Wednesday, 4 June 2008

20th Anniversary of Sąjūdis

The 20th anniversary of Sąjūdis, the organization that helped usher in the reestablishment of the independence of Lithuania, is being celebrated in Lithuania this week. Meetings, conferences, television and radio programs, and concerts are taking place to mark this event.

An interesting thing I learned was that one of the initial goals of this movement was not reestablishing independence but overcoming bureaucracy. And boy, oh boy, was that goal not met. That still remains one of the biggest obstacles here. Not only does it directly hinder economic development, but it also stifles the initiative of people and in general makes life extremely difficult. And there is no doubt that it encourages the all-pervasive corruption that plagues Lithuanian society.

I've decided that this blog can be a modest forum for exposing those who ask for bribes. I've been asked for bribes a few times in my 10+ years here, but I won't dredge up the past. But from now on, I resolve to record such events here.


Mykolas said...

Fiends and realtives in LT frequently mention that it's often almost impossible to get things done at times without paying a bribe. Seems to me that it's problem that's far more rampant in the former Soviet republics. But I've run into the same obstacles here in the U.S. Especially when I was working in various construction related trades. I used to buy a couple of cases the 'DOM P.' Champagne (very expensive even 20 years ago) and pass them out to people who gave me good leads on jobs. After a while some of the recipients mentioned that a little cash would be nice also! When I stopped 'greasing palms' buisness got slow.

Alan Hendrixson said...

Yeah, happens in just about every country, I suppose. I think you're right about it being more rampant in parts of former USSR. I've heard the same thing. Some here say it was the only way to get by in those days, but I wouldn't say that's the case now. People just haven't been trained to speak out about it or just don't want to go to the trouble. Plus, some who give bribes seek things/benefits that they don't deserve or otherwise wouldn't get. (It's easy to bypass the system here that way.)