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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

23 June 2017
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http://www.genocid.lt/Leidyba/11/knygos5.jpg

Cover of the book by Dr. Alfonsas Eidintas, “President of Lithuania: Prisoner of the gulag (A biography of Alexander Stulginskis).”

Aleksandras Stulginskis, the first constitutional president after Lithuania had declared its renewed independence on 16 February 1918, was kidnapped at his home by Stalinist forces in June 1941 and deported to a Siberian Gulag. After he was released from the inhuman captivity, he was still for years forced to live in Siberia’s deep forests, until 1956.

 

Lithuania’s President Aleksandras Stulginskis built this Siberian log cabin by his
own hands, living here with his wife Ona until 1956.

How could it be that a former head of state of a free and independent country could be kidnapped in his own home and taken around half the globe to imprisonment in a labour camp where cruelty and inhumanity were the principal characteristics?

How could it be that the rest of the world chose to ignore such an assault against a splendid leader who proudly had been fighting for democracy and independence in a nation that before the Second World War was fully on par with its neighbours in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, both economically and as an independent state?

Just think of what would have been the reactions from the international community if one of the other state leaders from the 1920s had become victims of such a cruel abuse?

I have below listed some of the state leaders who ruled at the time of President Stulginskis, many of them surely also knew him personally. Why didn’t his many 'friends' among leaders of all those nations around the world react and protest?

One can perhaps understand that the war made it difficult to stand up and condemn the atrocities that happened in Stalin's mighty Soviet Union, but why were there no reactions after the war? 

In my opinion, President Stulginskis’ sad fate as a prisoner in Siberia through 15 long years, until 1956, is still too little known, and I think it’s high time we start spreading the story of Stulginskis throughout the world. Then his sufferings would not have been in vain, after all!

The same applies for the 13 years he lived after he had come back to Lithuania, a period when the once proud president was subjected to increasingly humiliating abuse from the Lithuanian SSR.

 

It must have been quite a shock to Stulginskis to return to Lithuania in 1956. The country he loved and had given everything for, was now ruled by Moscow-believing Communists. Hundreds of thousands of the country's leading women and men had fled to America and other nations in the west. Still others had been deported to Siberia, with tens of thousands dyeing en route to or on the permafrost. 1956 was the year that Lithuania's long-term guerrilla war against the Soviet superior force had finally come to an end, with the result that 20,000 Lithuanian forest brothers and about 70,000 Soviet soldiers had lost their lives. Lithuania in the period 1956-1969 was characterized by extensive KGB activity, denunciation, imprisonment and executions without trial, widespread corruption and mismanagement in which most of the good, democratic principles Stulginskis had fought so hard for were totally forgotten and disregarded.

 

 

LITHUANIAN SSR

 

 

Stulginskis passed away in Kaunas in 1969, after having experienced nearly 30 years of humiliating and unjust assaults in Siberia and in his once proud homeland Lithuania.

It is today 92 years since Stulginskis, together with the other brave leaders of those days, became one of the signatories of Lithuania's declaration of independence. And in only 10 days it is exactly 125 years since this political lion was born (26 February 1885).

President Aleksandras Stulginskis should not be forgotten.

Aage Myhre
Editor

 

WORLD LEADERS REIGNING AT THE TIME WHEN

STULGINSKIS WAS PRESIDENT OF LITHUANIA

 

 

- President Woodrow Wilson (United States)

- Vladimir Lenin (Russia, later Soviet Union)

- President Paul von Hindenburg (Germany)

- Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (United Kingdom)

- President Gaston Doumergue (France)

- Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (Italy)

- Prime Minister Józef Piłsudski (Poland)

 

 

- President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (Czechoslovakia)

- Prime Minister Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck

  (The Netherlands)

- President Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (Finland)

- Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting (Sweden) 

- Prime Minister Johan Ludwig Mowinckel (Norway)

- Prime Minister Thorvald Stauning (Denmark)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President
ALEKSANDRAS STULGINSKIS
(1885-1969)

 

 In May of 1920 Stulginskis was elected Chairman of the Constituent Seimas and
President of the State, reelected President at the First and the Second Seimas,
holding post of the President uninterruptedly until 7 June 1926.

Aleksandras Stulginskis was born in the village of Kutaliai of the Kaltinenai Rural District of the then Taurage District on 26 February 1885 into the family of a land tenant. He studied at the elementary school in Kaltinenai, the Liepaja gymnasium, and the Samogitian Theological Seminary in Kaunas. After graduating from the latter, he continued his studies in philosophy and theology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). But upon making a decision not to be ordained as a priest, he entered the agronomy institute in Halle (Germany), and after graduating from it in 1913 started to work in Lithuania as an agronomist. He wrote many articles for the then Lithuanian press, mostly on the problems of the development of agriculture; from 1914 he edited the Viensedis (The Isolated Farm) periodical publication. When the Germans occupied Lithuania, he left for Vilnius and here joined the activity of Lithuanian organizations, and was elected to the Lithuanian Relief Committee, where he organized education courses for elementary school teachers. For quite a lengthy period headed the Rytas (Morning) Education Society, managed gardens in a Vilnius suburb that supplied orphanages with vegetables and potatoes. In 1918 he started publishing the newspaper Ukininkas (The Farmer), Ukininko kalendorius (The Farmer's Calendar).

 In memory of the 40 years since Stulginskis’ passing away, 2009.

Stulginskis was one of the founders of the Christian Democratic Party. In 1917 he was elected Chairman of the Central Committee of the Party. In 1917 together with other Lithuanian patriots he appealed with a memorandum to the President of the United States W. Wilson for the recognition of Lithuania's independence. He was one of the organizers of the Lithuanian conference of Vilnius, a participant In it, and was elected to the Council of Lithuania(later the State Council). On 16 February 1918 he signed the Independence Act. With the war nearing the end and with Lithuanian refugees returning from Russia, Stulginskis headed the state commission for their affairs. Stulginskis spoke for an independent, democratic Lithuania and criticized severely those who agreed for Lithuania to become a monarchic state.

Stulginskis organized the defence of Lithuania against the Bolshevists and Poles, and founded a Lithuanian army. In M. Slezevicius' government he served as a minister without a portfolio. In P. Dovydaitis' cabinet of ministers A. Stulginskis served as a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs, afterwards Minister of Agriculture and State Wealth, and was one of the incorporators of the Ukio (Economic) Bank.

In May of 1920 he was elected Chairman of the Constituent Seimas and President of the State, reelected President at the First (21 December 1922) and the Second (19 June 1923) Seimas, holding post of the President uninterruptedly until 7 June 1926, when Dr. Kazys Grinius was elected President. In 1925-1930 Stulginskis was in charge of the Lithuanian Scout Brotherhood. 

 Lithuania’s Presidential Palace in Kaunas (1920 – 1940) 

When the Bolsheviks occupied Vilnius in January 1919, the Government and ministries were moved to Kaunas. It was in the provisional capital that the State Council established the President's institution on 4 April 1919, and elected Antanas Smetona the first President of Lithuania. On 1 September 1919, President Smetona and his office moved to a building specially designated as the Presidential Palace, currently the Historical Presidential Palace in Kaunas.

It was here President Stulginskis held office from 1922 till 1926.

After the coup d'etat of 17 December 1926, Stulginskis was elected Chairman of the Fourth Seimas and held this post until 12 April 1927 when A. Smetona dissolved the Seimas. Then Stulginskis bought an estate in Jokubavas, in the Kretinga Rural District, and started to run it. At his leisure he wrote articles to the XX amzius (The 20th Century), Ukininkas and other periodical publications.

In 1938 he took part in the first World Lithuanian Congress in Kaunas, where he delivered a speech demanding the observance of the democratic principles in Lithuania.

The first year of the Soviet occupation he spent at his estate in Jokubavas. In June, 1941 he and his wife were arrested (their daughter Aldona evaded the arrest). The former President was deported to the camps in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, and his wife was exiled to the Komi Republic. Only in 1952, in the camp, Stulginskis' case was completed – and he was sentenced to the 25 years in Soviet camps. But after Stalin's death, due to Stulginskis' daring attempts he and his wife were allowed to return to Lithuania at the end of 1956. They resided in Kaunas.

Lithuania’s highly respected pre-war president and democracy builder, Aleksandras Stulginskis passed away on 22 September 1969. He was buried in the Aukstoji Panemune cemetery In Kaunas.

 Grave of Lithuania President  Aleksandras Stulginskis

Grave of President Aleksandras Stulginskis and his wife Ona (Kaunas).

 

 

 

16 February – Lithuania’s Independence Day
16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania declared its independence from
Imperial Russia and established its statehood

 

File:Signatarai.Signatories of Lithuania.jpg 

Members of the Council of Lithuania in 1917

From left to right 

Sitting: J. Vileišis, dr. J. Šaulys, kun. J. Staugaitis, St. Narutavičius, dr. J. Basanavičius,
A. Smetona, kan. K. Šaulys, Stp. Kairys, J. Smilgevičius. 

Standing: K. Bizauskas, J. Vailokaitis, Donatas Malinauskas, kun. Vl. Mironas, M. Biržiška,
kun. A. Petrulis, S. Banaitis, P. Klimas, A. Stulginskis, J. Šernas, Pr. Dovydaitis.

The Act of Independence of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Nepriklausomybės Aktas) or Act of February 16 was signed by theCouncil of Lithuania on February 16, 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democraticprinciples, with Vilnius as its capital. The Act was signed by all twenty representatives, chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The Act of February 16 was the end result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the Act of January 8. The path to the Act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the Council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully maneuver between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people.

The immediate effects of the announcement of Lithuania's re-establishment of independence were limited. Publication of the Act was prohibited by the German authorities, and the text was distributed and printed illegally. The work of the Council was hindered, and Germans remained in control over Lithuania. The situation changed only when Germany lost World War I in the fall of 1918. In November 1918 the first Cabinet of Lithuania was formed, and the Council of Lithuania gained control over the territory of Lithuania. Independent Lithuania, although it would soon be battling the Wars of Independence, became a reality.

While the Act's original document has been lost, its legacy continues. The laconic Act is the legal basis for the existence of modern Lithuania, both during the interwar period and since 1990. The Act formulated the basic constitutional principles that were and still are followed by all Constitutions of Lithuania. The Act itself was a key element in the foundation of Lithuania's re-establishment of independence in 1990. Lithuania, breaking away from the Soviet Union, stressed that it was simply re-establishing the independent state that existed between the world wars and that the Act never lost its legal power.

(Wikipedia)


 
English Translation

RESOLUTION

The Council of Lithuania in its session of February 16, 1918 decided unanimously to address the governments of Russia, Germany, and other states with the following declaration:

The Council of Lithuania, as the sole representative of the Lithuanian nation, based on the recognized right to national self-determination, and on the Vilnius Conference's resolution of September 18–23, 1917, proclaims the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania, founded on democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital, and declares the termination of all state ties which formerly bound this State to other nations. The Council of Lithuania also declares that the foundation of the Lithuanian State and its relations with other countries will be finally determined by the Constituent Assembly, to be convoked as soon as possible, elected democratically by all its inhabitants. The Council of Lithuania by informing the Government of ..................... to this effect requests the recognition of the Independent State of Lithuania.

 

 

Category : Featured / Historical Lithuania



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