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National Exhibit
National Exhibit
History
Lithuania Under Communism

Mass meetings throughout Lithuania in the course of the summer of 1988 opened the way for the public to discover its voice – and to use that voice to sing the old, banned “National Hymn.” Veterans of deportations could for the first time talk freely about their experiences; environmentalists spoke of dangers to the physical health of the nation; writers protested that their very language was in danger. Advocating first of all the causes of environmental protection and preservation of the language, Sajudis, within a few months, moved to political issues.

Displaying their basic distrust of the population, many old guard communists complained that Sajudis leaders were not playing by the rules, that they were undemocratic because they objected to government control of the media, and that they were even planning violence against the communist leadership. In fact, the national movement in Lithuania, as in Latvia and Estonia, constituted an awakening of popular morale, and these meetings passed into history as “singing revolutions.”

On August 23, 1988, some 150-200,000 persons gathered in Vingis Park in Vilnius to observe the anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet agreement of August 23, 1939. Speakers denounced the pact and the subsequent Soviet takeover of Lithuania, and spectators left the meeting with new focused determination. Two months later, October 22-24, Sajudis held its constituent convention and established itself as the national organization that eventually led Lithuania to independence.

In March 1990, the Lithuanian parliament, under Sajudis’s direction, proclaimed Lithuania’s independence. Moscow, however, refused to recognize this action and in January 1991 the Soviet army seized key buildings in Vilnius in a vain attempt to reestablish Gorbachev’s authority. In September 1991, after the abortive putsch in Moscow against Gorbachev, the Soviet authorities pulled out of the buildings they had occupied, and Lithuania won world recognition as an independent state.

 

 

Author Bio:

Alfred Erich Senn =author bio not available

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lithuania
Location:  Eastern Europe
Capital:  Vilnius
Communist Rule:  1940-1941 / 1944-1990
Status:  Independence restored - 11.03.90
Victims of Communism:
unknown