The Baltic countries are on the brink of extinction. They are becoming more and more desolate, turning into demographic wastelands with land, but no people. The process of their deaths can’t be stopped. This is said by the Baltic experts themselves, so it is hard to call this “Russian propaganda.”
Part of Lithuania’s territory is looking more and more like the Sahara desert, states Lithuanian Social Studies Center chief researcher Vidmantas Daugirdas.
“When it comes to rates of population decrease, we are the leaders in the EU and among the top in the world. The causes are obvious, as it seems: strong emigration, low birthrates, aging society,” says Daugirdas. “We have a term for a ‘demographic boom,’ but what do you call a process when the population is reduced by 2% a year?”
The expert calls the happening in Lithuania a demographic depression and states that the extinction of less populated territories is an irreversible eventuality. With that said, 45% of Lithuania is low populated. According to Daugirdas, there are aging regions, where not a single child is born in a year and 3-4% of the population dies.
“I believe that the low population areas are sign of what is to come. There will be demographic deserts. In 15-20 years all of the rural areas will be low population area,” the researcher repeated.
At the same time, the amount of people in urban areas is dropping as well. Everyone is faced with the population decrease in one way or another. This tendency is less noticeable in Klaipėda, more noticeable in Kaunas, completely unnoticeable in Vilnius, but there are no growth points anywhere. Cities are experiencing an unflinching decrease. “We have 22 mayor districts which could be called low populated, while in 2011 there were only 7,” says Vidmantas Daugirdas.
The expert’s grim conclusions are that “Emigration took the larger part of the residents’ reproductive potential and the demographic drop will only grow deeper.”
Lithuanian experts have repeated this conclusion to the Lithuanian government and the public many times for quite some time.
The deputy president of Lithuania’s Central Bank Raimondas Kuodis recently stated that with the current demographic tendencies in Lithuania, soon only two cities will remain, and with time even those two will be gone. According to the economist Lithuania has two economics: the capital city one and the remaining one. The weight of Vilnius’ economy is about the reach 50% of all of the country. Vilnius expenses are a third higher than the average in Lithuania.
The demographic situation of Vilnius is relatively safe, because most of those who migrated to Western Europe are partially replaced by the people who migrated to Vilnius from other regions of the country. But aside from Vilnius, there is the rest of Lithuania, which, according to the head of Central Bank, is turning into a humongous home for the elderly with “many economically inefficient people – pensioners and people living off of welfare.” “They have no job and they don’t look for one” says Raimondas Kuodis.
Lithuania will soon have only three cities: Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda.
Life will pulse only between these three cities from the Belarussian border to the Baltic sea. Everything outside of that lifeline will be wastelands and charity shops.
Hundreds of hamlets have disappeared from Lithuania’s map, now towns are disappearing as well. Earlier, Juodupė, Tiruliai and Kulautuva have lost their status as cities, tomorrow people will doubt the status of Marijampolė and Panevėžys, the day after tomorrow – Šiauliai. At that rate, the depopulation disaster will reach Klaipėda and Kaunas
The disastrous demographic situation in their country is also on the minds of Latvian experts. Latvian University professor Leon Taivans stated that the Latvians as an ethnicity are doomed to extinction. “The fact that Latvians are dying out is clear, this is discussed in demographics, and I think there is no possibility to change this situation. In 40 years, this country may be called the same, but it will have a completely different ethnic situation,” he said.
According to the data of Latvian demographer Ilmar Mezhs, by 2050-2060, the amount of immigrants in Latvia will be the same as the indigenous population, and then exceed it. And that is if the immigrants will continue to come to Latvia without any state stimulation: the ethic structure will still start changing naturally. Latvia will stop being Latvian – all Latvians will die out, and the Latvian language will be a dead language.
The threat of their ethnicity dying out hangs over the Lithuanians as well. The hope that Lithuanians will remain Lithuanians while in emigration is false and just lying to oneself. This is repeated by the Lithuanian experts. “As studies show, the third generation of immigrants doesn’t know the Lithuanian language. The half a million Lithuanian emigrants of the late 19th century and early 20th century, are gone without a trace. In the end of World War 2, in summer and autumn of 1944, along with the retreating German army, around 60 thousand Lithuanians went westward. First, they lived in West Europe for a few years, and then left for USA, Canada and Australia. And who returned? Only a few.” says Vilnius Pedagogic University researcher Liudas Truska.
The Baltics’ extinction is talked about experts from the Baltics themselves, experts, who are working in budget organizations and even hold big state posts – you can’t call their opinion “Russian propaganda”
On what needs to be done to stop the demographic collapse, the Baltic experts have all agree. There needs to be an active social policy, investment into social protection of the population, aid to young families with children, financial support for families with multiple children, creation of well-paid jobs within the country, so people would not have to leave.
But the ruling class of the Baltics is doing nothing of that, to the Baltic experts’ disapproval.
The Baltic governments are consciously conducting a policy that stimulates depopulation, emigration and poverty.
“It seems that the main enemy of Latvian demographics is the Finance Ministry. It blocks all improvements in the demographic policy field,” said Ilmar Mezhs, in Latvia.
Deputy chair of the Lithuanian Central Bank Raimondas Kuodis also speaks about the government’s neglect. “The state doesn’t help them, the aids are laughable and they stop paying them out after a certain time. These people have no choice, they are forced to leave. Or look for work in a sustainable sector, like Vilnius, which is the lesser evil. Sadly, the majority of our young and middle-aged population are looking for their fortune in the West, because there is no pragmatic policy, which would generate quality jobs at home.”
To give an example of Lithuania’s anti-social policy, Raimondas Kuodis points to the Andrius Kubilius conservative government’s term, which was when immigration was at a record high. Conservatives tried to attract foreign investors into Lithuania, instead of helping the jobless citizens.
“As one of the ineffective actions in fighting the economic crisis, the waves of immigration, one could recall the heated debates with PM Kubilius. Instead of helping those who lost their jobs, he chose to help those who still had a job, so it would be even better,” said the economist.
The Baltic experts keep emphasizing this: the Baltic countries are being killed by their own politicians, one should not look for Latvia’s and Lithuania’s enemies in the Kremlin, but in their own Seimas, government buildings and presidential residences.
From the times of Andrius Kubilius in Lithuania and Valdis Dombrovskis in Latvia, nothing has changed in the Baltics. A second Lithuanian government comes to power with the promise of social reform, but there is still no transition to the social model in to be seen. The Latvian government is still closing hospitals, schools and universities, promising the people “unpopular means” in social policy and raising the taxes.
The rulers of the Baltics are killing their countries. That can be heard from the residents of those countries, the runaway emigrants, and the experts of these countries. Depopulation and lack of real social policy is the true and biggest threat to the Baltics’ existence.
But there is but one “threat” to the Baltic “elite”. The Russian threat. In the fight against this mythical threat, they kill their countries and peoples. They have almost killed them already.
Translated by Pavel Shamshiev