Lithuanian free-marketeer ranks among ten people who have changed Lithuania

As Lithuania was approaching EU membership and looking over the events of the last decade, the leading Lithuanian weekly Veidas  released a list of ten individuals who have changed Lithuania. LFMI founder and chair of the board Elena Leontjeva was listed among such personalities as Former Presidents of the United States and the Soviet Union Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Lithuanian Cardinals Vincentas Sladkevicius and Audrys Juozas Backis, diplomat Stasys Lorozaitis, poet and moral authority Justinas Marcinkevicius, former heads of state Vytautas Landsbergis, Algirdas Brazauskas and Valdas Adamkus and EU Commissioner Gunter Verheugen.
It was not only the spiritual revolution. Ground of the new economic order had to be laid, writes Veidas  about the events of 1990-ies, and it was the Free Market Institute that showed the way. “The Lithuanian Free Market Institute, headed by Elena Leontjeva for more than ten years, brought about the most visible change in enlightening the government and the public about the advantages of the free market,” – writes Veidas . The article elaborates on some of the most celebrated achievements of the past. Leontjeva’s active involvement gave material results ten years ago when the Government listened to the advice of the Lithuanian Free Market institute and adopted a currency board system. Today it is even difficult to evaluate the profundity of the change that this move has made.
The weekly also cited Ms. Leontjeva’s indubitable merit in reducing bureaucracy and eliminating business constraints as well as her contribution to the economic enlightenment of the society, the youth in particular.
Ms. Leontjeva, who now lives away from the public eye and is writing fiction, said that being on the list of the distinguished ten came to her as a wonder and a reward. “To be ranked among such statesmen is a reward, especially for a person who chose to serve people from an independent non-governmental institute. It is true governments came and went, while we had to stay and to continue patiently our work both with them and with people who were impatient to live a better life. Sometimes I felt like a bridge between and beneath different governments and now in retrospect I understand that it was what people call moral responsibility. It feels good to know that people have acknowledged the load that we kept carrying through the years of reform. But my thoughts are in the future.”