In 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied and annexed the state of Lithuania, destruction of its political-social and economic structure, and cultural and traditional spiritual values ensued and enforcement of the Communist worldview and ideology in society started. This process was terminated by the 1941–1944 Nazi occupation during WWII. In 1944, the Soviet re-occupation resumed and only ended in 1991, when Lithuania de jure became an independent sovereign state recognised by the international community. The almost 50 years of Soviet occupation, in particular the years of the Stalin era (1940–1941, 1944–1953), have left a deep imprint in the minds and historical memory of the Lithuanian population. Sovietisation of Lithuania, Soviet political and economic reprisals, terror, unjustified massacre of civilians (crimes against humanity), deportations, suppression of spiritual life, Russification of society, and coercive acts in modern Lithuanian history are an important part of the social relations in contemporary society, and political, social and cultural life (the nation’s freedom and independence of the state, human rights and freedoms, freedom of conscience, heroism, patriotism, and education of the young generation).
Main research directions:
Soviet occupation and annexation of Lithuania. Stalinism (1940–1941). Loss of statehood. Implementation of the Communist totalitarian political system in Lithuania. Stalin’s dictatorship. One-party governance system: the role of the Communist Party of Lithuania (the Bolsheviks) (LCP[B]) in the Sovietisation of Lithuania. Total control of political, economic and cultural life. Formation of the Communist Party nomenklatura. Public organisations controlled by the Communist Party. Liquidation of the Lithuanian Army. Undemocratic and coerced elections to the local councils (Soviets). Political reprisals/repressions. Restriction and liquidation of private property. Nationalisation of industry. Land reform: nationalisation of the land of large farms, raising taxes. Press control. Sovietisation of cultural and educational institutions. Socialist realism.
WWII and the end of the war (1941–1945)
Activities of the administration of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR) on 22–27 June 1941 in Lithuania and in 1941–1944 in Russia. 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division of the Red Army. Activities of Soviet partisans. Forced mobilisation of Lithuanian residents to the armed forces of the USSR in 1944–1945 – hunt for men, killings and repressions. Lithuanian victims in the Red Army. Prisoners of war of the USSR and allied powers in Lithuania. Prisoner of war of camps for German soldiers in Lithuania in 1944–1949. Demographic losses of WWII and occupations.
Second Soviet occupation. Moscow’s political control and reprisals/repressions in Lithuania (1944–1953). Reoccupation – reinstating Soviet authority in Lithuania in 1944. Formation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania (the Bolsheviks) (LCP[B] CC) and local Communist organisations. Control by Moscow. Activities of the Lithuanian office of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) (AUCP[B] CC) (1944–1947). The status of the second secretary of the LCP CC. Anti-humane socio-economic and cultural policy of Soviet authorities. Terror. Russification. Influx of Russian-speaking colonists to Lithuania. Cleansing of the civil servants. Economic coercion (tax increase in agriculture, obligatory donations of food products by farmers/peasants, mandatory purchase of government bonds, forced labour: timber processing, road repair, rebuilding of buildings and bridges, clearing of rubble, etc.) Forced collectivization and expropriation of land, livestock and agricultural machinery from all peasants. Reprisals against peasants indebted to the state. Forced government loans. Prisons and labour camps. Deportations of families of Lithuanian farmers. Spiritual coercion. Political persecution and reprisals against the Lithuanian intelligentsia, mandatory Marxist Communist ideology. Consolidation of socialist realism. Persecution of the Catholic Church and believers, political reprisals against priests. Armed resistance, underground organisations. Manifestations of anti-Semitic policy. Forced labour during post-war period: Soviet Army in Lithuania. Military training of the population and forced mobilisation to the Soviet Army. The end of Sovietisation of Lithuania and establishment of the grounds for a Communist society.
Lithuania in the period of de-Stalinisation (1953–1964)
A new course of liberalisation of the Stalin regime (‘thaw’) in the Soviet Union. Activities of Lavrentiy Beria in 1953: beginning of the Lithuanisation of public institutions, sending of Russian-speakers from Lithuania. Lithuanisation of the administrative Communist Party apparatus. New generation of nomenklatura of the Community Party of Lithuania. Khrushchev’s de-Stalinisation and partial liberalisation of the Communist regime. Totalitarian state and public control. Rejection of the state terror policy. Abolition of the Gulag. Partial rehabilitation of political prisoners and return of deportees. Economic reform – Lithuania gains more rights to manage its own economy. Economic upturn of Lithuania and Antanas Sniečkus’ governance. Integration of Lithuania’s economy into the USSR. Lithuanians in USSR construction projects and the Virgin Lands Campaign. Re-establishment of controlled relations with foreign countries. Increasing Communist propaganda. Utopian programme of creation of Communist Society. Dissidents. Party dictatorship and modern culture. New chaotic Khrushchev governance and reforms: frustration of Communist leaders and the coup d’état in the Kremlin in 1964.
Lithuania in the years of stagnation and Soviet modernisation (1964–1988)
Integration of Lithuania’s economy into the USSR. Urbanisation. Five-year plans for agriculture. Destruction of individual farms and establishment of new settlements in kolkhozes. Governance of Antanas Sniečkus and Petras Griškevičius. System of Communist Party nomenclature and growing importance of privileges. Social security and disability. Migration processes. Russification trends. Communist Party of Lithuania (LCP) and the KGB against dissidents. Activities of the second secretaries of the Central Committee of the LCP. Catholic Church and the Lithuanian diaspora in the West. Anti-Soviet resistance and the struggle for human rights and freedoms. Freedom of conscience and movement for the rights of believers. Political reprisals against the Catholic Church. Atheisation of society. Dissidence. Implementation of Communist ideology. Modernisation of Lithuanian culture. Last attempts of the LCP and the KGB to strengthen the Soviet regime 1985–1988. Gorbachev’s restructuring (publicity, economic reform, democratisation of society).
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