Lithuanian nation has been forged by its history of seemingly eternal invasions, occupations and genocides, and a few long-remembered "glorious" periods inbetween.
Lithuanian society and social norms thus have strong influences from both East and West. However, there is always an undercurrent of free-thinking and independence. It is characterized (among other things) by respecting Lithuanian symbols and luminaries of ages gone-by.
Lithuanian politics and law tend to be especially complex as the usual leftist-rightist divisions are joined by many others related to views towards various periods of Lithuanian past.
Despite of this, Lithuanian economy has been improving nearly constantly since independence (and adoption of capitalism) in 1990. While 25 years were too little to close the gap behind the "First world", Lithuania already left the "Third world" far behind.
See also: Maps of Lithuania.
Main facts about Lithuania
Population: ~3 000 000
Area: 65 300 sq. m
Population density: 46 inhabittants / sq. m
Altitude: Between -4 m and +294 m
Bordering countries: Russia (Southwest), Poland (South), Belarus (East), Latvia (North), Baltic Sea (West).
Ethnicities: Lithuanians 85,08%, Poles 6,65%, Russians 5,88%, Others 2,39%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85,9%, Russian Orthodox 4,6%, Other Christians 2,3%, religious non-Christians 0,7%, Irreligious 6,8%
Native languages: Lithuanian [official] 85%, Russian 8,2%, Polish 5,8%, Others 1%
Langauges spoken: Lithuanian [official] 96%, Russian 70%, English 30%, Polish 14%, German 8%
Historical periods: Grand Duchy of Lithuania until 1569, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1562-1795, Russian Empire 1775-1915, Republic of Lithuania 1918-1940, Soviet occupation 1940-1990, Republic of Lithuania 1990-
National holidays: February 16th, March 11th, July 6th