COUNTRYAAH, Luxembourg's European Commissioner Viviane Reding caused
resurrection when she accused France of treating Roma as
badly as Jews during World War II in unusually harsh terms.
Reding threatened to bring France before the European Court
of Justice for violations of rules on free movement. She was
particularly upset that the government decried that
deportations ordered were not specifically targeted at Roma,
which turned out to be false. French President Nicolas
Sarkozy countered that Luxembourg should receive the
unwanted Roma. Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn then accused
Sarkozy of maliciously equating the Commissioner, who
represents the EU, with Luxembourg.
When Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria
in 1772 and 1793, the former took over Belarus only, but
when the Polish state completely disappeared in 1795,
Lithuania suffered the same fate - except for the province
of Suvalkai which became Prussian before it also became in
1815 taken over by the Russians. In the same year, the
Vienna Congress granted the Russian emperor title of king
over Poland and prince of Lithuania.
The nationalist uprising of the Poles in 1830 and 1863
also included the Lithuanians, and Russian repression was
equally severe in both cases. The Czar regime regarded
Lithuania as an integral part of Russia, and after 1832
therefore called it the Northwest Territory. Between 1864
and 1905 an intense Russification was carried out, texts in
Lithuanian were to be printed with the Russian alphabet and
the Catholic religion was pursued.
With the revolution of 1905, the peoples of the Russian
Empire gained freedom of speech. In Vilnius, the publication
of two newspapers began - one in Polish and one in
Lithuanian. Here, a congress met with 2,000 representatives
demanding the demarcation of the border between Lithuania
and Russia in accordance with the will, territorial autonomy
and democratic elections of a people.
During World War I, Germany occupied much of Lithuania.
In 1915, the Germans allowed the conduct of a congress of
214 representatives who elected a Lithuanian council with 20
members. Furthermore, they called for the formation of a
Lithuanian state within ethnic borders and with Vilnius as
its capital. On February 16, 1918, the Council declared
Lithuania to be independent and an end to the political
dependence on other nations.
In 1919, the Soviet Red Army entered Vilnius, established
a communist government, but was later forced to retire. The
new Polish head of state, Josef Pilsudski, tried to restore
the old Lithuanian-Polish union, but had to give up because
of opposition from the Lithuanians, Ukrainians and
Belarusians. In 1923, the League of Nations and the European
powers recognized the separation of Poland and Lithuania.