I am attaching my project topic, the references, the literature review, and all instructions.
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My Project Topic
I was thinking of studying the culture of Lithuania to see how it differs from my household. Specifically, I want to look at the foods commonly eaten, their religious beliefs, how they spend time, how their family dynamics are and their forms of transportation. This is important to me because my grandma was from Lithuania. I am 50% Lithuanian. I loved her, but I didn’t know her well and because she fled from the war, she was hesitant to talk about her home country because it contained too many painful memories. I plan to use the internet and secondary research. I don’t really have a way to do participant observation, as it’s in another country.
LITHUANIA Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos RespublikaLietuv os Respublika
CAPITAL: Vilnius FLAG: Three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), green, and red. AN- THEM: Tautiška Giesme (The National Song) MONETARY UNIT: The euro replaced the Lithuanian lita (LTL) as the official currency on 1 January 2015. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. €1 = $1.1137 ($1 = €0.897717) as of August 2016. WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force. HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 16 February; Restoration of Lithuanian Statehood, 11 March; Statehood Day of Lithuania, 6 July; National Day of Hope and Mourning (All Soul’s Day), 1 November; Christmas, 25–26 December. Movable holidays include Easter and Mother’s Day. TIME: 2 p.m. = noon GMT
1 LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Lithuania is located in eastern Europe between Latvia and Poland, bordering the Baltic Sea. Comparatively, it is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia, with a total area of 65,200 sq km (25,174 sq mi). Lithuania shares boundaries with Latvia on the N and NE, Belarus on the S and SE, Poland on the SW, Russia-Kaliningrad Oblast on the W, and the Baltic Sea on the NW. Lithuania’s land boundary length totals 1,639 km (1,018 mi). Its coastline is 90 km (56 mi).
Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, is located in the southeast- ern part of the country.
The topography of Lithuania features a central lowland terrain with many scattered small lakes and fertile soil. Moderate highlands lie to the east and south, with a few hilly regions in the west. The main hill regions are the Zemaical Uplands of the northwest and the Baltic Highlands of the southeast. The high- est point in the country is Aukstojas, located in the Medininkai Highlands. It has an elevation of 294 m (965 ft). The lowest point is at sea level (Baltic Sea).
There are about 758 rivers in the country that are longer than 10 km (6.2 mi), but very few are navigable. The Neman, which cuts through the center of the country from Belarus to the Baltic Sea, is the longest river, with a length of 936 km (582 mi). There are more than 3,000 lakes in the country, most of which are in the eastern central regions. The largest is Lake Druksiai, which is located on the northeastern border with Belarus and covers an area of 44.5 sq km (17.2 sq mi).
Lithuania’s climate is transitional between maritime and continental, which means it has wet, moderate winters and summers. January temperatures average -5ºC (23ºF); the mean temperature in July is 18°C (64.4°F). Rainfall averages from 49 cm (19 in) to 85 cm (33 in) depending on location.
4 FLORA AND FAUNA
Lithuania is located in the mixed forest zone. The country’s vegetation is a mixture of coniferous, broadleaf woodlands, arctic, and steppe species. The country has rabbit, fox, red deer, roe deer, elk, wild boar, badger, raccoon dog, wolf, lynx, and gallinaceous birds. Roach, ruff, bream, and perch can be found in Lithuania’s lakes and streams.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that there are 264 vascular plant species in Lithuania. In addition, it is home to 63 species of mammals, 376 species of birds, 7 species of reptiles, and 11 species of amphibians. The calculation reflects the total number of distinct species residing in the country, not the number of endemic species.
According to a 2015 IUCN report, threatened species include 2 types of mammals, 9 species of birds, 6 species of fish, 2 species of mollusk, 5 species of invertebrates, and 2 species of plants. Examples are the European eel and thick-shelled river mussel. The wild horse (Przewalski’s horse) has become extinct in the wild in Lithuania.
The nation’s environmental problems include air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, and the threat of nuclear contamination. The World Resources Institute reported that, in 2012, carbon dioxide emissions totaled 13.7 million tons. In 2014, water resources totaled 24.5 cu km (5.9 cu mi), according to the UN. According to the CIA, water usage was 2.4 cu km (0.6 cu mi) per year in 2009, the most recent year for which data was available. Per capita water usage totaled 703.8 cu m (24,854 cu ft) per year. Domestic water usage accounted for 7% of total usage, industrial for 90%, and agricultural for 3%. Water pollution results from uncontrolled dumping by industries and the lack of adequate sewage treatment facilities.
According to the World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA), Lithuania had designated a total of 860 areas for protection as of 2014, including 10,864 sq km (4,195 sq mi) of land and 682 sq km (263 sq mi) of marine area. Lithuania also has seven Ramsar Wetland Sites of international importance.
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Since the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl in nearby Ukraine, which contaminated much of Lithuania with excessive radiation, Lithuanians have been concerned about nuclear energy development, especially the use of nuclear power generated by plants similar to the one at Chernobyl.
Lithuania’s pollution problems have also affected the nation’s wildlife. Many of the country’s original animal and plant species are now extinct.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated the popula- tion of Lithuania in July 2015 to be approximately 2,884,433,
which placed it at number 140 in population among 238 countries, dependencies, and territories of the world. In 2015, approximately 19.2% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 14.9% under 15 years of age. The median age in Lithuania was 43.1 years. There were 0.9 males for every female in the country. The population growth rate was -1.0%. The projected population for the year 2025 is 2,725,000. In 2014, the population density was calculated at 47 people per sq km (121.8 per sq mi).
The CIA estimated that 66.5% of the population lived in urban areas in 2015; urban populations had a population growth rate of -0.5% between 2010 and 2015. The largest urban area is Vilnius, with a population of 517,000 as of 2015.
Juozapines 964 ft. 293 m.
M ū ša
R U S S I A
P O L A N D
L A T V I A
B E L A R U S
LITHUANIA 40 Miles0
0 40 Kilometers20
LOCATION: 56°N; 24°E. LAND BOUNDARIES: Total: 1,549 kilometers (963 miles); Latvia, 544 kilometers (338 miles); Belarus, 640 kilometers (398 miles); Poland, 104 kilometers (65 miles); Russia, 261 kilometers (162 miles); Coastline, 90 kilometers (56 miles). TERRITORIAL SEA LIMIT: 12 nautical miles.
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Since the fall of Communism, the population of Lithuania has declined by one-fifth. The decline is attributed to high rates of emigration after Lithuania joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and a rapidly falling birth rate since 1990.
Estimates of Lithuania’s net migration rate, carried out by the CIA in 2015, amounted to -6.3 migrants per 1,000 citizens. Ac- cording to the Migration Policy Institute’s mid-2013 estimates, the total number of emigrants living abroad was 570,000, and the total number of immigrants living in Lithuania was 148,000. Many Lithuanians were deported to Siberia during the Soviet occupation in 1940. Russian immigration to Lithuania has never been as heavy compared to the other Baltic republics. Lithuania has been used as a transit country to western Europe for many years. Government policy was to return asylum seekers to their homelands or detain them indefinitely, until the Lithuanian Refugee Law, passed on 27 July 1997, established an asylum procedure. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 1,055 refugees and 54 asylum seekers residing in Lithuania as of June 2015.
8 ETHNIC GROUPS
According to 2011 CIA estimates, Lithuanians accounted for about 84.1% of the population. Poles made up 6.6%, followed by Russians at 5.8% and Belarusians at 1.2%. The remaining minority ethnic groups included Ukrainians, Tatars, Karaites, Germans, and others. There were about 3,000 in the Romani community.
Lithuanian, the official language, is noted for its purity in retain- ing ancient Indo-European language forms. It has some remark- able similarities with Sanskrit. It is highly inflected, with seven noun cases. Like Latvian, it has rising, falling, and short intonations. Its Roman alphabet has many special symbols, including the hacek, dot, and cedilla. According to the CIA, as of 2011, the majority of Lithuanians (82.0%) spoke Lithuanian. Polish (5.6%) and Russian (8.0%) were also widely used. Minorities have the right to official use of their languages where they form a substantial part of the population.
10 RELIGIONS The country witnessed extensive suppression of religious activi- ties during the Nazi and Soviet periods, but the number of religiously active citizens seems to have increased since then. Ac- cording to the 2011 census, 77.3% of respondents were nominally Roman Catholic. The next largest denomination, the Russian Orthodox Church, accounted for about 4.1% of the population. About 0.8% of the people were Old Believers (an Orthodox sect), 0.6% were Lutherans, 0.2% were Evangelical Reformed, and 0.1% were Sunni Muslim; less than 0.1% were Jewish and Greek Catholic.
Lithuania is one of a few countries to have an active com- munity of Karaites. Karaism is a branch of Judaism with tenets based exclusively on a literal interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. According to a 2014 US Department of State report, the Karaites live in Vilnius and Trakia, with a total of about 290 members. The Karaites are also considered an ethnic community.
They speak a Turkic-based language and use the Hebrew alphabet. Other groups that are referred to as “nontraditional” by the government include Full Gospel Word of Faith Move- ment, Pentecostals/Charismatics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints (Mormons), and the New Apostolic Church.
The constitution allows for freedom of religion, and this right is generally respected in practice, but the government reserves the right to place restrictions on religious organizations with practices that might contradict the constitution or public law. According to a 2014 US Department of State report, the government recognizes nine groups as “traditional” faiths that have existed in Lithuania at least 300 years: Latin Rite Catholics, Greek Rite Catholics, Evangelical Lutherans, the Evangelical Reformed Church, Russian Orthodox, Old Believers, Jews, Sunni Muslims, and Karaites. These religions are eligible for state assistance and are accorded a number of rights, such as legal registration of marriages and the right to provide religious instruction in public schools. “Nontraditional” religious com- munities may apply for state recognition, which allows them to receive some funding from the government for various social or cultural programs. As of 2014, there were 186 registered nontraditional religious associations, centers, and communities; only 2—the Evangelical Baptist Union of Lithuania and the Seventh-day Adventists—were recognized by the state.
There have been some reports of anti-Semitism within the country, primarily in the form of vandalism against property and anti-Semitic comments made in the media (primarily on the Internet).
In 2012, the CIA reported that Lithuania had a total of 84,166 km (52,298 mi) of roads, 72,297 km (44,923 mi) of which were paved. There were 615 vehicles per 1,000 people in the country in 2011. In 2014, Lithuania’s railroads extended for 1,768 km (1,099 mi). The railroad system provides access to the Baltic Sea for Vilnius, Kaunas, and other major urban areas. Broad-gauge lines accounted for most of the system, totaling 1,746 km (1,085 mi), 22 km (13.7 mi) of which were electrified. Narrow gauge accounted for another 159 km (98.8 mi), with standard gauge accounting for the remainder.
According to the CIA, as of 2007, Lithuania has ap- proximately 441 km (274 mi) of navigable waterways. As of 2016, Klaipėda, on the Baltic Sea, was the biggest and most important Lithuanian transport hub, linking sea, land, and railway routes. Kaunas was the principal inland port. In 2010, the merchant fleet consisted of 38 ships over 1,000 gross registered tons. A railway sea ferry runs from Klaipėda to Mukran, Germany. As of 2013, there were 61 airports, 22 of which had paved runways. In 2014, those airports transported a combined 217,767 passengers, according to the World Bank. Principal airports include Palanga, Vilnius, and Kaunas International at Kaunas. There is one commercial airport in Siauliai. Lithuania is served by several international airlines, including Lithuanian Airlines, Lietuva, Ryanair, and Easyjet.
Lithuanians are a branch of the Balts, whose permanent and lasting settlement of modern-day Lithuania dates back to 200 BCE, much earlier than most of Europe, whose people and
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cultures were still in flux well into the 5th century CE. Lithu- anian, along with Latvian, is one of the oldest languages in Europe.
The first Lithuanian state was established by the grand duke and later king Mindaugas in 1236. Grand Duke Gedimi- nas, who ruled from 1316 to 1341, is credited with founding the capital of Vilnius and the Jagiełłon dynasty, whose members would become figures of power in Lithuania, Poland, and Hungary for the next 200 years.
In the late 14th century, Lithuania ruled a vast area cover- ing much of modern-day Belarus and Ukraine and stretching to the Black Sea. However, the country was constantly threatened by the German Teutonic Order, which occupied the southern Baltic coast. The power struggle had a religious element; outside of an eight-year period, Lithuania remained devoutly pagan until 1386. That year, Grand Duke Jagiełło wed the Polish queen Jadwiga and thereby converted to Christianity the last remaining European pagans. The combined Polish-Lithuanian armies led by Jagiełło and his cousin Vytautas decisively beat the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410.
The marriage of Jagiełło to Jadwiga and Jagiełło’s ascension to the Polish throne marked the beginning of a political union with Poland, intertwining the histories of the two nations for 400 years. The union was made formal in the 1569 Lublin agreement, which created the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with an elected monarch chosen by the gentry of both states. Although in principle it was a union of two equals, the Polish influence on the culture and politics of the commonwealth was stronger because of the larger size and population of the Polish state, among other factors. Lithuania prospered and developed during the commonwealth’s golden age in the 16th century with the founding of the region’s first university in Vilnius in 1579 and the development of a distinct Lithuanian Baroque artistic style.
The 18th century saw the decline of the commonwealth and occupation by foreign powers. What is now Lithuania was annexed to the Russian Empire in the final partition in 1795. During the 19th century, a Lithuanian nationalist movement arose, leading to uprisings against Russian rule and, in turn, to Russian persecutions such as the outlawing of the Lithuanian language.
On 16 February 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its indepen- dence after the defeat of both Germany and Russia in World War I. The new Bolshevik government in Moscow attempted to establish Soviet power in Lithuania but failed. After a series of armed border conflicts between Lithuania, Russia, and Poland, Moscow recognized Lithuanian independence in 1920. But when Poland annexed Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital had to be moved to Kaunas. A secret protocol to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact assigned Lithuania to the Soviet sphere of influence. Wish- ing to avoid conflict, the Lithuanian government allowed Soviet forces to be stationed on its territory. The local government was forced to resign in June 1940. Rigged elections created a parlia- ment that proclaimed Lithuania a Soviet socialist republic in July 1940. Moscow lost control of Lithuania soon after Germany attacked the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in June 1941.
Lithuania suffered heavily at the hands of both powers. While the Nazis succeeded in exterminating most of Lithuania’s 240,000 Jews, the Soviets deported tens of thousands of Lithu- anians to Siberia. Soviet forces recaptured Lithuania in 1944,
although armed resistance against Soviet rule continued for several years after World War II.
Forty-five years of Soviet occupation did not erase the Lithuanian national identity. The first open protests against Soviet rule occurred in 1987 and 1988. Vytautas Landsbergis established the Sǫjūdis anti-Communist political reform move- ment, which strove to create an autonomous republic and later an independent state. With the crumbling of the Eastern bloc and fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Soviet pressure eased, and opposition parties were allowed to participate in elections to the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet held on 24 February 1990. Sǫjūdis won a clear majority, and Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to proclaim independence on 11 March 1990.
Although Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost and perestroika had intended to allow a greater voice to Lithuanian self-determination, full Lithuanian independence from the Soviet Union was not what many in the Kremlin had in mind. The August 1991 coup by hardliners in Moscow was accompanied by a crackdown in Vilnius, with Soviet troops storming the TV Tower, killing 14 civilians and injuring 700. It was not until the failure of the coup and collapse of the Soviet Union that the government in Moscow fully recognized Lithu- anian independence.
Since independence, Lithuania has been preoccupied with reforming its economic and political institutions. Privatization has transformed its economy to a market-oriented one. Politi- cally, a thriving press and open democracy have been established. Former Communists won the first postindependence elections in 1992, but conservatives took back the Seimas (parliament) in the 1996 elections in response to growing allegations of govern- ment corruption. Presidential elections the following year were surrounded by controversy over the eligibility for office of candidate Valdas Adamkus, who had lived in the United States for over 30 years following World War II. Adamkus was elected in runoff elections in January 1998.
Parliamentary elections were held on 8 October 2000, resulting in a win for former president Algirdas Brazauskas’s Social Democratic Coalition, which won 31.1% of the vote, taking 51 of 141 seats in the Seimas. However, a grouping of four smaller parties formed a new centrist government, with Ro- landas Paksas as prime minister. Presidential elections were held on 22 December 2002, and Adamkus took the lead in the first round of voting, with 35.3% of the vote to Paksas’s 19.7%. Paksas campaigned vigorously for the runoff vote held on 5 January 2003 and surprised many experts by winning the second round with 54.9% to Adamkus’s 45.1%.
Paksas was impeached in April 2004 for having ties with Russian organized crime and participating in influence peddling, and the country was temporarily thrown into disarray. In the early election that followed, the constitutional court did not al- low Paksas to run again despite his continued popularity, especially in rural regions. Adamkus seized the opportunity to return to office and beat Kazimira Prunskiene, the country’s first post-Soviet prime minister, who was supported by those loyal to Paksas.
Given the history of Russian domination of Lithuania, it is understandable that Lithuania’s primary foreign policy objective has been to improve relations with the West and especially to gain entrance into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU. Lithuania became a member of both organizations in 2004.
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On 12 July 2009, Dalia Grybauskaite was inaugurated as the first female president of Lithuania. Before her election, she served as the EU budget commissioner. While concern for the lagging economy was a prominent issue during the election, the president of Lithuania is primarily responsible for foreign affairs and has little oversight of economic policy. Grybauskaite’s foreign policy reputation would prove crucial to winning a second term. Often referred to in Lithuania as the “Iron Lady” in homage to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, one of her political role models, Grybauskaite won the 2014 presidential election amid rising concern about Russian expansionism. She defeated Zigmantas Balčytis in the second round of voting, winning 59.1% of the popular vote and becom- ing the first Lithuanian president to be elected to consecutive terms.
Tensions with Russia had been mounting even before Rus- sia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. In October 2013, Russia stopped importing dairy products from Lithuania, which many interpreted as a protest of Lithuanian efforts to establish closer ties between the EU and Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. After Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014, NATO bolstered its military presence in several Baltic countries, includ- ing Lithuania. In response to growing concern about Russia’s expansionist ambition, Lithuania announced in February 2015 it would restart military conscription for the first time since 2008.
On 25 October 1992, Lithuanian voters approved a new constitution, which called for a 141-member unicameral parlia- ment (Seimas) and a popularly elected president. The constitu- tion requires the president to sever formal party ties. All permanent residents of Lithuania in November 1989 are granted the opportunity to become citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origins. Members of the Seimas are elected for four-year terms, and the president is directly elected for a five-year term. The prime minister is appointed by the president; all other ministers are nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the president. All ministerial appointments must be approved by the Seimas. Suffrage is universal at age 18.
14 POLITICAL PARTIES
Major political parties in Lithuania include the Electoral Action of Lithuanian Poles (LLRA), the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS–LKD), the Labor Party (DP), the Liberal Movement (LRLS or LS), the Lithuanian Green Party (LZP), the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), the Order and Justice Party (TT), the Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS), and Way of Courage (DK).
The majority party in the Seimas after the 1996 parliamen- tary elections was the conservative Homeland Union (TS), led by Landsbergis, which won 70 out of 141 seats. Overall, 28 par- ties competed for the 141 parliamentary seats in elections held on 20 October 1996 (first round) and 10 November 1996 (second round). The other right-wing party, the Christian Democrats (LKD), also did well, winning 16 seats, and entered into a coalition government with the TS and the Lithuanian Center Union, which won 13 seats. The Democratic Labor Party (composed mostly of ex-Communists), which had been the majority party in the previous parliament, won only 12
seats. Other parties with parliamentary representation included the LSDP and the Lithuanian Democratic Party.
The Homeland Union–Conservative coalition suffered in the October 2000 parliamentary elections, capturing only 9 seats. Former president Brazauskas led four leftist parties in the Social Democratic coalition, winning 51 of the 141 seats in parliament. However, the New Policy coalition—composed of the ideologically diverse Liberal Union (33 seats), New Alliance (28), Center Union (2), Modern Christian Democratic Union (3), and two smaller parties—formed a new government, bypass- ing the Social Democratic coalition. Paksas was named prime minister.
In the elections of October 2004, the DP—a political formation led by Russian millionaire Voktor Uspaskich—won 39 seats. The TS won 25 seats; Social Democrats, 20; Liberal and Center Union, 18; Social Liberals, 11; Union of Farmers and New Democracy, 10; Liberal Democrats, 10; LLRA, 2; and independents, 6. In the presidential elections held in June 2004, Adamkus beat Prunskiene with 52.2% of the vote.
Following the 2008 parliamentary elections, the TS–LKD, LRLS, Liberal and Center Union (LCS), and National Revival (TPP) formed a ruling coalition. Together these parties controlled 71 seats in parliament. The LSDP won 25 seats, fol- lowed by TT with 18 seats, the Christian Party with 10 seats, and DP with 10 seats. There were 7 unaffiliated seats, and 1 seat was left vacant. Andrius Kubilius of TS–LKD was appointed as prime minister.
On 12 July 2009, Grybauskaite was inaugurated as the first female president of Lithuania. Running as an independent candidate, she won the May 2009 presidential election with 69% of the vote. Social Democrat Algirdas Butkevicius came in second with 12% of the vote.
On 14 October 2012, Lithuania held parliamentary elec- tions, with about 51% of registered voters coming out to vote. DP won the largest share of the popular vote with 20.7% but only gained 29 seats, the third most of any party. With 19.1% of the vote, LSDP managed to secure 38 seats, while TS–LKD won 33 seats with 15.7% of the popular vote. TT won 11 seats with 7.6% of the vote, and LRLS won 10 seats with 9% of the vote. DK had 8.3% of the vote and 7 seats, LLRA won 6.1% and 8 seats, and the LVZS won 1 seat with 4.1% of the vote.
15 LOCAL GOVERNMENT For administrative purposes, Lithuania’s 10 counties, called apskritys, are subdivided into 60 municipalities, either districts or cities. Each level of local government has its own elected officials.
16 JUDICIAL SYSTEM After Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union, its legal system was transformed from that of the old Soviet regime to a democratic model. The system consists of a Constitutional Court and a Supreme Court, whose judges are elected by the Seimas. There are also district and local courts, whose judges are ap- pointed by the president. A court of appeals hears appellate cases from the district courts. A new civil and criminal procedure code and a court reform law were enacted in 1995. The govern- ment has reviewed its laws to bring them into accord with the European Convention on Human Rights. The judiciary is independent.
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17 ARMED FORCES
The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported that active armed forces in Lithuania totaled 10,950 members in 2014. The force comprised 7,500 members of the army, 500 members of the navy, 900 members of the air force, and 2,050 members of joint forces. There were 11,000 members of the paramilitary. In 2013, armed forces represented 1.4% of the labor force in Lithuania. Defense spending totaled $377 million and accounted for 2.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).
As of 2014, Lithuanian forces had served in Afghanistan, the Central Afri
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