Country Listing

Lithuania Table of Contents


National Security

Armed Forces: In 1994 armed forces totaled 8,900, including army (4,300), navy (350), air force (250), and border guard (4,000). Mandatory draft period of one year in active-duty status; alternative service for conscientious objectors available. Also, 12,000-member Home Guard force. In February 1993, some 14,000 Russian troops remained in Lithuania; last Russian troops withdrawn August 1993.

Military Budget: About 1 percent of government expenditures allocated for defense in 1993.

Country Study Text

LYING BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, through six centuries Lithuania has endured and been devastated by the clash of interests between the Swedes, the French, and the Germans on the one side and the Russians on the other. Many generations of Lithuanians have had to rebuild after the destruction brought upon them as a result of East-West conflicts or domestic insurrections against Russia. Lithuanians also have been forced to take sides, although they have tried to assert their own will, especially in modern times.

Lithuania became independent in 1918, but in 1940 it was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union. Soviet hegemony, which wreaked further devastation, lasted until 1991, when Lithuania once again achieved recognition as an independent state. The circumstances of the Soviet takeover and the refusal of the United States and other nations to recognize de jure Lithuania's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union have distinguished Lithuania, as well as the neighboring states of Estonia and Latvia, from the other former Soviet republics in international law and politics throughout the postwar era.

Data as of January 1995