LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 22, No.1 - Spring 1976
Editors of this issue: J.A. Račkauskas
Copyright © 1976 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
A DECLARATION OF THE LITHUANIAN NATIONAL PEOPLE'S FRONT JUNE, 1974
Editorial introduction. The following document from the National People's Front, an underground organization in Lithuania, which allegedly was formed in 1955 and is an umbrella for a number of organizations, was received in the West sometime during the first half of 1975. It was first published in the Lithuanian Canadian newspaper Tėviškės Žiburiai on July 1, 1975. The authenticity of the document cannot be absolutely determined; however, the sources of the document as well as its contents constitute a strong support for accepting its validity.
The document proceeds from a radical point of view of contemporary world politics, obviously drawing "inspiration" from Chinese - Albanian as well as Gaullist conceptions of world order. It calls for a dismantling of US - Soviet hegemonial system and the fragmentation of the USSR into its constituent national units. Such radical views suggest that the authors may be younger nationalist "socialists" or "communists". Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine how widely such views on world order are accepted in Lithuania; at the same time the demands for self-determination and freedom are almost universally sympathized with. From this point of view the political significance of the document would remain even if in fact there was no such organization as the National People's Front, even if the document was authored by a few individuals. No doubt, the authors of the document reflect a widely shared viewpoint in Lithuania.
We, the members of the National People's Front (The Association of Free Democratic Youth of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Catholic Association, and other groups) and all those who support the national movement, being persecuted for our political, national, and religious beliefs in the Lithuanian SSR and throughout the Soviet Union, appeal from the Lithuanian underground to world public opinion, and request all free states of the world to defend the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian nations from the destructive imperialism of the Soviets.
The USSR having officially proclaimed itself the "defender of liberty" for all nations, is no more than the extension of the traditions of imperial Czarist Russia. Under cover of "progressive Marxist theory", it has, in real life, repeatedly offended against the freedom of nations and humanism.
Here are the facts. First of all, in 1939, the so-called socialist state, the Soviet Union, together with fascist Germany, divided and destroyed Poland and the Baltic states. The Poland of "the lords", as Soviet diplomats like to call it, barbarically occupied by the Hitlerites, was named the oblast gosudarstvennych interesev Germanii (the sphere of German state interests).
The "decent feelings" of the all Union Communist Party (b) and of the government regarding the Polish people, and internationalism, the hobby horse beloved by Stalin's propagandists, were donated to Ribbentrop. The annexation of the Baltic states in 1940 became an "internal matter" of the Soviet Union. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, according to the Marxist argument of Molotov, were Russian provinces temporarily torn from their metropole.
How did the Nazis differ form the Stalinists? The answer to that question can best be given by the nations of the Baltic and of Eastern Europe, which have experienced first-hand, the meaning of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". Well-versed on this point, too, are all the non-Russian nations of the Soviet Union which one way or another have become part of "Moscow's Marxist Garden of Eden".
And what of the Russian nation? The "Great" and "honorable" nation, the propagator of national liberation slogans is it free? No. According to Lenin, a nation enslaving or oppressing other nations cannot be free. The chauvinistic claims of Moscow about the leadership mission of the Great Russians, in the effort aimed at world revolution on all continents is a bluff.
The formerly independent Baltic states, unjustly occupied by the Red Army, and later incorporated into the orbit of the Soviet Union with the aid of rigged elections in order to mislead naive politicians, never have accepted and never shall accept their deprived status. Old fascist claims about the non-feasibility of small states should not be part of the "progressive" contemporary policy of Moscow.
Contemporary history shows colonialism coming to an end. All the nations of Africa have become decolonized. Small nations of Africa which never enjoyed statehood have created national states. Is it not time for Lithuania, with its long history, beautiful past, and tradition of statehood, to be free? Should not the Soviet empire's prison of nations be abolished, so that all non-Russian nations might create their own states?
Soviet expansionism, more modern and refined than the Czarist version, has expanded the borders of the U.S.S.R. at the expense of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia; annexed the Caucasus to Russia, seized Moldavia from Romania, colonized central Asia and Siberia and threatens all Europe, now divided and in disagreement.
The whole misfortune is that the former imperialist states of Western Europe, now having lost their colonies, are not able to resist Communist international expansionism. Full democracy and the capitalist system of rule, pre-occupied with financial competition, apoliticism, lack of ideals, and with its own internal problems, is forced to appease Moscow. Not only Western Europe but even the U.S.A., one of the strongest super-powers of the world, ruled by a financial oligarchy, can barely defend itself against the interference of Moscow in all the internal affairs of America, to say nothing of any real aid to the captive nations. The monopolistic capitalism of America, potential competitor of Soviet Communism, is concerned not with the problem of liberating nations, but rather with increasing its profits and with economic expansion in the Arabian and South American countries, poor and under-developed, where great social reforms are needed-because ignoring them can lead to establishment of a Communist regime in those under-developed countries.
The Executive Committee of the National People's Front, in an illegal conference in June, 1974, after analyzing the history of our nation's tragedy, and the political and moral situation today in the enslaved land of our fathers, has arrived at the conclusion that the great powers of the Western world, ideologically weak as they are, have appeased, and continue to appease the dictators in Moscow. The countries of Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, et. al.) having revolted against the Soviet order in those countries, were crushed because neither Western Europe nor the U.S.A. supplied any military aid. Propaganda promises have not helped nor will they help the enslaved Baltic states to free themselves from Soviet slavery, or help its satellites, which cause Moscow more and more concern these days.
The National People's Front, the ideological nucleus of resistance for the entire subjugated land of our fathers, raising anew the question of self-liberation in the light of our disappointment with the Western world, places foremost our internal strength, which in solidarity with the entire Baltic area, the Ukrainian and Caucasian nations, along with progressive Russian minds, can by a long and difficult struggle attain national political freedom separating ourselves from ethnographic Russia and creating free and independent states. The NPF believes that in this new stage of struggle, our basic task is to utilize to the maximum all legal and illegal means of warfare.
The NPF claims that the Soviet constitution, as applied in the territory of the Lithuanian SSR, has become practically a fiction, since the workers of Lithuania and the intelligensia have been deprived of their basic civil rights. Patriotic feelings of one's own nation are forbidden and condemned; only the chauvinism of the Great Russians goes unpunished. So-called local nationalism is punished by exile and imprisonment.
From 1954, until 1964, that is, during the Soviet post-Stalin "renaissance", after the liquidation of Beria, chief of the MGB, after the deposing of Malenkov for his liberalism, after Khrushchev's criticism of the personality cult of Stalin, the political persecution of people throughout the Soviet Union significantly declined, but it did not end. Echoes of revolts in the countries of Eastern Europe reached the youth of the Baltic states, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and even of Russia, and led to student demonstrations in Vilnius, Kaunas, Tartu, Riga, Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, and Tbilisi. Peaceful demonstrations by youth against despotism and that apparatus for discouraging free thought, the KGB (already by that time under control of the central Council of Ministers), forced the government to turn its attention to its citizens who had been the oppressed and disenfranchised slaves of Stalin for the thirty years of his reign.
However, the KGB is still alert it changed its tactics, and acting on instructions, continue to destroy those who dare disagree with their policy throughout the empire they control. In that time hundreds of young Lithuanians, members of the Communist Youth or not, were arrested by the KGB of the Lithuanian SSR and turned over to the so-called People's Court. There, behind closed doors, guarded by Russian soldiers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), often without defenders or attorneys, they received "suitable" sentences and were sent into the depths of the Soviet Union: the forced labor camps of Vorkuta, Mordovia. Known intellectuals who spoke out against the dogmas of Marx, the religion of the dictators in the Kremlin, sometimes found themselves in psychiatric hospitals, where KGB "physician - experts" certified them abnormal.
Regardless of all repressions by the KGB within the territory of the Lithuanian SSR the youth of our oppressed land, its intelligentsia, and its conscientious workers, dismayed with Moscow's anti-Lithuanian policies, became doubtful of the Marx -Engels - Lenin "talmud of freedom and progress" borne on Soviet bayonets, and joined in the activities of the National People's Front. It can be said the NPF, established during 1955 in Vilnius, is still alive today. In its struggle for the reestablishment of an independent Lithuania, the NPF, as an organization of the progressive forces in Lithuania, stands in the front ranks of battle.
The NPF, in solidarity with our brother nations, the Latvians and the Estonians, stands in favor of a federation of Baltic states in the Europe of the future
In this secret national conference minimal and maximal strategies for the struggle were discussed and submitted to the entire freedom movement in Lithuania.
We, representatives of the National People's Front, representing the entire movement for struggle and freedom in the country, decided to proclaim to the entire world in Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, German, English and French the following program for the liberation of Lithuania:
1. The National People's Front, proclaiming the efforts of the Lithuanian nation at freedom, and basing itself on the (United Nations') Declaration of Human Rights, which the government of the Soviet Union also signed, demands that all forms of colonialism be abolished, including in the USSR. The Lithuanian nation has the right of self-determination and secession from Russia. On the basis of Lenin's statement, officially quoted in the constitution of the Soviet Union (regarding the right of self-determination of nations), we will struggle tirelessly to effect that right in our colonized country.
2. We demand of that puppet of Moscow, the government of the Lithuanian SSR (which was never chosen on the basis of free election by the Lithuanian nation) the implementation of freedom of religion, of the press, of demonstrations, national organizations and parties, including the NPF, the Association of Free Democratic Youth of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Catholic Association, etc.
3. To allow the emigration of those who disagree with the Soviet regime in the Lithuanian SSR. To abolish the Draconian law allowing persecution of the families of those who have fled to the free states. To grant Lithuanian émigrés the opportunity of visiting their relatives anywhere in Lithuania without time limits. To process immigration visas in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and not in Moscow.
4. We demand amnesty for all political prisoners sentenced by courts of the Lithuanian SSR and confined in concentration camps of the Soviet Union and in the political isolation unit of Vladimir. To return from Siberia all exiles, give them work, lodgings, and all civil rights.
5. To introduce Lithuanian as the primary language in all agencies of the Republic, including the State Security Committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
6. To require the central government in Moscow to grant the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs the right to maintain contact with foreign countries.
1. We demand a mission of the United Nations in Vilnius, the capital of the Lithuanian SSR, and free democratic elections in which all citizens of the Lithuanian SSR would participate, with the exception of soldiers of Soviet garrisons.
2. The provisional people's government thus elected should conduct a plebiscite regarding the secession of the Lithuanian SSR from the USSR. Only citizens of Lithuanian nationality should participate in the plebiscite.
3. After the implementation of the secession the new government of the republic establishes ties with neighboring states and sets its own foreign policy.
4. The NPF suggests the determination of the ethnographic borders of Lithuania, taking as a basis the Polish - Lithuanian peace treaty signed in Suvalkai in 1920, and the Soviet Russian -Lithuanian Republic peace treaty signed by V. I. Lenin. [Lenin did not actually sign the Russian - Lithuanian Peace Treaty of 1920, his diplomatic representatives did that. Ed.]
5. To establish a federation of the Baltic states.
6. To proceed to the creation of a union of Baltic and Scandinavian countries in the future free family of the United States of Europe.
The National People's Front of Lithuania, basing itself in its program of struggle on humanistic principles, proclaims the theses of peace, democracy, freedom, equality, and self-determination of nations, and demands:
1. To condemn the imperialists of the Soviet Union the enslavers of the Baltic nations and other nations.
2. To abrogate the Warsaw Pact, as being an instrument of Soviet policy for dominating the countries of Eastern Europe.
3. To withdraw the Soviet army from the Baltic states, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and other territories subject to them, allowing those states to set their own foreign policy.
4. To terminate U.S. military and economic expansionism in Europe as being a factor contrary to the idea of the unity of all Europe.
5. To liquidate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
6. To establish a United States of Europe from Lisbon to the Urals.
7. To unite both parts of Germany into one democratic state, correcting the past mistakes of the imperialistic policies of the USSR and USA.
8. To end the policies of the Soviet Union and of the United States of America which lead to division among nations and states.
9. To restore peace, freedom, and unity to Vietnam and Korea.
10. To confer national freedoms and the right of political self-determination on all nations of the Soviet Union, national republics, annexed by force to Russia or the USSR.
12. To restore the Baltic states as independent entities in a union of Baltic states.
12. To give the Ukrainian and Byelorussian nations the right of establishing their own states in friendly association with the Russian and other Slavic nations.
13. To allow the Moldavian nation to determine for itself whether it wishes to be independent or to form the state of Romania - Moldavia.
14. Not to interfere with the restoration of the states of the Caucasus, with their ancient culture: Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, which seek national independence.
15. To allow the Korelians the right to determine for themselves, and to join their brothers, the Finns, in a Finno - Ugaritic state.
16. To grant the Islamic republics of Central Asia: Uzbek, Kazakh, Turkmen, Tadzhik, and Kirghiz the right of self determination and the opportunity to establish sovereign states in a federation of Central Asian nations.
17. To restore the federation of Siberian nations, with the prerogative of remaining within the structure of a new democratic Russian state, or of choosing its own path of development.
18. To abolish colonialism in all its forms.
Long live freedom, social equality, religious and racial tolerance.
The National People's Front
Vilnius, June 9-14, 1974.