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Noticias de Lituania - Historia




Noticias de Lituania

LITUANIA

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Cronología: Lituania

1915 Lituania ocupada por tropas alemanas durante la Primera Guerra Mundial.

1918 - Lituania declara su independencia.

1920 - La Rusia soviética reconoce la independencia de Lituania en virtud del Tratado de Moscú.

1926 - El líder del Partido Nacionalista, Antanas Smetona, toma el poder en un golpe militar después de que la izquierda gana las elecciones.

1939 - La Unión Soviética obliga a Lituania a aceptar bases militares soviéticas.

1940 - El ejército soviético invade. Smetona huye. Lituania incorporada a la URSS.

1941 - Miles de lituanos deportados a Siberia. Los nazis invaden la URSS y ocupan Lituania.

1944 - Vuelve el ejército rojo, presagiando nuevas deportaciones y represión de la resistencia.

1988 - Grupo de escritores e intelectuales crea el Movimiento Lituano de Reconstrucción (Sajudis). Sus líderes declaran en una manifestación masiva en la capital, Vilnius, que la URSS ocupó Lituania ilegalmente.

Ringaudas Songaila destituido como jefe del Partido Comunista de Lituania. Sustituido por Algirdas Brazauskas.

1989 - El Parlamento aprueba la declaración de soberanía lituana, afirmando que las leyes lituanas tienen prioridad sobre las soviéticas.

El Partido Comunista de Lituania se separa del Partido Comunista Soviético y declara su apoyo a la independencia.

Lucha por la independencia

1990 - Sajudis gana la mayoría de escaños en las elecciones parlamentarias. Su líder, Vytautas Landsbergis, es elegido presidente del parlamento que declara el restablecimiento de la independencia.

La URSS impone un embargo, detiene el suministro de combustible y provoca graves dificultades económicas. Lituania acuerda suspender la independencia, en espera de conversaciones.

1991 Enero - Como no se avanza en las conversaciones con Moscú y la economía se enfrenta a problemas, Landsbergis pone fin a la suspensión de la declaración de independencia.

Las tropas soviéticas disparan contra civiles fuera de la torre de televisión en Vilnius, matando a 13 e hiriendo a varios cientos.

1991 Febrero: el referéndum ve un voto abrumador a favor de la independencia.

1991 Septiembre: tras el fallido golpe de Estado en Moscú el mes anterior, la URSS reconoce la independencia de Lituania. Lituania se une a la OSCE y la ONU.

1992 - La nueva constitución introduce la presidencia. El antiguo Partido Comunista, rebautizado como Partido Laborista Democrático Lituano, gana más escaños que los Sajudis en las elecciones generales. Se formó el gobierno de coalición.

1993 - Brazauskas elegido presidente. Lituania se une al Consejo de Europa. Se introduce una nueva moneda nacional, las litas. Las tropas soviéticas completan la retirada.

1994 - Lituania se une al programa Asociación para la Paz de la OTAN. Tratado de amistad firmado con Polonia.

1995 - Colapso de los dos bancos comerciales más grandes de Lituania. Se produce un escándalo político.

1996 - El primer ministro Slezevicius es destituido a raíz de la crisis bancaria. Las elecciones generales traen un gobierno de coalición de centro derecha.

1997 - El presidente Brazauskas visita Rusia. Tratado fronterizo, acuerdo de cooperación firmado.

1998 - Valdas Adamkus, ciudadano estadounidense que pasó casi 50 años en el exilio, elegido presidente.

1999 - Se firmó un controvertido contrato de venta de una participación mayoritaria en la petrolera estatal lituana al grupo energético estadounidense Williams International. Dimite el primer ministro conservador Rolandas Paksas. Andrius Kubilius se convierte en primer ministro.

2000 - Las elecciones generales devuelven otro gobierno de coalición de centro derecha. Paksas volvió a nombrar primer ministro, esta vez como miembro de la Unión Liberal.

2001 Julio: Brazauskas se convierte en primer ministro tras el colapso de la coalición en una disputa por la privatización y otras reformas económicas. Se compromete a trabajar para acelerar la adhesión a la UE y la OTAN.

2002 Noviembre: la cumbre de la OTAN en Praga incluye a Lituania en la lista de países invitados formalmente a unirse a la alianza.

2002 Diciembre: la cumbre de la UE en Copenhague invita formalmente a Lituania a unirse en 2004.

2003 Enero - Rolandas Paksas elegido presidente.

2003 Mayo: resultado del referéndum lituano a favor de la adhesión a la UE.

2003 Noviembre: los manifestantes exigen la dimisión del presidente Paksas tras las denuncias de vínculos entre su oficina y el crimen organizado ruso.

2003 Diciembre - Comienzan los procedimientos de acusación contra el presidente Paksas después de que una investigación parlamentaria concluye que los supuestos vínculos entre su oficina y el crimen organizado ruso constituyen una amenaza para la seguridad nacional.

2004 Marzo: Lituania se une a la OTAN.

2004 Abril - El Parlamento destituye y destituye a Rolandas Paksas.

2004 Mayo: Lituania es uno de los 10 nuevos estados que se unen a la UE.

2004 Junio: Valdas Adamkus es reelegido presidente.

2004 Octubre: Algirdas Brazauskas continúa como primer ministro en una nueva coalición tras las elecciones generales.

2004 Noviembre: Lituania se convierte en el primer estado miembro de la UE en ratificar la nueva constitución de la UE.

2004 Diciembre: el reactor uno de la central nuclear de Ignalina se cierra de acuerdo con los requisitos de entrada a la UE. Según el mismo acuerdo, el segundo reactor se cerrará en 2009.

2005 Enero: el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Valionis admite que una vez fue oficial de las reservas soviéticas de la KGB. Se inicia una investigación parlamentaria sobre su pasado y sobre acusaciones similares contra otros dos altos funcionarios.

2005 Marzo: el presidente Adamkus rechaza la invitación para asistir a la ceremonia en Moscú en mayo que marca el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

2005 Junio: el líder del Partido Laborista, Viktor Uspaskich, dimite como ministro de Economía por acusaciones de que sus tratos comerciales infringían las normas éticas. Su partido continúa como parte de la coalición gobernante.

2005 Septiembre-octubre: avión de combate ruso se estrella en territorio lituano, lo que aumenta la tensión diplomática con Moscú. La situación se calma cuando la investigación encuentra la culpa de un error técnico y humano.

2006 Mayo-julio: el primer ministro Algirdas Brazauskas renuncia después de que el Partido Laborista se retira de la coalición gobernante. El Parlamento aprueba al segundo candidato del presidente para el cargo, Gediminas Kirkilas.

2008 Mayo: el Parlamento ratifica el Tratado de Lisboa de la UE.

La Comisión de la UE rechaza la solicitud de Lituania para unirse a la zona euro el 1 de enero de 2007, citando la tasa de inflación del país.

2008 Abril-mayo: Lituania amenaza con descarrilar las conversaciones de asociación UE-Rusia por preocupaciones energéticas, pero abandona el veto bajo la presión de otros estados miembros.

2008 Junio: el Parlamento prohíbe la exhibición de símbolos soviéticos y nazis. Las restricciones son las más duras de cualquier ex república soviética.

2008 Octubre: el partido conservador Unión Nacional se convierte en el partido más importante después de las elecciones parlamentarias, lo que lleva a los socialdemócratas del primer ministro Gediminas Kirkilas al segundo lugar.

2008 Noviembre: el líder de la Unión Nacional, Andrius Kubilius, es nombrado primer ministro al frente de un gobierno de coalición de centro derecha.

2009 Abril: la oficina nacional de estadísticas publica cifras que muestran que el PIB de Lituania se desplomó un 12,6% en el primer trimestre de 2009, en comparación con el mismo período del año pasado.

2009 Mayo: la comisionada de presupuesto de la UE, Dalia Grybauskaite, como independiente, gana las elecciones presidenciales con más del 68% de los votos.

2009 Diciembre: se cierra el segundo reactor de la central nuclear de Ignalina, de acuerdo con los requisitos de entrada a la UE de Lituania.

2011 Julio: Lituania protesta ante Austria por la liberación de Mikhail Golovatov, un ex oficial soviético buscado en Lituania por el ataque de las fuerzas especiales soviéticas a una torre de televisión de Vilnius en enero de 1991, en el que murieron 14 civiles y cientos resultaron heridos. Austria dice que la información lituana sobre el caso era "demasiado vaga" para justificar la detención de Golovatov.

2012 Enero: el asesor gubernamental Virgis Valentinavicius dice que Lituania está en camino de adoptar el euro en 2014, aunque el presidente Grybauskaite dice que el objetivo es "poco realista" dada una tasa de inflación de más del cuatro por ciento.


Las 10 principales figuras históricas lituanas de todos los tiempos

La historia de Lituania está repleta de líderes legendarios y héroes históricos que han hecho de Lituania lo que es hoy. Después de mirar a lo largo de la larga y orgullosa historia de Lituania, aquí está nuestra lista de las 10 principales figuras históricas lituanas de todos los tiempos.

La historia de Lituania está repleta de líderes legendarios y héroes históricos que han hecho de Lituania lo que es hoy. Después de mirar a lo largo de la larga y orgullosa historia de Lituania, aquí está nuestra lista de las 10 principales figuras históricas lituanas de todos los tiempos.

1. Gediminas (c. 1275-1341)

Gediminas, uno de los grandes duques de Lituania más recordados con más cariño, tiene el mérito de haber hecho de su estado un jugador a tener en cuenta en Europa, y de haber fundado la capital de la nación, Vilnius.

Según todos los informes, Gediminas fue un gobernante y estratega brillante, expandiendo su reino hacia tierras eslavas en el sureste (el territorio del Gran Ducado de Lituania llegaría al Mar Negro bajo el gobierno de su nieto) y evitando la presión de los misioneros cristianos en guerra del oeste.

Aunque Gediminas nunca abrazó la fe cristiana, se hizo famoso por invitar a comerciantes y agricultores cristianos a que vinieran y se establecieran en sus tierras, y en su ciudad, prometiéndoles exenciones de impuestos y tolerancia religiosa que caracterizaron al Gran Ducado hasta el final de sus días.

2. Mindaugas (c. 1203-1263)

Mindaugas es el punto de partida de la historia de Lituania, el primer y único rey de Lituania. Habiendo unido a los señores de la guerra lituanos en conflicto bajo su gobierno, algunos por matrimonios estratégicos, otros por asesinatos estratégicos, Mindaugas escribió al Papa de Roma para ser bautizado como católico romano en 1251 y, dos años más tarde, para ser coronado rey.

Poco se sabe de la procedencia de Mindaugas e incluso se debate la ubicación de su asiento real, pero su nombre ahora es epónimo con muchas calles en Lituania y el día supuesto de su coronación, el 6 de julio, es un feriado nacional.

Al convertirse en el 'César de Lituania', el reinado de Mindaugas terminó con una conspiración de asesinato que llevó al estado que había creado a un período prolongado de confusión e incertidumbre. El cristianismo no se apoderó de los lituanos paganos (se cree que el propio Mindaugas renegó del nuevo dios hacia el final de su vida) y no inició una dinastía, pero Mindaugas toma el lugar del fundador semimítico del estado de Lituania.

3. Vytautas (c. 1350-1430) y Jogaila (c. 1352-1434)

La relación de amor-odio entre los dos primos (y nietos de Gediminas) Vytautas y Jogaila (o Jagiello) refleja de muchas maneras las tensiones entre las naciones hermanas de Lituania y Polonia que se unieron en una unión personal bajo Jogaila, el primer gobernante en ser tanto el Gran Duque de Lituania como el Rey de Polonia.

Después de varios períodos de lucha por el poder, durante los cuales ambos se apresaron mutuamente y se pusieron del lado de los mayores enemigos de Lituania en ese momento, la Orden Teutónica, solo para destronar al otro, Vytautas y Jogaila finalmente hicieron las paces para lograr un gran legado. Cristianizaron Lituania bajo la Unión de Kriewo con Polonia de 1387 y derrotaron a los Caballeros Teutónicos en la histórica Batalla de Grunwald (o Žalgiris en lituano, el nombre que se usa en casi todos los deportes de equipo lituanos en la actualidad), apagando la mayor amenaza a la soberanía de Polonia. y Lituania fuera de existencia.

4. Martynas Mažvydas (1520-1563)

La lengua vernácula lituana tardó en unirse a las filas de las lenguas de los eruditos y no fue hasta 1547 que el primer libro lituano salió de la imprenta. Su autor, el joven sacerdote protestante Martynas Mažvydas, escribió las líneas que generaciones de alumnos lituanos han tenido que aprender de memoria.

Si bien los libros de oraciones escritos a mano habían aparecido poco después de que Lituania abrazó el cristianismo, el Catecismo de Mažvydas (o & quotKatekizmo prasti žodžiai & quot - & quot; Palabras simples de catequismo & quot) fue el primer libro impreso. Y no se imprimió en Lituania, sino en Prusia Oriental (parte de la cual se llamaría Lituania Menor), que era un refugio seguro para los protestantes lituanos del dominio de la Iglesia católica en Lituania propiamente dicha.

Fue en Lituania Menor donde Mažvydas pasó su carrera como sacerdote, cuidando de la educación de sus feligreses y escribiendo prolíficamente, principalmente libros de oraciones e himnarios.

5. Jonas Basanavičius (1851-1927)

Si alguien merece el título de patriarca nacional, es Jonas Basanavičius, cuya imponente presencia barbuda solía mirar a los lituanos de los 50 billetes de litas y sigue ejerciendo autoridad en los monumentos y calles que llevan su nombre en prácticamente todas las ciudades de Lituania.

Basanavičius, médico de profesión, fue uno de los líderes del movimiento de resurgimiento nacional de finales del siglo XIX y participó en cada paso de la construcción de la nación lituana moderna. Fundó el primer periódico lituano, Au & scaronra, presidió el comité organizador del Gran Seimas de Vilnius de 1905 y fue signatario de la Ley de Independencia de Lituania el 16 de febrero de 1918.

6. Reina Bona Sforza (1494-1557)

Como extranjera y mujer que busca el poder, Bona Sforza ha sido vilipendiada por los historiadores durante mucho tiempo. Fue elegida como la villana principal en una de las más grandes historias de amor del Renacimiento, entre su hijo Segismundo Augusto y Barbora Radvilaitė (o Barbara Radziwill), la mujer más bella de Lituania que supuestamente fue envenenada por su resentida suegra.

En los últimos años, sin embargo, la reina Bona se ha rehabilitado en gran medida, y los historiadores coinciden en su papel para llevar el Renacimiento italiano a Polonia y Lituania.

Miembro de la Casa Sforza de Milán, Bona se casó con Segismundo el Viejo, el rey de Polonia y el gran duque de Lituania casi 30 años mayor que ella, en una ceremonia en Nápoles sin la presencia del novio. Moviéndose hacia el norte, Bona trajo consigo un séquito de cocineros, arquitectos y artesanos italianos cuyo impacto en las artes y la cultura en el noreste de Europa no puede ser exagerado. A Bona incluso se le atribuyó la introducción de verduras en la dieta polaco-lituana, aunque los historiadores dicen que esto es una exageración.

La reina Bona implementó varias reformas económicas y agrícolas en el Gran Ducado, incluida la reforma de Wallach de gran alcance, lo que la convirtió en una terrateniente increíblemente rica. Parte de su legado se exhibe en el recientemente reconstruido Palacio de los Grandes Duques de Lituania en Vilnius.

7. Stephen Bathory (1533-1586)

El reinado de una década de Stephen Bathory (o Steponas Batoras en lituano), un príncipe de Transilvania, como Rey de Polonia y Gran Duque de Lituania es uno de los puntos culminantes de la historia de la Commonwealth. En Lituania, su mayor legado es la fundación de la Universidad de Vilnius, en 1579, que durante mucho tiempo llevó su nombre.

8. Jurgis Bielinis (1846-1918)

Los lituanos se levantaron contra el dominio del Imperio Ruso, que los dominó a lo largo del siglo XIX, varias veces y luego de uno de esos intentos fallidos, en 1863, Rusia decidió que la única forma de aplastar los sentimientos nacionales de sus súbditos del noroeste era prohibir la prensa en el alfabeto latino.

La prohibición estuvo en vigor durante 40 años y dio lugar a una profesión singular, el knygne & scaroniai, que se traduce aproximadamente como "traficantes de libros" o "contrabandistas de libros". Jurgis Bielinis fue uno de los traficantes de libros más destacados de la época, contrabandeando libros y publicaciones periódicas lituanas impresas en Prusia Oriental (o Lituania Menor) hacia Lituania propiamente dicha. Los historiadores estiman que la red de Bielinis fue responsable de la mitad de todos los libros lituanos ilegales que circularon durante la prohibición de prensa.

9. Jonas Žemaitis (1909-1954)

Aunque Jonas Žemaitis nunca fue político y no se postuló para ningún cargo electo, en 2009 fue declarado cuarto presidente de Lituania. Esto probablemente habría sorprendido incluso al propio Žemaitis si hubiera estado vivo, pero el título reconoce su liderazgo sobre la parte del país que continuó luchando contra la ocupación soviética durante casi una década después de que los vencedores de la Segunda Guerra Mundial declararan la paz en Europa.

Žemaitis, quien adoptó el nombre en clave de Vytautas (lo que sugiere que probablemente no le hubiera importado ser nombrado presidente después de todo), dirigió el Ejército de la Libertad de Lituania, una resistencia guerrillera, desde 1949 hasta su arresto por agentes soviéticos en 1953.

El general Žemaitis ahora tiene la academia militar de Lituania nombrada en su honor y hay un busto imperdible de él erigido frente al Ministerio de Defensa Nacional en Vilnius.

10. Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817)

Tadas Kosciu & scaronka, o Tadeusz Kosciuszko, es un héroe nacional para muchas naciones: lituanos, polacos, bielorrusos y estadounidenses. Su nombre incluso marca el pico más alto de Australia.

Viniendo de una familia terrateniente en el Gran Ducado de Lituania, Kosciuszko luchó en la Guerra de Independencia de Estados Unidos y, después de regresar a Europa, lideró un levantamiento en Polonia-Lituania contra el Imperio Ruso. El levantamiento de Kosciuszko fracasó, precipitando la disolución de la Commonwealth polaco-lituana y convirtiendo a este último hijo de la república perdida en el último héroe romántico.


Lituania está formando una nueva relación con su pasado y con Israel

Poco después de que Yossi Levy asumiera su papel como embajador de Israel en Lituania en agosto, su asistente, Ana Maizel, se encontró con una esvástica hecha a mano con tierra en el suelo frente a un centro comunitario judío, un comienzo desfavorable para su mandato. Caminó con cuidado en su respuesta, condenando el crimen mientras ofrecía consuelo. “Los judíos no venimos aquí a acusar”, dijo. "No culpamos a la Lituania de 2019".

Levy llegó a Lituania en un momento de cambio: incluso cuando el país se enfrenta a incidentes antisemitas, se encuentra en medio de un cambio de marca pro-sionista que combina una reexaminación pública imperfecta de la experiencia del país en la Segunda Guerra Mundial con una apreciación sincera. para Israel bajo el primer ministro Benjamin Netanyahu.

Poco después de que Yossi Levy asumiera su papel como embajador de Israel en Lituania en agosto, su asistente, Ana Maizel, se encontró con una esvástica hecha a mano con tierra en el suelo frente a un centro comunitario judío, un comienzo desfavorable para su mandato. Caminó con cuidado en su respuesta, condenando el crimen mientras ofrecía consuelo. “Los judíos no venimos aquí a acusar”, dijo. "No culpamos a la Lituania de 2019".

Levy llegó a Lituania en un momento de cambio: incluso cuando el país se enfrenta a incidentes antisemitas, se encuentra en medio de un cambio de marca pro-sionista que combina una reexaminación pública imperfecta de la experiencia del país en la Segunda Guerra Mundial con un agradecimiento sincero. para Israel bajo el primer ministro Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu ha sido criticado por su amistad con el primer ministro lituano Saulius Skvernelis, quien es visto como un participante en los esfuerzos para promover narrativas históricas que disminuyen el papel de los lituanos en el Holocausto y glorifican a los colaboradores nazis que resistieron a los soviéticos. Pero el país ha comenzado a dar pasos débiles hacia una nueva relación con su pasado.

El calentamiento de Lituania hacia Israel ha ido de la mano del comienzo de un nuevo ajuste de cuentas con el legado del Holocausto. Las actitudes dominantes de Lituania hacia la tumultuosa guerra del país y la historia de la posguerra han privilegiado durante mucho tiempo historias de supervivencia al comunismo y sitúan los crímenes de la era soviética a la par con los del período nazi. En mayo, esa narrativa recibió una difusión pública, cuando un capellán de la era de la Segunda Guerra Mundial de un batallón de policía lituano acusado de haber asesinado a miles de judíos fue honrado con una placa por su trabajo al servicio de los soldados. En las columnas de los periódicos y los discursos políticos, las referencias al sufrimiento de los lituanos y los hechos de los lituanos que ayudaron a los judíos durante el Holocausto a menudo vienen inmediatamente después de cualquier mención del genocidio.

En 2006, los fiscales principales del país iniciaron una investigación sobre la destrucción de una aldea en tiempos de guerra. Como parte de esa investigación, acusaron a un grupo de sobrevivientes del gueto judío de haberse unido a las guerrillas prosoviéticas, lo que implica que eran procomunistas. Pero la acusación no reconoció que su camino era común entre quienes esperaban derrotar a los nazis. Dos de esos guerrilleros, ahora ancianos, tenían su base en Israel. Temían regresar a Vilnius, la capital de Lituania, sin estar seguros de qué tipo de testimonio se esperaba que dieran. La opinión generalizada era que los supervivientes del gueto eludían la justicia. Israel estaba disgustado. Un ex embajador israelí denunció la investigación, y Pinhas Avivi, el subdirector general del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Israel en ese momento, dijo al diario israelí Haaretz, "El ministerio se toma muy en serio la persecución de los partisanos judíos".

En 2010, el cazador de nazis Efraim Zuroff, que ayudó a enjuiciar a los criminales de guerra fascistas, escribió: "En ningún lugar del mundo un gobierno ha hecho tanto para ocultar su papel en el Holocausto [como en Lituania]". Las instituciones estatales se demoraban en buscar justicia contra los presuntos colaboradores nazis mientras buscaban cualquier evidencia de que los combatientes de la resistencia judíos colaboraran con los soviéticos.

Pero cuando se trata de la historia de los luchadores del gueto, se está produciendo una transición en el pensamiento. Fania Brancovskaja fue una de esas sobrevivientes del gueto a las que se llamó para dar testimonio ante un fiscal cuando resurgieron las denuncias de la participación de su grupo guerrillero en una masacre contra civiles. Fue retratada en los medios de comunicación lituanos como una colaboradora soviética y judía, pero no como una sobreviviente del gueto y una lituana. Pero luego, en 2017, recibió un premio presidencial, y en 2018, el sitio web de noticias Delfi la invitó como invitada de honor para hablar sobre la memoria del Holocausto.

El país ha comenzado a celebrar y comercializar la herencia judía en ciudades y pueblos. Los principales políticos y medios de comunicación ahora hablan de un duelo colectivo por los residentes perdidos de Lituania.

La Segunda Guerra Mundial diezmó a la mayoría de la enorme comunidad judía lituana, que contaba con más de 150.000 antes de la guerra, y dispersó a la mayoría de los pocos supervivientes. En la narrativa oficial y las historias personales transmitidas dentro de las familias, los lituanos eran víctimas y los colaboradores eran atípicos. Como escribió Robert van Voren en su libro Pasado no digerido: el Holocausto en Lituania, las muertes y el sufrimiento de la posguerra quedaron profundamente impresos en la memoria colectiva lituana y eclipsaron los años bajo los nazis. Después de que Lituania recuperó la independencia y luchó para que la historia de su sufrimiento fuera aceptada en Occidente, muchos en Lituania consideraron injusto que el presidente Algirdas Brazauskas se disculpara por la participación lituana en el Holocausto en un discurso ante el parlamento israelí en 1995. Judíos lituanos en Israel sintió que esto era demasiado poco, demasiado tarde. Pero esa relación con la justicia histórica ha comenzado a cambiar.

Ahora, los políticos de alto rango ahora tuitean saludos en las fiestas judías, marcan los días conmemorativos relacionados con el Holocausto y ya no se sienten obligados a mencionar al mismo tiempo lo que también sufrió la nación lituana. Y un nuevo consenso en contra de desafiar las narrativas nacionales de cada uno se está convirtiendo en una parte integral de las relaciones entre Israel y Lituania.

El cambio comenzó en serio en 2016. Un hito fue una marcha conmemorativa para conmemorar a las víctimas del Holocausto en agosto de 2016 en Moletai, una ciudad a una hora en auto al norte de Vilnius. Después de una convocatoria pública del conocido dramaturgo y director Marius Ivaskevicius, la marcha reunió a más de 1.000 asistentes y atrajo a destacados dignatarios.

Ese agosto en Moletai, la entonces presidenta Dalia Grybauskaite colocó una piedra en el lugar del asesinato en masa, flanqueada por el entonces embajador de Israel en Lituania y representantes de la comunidad judía. El presidente había participado en eventos conmemorativos en el palacio presidencial en Vilnius, en el sitio del campo de concentración de Auschwitz en Polonia, y en el memorial del Holocausto Yad Vashem en Jerusalén, pero el evento en Moletai se destacó. Ella, junto con otros políticos de alto rango, viajó a una región remota para enviar una señal de que la memoria del Holocausto a partir de ese día sería parte del ritual principal en un país salpicado de numerosos sitios de asesinatos en masa. Un mes después, una procesión para conmemorar la destrucción del gueto de Vilnius en Paneriai volvió a atraer multitudes.

Sin duda, todavía se puede escuchar a los grupos de extrema derecha coreando "Lituania para los lituanos" en los desfiles del Día de la Independencia (incluido el de 2019). Y en julio, la remoción de una placa y el cambio del nombre de una calle dedicada a personas sospechosas de ayudar a los nazis atrajo multitudes de manifestantes. Pero mientras se escuchaba a los nacionalistas lituanos gritar “Juden raus”—Judios fuera— en 2008 (y seis personas fueron condenadas por incitación al odio un año después), las franjas extremas del movimiento nacionalista parecen haber vuelto a centrar su ira en la comunidad LGBTQ y los refugiados musulmanes.

El antisemitismo en Ucrania está lejos de ser vencido. Violeta Davoliute, que investiga la memoria del Holocausto en la Universidad de Vilnius, ha observado que aunque los tabúes sobre la historia judía en Europa central y oriental están cayendo, la investigación histórica sigue estando muy politizada. “Todo está tan politizado y es tan conflictivo que ... es difícil realizar una investigación neutral”, dijo. En particular, quedan ciertas líneas rojas en cuanto a hasta dónde está dispuesto a llegar el establecimiento lituano, y una gran parte de la sociedad, para desafiar la narrativa oficial. “Nosotros sufrimos, nuestros judíos también sufrieron. Ellos, los alemanes y la URSS, fueron los perpetradores ”, dijo Davoliute, en resumen de la perspectiva del establishment.

En general, Israel se hizo más popular en Lituania después de la invasión rusa de Crimea en 2014. Lituania vio que el retorcimiento de manos de la OTAN, las potencias occidentales y el Parlamento Europeo no era suficiente para detener la postura cada vez más agresiva de Rusia en la región. En respuesta a una Rusia recién desarrollada, Lituania duplicó su gasto militar entre 2013 y 2016 y reintrodujo el servicio militar obligatorio. Hablando en la Universidad Vytautas Magnus en mayo de 2015, Darius Degutis, el ex embajador de Lituania en Israel, elogió el reclutamiento israelí por inculcar el patriotismo, que, según él, penetró en otras áreas de la vida israelí, desde el empleo hasta las citas. A medida que se acercaban las elecciones presidenciales de Lituania en mayo de 2019, LRT, la emisora ​​pública, pidió a los candidatos que dijeran cuál era su posición sobre la idea de reclutar mujeres, y los expertos se refirieron, en términos positivos, a Israel al analizar sus respuestas.

Este año, Skvernelis se ofreció como voluntario para proclamar a Lituania como "la voz de Israel en la UE, que puede desarrollar la posición de Israel". También decidió no reunirse con representantes de la Autoridad Palestina (AP) durante su visita oficial a Israel. Aunque Lituania sigue proporcionando ayuda para el desarrollo a la Autoridad Palestina (su enfoque pasó de la democracia a la iniciativa empresarial), parece considerar cada vez más a esta última como una responsabilidad diplomática. En 2011, Lituania votó en contra de la membresía palestina de la UNESCO.

Lituania compra armas israelíes. También compra el derecho de Israel a la narrativa de autodefensa. El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Lituania tiende a reafirmar eso en Twitter cada vez que se entera de un nuevo brote de violencia contra los israelíes. Al hacerlo, reafirma el derecho de Lituania a lo mismo. A cambio, los funcionarios israelíes parecen estar dispuestos a aceptar los fallidos esfuerzos emergentes de Lituania por el resurgimiento del Holocausto.

Para los populistas de Europa del Este, Israel hoy es un “viejo sueño hecho realidad”, escribió el politólogo y experto en populismo Ivan Krastev en el período previo a las elecciones israelíes la primavera pasada. En otras palabras, un Israel militarista y descaradamente etnocéntrico se siente como un modelo cómodo para los líderes lituanos y de Europa del Este.

En el verano de 2018, Netanyahu se convirtió en el primer primer ministro israelí en visitar Lituania y, cuando lo hizo, vinculó explícitamente el nuevo enfoque histórico a la relación recientemente sólida de los países. “Creo que al aceptar el pasado, luchar por combatir el antisemitismo, como lo está haciendo el gobierno lituano, decirle a las nuevas generaciones la verdad sobre la tragedia histórica para que tales casos puedan evitarse en el futuro, a través de esto puede crear fuertes relaciones bilaterales ”, dijo a los periodistas. "Una vez más, al igual que con las tecnologías, con el progreso, igualmente en esto, podemos hacer más juntos".

Los críticos dicen que Lituania no ha hecho lo suficiente, e Israel lo está dejando escapar por una cuestión de conveniencia política. Muchos lituanos siguen sin querer convertir a sus héroes de guerra en perpetradores del Holocausto. Pero sin duda se están produciendo algunos cambios, aunque débiles.

Daiva Repeckaite es un periodista lituano que vive actualmente en Malta. Gorjeo: @daiva_hadiva


Aspectos destacados de la historia de Lituania: las mujeres lituanas en la leyenda y la historia

Nadie ha contribuido más a la preservación de la identidad nacional de Lituania, y quizás su propia existencia, que la mujer lituana.

A lo largo de todos los tiempos turbulentos de la historia de Lituania, la mujer lituana desempeñó un papel importante y, a menudo, asumió cargas y responsabilidades pesadas para la preservación de la identidad de la nación e incluso su propia existencia. La mujer lituana fue glorificada en leyendas y épicas. Como reina, princesa, noble, se distinguió en Lituania de reyes y grandes duques. Siglos más tarde, durante el renacimiento nacional, incluso como simple esposa de un granjero, se la vio reafirmarse y ayudar a allanar el camino para la restauración de la independencia de Lituania. Cuando llegó la independencia, con nueva energía asumió nuevos deberes y se ganó nuevos laureles en todos los campos de la vida nacional.

En nuestro tratamiento de la mujer lituana, hemos limitado nuestra elección a mujeres representativas desde la antigüedad hasta la restauración de la independencia lituana en 1918. Para evitar confusión en la mente del lector que no esté familiarizado con las complejidades del idioma lituano, los apellidos de las mujeres en casi todas las instancias están escritas en forma masculina.

EN LEYENDA Y PRIMERA HISTORIA

Desde tiempos inmemoriales, los lituanos han tenido su V ideal de feminidad. Su mitología simbólica y animista encarnaba el ideal femenino en un duende silvestre o de agua, al que llamaban laume, un ser que se asemeja a las buenas hadas del folclore de Europa occidental. Esta doncella espiritual, que sobrevive hasta el día de hoy en cientos de cuentos populares, era una personificación simbólica de la mujer lituana ideal: doncella alta, de cabello rubio, ojos azules, rolliza, con voz tranquila y melodiosa, una enfermera compasiva y una trabajadora guardiana materna. de los ancianos y los niños.

Las leyendas, creaciones populares de una época humanista o romántica pasada, nos han dado muchos tipos de mujeres. Algunas de estas mujeres legendarias son ejemplos sublimados de heroicas doncellas lituanas. Tal era, por ejemplo, Pajauta, la casta hija del principal druida Lizdeika. Según la tradición popular, en lugar de casarse con un extranjero no creyente y traicionar así la antigua religión pagana, se sacrificó a los lobos.

Un segundo Pajauta era la hermosa hija del duque Kernius. Llevó una vida ejemplar como esposa y madre y fue respetada por sus súbditos. Cuando murió, su hijo Kukovietis erigió un monumento de madera en su memoria en la orilla del lago Žasliai. Con el tiempo, este monumento de madera se pudrió y cayó, pero en su lugar emergió un tilo milagroso.

La lealtad fue otra virtud femenina ensalzada en las leyendas históricas.

The Lithuanian woman of earlier times liked to adorn herself, as these silver and amber ornaments from the 13th century testify.

Gražina, the wife of Liutaveras, Duke of Naugardukas, learned that her husband was plotting with the Teutonic Knights against his liege lord Vytautas. Donning her husband’s armor, Gražina led the forces of Naugardukas against the invading Teutonic Knights. Though the Knights were soundly defeated, Gražina fell in battle, preserving the honor of her household.

Another princess of Naugardukas was Živile, whose father would not permit her to marry her lover of lower rank. The lover, however, was determined to free her from her father’s clutches and with a band of Ruthenians forced his way into the castle. But Zivile’s loyalty to her father and his people was stroger than her love for the swain. She stabbed her would-be rescuer and ralied the men-at-arms of the castle to rout of enemy, Zivile stabbed herself to death, to atone for the strife she had caused.

IN THE LAND OF KINGS AND PRINCES

The first Lithuanian woman known in history is Queen Morta (Martha), wife of King Mindaugas, creator of the Lithuanian State. The stature of this renowned couple assumes monumental proportions in Lithuanian history of the thirteenth century. It was Mindaugas and Morta who accepted Christianity for the Lithuanian nation in 1251. Two years later Morta was crowned queen. An energetic and ambitious woman, she not only performed her family duties with dignity, receiving foreign envoys in the regal castles, but she also participated in the political activities of her husband, who spun intrigues against the Teutonic Knights, an aggressive crusading order recently established on the Baltic shores and scheming to plunder Lithuania. Queen Morta was Mindaugas’ adviser and assistant. Friends and strangers alike had to reckon with her. She died earlier than Mindaugas, the exact date being unknown.

In this painting by adolfas Valeska, which is in Chicago’s Holy Cross church, Morta is seen standing next to her husband Mindaugas as he being baptized into the Christian faith.

In the next century another woman enters the spotlight of Lithuanian history. She is Aldona, the daughter of the ruler, King Gediminas. Because of reasons of state, namely, Lithuania’s need to effect an alliance against the growing threat of the Teutonic O rder, Aldona was married to Wladislaw Lokietka’s son Casimir, who was later known as King Casimir the Great. For her dowry she asked her father for the return of 25,000 Polish prisoners of war to Poland—a country whose queen she was about to become. Amid universal acclaim and blessings, Aldona journeyed from Vilnius to Cracow, Poland’s capital. Unfortunately, she did not fare well in her new country. Her husband proved unfaithful. The queen sought solace in charitable work and music. She died a young woman, leaving two daughters, who later married into the Luxembourg and Habsburg families of the Holy Roman Empire. Aldona’s granddaughter became the wife of Emperor Charles IV.

The fate of Birute was different. To this day she is surrounded by emotional legends and a veil of poetry. This daughter of a Samogitian Duke from the Palanga seacoast became the wife of King Kestutis and the mother of the genius Vytautas the Great. Birute came to be regarded as guardian of the Lithuanian national hearth and symbol of dedicated Lithuanian motherhood. A mound held to be her burial site is still kept in high esteem after more than six hundred years.

Birute’s son, Vytautas, had an illustrious spouse, Ona, sister of Lord Sudimantas.

The legendary meeting of Birutė and Kęstutis is fancifully portrayed by children’s book illustrator Povilas Osmolskis.

The personality of Ona (Anna) is characteristic of the typical Lithuanian woman. A mother— but not merely a mother, she was a boon companion of her husband. She was never satisfied with only the maintenance of the household. Her interests were wide. She was a public figure and a politically-minded woman. (The women in Lithuania had been enjoying full freedom and taking part in public activities since olden times.) Ona loved honors, but she also knew how to make sacrifices. She did not avoid obstacles, but overcame them. During the political chaos in Lithuania toward the end of the fourteenth century, when her husband was thrown into prison by his wily cousin Jogaila, she assumed responsibility and devised a way for his escape by exchanging her clothes with him, letting him walk out in disguise while she remained in prison.

Free once more, Vytautas forced his cousin to recognize him as Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Under Vytautas Lithuania became one of the most powerful states of Europe. After Jogaila was crowned King of Poland, Vytautas became a virtual sovereign of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy. Ona was his co-worker. She signed writs of warranty which her husband would fulfill, received emissaries of the Teutonic Knights, went to their capital Marienburg as a hostage to advance her husband’s political cause. She stood firmly at his side when war broke out with the Teutonic Order of Prussia and Vytautas with Jogaila dealt the Teutonic Knights a mortal blow in the battle of Žalgiris (Tannenberg) in 1410. Ona died in 1418, without seeing the day the Holy Roman Emperor granted her husband a royal crown. In the chronicles of the Teutonic Knights Ona is described as “The most elegant woman in Europe.”

Vytautas’ daughter Sofia is shown with husband Vasily, Grand Duke of Moscovia, in
an old woodcut.

The only daughter of Vytautas and Ona was Sofia, an energetic and strong-willed woman, who married the Grand Duke of Moscow. Though living in an alien environment where women were traditionally kept in the terema, the Muscovite equivalent of the oriental harem, Sofia did not accept this strange custom. She was not a slave to her husband, but actively engaged in the politics of the Kremlin. After her husband died she doggedly fought for her son’s rights to the throne. While her father Vytautas was alive, she felt secure, seeking his protection over her family. After his death she continued her firm rule in the Kremlin, although she was driven from the throne and even imprisoned.

She ultimately regained the throne for her son, chose a wife for him, and defended Moscow against the inroads of the Tartars. When Jogaila became the king of Poland, ushering in the renowned Jagelonian Dynasty, his sister Aleksandra exercised great influence in Polish politics. Aleksandra had married the Duke of Mazovia. She went down in posterity as cofounder, with Jogaila, of the University of Cracow. Her capable daughter was to be the mother of the Habsburg Emperor, Frederick IV. The fourth wife of Jogaila was a Lithuanian, Sofia, Duchess of Alšenai. She was the first queen of Poland to see to it that her subjects had the Holy Scriptures in their native language. She played a prominent role in having her offspring chosen as rulers of Poland and Lithuania.

From the fourteenth to the middle of the sixteenth century, a heated conflict between the Lithuanians and the Poles raged over the political union of the two states. The Lithuanians sought to break the ties with the Poles, while the latter wanted a closer union. These strained relations can be seen in the fate of Duchess Barbora Radvila, whose brother and cousin were high dignitaries of Lithuania.

Vytautas’ wife Ona, as painted by Kazys Šimonis.

Duchess Barbora was a ravishing beauty and a true child of the epoch of humanism and the Renaissance. Her love affair with Lithuania’s Grand Duke Žygimantas (Sigismund August) led to a stormy episode in Polish-Lithuanian history. The ruler’s mother and the Polish nobles were opposed to the marriage of the heir to the Polish throne to the daughter of Lithuania’s most influential family. “I would rather see in Cracow the Turkish Sultan than see her as queen of Poland,” said many a Polish magnate. Conventions and parliamentary assemblies discussed the question of the ruler’s wedding. After days of waiting, fear, and insults, the young couple married in secret. Finally, the vacillating Sigismund August became king of Poland and had Barbora crowned queen. But their joy was short-lived. Weakened by a long illness (it is said that the dowager queen Bona poisoned her), Queen Barbora died, a victim of the quarrels between the Lithuanian and Polish nobility.

Among the leading lights of the Renaissance period in Lithuania is the personality of Sofia Vnucka Morkus, a wealthy estate owner and an advocate of Calvinism and secular education. Her contemporary was Sofia Chodkevicius (Katkus), who exerted an influence on the illustrious hetman (military marshal) Jonas Karolis Chodkevicius (Katkus). She was an independent woman, who managed vast estates and built churches and monasteries. One of the most educated and influential women of the eighteenth century in Lithuania was Zabiela-Kosakauskas. The list could be expanded indefinitely.

DURING THE ECLIPSE OF LITHUANIAN LIBERTY

From 1795 to 1918 was a long and difficult period that followed Imperial Russia’s annexation of Lithuania. During those years the Lithuanians repeatedly rose against the czarist despotism, women joining their men folk in the struggle to restore the nation’s freedom and independence. In the 1831 rebellion, Countess Emilija Plateris, a patriotic Samogitian girl, distinguished herself as a guerilla colonel and died from wounds received in combat. Two other Samogitian noblewomen, Marija Asanavicius and Antuane t e Tamašauskas, who gained recognition for their great courage on the battlefield, were fortunate to survive, but were obliged to leave the country and, fearing Russian persecution, did not return.

Queen and Grand Duchess Barbora.

In the same 1831 uprising Princess Kunigunda Oginskis achieved distinction for her heroic devotion as a nurse to the wounded rebels. With her husband, General Gabrielius Oginskis, who had led the Lithuanian units during Napoleon’s march on Moscow in 1812 and who was now Vice-President of Lithuania’s temporary government, she shared the trials and dangers of underground warfare. After the suppression of the revolt, she and her husband emigrated to France. Later, with the Czar’s permission, they returned to Lithuania. It was her fate, however, to experience the tragic loss of her husband, who was seized and tortured by the Russians and died in a Vilnius prison.
The rebellion was suppressed with great bloodshed. The old University of Vilnius, a fountainhead of national thought and aspirations, was closed. Men and women who participated in the rebellion were deported to Siberia. Some succeeded in escaping to the West.

In the 1863 revolt, the sisters of Liudvikas Narbutas, one of the leaders of the revolt— Teodora Monciunskas and Emilija Jucevicius—stand out as women rebels. Teodora supported her brother’s unit as an active liaison runner. Emilija sheltered the units of Ostroga and Lenkevicius. Kazimiera Žebrauskas helped the units of Saurimavicius and Olšauskas in Ukmerge and Panevežys counties. Karolina Gouvaltis residing in Vilnius helped volunteers, hid and clothed rebels.

Women also gave food, shelter, and other aid to the families of men who joined the revolt. Many women were subjected to punishment because their men were in rebel ranks. Without doubt, Dominika Dalevskis, a widow in Vilnius, suffered the most. Her son Titas was executed in Vilnius. Another son, Pranciškus, received a twentyyear hard labor sentence. Konstantinas migrated to France. Aleksandras, returning from Siberia, died in Vilnius before the revolt. Mrs. Dalevskis and her six daughters were deported to the depths of Russia. Banishing her to Ufa province, Governor General Muraviev declared: “Let this mother, who has nurtured so many mutineers, settle near the road to the penal camps. Let her observe her sons, relatives and friends being driven along this road in chains.” On this road Mrs. Dalevskis saw Pranciškus being taken to Siberian exile. The son, as told by Apolonija Sierakauskas— another woman in exile who witnessed the meeting—fell at his mother’s feet, while she only pressed his head to her breast, without a sob or a tear.

Countess Emilija Plateris

Russian gendarmes sent hundreds of rebels to the gallows, Thousands were deported to desolate wastelands of Russia. All Lithuanian schools were closed. Obscurantism clouded the horizon. In 1864 the Lithuanian language was banned in all public offices, and the use of Latin characters in Lithuanian publications was prohibited.

The reactionary czarist regime in Lithuania began a policy against the Catholic Church. This was coupled with Russification and colonization of sequestrated lands by Russian settlers. Dark days had indeed descended upon Lithuania.

During the struggle against Russia, Lithuania lost many of her notables and intellectuals. The only positive development was the abolition of serfdom in 1861, which permitted the sending of peasant children to school. As a consequence, a generation of intellectuals of peasant background sprang up, which took up the struggle for the peasantry and for the nation as a whole. They were, without doubt, the prototypes of the Lithuanian youth a century later that rose up to wage open and guerilla warfare against the overwhelming forces of the Russian Soviets, who had occupied their country and had deported countless thousands of their relatives and neighbors to the barren reaches of Siberia.

In the struggle with the czarist government, women were active participants—not as wives of kings and dukes, but as peasant women. During and after the period of serfdom it was the Lithuanian peasant women who did so much to preserve their ancient language. Seated at her spinning wheel, the Lithuanian mother taught her children to read in the native language. She told them stories and legends about the country’s great past when the land was free and powerful. These legends survived, being passed on from generation to generation. The Lithuanian woman knew that she would be punished for this, but her love of her country was stronger than her fear of punishment.

A Lithuanian peasant woman washing linen in a brook. (Turn of the century photograph.)

The Lithuanian woman was brave. When the Russian authorities ordered the church at Kražiai in 1893 shut down to prevent the people from praying in Lithuanian, the women would not abandon this sanctuary. Thereupon the Russian gendarmes broke in among the worshipers and hacked them with their swords. But the Lithuanian woman bravely and patiently bore her suffering. It was her way of protesting against the regime for forbidding the worship of God in her own language.

The political maturity of the woman runs like an unbroken thread throughout Lithuanian history. Women were among the devoted book smugglers who clandestinely brought into the country Lithuanian books and newspapers, printed in East Prussia and the United States, and distributed them among the common folk hungry for the forbidden Lithuanian word. For their patriotic work many of these book carriers were arrested and banished to Siberia. Among the most prominent women who directed book smuggling from Tilže (East Prussia) was Morta Zaunius, who later helped to organize the Lithuanian exhibit at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1901.

In 1883 the fledgling Lithuanian newspaper Aušra formulated the national aspirations, demanding reestablishment of the Lithuanian press and the opening of more schools. By 1889 another Lithuanian newspaper, Varpas, was asking for acknowledgment of national rights, land reform, civil rights for all, and ultimately national independence.

After years of constant struggle, the Lithuanian press was finally restored in 1904.

The 1905 revolution in Czarist Russia had repercussions in Lithuania. Uprisings broke out all over the country, and regional functionaries of Russia were swept aside in the rural areas. On September 22-23, 1905, the Alliance of Women of Lithuania was formed. The goal of the country’s first women’s organization was the restoration of the Lithuanian State and securing of women’s rights. (Russian law accorded very limited rights to women, especially in the field of inheritance).

That same year a Lithuanian Conference was called in Vilnius. It was attended by two thousand delegates. Women actively participated in the work of this conference. Its resolutions demanding human and political rights for Lithuania later circulated throughout the country. Gabriele Petkevicius, Felicija Bortkevicius, Ona Šapkauskas, Katre Jane lis, and Ona B raza us kas were among the vocal women at the conference.

This sculpture by Petras Rimša, showing a mother at a spinning wheel teaching her child to read during the “Press Ban” in 19th century Lithuania, personifies the indomitable spirit of the Lithuanian woman.

At the end of 1905 a meeting of peasant women took place at Lotove- nai, in Šiauliai County. The women declared that they must have equal rights with men. Being subject to the same taxes, they argued, their rights should also be the same. They also demanded Lithuanian language schools, protested against unrestricted sale of liquor, and came out in favor of a strong, nationwide women’s society.

Growing czarist reaction, however, ruined their hopes. The reprisals were similar to those that took place after the 1831 and the 1863 revolts. Again many Lithuanian patriots were banished to Siberia, while others managed to escape to western Europe and America. Among the emigrants to America were young men fleeing from service in the Czar’s army. Lithuanian women sent their sons abroad that they may escape doing military duty in the Caucasus, Turkestan, and Far Siberia.

In 1907 the first Women’s Conference took place in Kaunas. Because of possible political reaction, the women had to formulate their demands carefully. The conference, with Gabriele Petkevicius as chairman and Ona Pleiris-Puida as secretary, saw a need for a general women’s organization. The meeting raised the question of women’s rights, suggested that women also organize by profession, concern themselves with education, and protest against the government’s open sale of liquor.

In 1908 two women’s organizations were founded—the Lithuanian Catholic Women’s Society in Kaunas and the Lithuanian Women’s Association in Vilnius.

Prior to the First World War, the national political work of women was clandestine. Women often engaged in underground party activities. They peasant women took place at Lotove- nai, in Šiauliai County. The women declared that they must have equal rights with men. Being subject to the same taxes, they argued, their rights should also be the same. They also demanded Lithuanian language schools, protested against unrestricted sale of liquor, and came out in favor of a strong, nationwide women’s society. Growing czarist reaction, however, ruined their hopes. The reprisals were similar to those that took place after the 1831 and the 1863 revolts. Again many Lithuanian patriots were banThe goal of the country’s first women’s organization was the restoration of the Lithuanian State and securing of women’s rights. ished to Siberia, while others managed to escape to western Europe and America. Among the emigrants to America were young men fleeing from service in the Czar’s army. Lithuanian women sent their sons abroad that they may escape doing military duty in the Caucasus, Turkestan, and Far Siberia. In 1907 the first Women’s Conference took place in Kaunas. Because of possible political reaction, the women had to formulate their demands carefully. The conference, with Gabriele Petkevicius as chairman and Ona Pleiris-Puida as secretary, saw a need for a general women’s organization. The meeting raised the question of women’s rights, suggested that women also organize by profession, concern themselves with education, and protest against the government’s open sale of liquor. In 1908 two women’s organizations were founded—the Lithuanian Catholic Women’s Society in Kaunas and the Lithuanian Women’s Association in Vilnius. Prior to the First World War, the national political work of women was clandestine. Women often engaged in underground party activities. They Year o f the Lith u a n ia n Bo o k helped liberate political prisoners and arranged their escape abroad. They edited clandestine and public newspapers and wrote articles on women’s rights. They were often under police surveillance.

When the Kaiser’s armies occupied Lithuania in 1915 and the retreating Russians transported part of the population to Russia Proper, Lithuanian women faced adversity with patience and fortitude. With the fall of the Russian colossus during the March 1917 revolution, Lithuanian women in Russia organized in groups, in order to speed up their return to their homeland. In Moscow they formed the Lithuanian Women’s Freedom Union, with Ona Mašiotas as its suffragette-type chairman.

During the Lithuanian Conference in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) in May of 1917, the women participants—among them: Felicia Bortkevicius, Liuda Purenas, Birute Grigaitis, and Emilija Spudas-Gvildys —insisted that the assembly extend equal rights to women, and their demand was accepted in resolution form. During the German occupation, the Vilnius-based Committee to Aid War Victims was for a long time the only official Lithuanian institution. Two of its more active members were Emilija Vileišis and Sofia Smetona.

On February 16, 1918, Lithuania declared her independence. Even before the impending collapse of Imperial Germany, many refugees had started on their return journey from Russia. The Lithuanian women were going back to rebuild their homeland.

Jadvyga Chodakauskas was among the first women to be sent abroad. In 1918 she headed the Lithuanian Information Center in Bern, Switzerland. For a while she was the representative of Lithuania in Switzerland. In 1919 she went to Paris with the Lithuanian Peace Delegation as the Director of the Lithuanian Information Center.

• This article was adapted from The Lithuanian Woman, edited by Birute Novickis and published by the Federation of Lithuanian Women’s Clubs, Brooklyn, 1968


LRT FACTS. Are Lithuanian cities 'deadliest' in Europe and is drinking to blame?

Fox News ranked Kaunas, VIlnius and Klaipėda as the top three “deadliest” European cities, basing their claim on a UN study from 2019.

Once the story was picked up by all major news outlets in Lithuania, social media exploded with comments, the police held a press conference disputing the “deadliest” label, and government representatives claimed to have contacted Fox News for clarification.

Did Fox truthfully present the figures from the UN Global Study on Homicide, and does Lithuania indeed have the “deadliest” cities in Europe? And why did the deputy police commissioner say it’s enough for Lithuanians to “drink less” for the problem to be solved?

Safe streets, dangerous homes

The Lithuanian police hosted a dedicated conference to present its own statistics – they said most homicides in Lithuania are domestic, therefore Lithuanian cities cannot be seen as dangerous.

The police representatives also said the UN data of the number of homicides per 100,000 people wasn’t up to date.

“The difference is that the domestic crimes, in essence, do not cause danger to the society, to other residents,” the head of communications at the Lithuanian police, Ramūnas Matonis, told LRT FACTS.

“Two people drink, get drunk, get into a fight, use a knife or something, and that’s it. Of course, every murder is a tragedy, but it’s not right to scare people that Lithuanian cities are unsafe,” he added.

The publication by Fox News was disingenuous, said the police.

Researcher Maryja Šupa from the Criminology Department of Vilnius University (VU) said most crimes in Lithuania are committed in domestic environment.

“It’s important to note that no single figure – like the number of murders per 100,000 people – can tell if a city is safe,” she told LRT FACTS, adding it was necessary to look at contextual factors.

Seventy percent of homicides in Lithuania happen in the homes of the victims or the accused, according to an investigation by VU researchers. A completely unrelated person is the victim of murder only in 20 percent of cases.

“Although the number of murders [in Lithuania] is relatively high in comparison with other EU states, only a minority of the murders happen in public spaces,” said Šupa, adding it would be “completely wrong” to say that a random person faces any real risk of being attacked and killed on the streets.

The safety of a city depends on various factors, she said, including “subjective safety – how secure people feel regardless of criminal statistics.”

Therefore, the Fox News “dealiest cities” headline “says very little about the cities themselves,” as it avoids saying “who exactly, why and under what circumstances has died,” said Šupa.

And although Lithuania has the highest number of homicides in the EU, “the statistics are more than 10 times higher in North and South America,” where crime is often linked with drug trade and organised crime, she said.

Lithuania's culture of violence and social exclusion

During the police press conference on February 6, Deputy Police Commissioner Edvardas Šileris said Lithuanians “should drink less” when asked what could help solve the problem of murders.

According to the VU criminologist Šupa, murders committed at home “do not pose a direct threat to the public,” but are "often connected with alcohol [abuse], as 70 percent of murders were committed under the influence of alcohol".

This shows "a culture of violence [that is] a problem common in the whole post-Soviet [sphere]”.

“In countries where alcohol is used in public – in cafes, bars, other spaces – there is more social control, more safeguards, other people that can notice a conflict situation and intervene before something happens.”

Meanwhile, closing oneself up in domestic environments is common in post-Soviet countries, she said.

Crime often results from social exclusion, many of the accused tend to have only school-level education, some have committed other crimes before, and at least 40 percent have previously been imprisoned, added Šupa.

“And it’s again a question for us, the society – is there really no direct danger to people in the streets, does it mean that everything is alright?”

Official but inconsistent data

In a Facebook post, political scientists Mažvydas Jastramskis has criticised the ranking of cities based on statistics from a single year. He said he made several calculations himself which, depending on criteria, completely change the “deadliest” list.

“One of the statistics’ [. ] principles is that you cannot take one measure and present it as if it reflects the entirety,” he wrote.

Jastramskis proceeded to use the UN database to take data from 2011 through 2016, which showed statistics from cities in “almost all European nations, except Kyiv and Dublin”.

The information surprised Jastamskis.

“For example, the deadliest European city isn’t Moscow or Kaunas, but Cahul” in Moldova, he wrote.

When he adjusted the filter to include cities with at least two data entries, the top 10 he got were “Bijelo Polje (Montenegro), Kasnodar (Russia), Prešov (Slovakia), Klaipėda, Kaunas, Vilnius (Lithuania), Moscow (Russia), Riga (Latvia), Liepāja (Latvija), Schaan (Lichtenstein),” according to Jastamskis.

When measuring statistics per 100,000 people, all it takes is for one small town to have a single murder for the statistics to inflate, he wrote.

“This happened with Schaan in Liechtenstein, where one banker was killed in 2014. For a town of 6,000 people this meant 16.9 murders per 100,000 people.”

Comments on social media also pointed to the fact that the quoted statistics are from 2016 and are therefore outdated.

According to Statistics Lithuania, the number of murders in the country have been steadily decreasing for a long time.

The UN report does not rank cities, but profile different countries based on regional and year-frame filters.

“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime seeks to shed light on different phenomena, from lethal gang violence and the role of firearms to links with inequalities and gender-related killings, and in this way support targeted action,” Yury Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, is quoted in the report.

“I hope that the research and analysis contained in the study are used in this spirit – not to designate “murder capitals” but to learn, understand and strengthen prevention.”

The report did not analyse statistics of different cities, which can only be found in a separate UN database.

Fox News ended up using the statistics differently than intended by the UN and presented them as a rating of “deadliest” cities, contrary to what the report aimed to do.

Verdict: manipulation / sensational headline

Although Lithuania definitely stands out among EU member states with a high number of murders, it isn’t accurate to say that the country’s cities are unsafe or “deadly”, as Fox News claimed. Based on Lithuania’s crime statistics, most murders happen in domestic environments and not in the pubic. Critics said it was wrong to analyse the UN data in the way Fox News did, basing the story on a single criterion of murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Experts, however, said that although the data was inconsistent, it still showed problems arising from social exclusion.


Lithuania News - History

Lithuanian Jewish leaders on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of "falsifying" history after he defended the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states during World War II.

While paying tribute to those who perished fighting the Nazis, the Jewish community dismissed Putin's attempt to play down Soviet crimes in Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia.

"We, the descendants of the Jews of Lithuania, oppose this falsification of the history of the enslavement of our independent Lithuania," community leader Faina Kukliansky and lawmaker Emanuelis Zingeris said.

They issued a joint statement in response to Putin's article in US magazine The National Interest earlier this month in which he described the Baltic states' annexation as "incorporation".

"Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities," Putin wrote, saying it was in "line with international and state law of that time".

Putin has repeatedly accused the West of playing down the Soviet contribution to the Nazi defeat -- an estimated 27 million Soviet troops and civilians were killed in World War II.

But for many in the Baltic states, which were independent states after World War I, the Soviet takeover marked the start of decades of often brutal Soviet occupation rather than liberation.

"Lithuanian Jews who had a guarantee of ethnic continuity in independent Lithuania became the ethnic group most persecuted by the Soviet occupiers," Jewish leaders said.

"The majority of Lithuania's Jews didn't want a Soviet government. The massive fight later by the Soviet Union and its satellites against Zionism became the hallmark of the entire period of Communist rule."

The Soviets invaded the Baltic states in 1940 under their infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact with Nazi Germany. A year later, in June, they deported some 43,000 Baltic citizens, including thousands of Jews.

That drive was cut short when Germany turned on its former allies the same month, pushing the Red Army out of the Baltic region as it invaded the Soviet Union.

In 1944-45, the Soviets put an end to the Nazi occupation -- during which almost all of the region's Jews were killed -- heralding the renewed deportations of hundreds of thousands and prompting an armed resistance that only ended in 1953.

Moscow refuses to recognize the Soviet takeover of the Baltic states as an occupation and it has never offered an apology or reparations.

It was only in March 1990 that Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence, before joining the European Union and NATO in 2004.


Lituania

Lithuania is the southernmost of the Baltic states. During the Holocaust, the Germans murdered about 90 percent of Lithuanian Jews, one of the highest victim rates in Europe.

Hechos clave

Lithuanians carried out violent riots against the Jews both shortly before and immediately after the arrival of German forces.

In June and July 1941, detachments of German Einsatzgrupen together with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began murdering the Jews of Lithuania.

By the end of August 1941, most Jews in rural Lithuania had been shot. By November 1941, the Germans had also massacred most of the Jews who had been concentrated in ghettos in the larger cities.

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Lithuania is the southernmost of the Baltic states.

The Jews of Lithuania had their own distinct and highly developed Jewish culture, including a special dialect of the Yiddish language. Lithuanian Jewry played a profound role in many Jewish ideologies, including the Jewish workers' movement, Zionism, and rational religious thought. Before World War II, the Lithuanian Jewish population was some 160,000, about 7 percent of the total population.

Lithuania was an independent country from the end of World War I until 1940. In March 1939, Nazi Germany delivered an ultimatum to Lithuania to cede the territory of Memel (Klaipeda), a region with an ethnic German majority, to the Reich. On March 21, the Lithuanian government agreed to the German terms. The following day the German and Lithuanian foreign ministers signed a treaty that returned the Memel territory back to Germany and included an non-aggression pact between the two parties. The Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in June 1940 and annexed the country in August 1940. By 1941, the Jewish population of Lithuania swelled by an influx of refugees from German-occupied Poland to reach about 250,000, or 10 percent of the population.

In June and July 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans occupied Lithuania. During the German occupation, Lithuania was incorporated into the Reich Commissariat Ostland (Reichskommissariat Ostland), a German civilian administration covering the Baltic states and western Belorussia.

The Lithuanians carried out violent riots against the Jews both shortly before and immediately after the arrival of German forces. In June and July 1941, detachments of German Einsatzgruppen together with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began murdering the Jews of Lithuania. By the end of August 1941, most Jews in rural Lithuania had been shot. By November 1941, the Germans also massacred most of the Jews who had been concentrated in ghettos in the larger cities. The surviving 40,000 Jews were concentrated in the Vilna, Kovno, Siauliai, and Svencionys ghettos, and in various labor camps in Lithuania. Living conditions were miserable, with severe food shortages, outbreaks of disease, and overcrowding

In 1943, the Germans destroyed the Vilna and Svencionys ghettos, and converted the Kovno and Siauliai ghettos into concentration camps. Some 15,000 Lithuanian Jews were deported to labor camps in Latvia and Estonia. About 5,000 Jews were deported to killing centers in German-occupied Poland, where they were murdered. Shortly before withdrawing from Lithuania in the fall of 1944, the Germans deported about 10,000 Jews from Kovno and Siauliai to concentration camps in Germany.

Soviet troops reoccupied Lithuania in the summer of 1944. In the previous three years, the Germans had murdered about 90 percent of Lithuanian Jews, one of the highest victim rates in Europe.


Lithuania marks 80th anniversary of Soviet mass deportations

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. Reservados todos los derechos.

A man lays flowers on rusty railway tracks near old wagons at the Naujoji Vilnia railway station in Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, June 14, 2021, as Lithuania marked the mass deportation 80 years ago by the Soviet Union that was occupying the Baltic nation. Deportation started on June 14, 1941, where some 280,000 people were deported to Siberian gulags, a year after Soviet troops had occupied Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

VILNIUS – Flowers were laid on rusty railway tracks Monday as Lithuania marked the start of a mass deportation 80 years ago by the Soviet Union that was occupying the Baltic nation.

People who were considered opposed to Moscow or deemed counter-revolutionary elements were sent to Siberia from Lithuania and few returned. Others who owned land or houses were evicted and sent there too.

Some 280,000 people were eventually deported to the Siberian gulags, a year after Soviet troops had occupied Lithuania. Many of those sent away never returned from the long journey in the cattle wagons.

“Two evil forces — Nazi Germany and the Soviet Communist regime — had entered a secret agreement to divide Europe,” President Gitanas Nauseda said during a solemn ceremony in Vilnius, on a day considered one of the darkest pages in the Baltic nation’s recent history. These “regimes caused unspeakable pain and suffering.”

One of those attending the ceremony Monday was deported and spent almost 11 years in Siberia. Aurelija Staponkute and her family were deported only because they had a small farm that was seized.

“We do not know what the future might bring. Whatever happens, we must protect our freedom. After all, we fought for it so hard,” the 83-year-old said.

Only one-third of those deported ever returned, according to historians, and the mass deportation affected all walks of life in the Baltic nation, where it's considered a genocide by an occupying power.

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania lasted for five decades. After regaining its independence in 1991, Lithuania joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. Reservados todos los derechos. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Lithuania marks 80th anniversary of Soviet mass deportations

Lithuania Deportations Anniversary A man lays flowers on rusty railway tracks near old wagons at the Naujoji Vilnia railway station in Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, June 14, 2021, as Lithuania marked the mass deportation 80 years ago by the Soviet Union that was occupying the Baltic nation. Deportation started on June 14, 1941, where some 280,000 people were deported to Siberian gulags, a year after Soviet troops had occupied Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis) (Mindaugas Kulbis)

June 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm EDT

VILNIUS, Lithuania &mdash (AP) — Flowers were laid on rusty railway tracks Monday as Lithuania marked the start of a mass deportation 80 years ago by the Soviet Union that was occupying the Baltic nation.

People who were considered opposed to Moscow or deemed counter-revolutionary elements were sent to Siberia from Lithuania and few returned. Others who owned land or houses were evicted and sent there too.

Some 280,000 people were eventually deported to the Siberian gulags, a year after Soviet troops had occupied Lithuania. Many of those sent away never returned from the long journey in the cattle wagons.

“Two evil forces — Nazi Germany and the Soviet Communist regime — had entered a secret agreement to divide Europe,” President Gitanas Nauseda said during a solemn ceremony in Vilnius, on a day considered one of the darkest pages in the Baltic nation’s recent history. These “regimes caused unspeakable pain and suffering.”

One of those attending the ceremony Monday was deported and spent almost 11 years in Siberia. Aurelija Staponkute and her family were deported only because they had a small farm that was seized.

“We do not know what the future might bring. Whatever happens, we must protect our freedom. After all, we fought for it so hard,” the 83-year-old said.

Only one-third of those deported ever returned, according to historians, and the mass deportation affected all walks of life in the Baltic nation, where it's considered a genocide by an occupying power.

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania lasted for five decades. After regaining its independence in 1991, Lithuania joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. Reservados todos los derechos. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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