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Lithuania: new structure of Seim – new prospects of cooperation with Russia.

The deputy of the Seim of Lithuania, the member of economic committee, the member of inter-parliamentary groups on communications with Russia and Belarus, the chairman of the party “The Lithuanian Russian Union” Sergey Vasilyevich Dmitriev answers the questions of the Internet portal “The world and we” about the main changes in political life of Lithuania after elections.

- What main changes happened in the structure of Lithuanian Seim after elections? In what there will be its main difference from the previous structure of parliament?

After the elections the power was completely changed. Now it became more left sense –the Social Democratic Party, the Labour party, the Electoral action of the Poles of Lithuania and Order and Justice Party passed in parliament and created the majority. In total the constitutional majority was created from these forces. We can make changes to the Constitution without a referendum with such structure of a coalition. Besides, the conservatives passed in parliament too, but for today their political force lost the elections. Therefore the most important event of elections is the majority formation in parliament from the left-wing parties. On December 13 we took the oath from the government, confirmed its action program. And after Christmas vacation the parliament and the government will start the full work in new structure.

Unfortunately, it is improbable that against a deep crisis situation it will be possible seriously, strategically to change national economy in short terms. It is rather difficult to make as Lithuania is in EU and all know what is there now. And though Lithuania is small state and it is simpler to cope with the problems, there are a lot of difficult situations still, first of all, the big migration from the country. Besides, the creation of new workplaces or at least preservation already available is necessary. Without the solution of these problems very great difficulties can expect us. Understanding it, the left-wing parties which have passed in parliament, made the social programs as the main priorities, for example, increase of the minimum salary. In this direction we also intend to work.

- Such sharp turn to the left on last elections shows that the previous ruling coalition didn't justify hopes of the population of Lithuania?

In many respects it is so. In the previous cadence the government even borrowed the money at pensioners – the payments of pensions were reduced. Then these means started returning gradually. But, nevertheless, it was the big shock all the same– the pensions are small and against crisis their reduction put people in very difficult situation at all. Because of it there were big indignations. Besides, taxes and excises were increased.

But it isn't necessary to treat the previous government too critical. They did all they could, tried, and, of course, weren't the enemies of the state. And now, as the world crisis absorbed all states, it isn't necessary to say that we can leave this situation somehow exclusively. Besides, there are various directives of EU which we are obliged to carry out today. Any independent decisions in the field of economy lead to that Brussels enters various sanctions and penalties. Because of it there is a number of difficulties. But we have something to work over on many questions of domestic policy and economy which yet fully depend on Brussels.

- What is the main reason for the conflict which is observed between the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė and new structure of Seim?


The reason of this conflict is that concerning the Labour Party, one of the leading political forces which have entered into Seim, the judicial proceedings weren't complete. This very difficult situation lasts during 7 years, the final decision isn't passed, but parties hurl accusations of leaving from payment of taxes and charges of fraud to party leadership. In this regard the president accepted a negative side in the relation to this party, demanding that they first of all dealt with the problems and because of it there was a conflict.

It reached before that the president even demanded to cancel the held elections. But the majority of voters and politicians reacted to this offer extremely negatively – after all people chose the candidates honestly. There are only 2-3 districts in which the results are called into question, and the re-elections will pass on them. But as a whole, the offer to deprive party of the right of stay in parliament and to cancel elections caused an indignation wave. Many were against the president makes decisions independently, without final conclusions of law enforcement agencies and that she doesn't consider the Central Election Commission conclusions. This conflict situation developed into that when forming government the president refused flatly to confirm about the government of representatives from the Labour Party in the decree. Nevertheless, our state is parliamentary and presidential and the president carries out more nominal functions. Therefore the leaders of the main parties, who have won the elections, were succeeded to agree about coalition creation.

- Were only legal aspects the main in this conflict or also political implication existed?


Nobody seriously mentioned the political aspect because in fact the Labour Parties was only accused of that lawsuits weren't complete. To criticize the program of this party is all the same that to criticize the program, for example, of social democrats or any other left-wing party. The programs of these parties have a lot of a similar – after all they united because of the left ideas. The criticism can sound only from conservative opponents and the president is the guarantor of the constitution and has to welcome all positive points in programs of these parties, directed on the benefit of Lithuania and voters. Therefore political aspect didn't become aggravated and the incrimination of the fraud facts of the Labour parties, on which the investigation is carried, was shown only. But the most important –is that there are no results yet therefore it is impossible to accuse simply. But the president didn't restrain and accused before the court. It is possible to tell that our president “played up”. Especially considering that fact, that she has no such powers to resolve issues, “waving a sabre”. Naturally, she irritates that she, holding a high post, is compelled to discuss on questions on which has the point of view. But there are no political reasons in her actions.

- What changes should be expected in the foreign policy? Is the bigger rapprochement with Russia possible thanks to new structure of Seim?


It is obvious that there will be a warming of relationship with Russia. Successful work of groups on inter-parliamentary communications with Russia and Belarus testifies to it also. One of important questions in this cooperation is closing of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. Now we have many problems and difficulties because of the station management which was created still by conservatives - during nuclear power plant closing the big damage is caused to the country. And considering that fact that they aren't ready to cooperate with Russia, it has very harmful consequences – export and burial of spent fuel are the extremely difficult question not only for Lithuania, but also for any country. To quarrel with Russia in this respect is all the same that to sign the death sentence.

One more consequence of the “unhealthy” diplomatic relations which have developed for the previous years – we have the highest gas price for today. There are the perspective directions of development of cooperation - it is a construction of terminals, provision the port with the work. The priority relations in the foreign policy will be connected namely with it, the interactions directed on improvement with Russia.

- Such changes are caused, first of all, by new structure of parliament?


Yes, certainly. In 2000 I already was the member of Seim and the position of social democrats is rather well-known to me. Unfortunately, there is no main leader - Algirdas Brazauskas who led the party and the government and he was rather authoritative not only in Lithuania, but also in Russia and in other countries. It allowed to build rather good relations when the social democrats were at the helm. There were absolutely other priorities of economic relationship with the same Russia. And then it was lost as the conservatives who were in power, destroyed everything that was acquired. Now we have serious work on restoration of that was lost.

- How can the domestic policy in Lithuania exchange in connection with new structure of Seim? And the policy in relation to the Russian-speaking population?


We hope that in this direction there will be considerable positive changes. Firstly, much more Russian-speaking deputies passed in present Seim. Especially unlike the previous Seim where there was no such representative in general. Now the deputies from ethnic minorities are presented rather widely therefore there are people who can focus attention on these problems. Especially as one of the main conditions of our joint activity is completion of work on the law on ethnic minorities which can't adopt since 2000, but now there are people to be engaged in it. The question of national schools is also priority. It is necessary to keep the national schools of those ethnic minorities which always lived in Lithuania. It could be interfered by the law on education which conservatives tried to railroad. But we froze it and we will make the amendments and remarks. We will be structurally and without any conflicts to agree and bring that is true because there are nuances because of which it is impossible to say that we are pressed or oppress.

There are subjective and objective reasons when the number of pupils is reduced at the Russian school because of demographic problems or emigration. There can be 300 from 800 people and it, naturally, occurs not because the Lithuanian state “clamps” a national minority. There are simply certain budgetary funds which are allocated for the maintenance of school, and it isn't profitable completely to finance it at a small amount of pupils. Therefore the issue of association of schools is resolved. But some protest because the child studied at one school during 5-7 years, and now he should pass to another. And parents consider that they are oppressed, but it is not so. We are engaged in it long enough, about 18 years, and similar conflict situations were often solved. It is necessary to approach to these questions very differentiated and to avoid categorical statements.

- These are the main problems which would be solved by your party “The Lithuanian Russian Union” in Seim?

Yes, it is one of the main tasks. Our party is known in Lithuania long ago. We are able to talk. We are not contentious and vice versa seek for transparent, clear dialogue. It should be noted that sharp manifestations of nationalism in Lithuania fade into the background. And it is joyful, that even in the corridors of Seim the people speak the Russian - Lithuanians come to me and address in the Russian language. I ask them – why do you communicate not in a state language? And they answers that don't want to forget the Russian language. And already nobody pay attention to it with aggression and a hysterics.

The situation sharply differs in it, for example, from Ukraine where even the fights start in parliament because someone starts speaking in the Russian.

Lithuania treats it much more tolerantly. Besides I can note that in Lithuania we have 21 Russian schools, and it much more than, for example, in Kiev. And it is in Lithuania, in the national state where 80% of Lithuanians live, we succeeded to keep it. Thus the Russian-speaking children sometimes know the Lithuanian better than at national schools. And many politicians thought of current situation - even professor Landsbergis noted in one of the performances that, unfortunately, the knowledge of the Russian language is missed for the Lithuanian youth. And the next neighbour and prospects of the economic relations we have with Russia. We border with it and historically always lived normally. Therefore the priorities of the international cooperation in Lithuania are obvious both to politicians and to the majority of citizens.

Viewed : 2561   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 29 January 2013 01:00

Source: The world and we

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