Vytautas Landsbergis: Lithuanian Uprising was the right thing to do and it was worth it

Vytautas Landsbergis
Vytautas Landsbergis DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

In the non-static war against Lithuanian freedom, the central geopolitical expansionary warrior goes back repeatedly to the place that is most sensitive for him. For us, in an inevitable position of self-defense, (as Lithuanian Uprising), it should also be the most important ideological front line and another front line: the Atlantic alliance, energy, and so forth.

When Stalin and Hitler divided up nations and lands between their then “socialist” empires, the victims could only have humbly agreed to their fate or resisted. The second choice is called resistance.

Resistance was right, and therefore worthwhile. That was the Polish, Lithuanian, and Finnish provision – maybe we still remember it. The aggressors and hijackers held this provision to be a provocation, hostility, and an offense. We were punished mercilessly, and sadistically – who are these bastards that dare to resist?!

This is how Lithuania found herself to be part of the Second World War. Those who rewrote history called it otherwise, falsely, but that does not change the essence.

The Lithuanian resistance started, as I see it, with protests and the legal rejection of occupation and annexation, by State authorized ambassadors in foreign countries. It may have been that the President had already been removed from the occupied State. It would be good for historians to compile all of that consistently. Uprisings followed, including the June 1941 Lithuanian Uprising, and the defensive war in the forests.

Of course, including free spirits in the underground, and the nation’s diplomatic corps.

And the primary opponent remains the same – the imperial neighbor to the East, sometimes changing the names, but not the goals. Today, it is again called Russia, whose politic is currently post-Soviet, revanchist, and probably a modern neo-fascist government.

The occupation began eighty years ago

For this opponent, who is unable to change, Lithuanian freedom is a pain in the throat. And therefore, tries to discredit and break the very idea of freedom. Land and people will follow that.

Now, when we remember the 80th year since the start of the Second World War, we realistically see the SSSR aggression towards Lithuania and the Sovietization of the nation’s 1941 June Lithuanian Uprising against aggression and occupation.

As you know, it is correct for the conqueror to pillage. It is correct for the enslaved and the subjugated to resist. For the conqueror, such resistors are insurgents, criminals against the “order”.

When we hear this evaluation from fossilized Moscow – we are accustomed to not being surprised. “You won’t fix them, you won’t change them, although you shouldn’t think this way about the Russian nation. The nation itself is – a victim. But when I see that Lithuanian intellectuals similarly condemn an uprising for freedom – it’s difficult to understand the reasoning. Unless the liberation from Sovietization is not yet finished.

War is a terrible thing, and there are inhuman atrocities in every war. However, condemning war – including this War – we do not forget who conceived it, who paid for it, and who started it. Who created the ideology of genocide? Those are the great criminals for whom pointing the finger at smaller ones is convenient. And to the crimes that accompany great crimes. Let the great one be lashed, even while we still live with the consequences.

No Holocaust before the Second Wolrd War in Lithuania

In Lithuania, there was no Holocaust up until that war. Even the Tsarist Russian pogroms (“bej židov, spasaj Rosiju” – Beat the Jews, save Russia) did not touch Lithuania unless you consider a Polish-Belorussian Białystok. Therefore, individual and political organizational campaigns, alleging that Lithuania, in the 1941 Lithuanian Uprising against the aggressor USSR, had a goal to destroy, loot, and kill its Jewish citizens – are mindless and malicious allegations. Some of that becomes political and tangible capital, but this is a separate question, perhaps of conscience.

It is worthwhile and correct to separate the right of the subjugated to resist – and the national, perhaps desperate, broken realization of that right – from all types of wartime cruelty, demoralization, and injustice. Claiming that rising up against the Soviets (Red Terror, etc.) is wrong, that the rebels “had no right” to fight and die – is joining the Soviet, the Stalinist positions. When the rebels are referred to as “anti-Soviets”, that is then the cesspool of a lie.

These mistakes were not made by the Jews during the time of Sąjūdis, even though they had suffered cruelly during the Holocaust. They stood for Lithuania. They refused to allow the remembrance of their suffering to be manipulated and directed against Lithuanian freedom. That shouldn’t be done now either.

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