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Friday, April 20, 2018

Lithuania too soon forgotten, to what do I owe the USSR

The only question which can be set in relation to the Russian-Lithuanian relations: “They are on the same level as Russian-Polish, or even unprecedented bad in the EU?” Apparently, after all the second in the diet questioned the sovereignty of Russia over the Kaliningrad, which the Polish Parliament is still not allowed.

As previously reported the newspaper VIEW, member of the Federation Council of the Jewish Autonomous region Vladimir dzhabarov proposed to Lithuania to give Russia its capital is Vilnius, and along with its surrounding areas. This could cause an international scandal if not for the context in which was made the statement. Namely, earlier the Deputy of the Lithuanian Seimas Linas, Balsis in the discussion “the World in 2017. The view from Vilnius”, said that his country together with the European Union must engage in a “rejection” of the Kaliningrad region of Russia.

“If you hate Joseph Stalin, why you are so fond of held the border?”

“The use of the former lands of East Prussia for the Russian Federation is over,” said Balsis, adding that “Kaliningrad was not in Potsdam or Helsinki given to Russia in perpetuity”. In fact, it is followed by a statement dzhabarova. “Weak to return to Russia Vilnius region?” – rhetorically inquired he, commenting to RIA “Novosti” initiative Balsica.

The area of Vilna (Vilnius) until 1917 was part of the Russian Empire from 1922 to 1939 was part of Poland, and from 1920 to 1922-th number of the fictitious capital of a puppet state in the Middle of Lithuania. So Jozef Pilsudski formally complied imposed upon them by the Entente conditions and recognized the Vilna Lithuania, and virtually annexed it to Poland, sending to the region loyal to him Zelikovskogo General – the head of Republic of Central Lithuania.

“Give back what received from the Soviet government,” said Jabbarov. The statement of the Lithuanian Deputy to the Senator regarded as a simple desire to “pay attention”.

The same explains it Baltica Vilnius analyst Yuriy Dolinskiy, a detailed interview which publishes the newspaper “Free press”: “Linas, Balsis is not in the diet of anyone but himself. He is the leader of the green of Lithuania, his party is considered weak. Not to be confused with the ruling party, the Union green and peasants. To him is irrelevant. Elected in single-mandate constituency on the wave of sharp criticism of the authorities and personally President Dalia Grybauskaite, a close ally and the press Secretary which was after it was elected in 2009”.

Was followed by the official reaction of the foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. Ambassador extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Lithuania Alexander Udaltsov said that the proposal of the Deputy of Lithuania Linas Balsis “return the Kaliningrad oblast to Europe” is “irresponsible and incompetent”, called to actively fight attempts to revise the results of world war II.

The former boss Balsis – Grybauskaite – the daughter of a KGB officer, a member of the CPSU since 1983, lecturer at the Higher party school in Vilnius, is known for loud Russophobic statements, in particular, it called Russia “a terrorist state”. However, on the official level Lithuania, unlike Latvia or Estonia, have never expressed territorial claims to Russia. Largely because of the ambiguous history of the Vilnius region, which was mentioned by the Senator dzhabarov.

Recall that the city of Vilna (this is the Russian version of the name, the Polish – Wilno) was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL), but modern Lithuanians have this historical state is a bit more than modern Arabs to Ancient Egypt, although smaller, than the modern Greeks to Ancient Greece or the Italians to Ancient Rome. The official language of the GDL was Ruthenian and then Polish. The first book in Lithuanian was published in Vilna in 1595, when the Principality had virtually lost its independence in the result of the Union of Lublin of 1569.

In the early twentieth century Vilna was a center of Belarusian and Polish national revival and the Lithuanians had made in her population a small minority. According to the census of the Russian Empire in 1897, of the 154 532 inhabitants of the Vilna Jews were 61 847 (40,0%), poles – 47 795 (30,9%), Russians – 30 967 (20.1 per cent), Belarusians – 6514 (4,2%), and Lithuanians only 3238 (2.1 per cent).

In the interwar period, when Vilnius was the Polish representatives of this nation has become correspondingly greater, and the Lithuanians, on the contrary, in half. According to the census of 1931 poles were in the city to 65.9% (of 128.6 thousand people), Jews 28% (54.6 per thousand people), Russians 3,8% (7.4 thousand people), Belarusians and 0.9% (1.7 million people), and Lithuania – 0,8% (1579 people), Germans – 0,3% (600 people), Ukrainians, and 0.1% (200 people).

Even years later after Vilnius became the capital of Soviet Lithuania, the Lithuanians had only a relative and not an absolute majority – 42,8% according to the census of 1970 (Russian – 24,5%, poles – 18,3%, Belarusians – 6,5%). Only in the independent Lithuania in the ethnic composition of the population of the capital was shifted to the titular nation. According to the 2011 census, Lithuanians in the city 338 758 (62%), poles – 88 408 (17%), Russians – 63 991 (12%), Belarusians – 18 924 (3,5%) Ukrainians – 5338 (1%), Jews – 2206 (0.5 per cent).

According to the official version of Lithuanian, Lithuanians in Vilnius always was much more than according to the census, just before the transition of the city under the jurisdiction of Lithuania, they did not call their nationality. Version interesting from the point of view of national identity of Lithuanians, but evidence is not available.

It is significant that the Soviet Union gave the Polish independent Lithuania the city of Vilnius and Vilnius region as a whole in 1939, that is the year that the Republic voluntarily joined the Soviet Union (the Soviet version) or was occupied (Lithuanian version). Special piquancy of this history gives the official condemnation of Vilnius of the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact, through which Lithuanians and acquired its current capital.

Note that apart from Lithuania, in the Vilnius region could theoretically qualify, and Belarus. First, this country believes it himself, not Lithuania historical successor to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Secondly, in 1918 Vilna for a short time was part of Litbel – a single Belarusian-Lithuanian state, which lasted several months.

In addition, the formulation of the question of ownership of Kaliningrad will inevitably raise the question and about whose Klaipeda – Lithuania’s largest port and third largest city in the country. Until 1923 for more than 500 years it was the German Memel. Lithuania received the city at the insistence of the Entente, against the will of Germany and Poland.

In 1925 141 of 645 residents of eligible voters, 59 315 (41,88%) considered themselves to be Germans, and only 37 626 (of 26.56%) – Lithuanians. In March 1939, after Hitler’s ultimatum to Lithuania was forced to return the Klaipeda region of Germany. Again, the city became Lithuanian in 1945, after the Soviet Army liberated East Prussia. Again- nothing prevented Moscow to join the Memel and the surrounding area to the newly Kaliningrad region.

That is, in the interwar period Germany and Poland has been deprived of Lithuania territories, and the Soviet Union, by contrast, gave the Lithuanians the land on which they still live. Again, there is the unanswered question – if you hate Joseph Stalin, why you are so fond of its borders?

Of course, the offer Balsis – pure-praise marginal policy. “Post-war borders of Europe” are not a sacred cow, they can and will change – but as a result of mutual agreement, as it was during the unification of Germany or the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, or according to the expression of popular will – as in the case of Crimea. There were precedents, and the power to change post-war borders – as in the case of Serbia seized Kosovo, the unwillingness of Karabakh be part of Azerbaijan, a protest of the inhabitants of Transnistria against romanization. However, I hope that wars for territory in Europe will be no more, and in the hot phase of the conflict in the Donbass in the foreseeable future will somehow be solved.

But Lithuanian politicians remember that they first gained independence at the behest of the Entente, which needed a “buffer” States on the borders with Soviet Russia, and only later acquired its capital Vilnius and the third largest city of Klaipeda solely through the good will of the Soviet leadership. Of course, no one is going to take, but to raise the issue of territorial redistribution, while staying in the collected “live thread” the state clearly should not be.

Because the consequences can be unexpected and unpleasant.


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