True Lithuania

Lithuanians choose 2013 top persons and events

2014 01 02. As the year 2013 ended with people traditionally firing off their firework stockpiles the global and local persons and events of the year have been traditionally elected in a media-conducted poll.

Nearly 50% Lithuanians believe that the Maxima store collapse in Riga was the 2013s most important event in the world. With 54 deaths it was far from the worst tragedy but it especially touched Lithuanians as it happened in their "brother nation" Latvia and in a Lithuanian-owned supermarket. 2nd place was given to the typhoon in the Philippines with the election of Pope Francis coming up third.

An old lady mourns at the collapsed supermarket in Riga (Christmas day, one month after the collapse). This tragedy brought down the government down in Latvia (one of the few in Europe which survived the 2009 crisis) and it also shook Lithuania as Lithuanians recognized it to have been the World's event of the year. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

The title of Lithuania's most important local event went to the Lithuanian presidency of the European Union (42% recognized it as important), followed by the world records of star swimmer Rūta Meilutytė and the Lithuanian National basketball team's silver at Eurobasket - these two events together were voted for by another 42% respondents showing once again just how seriously sport is taken in Lithuania.

In voting for the person of the year Lithuanians have traditionally voted for politicians. They believe Barrack Obama is the most important person, followed by Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. For 13 years out of the 14 this poll has been conducted, the ruling US president was declared the World's person of the year.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė is considered to be the Lithuanian person of the year even though Lithuania is a parliamentary republic (the reigning Lithuanian president was declared "Person of the year" 17 times out of 19 polls). This also happens many years in a row and shows the Lithuanian fondness for its presidents. Rūta Meilutytė comes second with Prime Minister Audrius Butkevičius third.

The poll was taken by "Baltijos Tyrimai" and "Lietuvos Rytas".

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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