St. Petersburg Lithuanians already preparing for 100th anniversary of Lithuanian state

Saint Petersburg
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The consulate and community plan to publish a book about signatories who signed the Act of the Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918 and who had studied or worked in the city. As part of the commemoration there are plans to install a plaque for Lithuanian poet Maironis, and to organise a range of exhibitions.

Eleven of the 20 signatories who signed the Act of the Independence of Lithuania on February 16 in 1918, had lived, worked or studied in St. Petersburg in the nineteenth century.

Jokūbas Šernas, Antanas Smetona, Stanislovas Narutavičius, Jonas Vileišis studied law in St. Petersburg University, Vladas Mironas, Kazimieras Steponas Šaulys, Alfonsas Petrulis studied in the Imperial Roman Catholic Spiritual Academy, with the other four studying in other St Petersburg institutes.

Anna Berezovskaya who studied journalism in St. Petersburg, carried out the research on the signatories. Berezovskaya said “When Maironis was leaving this city for his homeland, he said to his friends that after they had received their education abroad, they would use the opportunity to return to Lithuania, so that they could gather knowledge for the benefit of their homeland and their people. So our signatories, who have lived, learned and worked in St. Petersburg at some stage of life, did just that. I think that no matter where you are studying, it is important, what you bring back to your homeland.”

Lithuanian foreign communities, particularly in St. Petersburg, are being encouraged to honour the signatories. It is intended to publish a book about the signatories who lived in St. Petersburg in Russian and Lithuanian languages.

“We hope that we will be able to have a large publication, to organise an exhibition of original documents by sourcing them from the archives. We started to cooperate with a fund at St. Petersburg University for former students of the university,” said Gintautas Želvys, the head of the St. Petersburg Lithuanian community.

Plans to hold an exhibition of heritage masterpieces of Lithuania recognised by UNESCO – cross-crafting and the Pensive Christ – with the Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg are under discussion.


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