Consolidated Democracy
DEMOCRACY-PERCENTAGE Democracy Percentage 77.98 100
DEMOCRACY-SCORE Democracy Score 5.68 7
Last Year's Democracy Percentage & Status
77 100 Consolidated Democracy
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0-100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic. See the methodology.

header1 Author

Ieva Petronytė-Urbonavičienė

header2 Score changes in 2023

  • Civil Society rating improved from 6.00 to 6.25 due to a multiyear trend of improvements to the legal, financial, and reputational sustainability of nongovernmental organizations, exemplified by improved cooperation between civil society and the government during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As a result, Lithuania's Democracy Score improved from 5.64 to 5.68.

header3 Executive Summary

Lithuania experienced another consecutive year of multiple crises in 2022. Issues around the COVID-19 pandemic and “illegal migration” from 2021 were still at the top of the political agenda at the beginning of the year. After Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine commenced on February 24, multifarious support for the attacked country and its people, as well as concerns for Lithuania’s own national defense, started to dominate and overlap many other topics for national and local government agendas, the media, and ordinary citizens alike. The situation was further complicated by a crisis in energy prices1 and record-high inflation.2 However, these challenges did not hinder the democratic character of the country, and to some degree caused even greater societal cohesion and focus on joint action as a result.3

All main Lithuanian institutions provided substantial and unwavering support to war-torn Ukraine during the year in sweeping ways: by condemning Russia’s actions, expressing solidarity with Ukraine,4 advocating its interests at various diplomatic levels (on the question of Ukraine’s European Union [EU] membership, for example) and in the public sphere, providing humanitarian support and munitions,5 and supporting tough sanctions against and seeking legal accountability for Russia.6

Significant and various forms of state support, both at the national and municipal levels, were complemented by civil society actions. These demonstrated, as in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the self-mobilizing power of Lithuania’s civil society in a time of need. Civil society organizations (CSOs) reaffirmed their importance in crisis management and fundraised record sums of money, even over the course of a few days.7 Thousands of individuals volunteered, and two-thirds of the population8 contributed either individually or through communities and organizations to assist both the people in Ukraine and its war refugees. (At the end of the year, Ukrainian refugees comprised about 2.5 percent of Lithuania’s population.9 ) Moral support was widely expressed through symbolic actions, artistic performances, and ethical consumerism, and the government’s stand on the war in Ukraine received widespread public support.10

The war in Ukraine also raised the importance of national security concerns significantly. A state of emergency was reintroduced on February 24 and extended twice.11 With 90 percent of Lithuanian’s sharing the fear that the war in Ukraine would spread to other countries,12 the portion of the 2022 state budget allocated to defense was increased from 2.05 to 2.52 percent of GDP without resistance. Additionally, a strategy for preparing Lithuanian citizens for civil resistance was approved, the paramilitary Riflemen’s Union (Šauliai) was strengthened, and an all-parliamentary agreement on defense was signed.13 The topic of national security often spilled over into other areas; for example, the national Special Investigation Service (STT) presented the fight against corruption as a matter of national security in June.14

However, the most painful spillover of national security concerns remained in the field of human rights. Migrants (mostly from the Middle East and Africa15 ) seeking to cross the Belarusian border illegally continued to be perceived as part of the Belarusian regime’s hybrid attack and were turned away. Both national and international institutions and CSOs criticized this practice. Nevertheless, the Interior Ministry and the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense staunchly defended this political course,16 which did not change until the end of the year. Meanwhile, despite facing severe criticism in the first half of the year, the conditions of accommodations for detained migrants gradually improved.

Societal attitudes towards migrants who crossed the Belarusian border into Lithuania contrasted sharply with the positive and open attitude towards Ukrainian war refugees.17 In fact, public opinion research indicated that the overall openness of society towards the provision of assistance to refugees had increased, while social distancing in relation to other migrant groups, such as Iraqis, Syrians, and Muslims, had decreased.18

In the context of strong public solidarity with Ukraine, another inter-ethnic distrust towards Russians grew. Yet the potential strife between ethnic groups was contained by clear and unambiguous public reminders from top leaders that Lithuanian Russians (who constitute 5 percent of Lithuania’s population) are an integral part of the community and citizens of Lithuania first.19 The actions of some well-known Lithuanian Russian-speakers and Russian communities, who declared their pro-Ukrainian stance, helped to further alleviate tensions,20 allowing the public to understand the diversity of this minority group in Lithuania. At the same time, an acknowledgment that not all of the Russian minority takes the same approach21 and the portrayal of Russians in the media22 caused some distrust; at year’s end, researchers reported that the attitudes of 75 percent of the population towards Russians had worsened, and social distance in relation to this group had risen quickly during the year.23 This distrust was especially visible towards newly arriving Russians,24 while Russia as a country had become even less favorably viewed by Lithuanians.25

In the context of war, there was a sharp rise in the question of whether freedom of speech protections extend to disinformation, warmongering, and inciting discord. Lithuania firmly rejected this notion and adopted the public position that a lie is not “another opinion.” The country took measures to prohibit the rebroadcast of Russian state media and introduced stricter supervision of other sources on the internet, while efforts were made to offer new sources of information.26 Some observers worried that these tighter controls could set a dangerous precedent for other contexts. Meanwhile, disinformation debunking initiatives and investigative journalism continued to grow stronger and provided accurate and objective information on various topics during the year.

The cleavage of traditional versus liberal values that was prevalent in 2021 was much less prominent in 2022. This change is due partly to the internally uniting geopolitical context and the diminished mobilizing power of the right-wing Lithuanian Family Movement (LŠS, Lietuvos šeimų sąjūdis). However, this sharp division was still visible in the Seimas, Lithuania’s unicameral parliament, where the opposition tried to delay the hearing and adoption of liberal laws (namely, the Law on Civil Union, which includes same-sex couples27 ) by arguing that society should not be further divided in the face of war. The governing liberal Freedom Party (LP, Laisvės partija) and Liberals’ Movement (LRLS, Liberalų sąjūdis), on the other hand, emphasized the need to “finally establish the values of free Western society” in the clash between a democratic West and authoritarian cultures of the East.28 Since the most triggering laws have yet to be adopted—in particular, the Civil Union law, which passed the first reading in the Seimas but lacked firm support even among the governing coalition partners LRLS and the center-right TS-LKD (Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats) and was destined for further committee discussions29 —the active potential remains for future cleavages.

The multiple crises in Lithuania slowed the country’s progress on major reforms—namely, in civil service, education, and health provision—and even suspended others, like tax reform, altogether. However, the Seimas still managed to pass a number of important laws, and the government was able to execute important decisions.30 These included constitutional amendments on age and other criteria for parliamentary candidacy as well as the newly adopted electoral code. Additionally, a loophole in referendum regulations, which had opened up the previous year, was closed albeit without substantive improvements to the law.

Other important legislation passed in 2022 related to minority groups in Lithuania: the parliament finally allowed ethnic minorities to officially write their names with some non-Lithuanian letters,31 and in December, a long-awaited reform of the disability system was introduced.32 Although largely symbolic, some steps were taken towards greater recognition of sexual minorities.33 And by the end of the year, the Seimas had approved €37 million in compensation claims for Jewish personal property expropriated in earlier eras by the Nazis and Soviets.34

The parliament also introduced a new model of local self-government power-sharing and imposed stricter legal requirements for public electoral committees. These changes could affect local democratic governance practices after the local elections in 2023. This is particularly significant given that municipalities attained greater financial and managerial independence in 2022.

The spheres of judicial independence and corruption experienced relatively few changes during the year. Lithuania’s justice system remained at or above the EU average in efficiency and quality. However, courts continued to raise the issue of underfunding, while public trust in the court system, diminished since 2019,35 remained quite low.36 Meanwhile the lengthy process of high-profile corruption cases, coupled with court decisions that have fallen short of public expectations, met with controversy. In 2022, new strategic planning and approaches were formalized and implemented as part of the ongoing fight against corruption; with these preventive measures in place, experts are now calling for some practical results.

  • 1Reaching peak in the summer, for example, Lithuanian Energy Agency, “Elektros energijos rinkoje – išskirtinė situacija” [An exceptional situation in the electricity market], Lithuanian Energy Agency, 09 August 2022,…. On the yearly dynamic of prices of electricity, gas, gasoline, diesel and biofuel see Lithuanian Energy Agency, “Energetikos duomenų apžvalga” [Overview of energy data], Lithuanian Energy Agency, 16-22 December 2022,….
  • 2Yearly inflation reached even 24,1 percent in its peak in September. State Data Agency, “Annual changes in consumer prices (annual inflation)”, State Data Agency, July-December 2022,… [viewed on 4 January 2023]. According to the EU-harmonised index of consumer prices, Lithuania’s average annual inflation was 18.9 per cent in 2022. State Data Agency, “Changes in prices calculated based on harmonised index of consumer prices”, State Data Agency, 10 January 2023,
  • 3For example, Civic Empowerment Index 2022 research demonstrated that although society remained polarized along the lines of liberal-traditional values, the issue of support for Ukraine united these groups. Civil Society Institute, „Pilietinės galios indeksas 2022 m.“ [Civic Empowerment Index 2022], Civil Society Institute, January 2023,, p.30.
  • 4For example, like number of resolutions adopted unanimously in Seimas: Resolution on the aggression of Russia and Belarus against Ukraine (on February 24th), Resolution Regarding the granting of candidate-country status to Ukraine and Ukraine's full membership in the European Union (on March 10th), Resolution for proactive measures to ensure the safety of the Ukrainian civilian population and critical infrastructure (on March 17th), Resolution Condemning the Russian Federation's aggression and war crimes in Ukraine (on April 12th), Resolution recognizing the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people (on May 10th), Resolution on full support for Ukraine's victory, accelerating its membership in the European Union and ensuring safe navigation in the Black Sea (on June 9th), Resolution on the abduction and illegal deportation of Ukrainians by the Russian Federation (on June 16th). Jadvyga Bieliavska, ELTA, “Iš Lietuvos Seimo – jau ketvirtoji Ukrainą palaikanti rezoliucija” [From the Seimas of Lithuania - already the fourth resolution supporting Ukraine],, 12 April 2022,…; Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “The Seimas has unanimously recognised the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people”,, 10 May 2022,; Jadvyga Bieliavska, ELTA, “Seimo rezoliucija: palaikys Ukrainą iki pergalės” [Seimas resolution: will support Ukraine until victory],, 9 June 2022,…; Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas adopted a resolution on the abduction and unlawful deportation of Ukrainians by the Russian Federation”,, 16 June 2022,
  • 5In December, Minister of National Defense stated that Lithuania's aid to Ukraine amounts to 660 million. EUR, of which 240 million EUR consists military support. According to the calculations of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Lithuania was 3rd worldwide according to government support in percentages of GDP. Augustas Stankevičius, BNS, “Anušauskas: Lietuvos parama Ukrainai siekia 660 mln. eurų, iš jų 240 mln. eurų – karinė” [Anušauskas: Lithuania's support to Ukraine amounts to 660 million EUR, of which 240 million euro – military support],, 6 December 2022,…; Kiel Institute For The World Economy, “Ukraine Support Tracker”, Kiel Institute For The World Economy, update on 21 February 2023,….
  • 6In 2022, Lithuania sought to bring Russia to justice for its actions in Ukraine in various ways, for example, by turning to International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, by calling EU (together with other Baltic countries) to establish a Special Tribunal, or by launching a pre-trial investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes., BNS, “Lithuania turns to Hague court over Russia, Belarus military aggression in Ukraine”,, 28 February 2022,…; Ignas Jačauskas, BNS, “Baltics call to establish special tribunal to probe Russia’s crime of aggression”,, 17 October 2022,…; Prosecutor General‘s Office, “Generalinė prokuratūra pradėjo ikiteisminį tyrimą dėl nusikaltimų žmoniškumui ir karo nusikaltimų / EN” [The General Prosecutor's Office opened a pre-trial investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes / EN], Prosecutor General‘s Office, 3 March 2022,….
  • 7See CS section.
  • 8“Kantar”, “„Kantar“ „Karo barometras“: gyventojai sunerimę ir – itin susitelkę” [Kantar's War Barometer: Residents are worried and extremely united], “Kantar”, 8 April 2022,…; “Kantar”, “„„Kantar“ „Karo barometras“: nerimas dėl karo lenkia rūpestį dėl infliacijos” [Kantar's War Barometer: Worries over war overtake worries about inflation], “Kantar”, 1 June 2022,…; “Kantar”, “„Kantar“ Karo barometras: lietuviai finansiškai kol kas mažiausiai įsitempę tarp kaimyninių šalių” [Kantar’s War Barometer: Lithuanians are the least financially stressed among neighboring countries so far], “Kantar”, 21 July 2022,….
  • 9More than 70 thousand in total, State Data Agency, “War Refugees from Ukraine”, State Data Agency, viewed on 2 January 2023, As in August, Lithuania had the 4th largest share of Ukrainian refugees by population size in Europe. Arianna Antezza, André Frank, Pascal Frank, Lukas Franz, Ivan Kharitonov, Bharath Kumar, Ekaterina Rebinskaya, Christoph Trebesch, “The Ukraine Support Tracker: Which countries help Ukraine and how?”, Kiel Institute For The World Economy, August 2022,, p. 38.
  • 10For example, surveyed in April-May, 69 percent of the respondents indicated favoring the government's response to the war (EU average – 45 percent), 88 percent supported financial and 84 – military aid to Ukraine (EU average - 80 and 67 percent), 86 approved sanctions for Russia (EU average – 80 percent). BNS, “Du iš trijų lietuvių patenkinti Lietuvos reakcija į karą Ukrainoje” [Two out of three Lithuanians are satisfied with Lithuania's reaction to the war in Ukraine],, 19 June 2022,…;, “Eurobarometras: lietuviai – skeptiškiausi vertinant ES vieningą atsaką į karą Ukrainoje” [Eurobarometer: Lithuanians are the most skeptical of the EU's unified response to the war in Ukraine],, 5 May 2022,….
  • 11In December, the state of emergency extended - at least only along the border – until mid of March, 2023. The former state of emergency, which was declared in 2021 due to migration crisis, ended in mid-January, 2022. Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas pritarė pratęsti nepaprastąją padėtį Lietuvos pasienyje su Baltarusija ir” [Seimas approved the extension of the state of emergency on the Lithuanian border with Belarus and], Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 14 December 2022,…; Ignas Jačauskas, BNS, “Vyriausybė – už nepaprastąją padėtį Rusijos, Baltarusijos pasienyje iki kovo 16-osios” [Government - for the state of emergency on the border of Russia and Belarus until March 16],, 30 November 2022,….
  • 12Lithuanians being one of the most concerned societies in EU regarding this matter. ELTA, “Apklausa: Lietuvoje 90 proc. gyventojų baiminasi, kad karas Ukrainoje išplis į kitas šalis” [Survey: 90 percent of the population in Lithuania fear that the war in Ukraine will spread to other countries],, 12 January 2023,….
  • 13In the case of inter-party agreement on defense, LVŽS’s stance is worth a short note, as protesting governing majority’s liberal policies, it tried to use the signing of the agreement as power-leverage, but failed and signed the document later nevertheless. Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “State budget expenditure on defense to increase to 2.52 per cent of GDP”,, 17 March 2022,…; Ramūnas Jakubauskas, “Gynybos biudžetas fiksuojamas dabartiniame lygyje – iki 3 proc. BVP kol kas neaugs. Ar to pakanka?” [The defense budget is fixed at the current level - up to 3 percent. GDP will not grow yet. Is that enough?],, 6 October 2022,…;, “Seimas pritarė Lietuvos piliečių rengimo pilietiniam pasipriešinimui strategijai” [Seimas approved the strategy of preparing Lithuanian citizens for civil resistance],, 17 May 2022,…; BNS, “Parlamentarai ketina priimti rengimo pilietiniam pasipriešinimui strategiją” [The parliamentarians intend to adopt a strategy of preparation for civil resistance],, 17 May 2022,…; BNS, “Seimas išplėtė Šaulių sąjungos veiklą” [Seimas expanded the scope of the Riflemen's Union],, 8 November 2022,…; Milena Andrukaitytė, BNS, “Partijos pasirašė naują susitarimą dėl gynybos: sieks išlaikyti finansavimą” [Parties signed new defense agreement: will seek to maintain funding],, 15 July 2022,…; Modesta Gaučaitė-Znutienė,, “Karbauskis susitarimą dėl gynybos pasirašys, bet išsakė vieną sąlygą: jo ir Landsbergio parašo tame pačiame lape nebus” [Karbauskis will sign the defense agreement, but he expressed one condition: his and Landsbergis’ signatures will not be on the same page], 14 October 2022,….
  • 14Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Korupcija – grėsmė nacionaliniam saugumui. Seimo Nacionalinio saugumo ir gynybos komitetui pristatyta STT 2021 metų veikla” [Corruption is a threat to national security. STT activities in 2021 were presented to the National Security and Defense Committee of the Seimas], Special Investigation Service, 22 June 2022,….
  • 15From countries such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mali, Somali, Yemen mostly. Second Investigation Department under Ministry of National Defense, State Security Department of Lithuania, “Grėsmių nacionaliniam saugumui vertinimas 2022” [Assessment of threats to national security 2022], Second Investigation Department under Ministry of National Defense, State Security Department of Lithuania, 2022,, p.61.
  •, “L. Kasčiūnas: migrantų apgręžimas apsaugo mūsų valstybę” [L. Kasčiūnas: turning away migrants protects our country],, 28 December 2021,….
  • 1780 percent of population agreeing to accept war-refugees from Ukraine. Media4Change, “Visuomenės nuostatų apklausa: kaip keičiasi požiūris į pabėgėlius ir migrantus iš ne ES šalių?” [Survey on public attitudes: how are the attitudes towards refugees and migrants from non-EU countries changing?], Media4Change, 16 November 2022,….
  • 18Ibid.
  • 19Latter joined by the other officials as well. Roberta Tracevičiūtė, “I.Šimonytė kreipėsi į gyventojus: ragina nenukreipti pykčio į rusus ir baltarusius” [I. Šimonytė appealed to the residents: urges not to direct anger at Russians and Belarusians],, 1 March 2022,…; ELTA, “Bilotaitė: Lietuvos rusai neatsakingi už karą Ukrainoje” [Bilotaitė: Lithuanian Russians are not responsible for the war in Ukraine],, 8 March 2022,…;, “Remigijus Šimašius: kiekvienas, kuris užgaulios rusakalbius Lietuvoje, yra niekšas” [Remigius Šimašius: anyone who insults Russian-speakers in Lithuania is a scoundrel],, 28 February 2022,…; Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, “Lygių galimybių kontrolierė: agresija prieš rusakalbius yra nepateisinama” [Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson: Aggression against Russian-speakers is unjustified], Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, 4 March 2022,…; Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “Lietuvos rusų bendruomenės atstovai ragina stiprinti patriotinį ugdymą rusų mokyklose” [Representatives of the Lithuanian Russian community call for strengthening patriotic education in Russian schools],, 14 March 2022,….
  •, “Lietuvoje gyvenantys rusai prašo nutraukti karą: sako jaučiantys gėdą ir kaltę” [Russians living in Lithuania ask for an end to the war: they say they feel shame and guilt],, 2 March 2022,…;, “O. Šurajevas: Lietuvos rusai yra kitokie – jie yra ne V. Putino rusai” [O. Šurajevas: Lithuanian Russians are different - they are not V. Putin's Russians],, 28 April 2022,…; Aurelija Babinskienė,, “Rusakalbiai Visagino jaunuoliai: mes jaučiamės lietuviais” [Russian-speaking young people of Visaginas: we feel Lithuanians],, 24 December 2022,….
  • 21For example,, “O. Šurajevas: Lietuvos rusai yra kitokie – jie yra ne V. Putino rusai” [O. Šurajevas: Lithuanian Russians are different - they are not V. Putin's Russians],, 28 April 2022,….
  • 22Žinių radijas, “Teigia, kad Lietuvoje yra trys „nematomos grupės“: tai – pavojinga tendencija” [Claims that there are three "invisible groups" in Lithuania: this is a dangerous trend],, 31 December 2022,….
  • 23The proportion of respondents who would not want to live next door to Russians raised from 6 to 16 percent, who would not want to lend them apartment – from 10 to 23 percent, who would not want to work with Russians – from 5 to 14 percent. Giedrė Blažytė, Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Diversity Development Group, “Visuomenės nuostatos etninių ir religinių grupių atžvilgiu: 2022 m.” [Public attitudes towards ethnic and religious groups: 2022], Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Diversity Development Group, 18 November 2022,…;…. The expert’s comment also: Natalija Zverko,, “Tautinių mažumų departamento vadovė Montvydaitė: tendencijos rusų atžvilgiu Lietuvoje neraminančios ir net pavojingos” [Head of the Department of National Minorities, Montvydaitė: trends towards Russians in Lithuania are disturbing and even dangerous],, 9 December 2022,…;, “Sukėlė nerimą: lietuvių požiūris keičiasi net į mūsų šalyje gyvenančius rusus” [Caused concern: the attitude of Lithuanians is changing even towards the Russians living in our country],, 16 December 2022,…. Also see:, “Ragina nediskriminuoti: Lietuvos rusai yra tokie patys piliečiai, kaip ir visi” [Calls for non-discrimination: Lithuanian Russians are the same citizens as everyone else],, 2 March 2022, https://
  • 24By 62 percent of population supporting the ban on visas for Russians in September. Aida Murauskaitė,, “„Sunyko iliuzijos, kad tai yra tik Putino karas“: šeši iš dešimties lietuvių pritaria vizų rusams uždraudimui” ["Illusions that this is only Putin's war have disappeared": six out of ten Lithuanians support the ban on visas for Russians],, 25 October 2022,….
  • 2590 percent unfavorable assessment in November. Gytis Pankūnas,, “Lietuviai palankiausiai vertina Lenkiją ir Vokietiją, požiūris į Rusiją dar labiau blogėja – net 9 iš 10 į agresorę žiūri neigiamai” [Lithuanians evaluate Poland and Germany most favorably, the attitude towards Russia worsens even more - even 9 out of 10 view the aggressor negatively],, 2 January 2023,….
  • 26Quite in line with this was the numerous public and private initiatives to remove the remaining Soviet monuments from the public space and adoption of the law, prohibiting the promotion of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and their ideology in public spaces. Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “Lietuva uždraudė propaguoti totalitarinius ir autoritarinius režimus” [Lithuania has banned the promotion of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes],, 13 December 2022,….
  • 27However, it is noteworthy, that some other more liberal legislative amendments, like, for example, abandoning the eternal freezing of assisted-fertilization-embryos, were successfully adopted. Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimo Pirmininkės Viktorijos Čmilytės-Nielsen ir Seimo nario Armino Lydekos pranešimas: „Pagalbinis apvaisinimas nuo šiol bus liberalesnis ir žmogiškesnis“” [The announcement of the Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen and the member of the Seimas Arminas Lydeka: "Assisted fertilization will be more liberal and humane from now on"],, 24 May 2022,; Modesta Gaučaitė-Znutienė,, “Seimas nutarė – pagalbiniam apvaisinimui sukurtų embrionų nebereikės saugoti amžinai” [Seimas decided that embryos created for assisted fertilization will no longer need to be stored forever],, 24 May 2022,….
  • 28Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “Premjerė apie siūlymą braukti iš programos partnerystę: kolegos negerbia Seimo” [Prime Minister on the proposal to delete partnership from the agenda: colleagues do not respect Seimas], BNS, 22 March 2022,;, “Karbauskis pritaria gynybos susitarimo turiniui, bet jo nepasirašys: atsisako prisidėti dėl valdančiųjų „prastumtų“ skaldančių įstatymų” [Karbauskis approves the content of the Defense Agreement, but will not sign it: he refuses to contribute because of the divisive laws "pushed through" by the government majority],, 15 July 2022,….
  • 29Indrė Jurčenkaitė, “Tos pačios lyties porų sąjungos projektas sulaukė paramos Seime: kurie politikai išgelbėjo?” [The project of same-sex couple union received support in the Seimas: which politicians saved?],, 31 May 2022,…; Roberta Tracevičiūtė, “Partnerystės įstatymas Seimo salės vis nepasiekia: arklius stabdo ir susvyravę savi?” [The law on partnership still does not reach the halls of the Seimas: are the horses held back by the wobbling partners as well?],, 9 November 2022,….
  • 30Like the increase of energy-security and adoption of the previously planned law introducing new crisis management model, or, in the economic sphere, the adoption of a package of anti-inflationary measures and decisions on energy-prices compensations for residents and businesses. Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas patvirtino vėjo elektrinių jūroje plėtrą ir didesnius energijos gamybos iš atsinaujinančių išteklių tikslus” [Seimas approved the development of offshore wind farms and higher goals for energy production from renewable resources],, 31 March 2022,; BNS, “Prezidentas pasirašė atsinaujinančios energetikos skatinimo įstatymų paketą” [President signed a package of laws for the promotion of renewable energy],, 7 July 2022,…; Augustas Stankevičius, Sniegė Balčiūnaitė, BNS, “Seimas pritarė naujam krizių valdymo modeliui, bus steigiamas centras” [Seimas approved a new crisis management model, a center will be established],, 8 December 2022,…; BNS, “Priimtas pataisytas biudžetas: daugiau pinigų skirta pensijoms, elektros ir dujų kainų kompensavimui” [The revised budget was adopted: more money is allocated to pensions, compensation of electricity and gas prices],, 17 May 2022,…; Valdas Pryšmantas, BNS, “G.Nausėda: Vyriausybė ir Seimas priėmė gerus sprendimus dėl pagalbos visuomenei” [G.Nausėda: The Government and the Seimas made good decisions regarding assistance to the public],, 28 December 2022,….
  • 31Lithuanian Poles missed the legalization of diacritical marks nevertheless. The Government explained this lack as a consequence of technical unpreparedness of the systems and promised it in the future. BNS, “Seimas įteisino „x“, „w“ ir „q“ raides asmens dokumentuose” [Seimas legalized the letters "x", "w" and "q" in personal documents],, 18 January 2022,….
  • 32Disability and capacity for work Service under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, “The Seimas agreed: a major reform for people with disabilities will begin next year”, Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 21 December 2022,….
  • 33Ignas Jačauskas,, BNS, „Naujovės kraujo donorystės srityje: nuo gegužės homoseksualūs žmonės galės duoti kraujo“ [News in the field of blood donation: from May, homosexual people will be allowed to donate blood],…; Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, „Gerės translyčių asmenų teisinė padėtis“ [The legal status of transgender people will improve], Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 31 December 2021,
  • 34At the same time annoying former prime ministers among some other politicians, who considered the issue already settled. BNS, “Seimas skyrė 37 mln. Eur kompensacijų už nusavintą asmeninį žydų turtą” [Seimas allocated 37 million EUR compensation for expropriated Jewish personal property],, 20 December 2022,…; Milena Andrukaitytė, Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “S.Skvernelis, A.Butkevičius: naujos kompensacijos žydams „atidarys Pandoros skrynią“” [S. Skvernelis, A. Butkevičius: new compensations for Jews will "open Pandora's box"],, 15 November 2022,….
  • 35See NIT2020.
  • 36On average, 24 percent trusted and 31 percent did not trust the courts according the surveys during the year.

header4 At-A-Glance

In Lithuania, national governance is democratic and stable, with a system of checks and balances in place to ensure accountability and prevent abuse of power. However, institutions still lack greater openness and cooperation with civil society in decision-making. Elections are free and fair, although at the local level, competitiveness in some municipalities is limited by entrenched political forces. Civil society is independent, and while not very active under normal conditions, the sector has demonstrated a high degree of self-mobilization under extraordinary circumstances. CSOs enjoy increasing public trust and growing partnerships with public authorities, businesses, and within the sector, but many still face funding difficulties. Generally, the media operate freely, yet there have been isolated incidents of politicians attempting to restrict press freedom, as well as cases of political and business pressure, especially at the local level. Though local self-governments operate freely, the system is highly centralized. Municipalities have only limited independence (legislative amendments in 2022 should bring greater financial and managerial independence), and, as in years past, the lowest level of self-government remains disabled. The principle of equality before the law is maintained by an effective justice system. However, low funding and public distrust in courts remain concerning issues. While the public’s experience of bribe-giving has decreased significantly over the last decade, the perception of corruption in some institutions (such as health care, courts, and the parliament) remains high. This is also confirmed by “grand corruption” scandals that often undergo lengthy court proceedings but are ultimately overturned.

National Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the democratic character of the governmental system; and the independence, effectiveness, and accountability of the legislative and executive branches. 5.506 7.007
  • After the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Lithuania’s governing parliamentary majority, the opposition, the government, and the president all took a remarkably united position by collectively condemning the Russian invasion, organizing support for Ukraine and Ukrainian people, and vowing to strengthen Lithuania’s national defense.1 However, the diversity of opinions on other topics in Lithuania did not disappear: voices of dissent were still heard between and within the country’s main institutions, indicating continuing political and social competition marked by moments of heightened internal tension and disagreements.
  • Appeals by the government (specifically, coalition partner TS-LKD) and the president to the power-center in Lithuania’s semi-presidential political system brought ongoing discord between the two institutions during the year. President Gitanas Nausėda continued to position himself as a protector of the common people and a counterweight to the government.2 Increased focus on international issues in the political agenda gave him more visibility and informal levers of power as the country’s current most popular political figure.3 The government, on the other side, actively dealt with a wave of crises during the year,4 firmly backed by the majority in the Seimas, Lithuania’s unicameral parliament. Disharmony between the branches of power was exacerbated by mutual public criticisms,5 rejected proposals,6 and limited direct communication between Nausėda and Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.7 However, despite prolonged disagreements, consensus was finally found on important judicial and international appointments, such as judges to the Supreme Court (LAT, Lietuvos Aukščiausiasis Teismas), Ambassador to the European Union (EU), and a candidate member for the European Court of Auditors.8 Furthermore, towards the end of the year, both sides reluctantly acknowledged that the main governance decisions adopted in 2022 were appropriate.9
  • Similarly, parliamentarians from both the governing coalition and opposition parties voted together to adopt major decisions regarding the country’s defense, energy security, resolutions related to the war in Ukraine, constitutional amendments, and other important matters.10 However, at the same time, the opposition occasionally complained about the governing majority’s arrogance and disregard for other opinions.11 A low point in relations came in June when the majority played with procedural rules to keep the interpellated Minister of Agriculture in office. In response, the opposition parties boycotted parliamentary sessions for two weeks, leaving the Seimas hall and holding separate meetings in another area of the parliament, the historic Act of March 11th (“Independence”) hall.12 The opposition also actively criticized the governing majority during the year’s biggest domestic scandals, the Kaliningrad transit crisis in June–July13 and the public conflict between the Interior Minister and the former head of the Public Security Service in October.14
  • In 2022, the opposition held three no-confidence votes against the Agriculture Minister Kęstutis Navickas,15 Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys,16 and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, respectively.17 All retained their posts, setting a new record since the restoration of independence for a government cabinet to reach the term’s halfway mark intact.18 Experts viewed this as reflecting the year’s extraordinary circumstances, and strong leadership from PM Šimonytė.19 Likewise, intentions to initiate a no-confidence vote for the entire government at once lacked support, even among opposition parties.20
  • Despite cases of open annoyance within the coalition in the previous year, the alliance between the largest parliamentary party, the conservative TS-LKD, and its two liberal partners, LRLS and LP, remained strong. Smaller coalition partners noted cases of unequal treatment and inadequate coordination of decisions,21 and LP was especially disappointed with the lack of support for its liberal law proposals (like the introduction of civil union for same-sex couples, and the decriminalization of soft drugs).22 Although TS-LKD was occasionally dissatisfied with its partners, this did not escalate into more serious discord among the coalition partners. For example, the TS-LKD presidium claimed in a statement that LP violated the coalition agreement in voting for the budget proposal not approved by the government, but it did not threaten the overall stability of the coalition.23 As the largest coalition party, TS-LKD itself was publicly shaken by cases of internal disunity,24 which it addressed directly.25 This diminished the number of coalition mandates from 74 to 73 in the 141-seat Seimas by year’s end.
  • The parliamentary opposition remained fragmented during the year.26 In January, the former prime minister in the previous LVŽS government, Saulius Skvernelis, established his own “economically center-left, socio-culturally moderately conservative”27 party, DSVL.28 The new party enlisted national and municipal-level former members of LVŽS29 as well as LSDP,30 TS-LKD,31 and other parties.32 DSVL instantly rose in the ratings as one of the three most popular parties during the year, along with TS-LKD and the oldest left-wing party, LSDP, thereby besting LVŽS for the country’s center-left votes.33
Electoral Process 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines national executive and legislative elections, the electoral framework, the functioning of multiparty systems, and popular participation in the political process. 6.256 7.007
  • Although no elections took place in Lithuania in 2022, a few important changes to electoral regulations were adopted. In April, a united Seimas adopted 3 constitutional amendments, which is noteworthy since only 12 articles of the constitution have been changed in the past 30 years.1 The first amendment related to a 2022 Constitutional Court decision to relegitimize direct mayoral elections, which had been introduced in 2015.2 The next amendment reflected the broader aim to encourage younger participation in politics, lowering the age for candidacy to the Seimas to 21 years.3 The final amendment allows individuals to run for constitutionally sworn office 10 years after impeachment. This amendment implements a 2011 European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision on Lithuania’s impeached former president Rolandas Paksas; the court had ruled that the previous lifelong prohibition from running for office for impeached officials was disproportionate.4
  • In June, the Seimas adopted an electoral code, a constitutional law drafted by a special parliamentary working group5 that consolidated previously separate election statutes.6 The new regulations unify principles of election organization, shorten the campaign ban period, extend the number of early voting days, expand advertising regulation, reduce election deposits,7 and encourage more active diaspora voting with the possibility of additional single-mandate constituencies elsewhere in the world,8 among other measures.9 These changes did not engender much debate, with the government, Seimas lawyers, and some opposition representatives only raising objections that the regulations seemed too insignificant for a constitutional law.10
  • The amendments to the Law on Political Organizations were much more controversial, as they helped level the playing field for competitors and tightened requirements for establishing public electoral committees ahead of the municipal elections in March 2023. For both European Parliament and municipal elections, the changes require that electoral committees be established as legal units and set up before the start of the election campaign, with the minimum number of signatures set to at least 0.1 percent of residents of the respective municipality,11 or 1,000 residents for EP elections (the minimum number of signatures to found political parties remains 2,000).12 These changes were widely criticized for introducing more bureaucracy and discouraging the participation of citizens as nonpartisan candidates13 —the exact criticisms raised in a presidential veto that was nonetheless rejected by the Seimas.14 The parliament relented somewhat after another veto, temporarily allowing less strict registration deadlines for electoral committees before the 2023 elections.15 By the end of the year, statistics from the Central Electoral Commission (VRK, Vyriausioji rinkimų komisija) showed that the tightened regulations had had an effect: the number of registered electoral committees decreased significantly.16 Some committees decried the new regulation as unconstitutional, violating their citizen’s right to political representation.17
  • In June, the Seimas adopted the Law on Referendums as a constitutional law,18 filling a legal vacuum created in the previous year.19 However, the law did not encompass fundamental changes that would make it easier for citizens to exercise this right.20 Meanwhile, the Law on Petitions, updated in December, expanded the list of institutions to which petitions may be submitted and which must consider them, and the publicity and transparency of the petition review process was increased.21
  • 1“Lietuvos Respublikos konstitucija” [Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania], 25 October 1992,….
  • 2Though direct mayoral elections were already held in 2015 and 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled in 2021 that such a process should be introduced not by a regular law (as it was done), but with the constitutional amendment. This was done in 2022. Under pressure of KT decision and broad public support for the direct mayors’ elections, opposition parties succumbed to the more concise wording proposed by governing majority, moving related and more debates raising regulation of mayors’ powers to a lower-rank law. Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Konstitucijos pataisomis įteisinti tiesioginiai merų rinkimai” [Direct elections of mayors are legalized by constitutional amendments],, 21 April 2022,; Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, “Dėl savivaldybių merų rinkimų ir įgaliojimų” [Regarding the elections and powers of municipal mayors],, 19 April 2021,; as in April 2021, 83 percent of the respondents indicated support for the direct elections of the mayors. Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, “Galimybė tiesiogiai rinkti merą paskatintų daugiau gyventojų dalyvauti rinkimuose” [The possibility of directly electing the mayor would encourage more residents to participate in the elections], Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, 4 May 2021,; Indrė Jurčenkaitė, “A.Vyšniauskas: „Meras nebus juostelių karpytojas“, bus „tikras savivaldybės ūkininkas“” [A. Vyšniauskas: "The mayor will not be a ribbon cutter", he will be a "real host of the municipality"],, 21 April 2022,….
  • 3Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Priimta Konstitucijos pataisa leis į Seimą kandidatuoti nuo 21 metų” [The adopted amendment to the Constitution will make it possible to run for the Seimas from the age of 21],, 21 April 2022,
  • 4Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, “Konstitucijos pataisomis Seimas įgyvendino Konstitucinio Teismo nutarimą ir Europos Žmogaus Teisių Teismo sprendimą” [By amending the Constitution, the Seimas implemented the ruling of the Constitutional Court and the decision of the European Court of Human Rights],, 22 April 2022,…; The European Court of Human Rights, “Grand Chamber judgment: Permanent and irreversible disqualification of a former President from parliamentary office following his removal in impeachment proceedings was disproportionate”, 2001 January 6,….
  • 5This special working group for the revision of electoral laws was set up after 2020 Parliament elections. Initially this group considered bigger changes in 2021 (see NIT2022 report).
  • 6I.e., Seimas elections Law, Presidential elections Law, Law on Elections to the European Parliament, Municipal Council elections Law, the Central Electoral Commission Law and the Law on Financing and Financing Control of Political Campaigns.
  • 7More on the election deposits see Article 88 and 89, Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, „Lietuvos Respublikos Rinkimų kodeksas“ [Election Code of the Republic of Lithuania], 19 July 2022,….
  • 8Since 2020, one of the 71 single-member constituencies in the Lithuanian parliamentary elections is specially reserved for the diaspora - the so-called World Lithuanians, who have the right to vote and who vote in the diplomatic missions and consular offices of the Republic of Lithuania. See Article 17 for the current regulation: Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, „Lietuvos Respublikos Rinkimų kodeksas“ [Election Code of the Republic of Lithuania], 19 July 2022,….
  • 9Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas priėmė konstitucinį įstatymą – Rinkimų kodeksą” [Seimas adopted a constitutional law - the Election Code],, 23 June 2022,
  • 10Milena Andrukaitytė, BNS, “Seimas sutraukė rinkimų įstatymus į vieną, sugriežtino komitetų veiklą” [Seimas consolidated the election laws into one, tightened the regulation of the electoral committees],, 23 June 2022,….
  • 11Not less than twice the number of council members of that municipality, however.
  • 12Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Partijoms leista steigti analitinius centrus, detaliau reglamentuotas rinkimų komitetų steigimas” [Parties are allowed to set up think tanks and the establishment of electoral committees is further regulated],, 30 June 2022,
  • 13Ramūnas Jakubauskas, “„Ačiū, Stasy“: Šiaulių ir Panevėžio merai piktinasi Seimo sprendimu dėl rinkimų komitetų” [Thank you, Stasys": the mayors of Šiauliai and Panevėžys are angry with the decision of the Seimas regarding election committees],, 16 September 2022,…; Milena Andrukaitytė, BNS, “G. Nausėda apie atmestą veto dėl rinkimų komitetų: niekas nemėgsta konkurencijos” [G. Nausėda about the rejected veto on election committees: nobody likes competition],, 16 September 2022,…; Aistė Valiauskaitė,, Vesta Tizenhauzienė, “Partijos užsimojo prieš politinius komitetus? Merai ir opozicija tvirtina – didieji žaidėjai jau nukentėjo ir bijo konkurencijos ateityje” [Parties against political committees? Mayors and the opposition claim that the big players have already suffered and are afraid of future competition],, 20 July 2022,…;, “Rinkimų kodeksą sukritikavę 5 savivaldybių merai kreipėsi į Prezidentą: įstatymų naudą partijos gaudo” [Criticizing the Election Code, 5 municipal mayors appealed to the President: the parties reap the benefits of the law],, 2 May 2022,….
  • 14Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas atmetė šalies vadovo veto dėl Politinių organizacijų įstatymo” [Seimas rejected the Head of state's veto on the Law on Political Organizations],, 15 September 2022,
  • 15Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas pritarė Respublikos Prezidento veto dėl Rinkimų kodekso” [Seimas approved the veto of the President of the Republic on the Election Code],, 19 July 2022,
  • 16Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “Dalyvauti savivaldos rinkimuose registravosi triskart mažiau komitetų nei anksčiau” [Three times less committees registered to participate in local government elections],, 13 December 2022,….
  • 17Milena Andrukaitytė, BNS, “Visuomenininkas į savivaldos rinkimus bandė registruotis senąja tvarka – VRK atmetė” [Civic activist tried to register for the municipal elections using the old procedure – VRK rejected it],, 31 October 2022,….
  • 18Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “Seimas po svarstymo pritarė Referendumo konstitucinio įstatymo projektui” [After the discussion, Seimas approved the draft constitutional law on the Referendum],,, 7 June 2022,
  • 19See NIT2022 Lithuania.
  • 20Like reducing the number of signatures needed for a citizens’ referendum initiative. One of the initiatives proposing such an amendment failed in 2022 as well: BNS, “Referendumo kartelės mažinimo iniciatoriams nepavyko surinkti reikiamo skaičiaus parašų” [The initiators of the referendum’s bar reduction failed to collect the required number of signatures],, 20 April 2022,….
  •, “Dobrowolska: kitąmet visuomenė turės platesnes galimybes peticijoms teikti” [Dobrowolska: Next year, the public will have more opportunities to submit petitions],, 23 December 2022,….
Civil Society 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses the organizational capacity and financial sustainability of the civic sector; the legal and political environment in which it operates; the functioning of trade unions; interest group participation in the policy process; and the threat posed by antidemocratic extremist groups. 6.256 7.007
  • Since 2020, Lithuania’s civil society has demonstrated cohesion, high self-mobilization, and considerable strength in times of need. The biggest civic initiatives and communal actions in 2022 were directed towards helping Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, in their homeland and as war refugees in Lithuania. Under the initiative “Strong Together,” Lithuanians offered shelter to refugees in more than 10,000 private dwellings.1 The Lithuanian Red Cross unexpectedly had to halt its three-day campaign after only a few hours, collecting more aid than logistically able to deliver.2 Five major CSOs reported more than 45,000 volunteers involved in their initiatives.3 Record high sums were donated to funds established for Ukraine assistance: in a country of 2.8 million, almost €40.5 million was donated to Blue/Yellow,4 €2.5 million to 1k5 funds, and more than €2.5 million to five major CSO initiatives.6 One particularly notable effort crowdfunded more than €5 million in three days to buy a Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicle for the Ukrainian military in response to a stalled supply of Western armaments.7
  • These mass actions were supplemented by countless private, public, and citizen-led initiatives.8 Well-known athletes, artists, and other famous professionals raised support for Ukraine by selling their trophies and works of art or donating prizes. Dozens of businesses and local communities sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine. For example, metalwork companies collected scrap metal from residents to be welded into emergency stoves sent to Ukraine.9 Businesses, and cultural, transport, scientific, and other institutions cared for war refugees by offering free services10 or raising other forms of expert support.11 By the end of the year, 58 percent of the population and 35 percent of small businesses had reported donating for such causes.12 Numerous manifestations of citizen solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians occurred: for example, around 10,000 individuals gathered for the rally “Freedom Shines” in the capital Vilnius in February.13 There was also high public visibility of Ukrainian symbols, boycotts of businesses that had not withdrawn from Russia,14 numerous symbolic public demonstrations,15 and artistic performances, among other actions.16
  • Beyond civil mobilization for Ukraine, there were other actions, including pro-democratic Belarus demonstrations throughout the year.17 In June, thousands gathered for “Baltic Pride,” a multiday festival and rally supporting the LGBT+ community.18 Uncharacteristic for the typically more passive Lithuanian context, two major strikes by trade unions broke out in 2022.19 Prominent citizen initiatives also included the usual environmental actions20 and various other protests, including by business associations, farmers, and environmentalists, as well as demonstrations on education reform, energy issues, and immigration policy.21
  • The right-wing Lithuanian Family Movement (LŠS, Lietuvos šeimų sąjūdis), which had mobilized huge crowds in 2021, discredited itself with organized booing of national leaders at an honorary public event in January22 and continued to dramatically lose support during the year.23 Even so, the denial of permits by the Vilnius municipality for some LŠS protests stirred controversy and was examined by the courts.24
  • In the current tense geopolitical situation, the Lithuanian state has become increasingly suspicious of some protests, resulting in the large mobilization of police in advance of demonstrations to maintain order.25 Increased public focus also shifted to a newly formed marginal pro-Kremlin organization.26
  • Amid Lithuania’s several major crises, the year once again showed the value and importance of CSOs to the state and society in coping with the challenges ahead. CSOs not only involved themselves heavily in actions but also forged strong intra-sectoral partnerships and alliances with the business sector and the state at national and local levels, expanding the latter’s infrastructural capabilities and increasing resilience. Recent crises have highlighted the growing strength of the civic sector, which has been gradually growing as CSOs become more organized, provide improved and better services, and actively advocate for and participate in state decision-making processes. The public image of CSOs has also improved. However, many organizations continue to face financial difficulties, especially with the high inflation in 2022.27 Some financial relief may come from an amendment to the 2004 law whereby citizens may allocate 1.2 percent of their income tax to support nonprofits, the public funds now focused solely on CSOs and excluding previously allowed state-financed institutions.28
  • 1Strong Together, “Pagalba į Lietuvą atvykstantiems karo pabėgėliams” [Help for war refugees arriving in Lithuania], Strong Together, viewed on 2 January 2023,
  • 2More than 50 trucks of warm clothes, footwear, bedding and sleeping bags in less than half of the day. Gytis Kapsevičius, “Pamatykite patys: susivieniję lietuviai per dieną ukrainiečiams surinko 50 vilkikų paramos, akcija stabdoma” [See for yourself: the united Lithuanians collected 50 truckloads of support for the Ukrainians in a day, the campaign is being stopped],, 27 February 2022,….
  • 3Lithuanian Red Cross, “Mūsų širdys ir rankos - Ukrainai!” [Our hearts and hands are for Ukraine!],, viewed on 2 January 2023,
  • 440.316.000,00 EUR as for 27th of December, 2022. Blue / Yellow, “Kovai jau surinkome” [Already collected for the fight], Blue/Yelow, viewed on 7 January 2022,
  • 52.535.000,00 EUR as for January 7, 2023. 1K Fund, “Support ukraine against russian aggression”,1K fund, viewed on 7 January 2022,
  • 62 568 981,99 EUR as for January 8, 2023, Lithuanian Red Cross, “Mūsų širdys ir rankos - Ukrainai!” [Our hearts and hands are for Ukraine!],, viewed on 2 January 2023,
  • 7Similarly more than 318.000 USD were crowd-funded for helmets and safety vests in one day of April and more than 2 million EUR for kamikaze drones in August. BBC Newsday, “Lithuanians raise over $5m to buy drone for Ukraine”,, 30 may 2022,; Andrius Tapinas FB account, “Andriaus gimtadienio dovana - šalmai ir šarvuotos liemenės Ukrainai” [Andrius’ birthday gift - helmets and armored vests for Ukraine], FB Andrius Tapinas account, 5 April 2022,…;, “Gimtadienio proga – Tapino prašymas paremti Ukrainą: surinkta suma pranoko visus lūkesčius” [On the occasion of his birthday – Tapinas’ invitation to support Ukraine: the amount collected exceeded all expectations],, 6 April 2022,…;, “Pasirašyta sutartis dėl Ukrainai skirtų dronų kamikadzių įsigijimo” [A contract signed for the purchase of kamikaze drones intended for Ukraine],, 30 September 2022,….
  • 8Much more of them than above could be mentioned, for example, the one by the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, which together with "Strong Together" collected funds and sent heaters and generators to Ukrainian museums, which became the shelters during the war. Among other types of initiatives, one can mention "Call Russia" initiative launched in Lithuania, which in the first weeks of war counted more than 180.000 calls made to Russia to inform random residents on the war and its atrocities. Lithuanian National Museum of Art, “„Stiprūs kartu“ ir Lietuvos nacionalinis dailės muziejus pradeda iniciatyvą „Sušildyk Ukrainą“” ["Strong Together" and the Lithuanian National Art Museum launch the initiative "Warm Ukraine"], Lithuanian National Museum of Art, 2 December 2022,…;
  • 9Few individual examples: Rūta Mikšionienė „Lietuvos rytas“, “Gimtadienio proga parėmė Ukrainą – darbus apie karą kūrė nuo pat Krymo užpuolimo” [On the occasion of his birthday, he supported Ukraine - he has been creating works about the war since the invasion of Crimea],, 8 May 2022,…;, Žmonė, “Aukcione parduotas diskas su Virgilijaus ir Mykolo Aleknų parašais: įsigijo garsus verslininkas” [A disc with the signatures of Virgilius and Mykolas Aleknos was sold at auction: it was bought by a famous businessman],, 24 August 2022,…; Rytis Zemkauskas, “Kolega Rytis Zemkauskas: šiemet gautą Petro Babicko premiją paaukojau Ukrainai” [Colleague Rytis Zemkauskas: I donated the Petras Babickas prize received this year to Ukraine], Union of Lithuanian Journalists , 28 May 2022,…. Other examples: Aina Mizgirdė,, “Krosneles ukrainiečiams gamina iš ratlankių – šiauliečiai siunčia šilumą kariams ir civiliams” [Stoves for Ukrainians are made from rims - the people of Šiauliai send heat to soldiers and civilians],, 08 December 2022,…; Gabrielė Sagaitytė,, “Vienas kitam nedovanos – aukos: įmonės ir jų darbuotojai įprasmina Kalėdas rinkdami paramą Ukrainai” [They don't give each other gifts, they make donations: companies and their employees make Christmas meaningful by collecting support for Ukraine],, 25 December 2022,…; Telia Lithuania, “„Telia“ siunčia savo įrangą atstatyti Ukrainos mobiliojo tinklams” [Telia is sending its equipment to Ukrainian mobile networks to be rebuilt], Telia Lithuania, 12 October 2022,….
  • 10Like free abonnements, free ride, tickets to events, free activities for children, free studies, scholarships for higher education students etc.
  • 11Like well-known producer of children's shows, who organized a bicycles, scooters and other vehicles donation campaign and weekend camps for Ukrainian children in Lithuania during the summer. More than 3500 vehicles were fundraised: Ukrainian families in Lithuania, “Laurynas Šeškus: karo Ukrainoje akivaizdoje lietuviai įrodė, kad stebuklai įmanomi, tikimės ir dar vieno” [Laurynas Šeškus: in the face of the war in Ukraine, Lithuanians proved that miracles are possible, we hope for one more],, 5 July 2022,….
  • 12Noteworthy, other surveys in the course of the year showed higher proportions. Civil Society Institute, “Pilietinės galios indeksas 2022 m.” [Civic Empowerment Index 2022], Civil Society Institute, 30 January 2023,; Luminor, “Baltijos šalių smulkusis verslas ir toliau remia Ukrainą” [Baltic small businesses continue to support Ukraine], Luminor, 28 October 2022,…; “Kantar”, “„Kantar“ „Karo barometras“: gyventojai sunerimę ir – itin susitelkę” [Kantar's War Barometer: Residents are worried and extremely united], “Kantar”, 8 April 2022,…; “Kantar”, “„„Kantar“ „Karo barometras“: nerimas dėl karo lenkia rūpestį dėl infliacijos” [Kantar's War Barometer: Worries over war overtake worries about inflation], “Kantar”, 1 June 2022,…; “Kantar”, “„Kantar“ Karo barometras: lietuviai finansiškai kol kas mažiausiai įsitempę tarp kaimyninių šalių” [Kantar’s War Barometer: Lithuanians are the least financially stressed among neighboring countries so far], “Kantar”, 21 July 2022,….
  • 13Andresa Repšytė, “Lietuva solidarizuojasi su Ukraina: į palaikymo akciją „Laisvė šviečia“ susirinko apie 10 tūkst. žmonių” [Lithuania stands in solidarity with Ukraine: around 10,000 people gathered for the "Freedom Shines" support campaign],, 24 February 2022,….
  • 14For example, Karolina Stažytė, „Prie „Charlie Pizza“ restorano Kaune surengtas protestas: nori būti sotus – perlipk kūną“ [A protest was held at the "Charlie Pizza" restaurant in Kaunas: if you want to be full, climb over the body],, 12 April 2022,….
  • 15Like three days protest at the Russian embassy, protests at the German embassy or support at the Ukrainian embassy., “„Laisvė šviečia“ jau tris dienas: prie Rusijos ambasados sostinėje toliau budėjo protestuotojai, buvo sakomos kalbos” ["Freedom shines" for three days already: protesters continued to stand guard at the Russian embassy in the capital, speeches were made],, 3 March 2022,…;…; Leonardas Marcinkevičius, ELTA, “Prie Vokietijos ambasados Vilniuje susirinkę protestuotojai ragino aktyviau padėti Ukrainai: „Berlyne, pabusk!“” [Protesters gathered near the German embassy in Vilnius called for more active help to Ukraine: "Berlin, wake up!"],, 11 April 2022,…
  • 16Like Olympic champion swimming in blood-stained ponds at Russian Ambassy in Vilnius, women's demand to stop aggression against Ukrainian women, massive murals on buildings, et cetera., “Prie Rusijos ambasados Vilniuje tvenkinys nusidažė kraujo spalva, performanse dalyvavo ir Meilutytė” [Near the Russian embassy in Vilnius, the pond was painted the color of blood, Meilutytė also participated in the performance],, 6 April 2022,…; Ramūnas Jakubauskas (BNS), 15min, “80 merginų ir moterų prie Rusijos ambasados ragino nutraukti agresiją prieš ukrainietes” [80 girls and women outside the Russian embassy called for an end to aggression against Ukrainian women],, 16 April 2022,…;, “Ukrainos nepriklausomybės dienai – vertikalaus šokio pasirodymas ant „Maskvos namų“ sienos” [For the Independence Day of Ukraine - a vertical dance performance on the wall of "Moscow House"],, 24 August 2022,…; Evaldas Činga, “Ant Maskvos namų sienos šokis Ukrainos nepriklausomybės dienai” [A dance on the wall of a Moscow house for the Independence Day of Ukraine],, 24 August 2022,….
  • 17To name a couple: Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, „Eitynėmis ir mitingu Vilniuje baltarusiai paminėjo prezidento rinkimų metines“ [Belarusians celebrated the anniversary of the presidential election with a march and rally in Vilnius],, 9 August 2022,…;, „Prie Baltarusijos ambasados Vilniuje – protesto akcija ir Minske nužudyto opozicionieriaus pagerbimas“ [At the Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius - a protest action and a tribute to an opposition member killed in Minsk],, 12 November 2022,….
  •, BNS, “Baltic Pride in Vilnius attracts 10,000 participants – photos”,, 4 June 2022,….
  • 19Valdas Pryšmantas, BNS, “Inga Ruginienė: streikas „Achemoje“ – pirmas toks Lietuvoje” [Inga Ruginienė: the strike at "Achema" is the first of its kind in Lithuania],, 8 February 2022,…; Violeta Grigaliūnaitė, “Vilniaus vairuotojai baigia streiką: niekas nelaimėjo, bet niekas ir nepralaimėjo” [Vilnius drivers end their strike: no one won, but no one lost either],, 22 December 2022,….
  • 20For example, BNS, “Šalyje vyks „Nacionalinis miškasodis“ ir akcija „Darom“” ["National Afforestation” and “Darom” to take place nationwide],, 23 April 2022,…; BNS, “Keturiose šalyse bus tvarkomas Baltijos pajūris, talka vyks ir Karklėje” [The Baltic coast will be managed in four countries, the cleanup will also take place in Karklė],, 23 Apirl 2022,…; “Mes Darom”, “Savanoriai iš visos Lietuvos renginyje „Darom prie jūros“ tvirtino pajūrio kopas ir tvarkė pakrantę” [Volunteers from all over Lithuania fixed coastal dunes and cleaned the coast at the "Let’s Do at the Seaside" event], “Mes Darom”, 29 August 2022,….
  • 21Gabrielė Sagaitytė, Vaida Kalinkaitė-Matuliauskienė,, BNS, “Prie Vyriausybės – restoranų protesto akcija dėl PVM tarifo: tvirtina esantys ant bedugnės krašto, perspėja apie atleidimus” [At the Government - protest action by restaurants regarding the VAT rate: claims to be on the edge of the abyss, warns of layoffs],, 27 September 2022,…;, “Naktį prie Žemės ūkio ministerijos surengtas protestas – kritikuojami „sunkiai suvokiami sprendimai“” [At night, a protest was held near the Ministry of Agriculture - "difficult to understand decisions" were criticized],, 7 November 2022,…;; BNS, “Protestas prieš fejerverkus: vieniems jie geriau nei žvaigždės, kiti vengia dėl augintinių baimių” [Protest against fireworks: some prefer them to stars, others avoid them because of pet fears],, 24 September 2022,…; Ignas Jačauskas, BNS, “Dėl Trakų rajono švietimo įstaigų pertvarkos – protestas prie Vyriausybės” [Regarding the reorganization of educational institutions in the Trakai district - a protest to the Government],, 30 March 2022,…; Violeta Grigaliūnaitė, “Apie genocidą šaukiantys Trakų rajono gyventojai turės susitaikyti: mokyklas vis tiek reorganizuos” [Residents of the Trakai district who shout about genocide will have to accept: the schools will be reorganized anyway],, 19 April 2022,…;, “Vilniuje – mitingas dėl energetikos krizės: susirinko apie 100 žmonių” [In Vilnius - a rally about the energy crisis: about 100 people gathered],, 8 September 2022,…; Paulius Perminas, BNS, “Dešimt savanorių prie Vyriausybės piketavo dėl politikos migrantų atžvilgiu” [Ten volunteers picketed the Government regarding the policy towards migrants],, 15 June 2022,….
  • 22When during the ceremony honoring the victims of the restoration of independence LŠS-gathered protesters booed not only the Speaker of the Seimas and the Prime Minister who gave speeches, but also the laureate of the Freedom Prize, a long-time fighter for Lithuania's freedom. Although later LŠS apologized for such actions towards the laureate, it did not improve the public opinion., “Sausio 13-osios minėjimas: ne tik valstybės vadovus, bet ir Laisvės premijos laureatus šokiravę protestuotojai išsiskirstė” [Commemoration of January 13: the protesters, who shocked not only the heads of state, but also the laureates of the Freedom Prize, dispersed],, 13 January 2022,…; BNS, “Prezidentas pagaliau prabilo: žuvusieji to nenusipelnė” [President has finally spoken: the fallen didn't deserve it],, 13 January 2022,…; Lithuanian Family Movement, “Atviras laiškas Bažnyčiai” [An open letter to the Church], Lithuanian Family Movement, 17 January 2022,
  • 23Vilnius municipality‘s decisions not to issue permission to protest during the celebration of Day of Restoration of Independence of Lithuania on 16th of February (approved by the court later in April) and not to issue permission for the gathering in May (denied by the court of first instance in June) might also have influence. However, actions that nevertheless took place attracted much less people., “„Laisvės konvojaus“ protestas Vilniuje neišdegė: vietoj žadėtos vilkikų virtinės – keli automobiliai” [The "Freedom Convoy" protest in Vilnius did not succeed: instead of the promised string of tow trucks - several cars],, 8 February 2022,…; Nerijus Povilaitis, Dainora Pankūnė, “„Laisvės konvojaus“ akcija Vilniuje nepavyko: keliolika dalyvių blaškosi po miestą” [The "Freedom Convoy" action in Vilnius failed: a dozen participants wandered around the city],, 7 February 2022,…; Roberta Tracevičiūtė, “Šeimų sąjūdžio protestas prie Seimo žmonių nesutraukė: klausė, kur kiti?” [The protest of the Family Movement in front of the Seimas did not attract people: asked, where are the others?],, 21 June 2022,…; BNS, “Čmilytė-Nielsen: šeimų maršo dalyvių skaičius rodo, kad organizacijos darbotvarkė išsikvepia” [Čmilytė-Nielsen: the number of Family March participants shows that the organization's agenda is running out of steam],, 26 October 2022,….
  • 24With various outcomes of the cases. For example, the court supported the municipality in the case of non-issued permits for protests on holiday of February 16 (non-issue of permissions were based on specific time and place for the occasion, which competed with festive events planned by the municipality. According to the legal regulations, in such cases, the institutions have priority), but recognized the non-issuance of permit for protest in May as insufficiently reasoned. In November, a similar clash between LŠS and Vilnius municipality in 2021 was reminded by the reversal of an earlier decision in a similar case by a higher court. This time, the court justified the municipality as having offered a choice of alternatives when it did not allow protests at a specific location due to public safety during a pandemic. BNS, “Teismas: savivaldybė pagrįstai Šeimų sąjūdžiui neišdavė leidimo mitingui Vasario 16-ąją” [The court: the municipality rightly did not issue a permit for the rally on February 16 to the Family Movement],, 15 April 2022,… ; Karštas komentaras, “Lietuvos šeimų sąjūdis laimėjo bylą dėl Didžiojo šeimų gynimo maršo 2022” [Lithuanian Family Movement won the case regarding the Great Family Defense March 2022],, 28 June 2022,…; Ignas Jačauskas, BNS, “Teismas: Vilniaus savivaldybė teisėtai neišdavė leidimo Šeimų gynimo maršui” [Court: Vilnius municipality did legally non-issue a permit for the Family Defense March], 15, 7 November 2022,….
  • 25Milena Andrukaitytė, BNS, “Policija ruošiasi protestams sausio 13-ąją: tvers tvoras, tikrins autobusus, dalyvius” [The police are preparing for protests on January 13: they will build fences, check buses and participants],, 12 February 2022,…; Modesta Gaučaitė-Znutienė,, BNS, “Policija ruošiasi Vasario 16-ajai: Pilies gatvėje įrengs barjerus, tikrins į Vilnių atvykstantį transportą” [The police are preparing for February 16: they will install barriers on Pilies street, check the transport coming to Vilnius],, 15 February 2022,…; ELTA, “Policija ruošiasi: Šeimų sąjūdis renkasi į naują protestą Katedros aikštėje” [The police are preparing: the Family Movement is gathering for a new protest in Cathedral Square],, 22 October 2022,….
  • 26Established by a person convicted of spying for Russia, “Forum of Good Neighborhood” did not receive bigger support in Lithuania, however, its representatives claimed taking the actions of “folk diplomacy” by visiting A. Lukashenka in Minsk and later Kremlin institutions in Moscow and were widely used by Russia’s and Belarus’ propaganda machines. The organization received VSD attention and several subpoenas. Milena Andrukaitytė, Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS, “Prieš A.Paleckio asociaciją pradėtas tyrimas dėl padėjimo veikti prieš Lietuvą” [An investigation has been launched against A. Paleckis’ association for aiding and abetting against Lithuania],, 5 August 2022,…; BNS, “Po A.Paleckio interviu kreiptasi į teismą dėl „YouTube“ veiklos” [After A. Paleckis' interview, a lawsuit was filed regarding YouTube's activities],, 30 December 2022,….
  • 27Though in 2022, state and municipalities‘ financing rose by more than a third and tax payers allocated the record-high sum to the organizations. Olia Žuravliova, NGO information and support center, „NVO plėtros aktualijos: NVO skaidrumo stiprinimas“ [Current affairs of NGO development: strengthening NGO transparency], NGO information and support center, 24 October 2022,…, p.4; NGO information and support center, „Paramos gavėjams pervesta visa GPM suma – 27,6 mln. eurų“ [The entire amount of GPM was transferred to the beneficiaries - 27.6 million. euros],NGO information and support center, 25 November 2022,…. On the development of the CSO sector see the reports of Civil Society Sustainability Index, e.g., since year 2014. FHI 360, USAID, „Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI)“, FHI 360,…; FHI 360, USAID, „Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index Data 2009-2021“, European Commission,…. Also:, „Nevyriausybinės organizacijos stiprėja, tačiau trūksta idėjų, atlygio ir geresnio įvaizdžio“ [NGOs are growing stronger, but lack ideas, rewards and a better image],, 10 November 2022,….
  • 28NGO information and support center, „Teisingumas atstatytas - 1,2% GPM galėtų gauti tik NVO“ [Justice has been restored - 1.2% of GPM could only be received by NGOs], NGO information and support center, 7 June 2022,…; Gabrielė Sagaitytė,, BNS, „Vienas balsavimas ir lėšų nebegaus: siūlymą nebeskirti GPM paramos mokykloms, darželiams ar sodų bendrijoms vadina diskriminaciniu“ [One vote and no more funds will be received: the proposal to no longer allocate income tax support to schools, kindergartens or garden associations is called discriminatory],, 7 June 2022,….
Independent Media 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines the current state of press freedom, including libel laws, harassment of journalists, and editorial independence; the operation of a financially viable and independent private press; and the functioning of the public media. 5.756 7.007
  • After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the main concerns in Lithuania’s media field in 2022 shifted towards containment of disinformation, hate speech, war propaganda, and warmongering. For this purpose, the Seimas temporarily banned rebroadcasting of Russian and Belarusian state media in February and then extended the ban to September,1 along with the EU-imposed bans.2 Already in February, the national media regulatory commission, the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (LRTK, Lietuvos radijo ir televizijos komisija), had stopped reception for eight Russian state channels3 (adding to the five banned in 20204 ), and during the year expanded this list5 and imposed additional fines for spreading disinformation.6 Oversight institutions, such as the Inspector of Journalist Ethics, received expanded powers to limit war propaganda in April7 but still faced obstacles from the courts.8 While these actions received widespread support, some parliamentarians and experts saw them as a troubling precedent for freedom of expression, which could be transferred to other contexts such as any criticism of the government. As an alternative strategy, they recommended to focus on strengthening citizens’ critical thinking skills.9
  • Meanwhile, the state and the private sector took additional actions to support foreign independent media: they offered refuge to independent media retreating from Russia,10 expressed solidarity with such voices,11 started rebroadcasting Ukrainian national radio in April,12 introduced a new channel in Russian in June,13 and expanded Polish TV broadcasting in August.14 To combat increased cases of disinformation, incitement of hatred, and non-democratic actions, members of the Internet Media Association temporarily disabled comments on the largest Lithuanian news portals on February 24,15 while several internet providers extended restrictions on their own retransmissions even without a legal obligation to do so.16 By the end of the summer, Kantar surveys showed that Russian-speaking programs had lost half of their audience.17
  • Various fact-checking initiatives and strong investigative journalism teams worked tirelessly to combat the flow of disinformation and provided objective information to the public during the year. Often, on the basis of their investigations, authorities took further actions, including imposing fines or launching legal investigations.18 As information battles increasingly moved to social networks, various initiatives emerged to make this environment more transparent as well. In 2022, after individual scandals,19 CSOs and state institutions began to inquire into cases of unjustified blocking on Facebook and the extent of the problem.20 LRTK also sought to regulate video bloggers, equating some with mass media, which sparked debate during the year.21
  • In 2022, experts noted that state institutions continued to hide behind the EU’s “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) by withholding important information from journalists and the general public.22 However, the journalist community and CSOs achieved several precedent-setting victories: in February, after again reviewing an important 2021 case, the Supreme Administrative Court (LVAT) annulled the decision of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics that news portal Atvira Klaipėda had violated data protection rules in its investigation into public procurement abuse.23 In the same month, after Justice Ministry interference, the State Data Protection Inspectorate (VDAI) decided not to impose an administrative fine on the creators of the database Karštos Pėdos.24 In December, the parliament granted journalists the right to receive detailed data on real estate ownership.25 Meanwhile, the quality and use of open data remained modest.26
  • Lithuania’s public broadcaster, LRT, remained an object of discontent among some groups. In May, the European Commission rejected a commercial media complaint about the LRT financing model.27 However, in December, a group of opposition parliamentarians applied to the Constitutional Court to assess LRT’s controls, which the public broadcaster viewed as another campaign to limit its independence.28
  • Two other legislative initiatives drew attention in 2022. In November, the Seimas discussed a new media self-regulation model, which sparked debate and drew harsh criticism from the media, who argued that it would compromise press freedom by reducing the number of seats for media and journalist organizations within the self-regulation body.29 As a result, the proposal was suspended. In December, the parliament also began to consider a new media financing model, which would create a clear division between the public broadcaster and the national media and minimize the representation of public authorities in the allocation of public funds.30
Local Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the decentralization of power; the responsibilities, election, and capacity of local governmental bodies; and the transparency and accountability of local authorities. 5.756 7.007
  • After years of advocacy by municipalities, two important steps were taken towards greater independence for local self-governance in 2022. In June, the parliament transferred to municipalities the right of state land management. Municipalities called this decision historic and stated that it will allow more efficient planning of territories and construction processes, quicker decision-making, increased investment opportunities, and better service provision.1 In the last days of December, the Seimas also alleviated the previously excessive regulation of municipal fiscal discipline and introduced more flexible borrowing for investment projects. Critics warned this move could lead to an increase of debt in the national budget, and complained these changes should have been made many years ago. Nevertheless, municipalities, the president, and most parliamentarians celebrated these changes as the opportunity to carry out more public investments that will improve the quality of public services as well as the appeal and openness of regions.2 The two aforementioned amendments were in line with a memorandum signed by political parties to strengthen local self-government, which was initiated by the president and signed in 2020.3
  • A new model of self-governance was also in the spotlight in 2022. The Constitutional Court’s demand to amend the constitution to reintroduce direct election of mayors4 became an opportunity to review the powers and relationship between mayors and municipal councils. The compromise model adopted in the new Local Self-Government Law separates the legislative function of municipal councils from the executive function of mayors. The new law grants mayors additional powers (like the ability to veto and unilaterally appoint key officials) and defines their term limits, as well as provides more rights for the opposition in municipal councils.5 The assessment of these changes was mixed: some praised the strengthening of mayoral powers as a clearer assignment of responsibility, while others criticized these moves as weakening municipal councils and creating conditions for undemocratic dominance by a single leader.6 The new model will come into effect after the 2023 local elections.
  • Lithuanian local government played a significant role in helping Ukrainian war refugees by organizing transportation, housing, financial and material aid, providing various benefits, organizing recruitment fairs, and offering education and kindergarten services, among other assistance.7 Aid was organized and sent to Ukraine (including food, medicines, hygiene products, and other necessities) in cooperation with CSOs, local communities, and businesses.8 Local governments also took a moral and political stance. For example, many municipalities cut their ties with partner cities and towns in Russia and Belarus, decided to remove the remaining USSR monuments from public spaces, and refused to host cultural events or withdrew awards from prominent Russians who did not condemn the invasion.9
  • Tensions between local and national governments seemed to decline in 2022, likely due to the adopted reforms mentioned above.10 The government called for partnership in dealing with the war-refugee crisis and, taking into account the lessons of previous years, prepared a new crisis management model that involves municipalities even more.11 Nevertheless, some complications still emerged, such as when the Šalčininkai municipality ignored national directives regarding the implementation of education reform.12 Furthermore, the general atmosphere has become heated in the run-up to the local elections in March 2023.

Judicial Framework

  • In 2022, the efficiency and quality of the Lithuanian justice system, as well as its perceived independence, remained consistent with previous years and corresponded generally to (or above) the EU average.13 However, the court system’s self-governance institutions and individual judges spoke out more loudly about the judiciary’s current financial situation as a threat to judicial independence.14 In 2022, despite efforts by judges to propose a national agreement on the courts, politicians remained unconvinced and the proposal was not adopted.15 Similarly, the civil service reform, which could have raised judicial salaries, was stalled.16 The Prosecutor’s Office also reported financial problems similar to those facing the courts.17
  • At the same time, the European Commission raised concerns about the selection process for some judges as being insufficiently public, which could create a possible niche for politicization.18 At the end of the year, the “precedent of the court’s politicization” was raised again by President Nausėda when he opposed the nomination of a current parliamentarian and chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs as a judge to the Constitutional Court.19 On the bright side, several judicial appointments that had been stalled in recent years were finally moved forward.20 And the Justice Ministry, reacting to the abovementioned criticisms, took steps to change some appointment procedures, including increasing transparency, publicity, and a reduction in political influence.21
  • Amid Belarus’s government-orchestrated migrant crisis,22 the rights of “illegal migrants” (predominantly from the Middle East and Africa) remained the most complicated human rights issue in 2022. The government continued to confront the situation as a hybrid attack on Lithuania, thus national security was prioritized before human rights concerns. Insufficient attention to migrants’ rights was repeatedly criticized by both national and international institutions and CSOs.23 And although conditions in detention centers gradually improved, in response both to this criticism and the natural decline in numbers of migrants,24 the most worrisome issues remained the practice of turning migrants away at the Lithuanian-Belarus border25 and questions over asylum procedures.26 The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled in June that Lithuania’s asylum policy was incompatible with EU law,27 and cases related to migrant detention and pushbacks have already reached the ECtHR.28 Nevertheless, Lithuania did not adjust the course of government policies in this area in 2022.29
  • In response to other high-profile ECtHR cases, Lithuania’s parliament finally changed the constitution to allow individuals to run for constitutionally sworn office 10 years after a previous impeachment (see “Electoral Process”). However, another attempt by the Seimas to implement the 2021 ECtHR decision related to religious pluralism, which would grant state-recognized religious community status to the ancient Baltic faith “Romuva,” was halted.30
  • In 2022, under its new chairperson, the Constitutional Court (KT) ruled on several pandemic containment measures. The KT received public criticism after terminating or returning cases regarding “opportunity passports” (COVID-19 immunity certificates), masks for children, and the requirement to have a negative test when returning to the country, all based on the reasoning that these restrictions were no longer valid.31 Some urged the KT not to forget its mission to actively form judicial doctrine, and by doing so, to ensure the clarity of the legal environment.32 Later in the year, the KT’s decisions on the mandatory testing of employees and the authority of the National Public Health Center (NVSC) to limit personal freedoms confirmed the legality of these measures during the pandemic.33
  • In December, the KT also ruled that the new Law on Intelligence Ombudspersons does not contradict the constitution, allowing appointment procedures for these positions to get underway. The Intelligence Ombudsperson was established in 2021 by the parliament but not in effect due to the opposition’s appeal to the KT on the law as possibly violating the rights of the Seimas Ombudspersons.34
  • The number of convicts in Lithuanian prisons was at a record low in 2022, and oversight institutions declared further reorientation towards mitigation of the penal policy, such as moving from simple isolation and guarding of prisoners to changing their modes of behavior, restoring their relations with society, and more.35 However, in December, after two high-profile cases, the possibility of the temporary restriction of convict communications was introduced by the Seimas.36 In the summer, the parliament approved the restructuring of the prison system, starting in 2023.37
  • Meanwhile, police reforms that were initiated earlier were criticized more broadly in 2022, that is, the path of optimization38 did not suit all police officials, and the reforms prompted a number to quit.39 Nevertheless, despite the criticisms, public trust in the police remained high. Crime and case resolution statistics continued to improve; meanwhile, police updated their technology, and the wider society showed a greater intolerance for offenders.40
Corruption 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Looks at public perceptions of corruption, the business interests of top policymakers, laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest, and the efficacy of anticorruption initiatives. 4.505 7.007
  • According to data from the national Special Investigation Service (STT), released at the beginning of 2022, Lithuania’s population found corruption to be in the top five most pressing problems facing the country.1 The trend over the last decade of diminishing public experience with corruption halted,2 with 10 percent of the population, 5 percent of business people, and 2 percent of civil servants indicating they had given a bribe in the last 12 months. However, business representatives reported an improved business environment in terms of corruption.3 Meanwhile, healthcare, courts, the parliament, and municipalities were perceived as the most corrupt sectors.4
  • With all main institutions showing support for the fight against corruption, the Seimas adopted a new “National Agenda on Corruption Prevention for 2022–33” in June. Prepared by the Justice Ministry with the STT and coordinated with social partners, this new strategy focuses on education, prevention, and control.5 In response to the new Law on Corruption Prevention, adopted in 2021, changes were made to the rules for anticorruption assessment of legal acts,6 updates were made to the preparation of corruption prevention planning documents,7 and new positions for corruption prevention were established in some institutions.8
  • Nonetheless, experts who contributed to these changes noted the need to shift attention from legislation and bureaucracy to practical implementation. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that anticorruption measures are “taken seriously” and enforced on the ground.9 The STT’s investigation, announced in November, illustrated this underlying problem, revealing that corruption reporting channels established in most municipalities do not actually function effectively.10 Additionally, experts criticized limitations on another preventive measure, open data.11
  • In April, a verdict was reached in one of Lithuania’s most resonant political corruption cases of recent decades. This sprawling case involves the parliamentary Liberals’ Movement (LRLS) and Labor Party (DP), one of the country’s largest business concerns (MG Baltic), several parliamentarians, and businessman Raimondas Kurlianskis, all of whom were accused of influence peddling. After six years of proceedings and 330 court hearings, all of the accused were acquitted.12 This verdict drew a stormy reaction and contradicted prior public expectations, raising doubts about the quality of investigators’ evidence collection and the “threshold” for evidence applied by the courts.13 Lawyers came to the defense of those judges under pressure,14 and the STT noted that, in 2021, the courts had found 86 percent of persons investigated by the STT guilty.15 In any case, the long-delayed outcome did not increase public confidence in the courts, politicians, business, or the fight against corruption in Lithuania.16 It also failed to restore the reputations of the accused. In May, some on both sides appealed the verdict.17
  • In 2022, the investigation and examination of individuals continued in the high-profile “judges’ corruption” case.18 By July, the courts acquitted 2 defendants, and 9 others were found guilty.19 During the year, a new prominent political corruption scandal arose in Kaunas, where the director of the municipal administration was accused of taking a record-breaking bribe.20 Meanwhile, for the first time in the health sector, doctors convicted of bribery had their licenses temporarily revoked.21

Author: Ieva Petronytė-Urbonavičienė, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, and Director of Civil Society Institute, Lithuania.

  • 1Public servants, businessmen and all population ranked corruption as (respectively) 6th, 5-6th or 4th most relevant country’s problem out of 18 in the representative surveys. Surveys were carried out in September-November 2021. The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “„Lietuvos Korupcijos žemėlapis 2021“: Tyrimo duomenų pristatymas” [2021 map of corruption in Lithuania: Presentation of research data], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, February 2022, (full version available: The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilmorus, “Lietuvos Korupcijos žemėlapis 2021: 2021 m. rugsėjis – lapkritis” [2021 map of corruption in Lithuania: 2021 September - November], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, February 2022,
  • 2Taking into account statistical errors. A year ago, the share of those who gave a bribe in the last 12 months was correspondingly equal to 9%, 4% and 1%, two years ago – 10%, 5% and 2%, in contrast to 22%, 17 % and 17% (in 2014) in year 2011. Ibid.
  • 3Corruption as a problem for business development was mentioned by 7 percent of the businessmen (15 percent in 2020), evaluation of several indicators of fair competitiveness in public procurements also increased. Ibid.
  • 4Evaluated as the most corrupt both by all population (respectively 49%, 38%, 31%, 23%) and businessmen (respectively 36%, 29%, 25%, 24%) and civil servants (respectively 49%, 30%, 33%, 38%). Ibid.
  • 5The Agenda aims to create a corruption-resistant environment in both public sector and business by forming anti-corruption attitudes and developing anti-corruption competences; seeking sustainable preventive solutions; and effective corruption control as well as ensuring the rule of law. Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, “2022–2033 metų nacionalinė darbotvarkė korupcijos prevencijos klausimais” [2022-2033 National Agenda on Corruption Prevention Issues], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, 28 June 2022,
  • 6The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Korupcijos prevencijos įstatymo naujovės: pakeistos Teisės aktų projektų antikorupcinio vertinimo taisyklės” [Innovations in the Prevention of Corruption Law: the rules for anti-corruption assessment of legal acts have been changed], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, 25 January 2022,….
  • 7The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Pagal Korupcijos prevencijos įstatymą atnaujintas korupcijos prevencijos planavimo dokumentų rengimas” [In accordance with the Prevention of Corruption Law, the preparation of planning documents for the prevention of corruption has been renewed],, 23 February 2022,….
  • 8Paulius Perminas, BNS, “Dalyje ministerijų – nauji etatai korupcijos prevencijai” [Some of the ministries have new positions for corruption prevention],, 31 July 2022,….
  • 9Marius Monkevičius,, “Techninės patikros metu automobilyje palikai pinigų – lauk nemalonumų: ar tokia tvarka bus efektyvi, jos rengėjai nedrįsta prognozuoti” [If you left money in the car during the technical inspection - wait for trouble: whether this procedure will be effective, its organizers do not dare to predict],, 10 April 2022,…; „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, “Neužtenka įmonės viduje pasitvirtinti antikorupcinę programą, svarbu, jog ji veiktų” [It is not enough to have an anti-corruption program in the company, it is important that it works], “Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, 22 November 2022,…; „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, “Vyriausybė, ministerijos turėtų skirti tinkamą dėmesį korupcijos prevencijai” [The government and ministries should pay proper attention to the prevention of corruption], „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, 23 November 2022,…; „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, “Antikorupcinės programos įstaigose vis dar ganėtinai biurokratinis veiksmas” [Anti-corruption programs in institutions are still a rather bureaucratic act], „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter, 23 November 2022,…;, “Iš esmės: Vyriausybė užmiršo apie kovą su korupcija?” [In the essence: The government forgot about the fight against corruption?],, 24 November 2022,….
  • 10The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Atliktas antikorupcinės aplinkos kūrimo vertinimas savivaldybių administracijose” [An assessment of the creation of an anti-corruption environment in municipal administrations was carried out], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, 9 November 2022,…; Paulius Perminas, BNS, “Pranešimų kanalai apie korupciją savivaldybėse neveikia: keturiose gauta informacijos” [Reporting channels about corruption in municipalities are not working: information was received in four],, 12 November 2022,….
  • 11For example, Austėja Masiokaitė-Liubinienė, BNS, “„Transparency International“: duomenų atvėrimas Lietuvoje vyksta itin lėtai” ["Transparency International": the opening of data in Lithuania is taking place extremely slowly],, 10 June 2022,…; Ignas Jačauskas, “TILS: Lietuva prastai įgyvendina EBPO Kovos su kyšininkavimu konvenciją” [TILS: Lithuania poorly implements the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention],, 12 October 2022,…; LRT (“Aktualijų studija”), “Ar kova prieš korupciją savivaldybėse suaktyvėja tik rinkimų išvakarėse?” [Does the fight against corruption in municipalities intensify only on the eve of elections?],, 8 December 2022,…. See also IM section.
  • 12Modesta Gaučaitė-Znutienė,, BNS, “Verdiktas „MG Baltic“ byloje: Kurlianskis, Masiulis ir kiti kaltinamieji – išteisinti” [Verdict in the "MG Baltic" case: Kurlianskis, Masiulis and other defendants are acquitted],, 19 April 2022,…; Editorial of “Verslo žinios”, “Daug triukšmo, bet ar dėl nieko?” [A lot of noise, but is it for nothing?],, 22 April 2022,… .
  • 13Dainora Pankūnė, “Seime po „MG Baltic" bylos nuosprendžio – šokas: šita istorija dabar jau kelia daug klausimų” [Shock in the Seimas after MG Baltic verdict: this story is now raising many questions],, 19 April 2022,…; BNS,, “V. Mitalas: sprendimas politinės korupcijos byloje – pigaus viešojo valdymo išdava” [V. Mitalas: the decision in the case of political corruption is the result of cheap public governance],, 20 April 2022,…; Aistė Čiučiurkaitė, “Korupcijos bylos fiasko: teisingumo laidotuvės ar raganų medžioklė?” [Corruption case fiasco: funeral of justice or witch hunt?],, 20 April 2022,…; LRT (“Aktualijų stuija”), “Ar Lietuvoje įmanoma įrodyti politinę korupciją?” [Is it possible to prove political corruption in Lithuania?],, 21 April 2022,…; BNS, “Blinkevičiūtė: akivaizdu, kad politinės korupcijos įrodyti tiesiog neįmanoma” [Blinkevičiūtė: it is obvious that it is simply impossible to prove political corruption],, 22 April 2022,…; Editorial of “Verslo žinios”, “Daug triukšmo, bet ar dėl nieko?” [A lot of noise, but is it for nothing?],, 22 April 2022,….
  • 14BNS, “Lietuvos teisėjų asociacija reiškia palaikymą „MG grupės“ bylą nagrinėjusiems teisėjams” [The Association of Lithuanian Judges expresses its support for the judges who heard the case of "MG group"],, 25 April 2022,…; Saulius Chadasevičius, Karolina Konopko, “S.Rudėnaitė atrėmė kritiką už gestą „Facebook“ paskyroje: privalau ginti jaunus teisėjus” [S. Rudėnaitė rebuffed criticism for the gesture on her Facebook account: I must defend young judges],, 22 April 2022,… ; Gintautas Bartkus,, “Gintautas Bartkus. „MG grupės“ byla: trumpi atsakymai į sudėtingus klausimus” [Gintautas Bartkus. The MG Group case: short answers to difficult questions],, 20 April 2022,….
  • 15The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Korupcija – grėsmė nacionaliniam saugumui. Seimo Nacionalinio saugumo ir gynybos komitetui pristatyta STT 2021 metų veikla” [Corruption is a threat to national security. STT 2021 activities were presented to the National Security and Defense Committee of the Seimas], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, 22 June 2022,….
  • 16Though head of „Transparency International“ Lithuanian Chapter referred to this case also as an invitation to discuss improvements in hearing of political corruption cases and acknowledged that the case both inspired and made it easier to implement some preventive initiatives as well. Sergejus Muravjovas,, “S.Muravjovas: Kaip vertinu teismo nuosprendį „MG Baltic“ byloje?” [S.Muravjovas: How do I assess the court verdict in the "MG Baltic" case?],, 19 April 2022,…; Editorial of “Verslo žinios”, “Daug triukšmo, bet ar dėl nieko?” [A lot of noise, but is it for nothing?],, 22 April 2022,….
  • 17Both the Prosecutor’s Office and some of the former defendants filed appeals. Ingrida Steniulienė, BNS, “Prokuratūra apskundė nuosprendį „MG grupės“ byloje” [The prosecutor's office appealed the verdict in the "MG group" case],, 9 May 2022,…; Ingrida Steniulienė, BNS, “Masiulis, Kurlianskis dėl žvalgybos duomenų apskundė nuosprendį „MG grupės“ byloje” [Masiulis, Kurlianskis appealed the verdict in the "MG group" case regarding the intelligence data],, 9 May 2022,… .
  • 18See NIT2020.
  • 19The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, “Teismui perduota baudžiamoji byla dėl korupcinių veikų teismuose” [A criminal case regarding corrupt acts in the courts transferred to the court], The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania, 7 July 2022,…
  • 20Austėja Masiokaitė - Liubinienė, BNS, “Pas Kauno administracijos vadovą rastas, kaip įtariama, rekordinis Lietuvoje kyšis” [The head of the Kaunas administration was found with what is suspected to be a record bribe in Lithuania],, 10 March 2022,….
  • 21BNS, “A. Dulkys: kiekvienas kyšį paėmęs medikas turi žinoti, kad gali netekti licencijos” [A. Dulkys: Every doctor who takes a bribe should know that he can lose his license],, 12 April 2022,…; Ingrida Steniulienė, BNS, “Prokuroras prašo atimti gydytojo licenciją už kyšininkavimą nuteistam dar vienam chirurgui” [The prosecutor asks to revoke the doctor's license for another surgeon convicted of bribery],, 25 May 2022,…

On Lithuania

See all data, scores & information on this country or territory.

See More
  • Global Freedom Score

    89 100 free