Lithuania, almost 15 years after independence from Russia and in the first year of membership in the European Union. The bigger cities largerly correspond to Western standards. Especially the young generation is in a buying frenzy and goes on spending sprees in huge shopping and experience centers which are open all night. In the countryside however, some people still live without electricity and running water. Alcoholism is a widespread problem. Vaida, a consultant for the Committee for Foreign Affairs, comments on the conversion to capitalism and free market economy: "You look at a beautiful lake, but you do not know how deep it is, and most importantly: You can not swim."