LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 31, No.4 - Winter 1985
Editor of this issue: Antanas V. Dundzila
Copyright © 1985 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LITUANUS DATA BANK
• In January of 1982, the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center (LRSC) was incorporated in the State of Illinois. LRSC is based at the Lithuanian Youth Center in Chicago, and its principal two components are the Lithuanian Institute of Education and the World Lithuanian Archives, both of which have been functioning for over a quarter of a century.
The mission of LRSC is to promote, organize, and sponsor research, as well as to collect, archive, and publish materials pertaining to Lithuania and its people, language, history, and culture. LRSC was founded in response to a growing awareness that while Lithuanians had created -vast quantities of scholarly, artistic, and cultural material, little effort had been made with regard to preserving it. LITUANUS hopes to publish some of the work stemming from the subject research.
5620 South Claremont Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60636
• Alexandra Gylys, a Lithuanian, received a Raoul Wallenberg medal from the Judaic Heritage Society during their second annual Governor's Holocaust Commemorative Program in Olympia, Washington. During the war, she and her husband risked their lives by concealing three Jewish families in their home.
The medal is named after a Swedish diplomat who helped save as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews.
• The Baltic American Freedom League (P.O. Box 29657, Los Angeles, CA 90029 USA) is an issues oriented, activist related, nationwide organization. The League specializes in educating the American public about Baltic issues, and because of excellent media relations, both in print and electronics, it has been highly successful. The League has been so successful that even the adversaries have taken notice of its work. Derogatory articles about BALF and its personnel appeared in Pravda, Izvestija, Kodumaa, Dzimtenes Balss, Tiesa and the Swedish Communist Party paper, Norrskensflamman. To deserve such attention they must be doing something right. Congratulations!
• Prof. Dr. Birutë Ciplijauskas has established a scholarship fund in memory of her mother. Each year $1,500 will be awarded to a student preparing for a doctorate in Lithuanian History. Interested students should write to: Lithuanian Catholic Studies Academy, Piazza della Pilotta 4,00187 Rome, Italy.
• The Editor of Data Bank wishes to draw your attention to at least two articles in this section. The first one, which also happens to be our regular "Special to the LITUANUS Data Bank" by Victor Nakas, is on the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise of July of 1985. The second article is on the asteroid named after the Lithuanian painter and composer M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911); we first noted the fact in LITUANUS, No. 1 (1985) and are happy to follow it up with more data in this issue.
Happy Holidays and happy reading!
THE BEGINNINGS OF A BALTIC-SCANDINAVIAN UNDERSTANDING
by VICTOR A NAKAS
Special to the LITUANUS Data Bank
When the Soviets invaded the Baltic States in June of 1940, they listed among the justifications for their aggression the charge that the three Baltic States had conspired to form a military alliance angainst the Great Socialist Motherland. Would that there had been a kernel of truth to this allegation! The sad reality is that each state followed its own narrow interests. Plans for a Baltic alliance, consisting of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and perhaps Finland, were stillborn, having fallen victim to general mistrust and, in particular, to the Vilnius question, which convinced Lithuania to stay clear of Poland's embrace. Attempts to form a united front of just the three Baltic States were equally fruitless.
It is highly unlikely that an effective Baltic alliance, which counted as its members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, could have deterred either Stalin or Hitler from their expansionist designs. It is by no means certain, however, that an attack on such an alliance by either the Soviets or the Nazis, or both, would have produced the same unhappy results we witness today in the three Baltic States. One need only to look at the Finns' determined and largely successful resistance to Soviet aggression in the Winter War of 1939-1940 and Finland's contemporary status for evidence of what might have been. In retrospect, it is difficult to see how a Baltic military alliance could possibly have led the Baits to suffer the ravages of war and occupation any more acutely than they did by clinging to independent, neutralist foreign policies. In the former case, at least the aggressor would have paid a price for his actions and this just might have led to an outcome that for the Baits was more favorable than the one which constitutes their reality now.
Ail this historical speculation is a preface to a Baltic alliance that did come to fruition: the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise. The cruise occurred in late July of this year (1985) and ranks among the most creative and effective public relations campaigns ever waged by diaspora Baits. The purpose of the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise, which set sail from Stockholm, traveled south through the international waters of the Baltic Sea as close to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as the ship's skipper dared, and stopped over in Helsinki before returning to Stockholm, was to call public attention to the plight of the Baltic States on the 45th anniversary of their occupation. The cruise was also scheduled to coincide with ceremonies in Helsinki marking the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, by which the Soviets had solemnly pledged to ameliorate some of the more obnoxious effects of their occupation. (Ten years after the signing of the Final Act, the Soviets have yet to honor that pledge.) Cruise participants organized demonstrations in Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen calling for Baltic human rights and self-determination. Immediately preceding the cruise, a tribunal meeting in Copenhagen and comprised of distinguished public figures from Austria, Sweden, France, and Great Britain heard eyewitness accounts of Soviet crimes against the Baltic people and issued a manifesto declaring that the current situation in the Baltic States was intolerable and a threat to peace.
From numerous press accounts, it is clear that the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise and the events associated with it struck a responsive chord among the Scandinavian peoples and at the same time touched a raw nerve of the Soviet ruling elite. The Scandinavian press featured a series of articles that were openly sympathetic to the Baits. There was not enough room on the "Baltic Star", the vessel that carried the cruise participants, to accommodate all the journalists who wanted to cover the event. Approximately 70 of them did manage to accompany the 300 Baltic passengers.
From all accounts one of the most moving moments of the Baltic cruise came when the participants disembarked in Helsinki. As a July 28 Associated Press report noted, the Baits' protest march in Helsinki against Soviet annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and "purported (sic) Soviet human rights violations" appeared to be the first anti-Soviet demonstration in Finland since 1968, when the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia. The event was much more than an historical footnote, however; the real story, noted by the European and emigre press, was the extraordinary effect of the demonstration on the Finns. This is how Quotidien de Paris (August 4, 1985) described the Finns' reaction to the Baltic rally in Helsinki.
The Finns welcomed the arrival of the "Baltic Star" with warmth and enthusiasm... The demonstrators were accompanied by unceasing applause. Many Finns were crying... They were waving to the demonstrators through open windows and voicing their sympathies. In the streets, many were explaining that the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian struggle for freedom and peace for the Baltic nations is also a Finnish struggle...
Perhaps the Finns' tears were a catharsis from the accumulated bitterness and frustration of having to accommodate their avaricious Soviet neighbor year-in, year-out, of seeing their country's foreign policy give birth to a derogatory term — Finlandization — that is synonymous with self-abnegation and neutralization. Or perhaps the Finns wept more for the Baits than for themselves, recognizing how precious their own freedom was and how little of it their neighbors to the south were able to share.
For the Balts, too, the cruise was cathartic. Diaspora Baits sometimes have spoken of Finns and of Finlandization with deep sarcasm. This has emanated partly from a sense of shame — the Finns were prescient enough and brave enough to defend themselves against Soviet aggression in 1939-1940, while the Baits were not — and a sense of envy — the Finns were able to keep the Soviet bear at bay while the Baits were not. To this envy and shame was added the suspicion among Baits that the Finns had been happy to cut their own deal with the Soviets and cared not a whit for the fate of the Baits.
Symbolically, the solidarity displayed between Balt and Finn this past summer in Helsinki cast Finno-Baltic relations in a new, brighter light. The same can be said for Baltic-Scandinavian relations. For years the Scandinavian countries have paid little attention to the Baltic States, perhaps afraid to admit that in the Baits' current status they might glimpse their own future. The Swedes, moreover, have tried to bury the memory of their government's cowardly behavior in 1945, when 170 Baits — most of them Latvians — who had been pressed into the Nazis' armed services and had fled to Sweden in the face of the Soviet Red Army's onslaught were forcibly handed over to the Soviets at Stalin's demand.
It is too early to say whether the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise signals a lasting change in Scandinavian attitudes toward the occupied Baltic States, the beginnings of a sustained interest in the Baits' fate. The flurry of articles from Scandinavia during the cruise suggests that there is cause for optimism. We may be witnessing the birth of a Scandinavian-Baltic entente of the heart. If this comes to pass it will mean that the Soviet aim of making the West — especially Western Europe — forget about the Baltic States will have taken a giant step backward. It will mean that the Scandinavians, possessed of a new appreciation for the tragedy that befell their Baltic neighbors, will be doubly vigilant of Soviet designs on their own nation-states.
Such a scenario makes more understandable the extreme anxiety of the Soviet government toward the Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise, as witnessed by the crude rantings of Soviet propagandists against the cruise's participants. Their hysterical outbursts directed at these diaspora Baits, who were called drug addicts, neo-Nazis, CIA agents, thieves, and drunkards, piqued the curiosity of the Western press and apparently played no small role in making the cruise a public relations success. Through their excesses the Soviets may have prodded the Scandinavians into recognizing how much they share in common with the Baltic States. For this all Baits owe the Soviet Agitprop a debt of gratitude. In 1940 the Soviets fabricated a Baltic military alliance to justify their aggression; in 1985 genuine Baltic cooperation coupled with Soviet aggressiveness may have fostered an alliance of empathy between the Baltic States and the Scandinavian countries.
The Minor Planet Circular on February 17, 1984, published a name for the asteroid (which is a minor planet) 2420 which was discovered more than ten years ago. We quote the Circular:
"(2420) Čiurlionis = 1975 TN
Discovered 1975 Oct. 3 by N.S. Chernykh at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory.
Named in memory of M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911), a well-known Lithuanian painter and composer."
More data about this asteroid is published in the Soviet Lithuanian publication Mokslas ir gyvenimas, No. 8, 1984. According to this report, the asteroid Čiurlionis was discovered in the constellation Pisces as a sixteenth magnitude object. It revolves around the Sun in the middle of the asteroid belt at the average distance from the Sun of 384 million kilometers. Its orbital plane is inclined to the ecliptic by 14 degrees with an eccentricity of 0.131. Čiurlionis makes one revolution around the Sun in four years and never comes closer to the Earth than 180 million kilometers. The diameter of the asteroid is estimated to be about eight kilometers.
Discoverers of asteroids usually propose names to the Minor Planet Center which operates under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union. The proposals are examined by an international committee, and if accepted, the names are published in the Minor Planet Circular.
To date, 3,288 asteroids are numbered and named since the discovery of the first asteroid Ceres by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. The number is still growing as new asteroids are added every year. It is estimated that more than 50,000 asteroids, which become magnitude twenty-one or brighter at the opposition, are racing around the Sun in the vast space between Mars and Jupiter. The total mass of all the asteroids is roughly 0.0004 of the Earth's mass.
MOSCOW YOUTH FESTIVAL — A RALLY OF DECEPTION
Lithuanian Contingent to Entertain Festival Participants
ELTA (July 1985) reports:
"On July 27, 20,000 youths will converge on Moscow for a mammoth festival of the 'World Democratic Youth Federation.' The preparations for the festival and the role of young Lithuanians in it are described in the June 2nd issue of the Lithuanian CP daily, Tiesa."
"Some 500 Lithuanian singers, actors, and dancers will join the festival program. An additional 160 will come from Lithuania with tourist groups. What will they celebrate? The slogan of the festival is: 'For Anti-imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship!' In various symposia, conferences, and meetings, the participants are going to discuss disarmament, ecology, and the problems of youth anti-imperialist solidarity'."
We supplement the above with this excerpt from the U.S. News & World Report (August 12, 1985):
"For a close look at how Soviet words contradict Soviet actions
In Finland for the 10th anniversary of the 1975 Helsinki Accords on East-West cooperation, Foreign Minister Shevardnadze cited the U.S.S.R. as a model for others when it comes to "individual freedom of citizens."
The same day, Soviets were hosts in Moscow for the 12th International Youth Festival, an opportunity for 20,000 foreign visitors to exchange ideas at friendly meetings or chance encounters with Soviet citizens.
The capital's buildings were freshly painted. Clouds had been seeded in advance to cut chance of rain marring the July 27 opening ceremony.
Yet the streets, parks (and), public halls were curiously uncrowned. Why?"
"Moscow was off limits to nonresident Soviets. They were unable to buy railroad or airplane tickets to visit the city. Police checked identity cards (and) turned back all interlopers. Some 700,000 youths were sent on vacations. Dissidents not already behind bars were cowed into silence.
Thousands of extra police and plainclothes agents poured in to wall off (the) capital's residents from mingling with visitors. Young Muscovites casually blocked off foreigners who strayed from the festival areas.
Soviet press stirred up a herpes-and-AIDS scare, warning readers that these were sexually transmitted diseases prevalent in the West. True, Soviets signed Helsinki Accords calling for free East-West exchanges of ideas. But Moscow visitors met only carefully screened individuals who knew what could and could not be discussed. In the end (the) festival turned into a one-way flow of anti-U.S. ideas spawned in Moscow."
Any comments, anyone?
V-E DAY FOR EAST EUROPEANS: SOVIET TYRANNY REPLACES NAZI OPPRESSION
"... We should celebrate V-E Day, but we must stop perpetuating myths. The Soviet Union's victory over Nazism was the triumph of one totalitarian state over another—and the result, for millions of Eastern Europeans, was merely the substitution of one set of chains for another. That is nothing to celebrate — certainly not with the Soviet Union."
Amos Perlmutter, Professor of Political
Science at American University — "Why
the Russians Fought the Nazis," The New
York Times (A31), April 30, 1985.
IEĐMANTAS — POETRY WRITTEN IN BLOOD
Lithuanian Prisoner of Conscience Defies Prohibition to Write
Gintautas Ieđmantas, a Lithuanian poet, patriot and a "prisoner of conscience" is the chief figure in a moving article on imprisoned writers, "With Blood and Indelible Ink," by Boria Sax, in the May 17, 1985 issue of Commonwealth. The author of the article is a poet, scholar, and human rights activist. Excerpts from the article, dealing with the "liberation of poetic power", follows:
"Sentenced on December 15, 1980 to six years in a labor camp plus five years of internal exile for 'anti-Soviet slander' because of his poems and essays, the Lithuanian author Gintas Ieđmantas continues to write poetry in prison. By doing this — as well as by continuing to protest his detention — he risks a possible prolongation of his sentence. Ieđmantas has been forbidden to practice his art and new legislation enacted in 1983 makes it possible for prison authorities to extend by up to five years the sentences of inmates whom they consider uncooperative."
"Accustomed as we are to an extremely trivialized view of the arts, people in the West will respond to such defiance with a mixture of awe and bewilderment. It is a reproach to us, a reminder of how insignificant we have allowed poetry to become in our society. In the United States today widespread fear has been expressed that the very existence of the arts in our society could be threatened by a few paltry cutbacks in federal aid. At the same time, the gesture of Ieđmantas reassures us by affirming the worth and durability of the poetic vocation. It is even uplifting to note that people can still feel threatened by poetry enough to jail others for producing it."
"And is Ieđmantas a great poet? The intensity of such a commitment suggests that perhaps he could be. We can't know. As of yet, none of his literary work has reached the West. A few moving letters from him have been published as samizdat. Writing of the camp, he says: 'The windows are half covered with snow. You look outside and remember a snowy, windblown childhood. We are surrounded by forests; they say there are many raspberries. Of course, not for us'."
"One way or another, there is a good chance that some poems of Ieđmantas will eventually find their way to the West. Then, despite being written in a comparatively obscure language, they will receive attention from the exile community and, most probably, the literary public at large. But there are others in comparable circumstances who have taken similar risks without even the hope of such remote and questionable rewards..."
"... It might seem simple enough for Ieđmantas to comply with Soviet authorities — just for a while — to win his release. He could stop writing poetry and protesting his confinement. Call it foolish, stubborn, or heroic. Call it humanitarian or vain. But what drives him to such a refusal is the poetic impulse — something that serious authors will recognize. Even today, it can inspire loyalty and fear."
(Elta, May 1985)
KARL LINNAS' DEPORTATION AND USA NONRECOGNITION POLICY
The Board of Immigration Appeal's decision to deport Estonian Karl Linnas to the Soviet Union raised the question concerning "the effect of the Soviet annexation of Estonia upon designation of a country of deportation" and the "implications of the United States refusal to recognize the Soviet annexation of Estonia... and articulate the statutory basis for selecting whichever country is designated."
Based on a request from the immigration judge for the State Department's view of the effect of Linnas' deportation on US nonrecognition of the forcible Soviet incorporation of Estonia, Davis R. Robinson, the Legal Advisor of the Department of State, declared that the deportation did not compromise US policy. Robinson said, "I have concluded, on the basis of the position of the Department of Justice, that the deportation of Mr. Linnas under 8 USC 1253(a) (7) to a place which we regard as within the territory of the USSR would not as a matter of law contravene the longstanding and firmly held United States policy of nonrecognition of the forcible incorporation of Estonia into the USSR."
Under that section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, deportation is directed "to any country which is willing to accept such alien into its territory," and the Soviets were the only territory that was willing to accept Linnas. The Baltic American community, however, has taken strong exception to this interpretation.
(Baltic Bulletin, February 1985)
NEW UNDERGROUND "CHRONICLE" (NO. 66) REACHES WEST
The 66th issue of the underground Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, dated April 7, 1985, has reached the West earlier in 1985. The issue is dedicated to Vladas Lapienis, who "is taking the difficult prisoner's road for the second time." Lapienis, 79, was sentenced on March 29 in Vilnius to 4 years in Gulag camps and 2 years of exile for a manuscript describing his experiences during a previous imprisonment.
In its lead article, entitled "Temptations Which We Must Reject," the Chronicle describes the present situation in Lithuania as a "night of trials and deceitful temptations" for all Catholics. According to the journal, "Catholic Lithuania sympathizes with Polish Catholics and with the entire nation, which was shaken by the villainous murder of Rev. J. Popieluszko." The Chronicle warns about the "insidious" ways in which the Communist regime is trying to undermine the Lithuanian Catholic Church from within.
The same Chronicle contains an unusual supplement — three confidential Soviet documents, which were not meant for publication.
The first document is entitled, "Regulations of the Control Commission on the Observation of Cult Laws," and was confirmed by the LSSR Ministers' Council on September 20, 1974 (Decree No. 339). One of the main tasks of the Commission is to supervise religious organizations and the clergy and to watch for transgressions against the numerous official strictures.
The second document, marked "Secret", is a report on the situation of religion and the Church in Lithuania on January 1, 1984. It contains detailed information on Catholics and other religious denominations. The activity of the "Cult Control Commission" in 1983 is described by the Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, P. Anilionis, who offers suggestions on how to prosecute "illegal priests," i.e., graduates of the underground theological seminary.
The third document, designated "For Office Use," is a shot survey of sermons delivered in the Lithuanian Catholic Churches during 1983. The survey indicates the extent of surveillance of the clergy by the authorities.
(Elta, July 1985)
FOR THE RECORD, IN CASE YOU HEARD OTHERWISE:
"It has been brought to the attention of The Canadian Jewish News by the Baltic American Freedom League that an article printed on page 1 of our issue of April 11, 1985, might conceivably be read as containing an implication of anti-semitism with respect to that organization."
"We want to make it very clear that no such implication was intended by that article and that we do not maintain that the Baltic American Freedom League has engaged in any anti-semitic activity."
"We regret any misunderstanding which may have inadvertently arisen in this regard."
(The Canadian Jewish News, June 6,
1985, front page)