The Most Multinational City in Lithuania Celebrating a Day of Ethnic Communities

Vilnius, a city friendly and open to all, is for the fourth time celebrating the Day of Lithuanian ethnic communities. Remigijus Šimašius, the Mayor of the multi-national city, with several tens of different ethnic communities gathered in the Town Hall of the capital.

“To say that Vilnius is celebrating the day of ethnic minorities is not entirely accurate, because in Vilnius only slightly less than half of the city’s population are non-Lithuanians. Today we are celebrating our alliance. We make every effort to make our city convenient and welcoming so that we all could co-exist in dignity and cherish our cultures. Vilnius has always been a multi-national city, a home for everyone willing to live here; therefore, for us it is vital to continue as an open, friendly, and tolerant city. I would like to welcome all the participants in this beautiful and meaningful celebration,” says the Mayor of the City.

In the Town Hall of Vilnius, the Mayor Šimašius awarded ten distinguished persons who have been by their sincere and long lasting work contributing to developing Vilnius, identity of ethnic communities, building cultural dialogue, and promoting tolerance. The awards from the Mayor were granted to Lidija Pinkule, Vera Virščienė, Dariko Chačaturian, Profirie Skramtai, Lilija Braževič, Olga Gorškova, Galina Komienė, Nadiežda Petrauskienė, Zoja Radzivilova, and Ana Adamovič.

Two years ago, the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius proposed a nice initiative that has become a tradition symbolising friendship and partnership between countries and cites – plates of the names of Vilnius streets in the language of the nation designating the street. The first plate with a text in Icelandic appeared in Islandijos Street. By now total 10 such plates are already used, marking Rusų, Vašingtono, Varšuvos, Karaimų, Totorių, Žydų, Islandijos, Vokiečių, Latvių, and Olandų streets. That is a symbol of an open city and a sign of friendliness to all its residents and guests.

Vilnius is the most multinational city in Lithuania. People of 128 nationalities live in the capital accounting for 34% of all residents of Vilnius, of which about 16% Poles and about 12% Russians. Total about 300 ethnic community organisations are registered in Lithuania.

Four years ago, the Seimas declared 21st May a memorial day of ethnic communities of Lithuania. UNESCO marked it as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue. The United Nations Organisation has published a declaration Identity, diversity, and pluralism whose principal objective is to maintain uniqueness of nations and support diversity, freedom, and cooperation.