Second day discussing democracy in Vilnius: Putin is very European, the Sicilian variety
Ludo Segers | the Lithuania Tribune
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
During its second day, the Vilnius Democracy Forum moved into high gear with two panel discussions that saw expert insight into various threats to democracy. As autocratic regimes figure high on the list of threats to democracy, Putin's Russia, China and even North Korea were never far from the discussion.
Ramunas Vilpisauskas moderating the morning session at the Vilnius Democracy Forum Photo Ludo Segers
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Monday afternoon saw about 200 academics, political scientists, diplomats, members of the Seimas (parliament), democracy promoting think-thanks and action groups gathering in the Presidential Palace in Vilnius for the start of a two-day conference to discuss democracy or the lack thereof, particularly east of the Lithuanian border.
Russian public and opposition figures who took part in the Free Russia Forum in Vilnius said that Russia needed new opposition forces, as its society has turned its back on the currently divided political forces that oppose the Kremlin.
At Lithuanian parliamentarians' initiative, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons by Chechen authorities and called for an investigation into the matter.
An incident in which a smoke grenade was thrown at the Lithuanian embassy in Kiev could have been a provocation instigated by Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in Vilnius on Monday.
The Belarusian airspace was last week violated by a light airplane P46T piloted by a Danish citizen that had taken off from the Vilnius airport, chiefs of the Lithuanian state company Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation) and the Civil Aviation Administration.