasant surprise to Estonia’s decision-makers. On November 5, 2009, both Sweden and Finland announced that they would grant permission to Nord Stream, a Russian-German-Dutch company, to construct a similarly named gas pipeline across the bed of the Baltic Sea.

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Has Lithuanian Foreign Policy Become Personalised?

Transatlantic integration has become one of the geopolitical hallmarks in the eastern part of northern Europe. The twin enlargement of the EU and NATO in 2004 opened new opportunities for Lithuanian foreign policy making which had until then been based on two pillars – the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration and constructive relations with its neighbours. Arguably, membership has not solved all of Lithuania’s security – let alone economic – problems, especially in the light of the current financial crisis.

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Latvia’s Foreign Policy – Living Through Hard Times

When the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs returned late in 2007 to its newly renovated premises, which had been home to Latvia’s foreign service in the interwar period, one could hardly imagine that in three years Latvia’s diplomatic activities and foreign policy in general would be seriously impaired by a severe economic recession.

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English summary

April’s issue of Diplomaatia concerns Latvia and Lithuania. In the opening article, Latvian political scientist Toms Rostoks, discusses the influence of the economic downturn on Latvia’s foreign policy. “Foreign policy has been hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the ministries that has been most affected.

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