LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 25, No.3 - Fall 1979
Editor of this issue: Jonas Zdanys
Copyright © 1979 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
In his paper "The Contemporary Baltic Press in the Non-Soviet World" (Lituanus, Vol. 24, No. 2) David M. Crowe, Jr., makes remarks that cry out for comment.
He writes that Laisvė, Vienybė, Vilnis and Keleivis "are small Lithuanian American newspapers which some older Lithuanians feel follow liberal or worse policies. Despite this opposition, these organs publish frequent items on Soviet Lithuania and the U.S.S.R. as well as stories from Soviet Lithuania's principle (sic) newspaper, Tiesa."
Actually, Laisvė and Vilnis, far from following policies "liberal or worse" (a description that conceivably might fit The New Republic, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe), serve unabashedly as mouthpieces for the Kremlin. They are just the Lithuanian equivalents of The Daily Worker.
Keleivis, on the other hand, is thoroughly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist. What else could one expect from the organ of the Lithuanian Social Democrats, a party which is represented on the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania and on the Lithuanian American Council and whose opposition to Communism is as clear as day?
The last of the four publications misgrouped by Crowe, Vienybė, had moved from its middle-of-the-road Nationalist position of long standing to an ambiguous endorsement of the status quo in Lithuania, and now seems to have shifted rather dramatically back again towards the attitudes of the Lithuanian-American mainstream.
Thus, when Laisvė and Vilnis use material from Soviet sources, they treat it as the Ayatollah Khomeini treats the Koran: with ultimate faith and reverence. Furthermore, at least half of their copy consists of articles directly supplied by contributors from Soviet-occupied Lithuania. Keleivis, on the contrary, not only lacks correspondents in Lithuania but also places any information from Soviet sources in an appropriate critical context.
Finally, since Mr. Crowe is interested in publications dealing with events behind the Iron Curtain, he ought not to have neglected to mention Akiračiai, which was the very first Lithuanian-American periodical to provide extremely extensive critical coverage of developments in contemporary Lithuania and now is a significant outlet for Lithuanian samizdat articles of an intellectual bent. As a matter of fact, the Chicago-based monthly obtained and published the fine article by Eitan Finkelshtein, member of the Lithuanian Helsinki watchdog group, which was subsequently carried in English translation by Lituanus (Vol. 23, No. 3).
Mykolas J. Drunga