Lithuania country profile

  • Published
Map of Lithuania

Lithuania is the largest and most southerly of the three Baltic republics.

Not much more than a decade after it regained its independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania joined Nato and then the EU in 2004.

Russia's Kaliningrad exclave hosts the headquarters of the Russian Navy's Baltic Fleet, and shares a major border with Lithuania.


  • Capital: Vilnius
  • Area: 65,300 sq km
  • Population: 2.8 million
  • Languages: Lithuanian
  • Life expectancy: 70 years (men) 80 years (women)


President: Gitanas Nauseda

Image source, Lithuanian Presidency

Gitanas Nauseda was elected in the second round of the presidential election in June 2019 with 66.5% of the vote, beating the initial front-runner, former finance minister Ingrida Simonyte.

Mr Nauseda had a career in commercial banking before going into politics in 2018, and has promised to seek cross-party deals to reduce the social and regional inequalities.

Prime Minister: Ingrida Simonyte

Image source, Paulius Peleckis/Getty Images

Ms Simonyte took office in November 2020 at the head of a coalition between the conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats, which won the October parliamentary election, and two centrist groups, the Freedom Party and Liberal Movement.

A former finance minister and conservative presidential candidate, Ingrida Simonyte's coalition replaces a government of the centrist Peasant and Green Union, which had won a surprise victory in the 2016 elections.


Lithuania's private TV and radio stations compete with public networks run by Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT).

The media are free and operate independently of the state. There are no government-owned newspapers.


Some key dates in Lithuania's modern history:

1915 - Lithuania, under Russian rule since the late 18th Century, is occupied by German troops during World War One.

1918 - Lithuania declares independence.

1920 - Soviet Russia recognises Lithuania's independence.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A view of Vilnius cathedral

1939 - The Soviet Union compels Lithuania to accept Soviet military bases.

1940 - Soviet Army invades. President Antanas Smetona flees. Lithuania incorporated into Soviet Union.

1941 - Thousands of Lithuanians are deported to Siberia. Nazi Germany invades Soviet Union and occupies Lithuania.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Parade to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of independence held in Vilnius in 2015

1944 - Soviet Army returns, presaging further deportations and repression of resistance.

1989 - Parliament approves declaration of Lithuanian sovereignty, stating that Lithuanian laws take precedence over Soviet ones.

1991 - Following failed coup in Moscow the previous month, the Soviet Union recognises Lithuania's independence. Lithuania joins the UN.

1992 - New constitution introduces presidency.

2004 - Lithuania joins Nato and the EU.

2015 - Lithuania adopts the euro.

2022 - Lithuania declares state of emergency along its border with Russia and Belarus following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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