LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 34, No. 4 - Winter 1988
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1988 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LITUANUS DATA BANK
A NEW DAWN IN THE BALTIC STATES? SOME OF THE FAST-BREAKING EVENTS
* Social and political activity outside of Communist Party control entered a new phase in Lithuania with the establishment of the Movement for Restructuring on June 3. In less than a month, the movement has become a major factor on the Lithuanian scene and is beginning to pose a challenge to the basically conservative and hidebound party. The movement's leaders, however, disclaim any such "confrontational" intentions.
The Movement held its first public meeting last June 13. The proceedings were described in the first issue of a mimeographed information bulletin, which said that "initiative groups" to discuss ecological, national, social, economical, cultural and legal problems were formed.
* The Lithuanian Freedom League (Lietuvos Laisvės Lyga) has been active in the underground since 1978. Last July 3, the League made public a declaration, saying that it would now act "legally," in view of the "democratization process" in the USSR and of the "change of the political and social climate" in Lithuania.
In the League's view, Lithuania's future depends on the following factors: 1. The political consciousness of the Lithuanian nation and its determination to be free; 2. The pressure of the world's democratic states to the Soviet Union; 3. The Russian attitude toward the nations of the Stalin-made empire.
The Lithuanian Freedom League demands that the Soviet government respect its own constitution, which speaks of the USSR as a "Union of sovereign republics." The League lists the steps that are necessary to make the idea of such a union a reality. The present constitution of Lithuania should establish a distinct Lithuanian citizenship; limit the top government posts to citizens of Lithuania; elevate the Lithuanian language to a state language; guarantee the freedom of conscience and restore the social role of the Church; acknowledge Lithuania's right to have its own army.
* Baltic representatives of the National Democratic Movement (also known as the Patriotic Movement) of the nations of the USSR have met on July 9-10 in the town of Abragciems, in Latvia, to coordinate their activity and strategy, according to the Bureau of the Baltic World Council in Strasbourg. The Bureau received a telephone report about the meeting from the Lithuanian activist Povilas Pečeliūnas who took part in the meeting and was elected to the presidium, together with Julijs Vidins, the representative of the Latvian "Helsinki 86" group, and Juris Adams, member of the founding committee of the Estonian Independence Party.
* An independent "Commission to Investigate the Crimes of Stalinism" was established in Lithuania, according to the July 25 issue of Sąjūdžio Žinios, the bulletin of the Movement for Restructuring. It was formed by the Movement and the Lithuanian branch of the Soviet Sociologists' Association. The Commission is composed of writers, artists, historians, philosophers, sociologists and journalists.
* Eleven members of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences made public a strong statement, criticizing the
downgrading of the Lithuanian language and asking that it be made the "state language" of the republic. The statement was published in the July 20 issue of the Lithuanian CP daily Tiesa.
* The 77th issue of the underground journal. The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is dated May 7, 1988, and is 32 typewritten pages long.
The lead article, "Respects to the Heroes of the Church and of the Nation," lists major public commemorations of important patriotic and religious anniversaries, under the watchful eyes of the KGB. The trial of Petras Gražulis, a conscientious objector, on January 14, is described in detail. A memorandum "On the Situation of the Believers in Lithuania," which was submitted in January by the Lithuanian Catholics to a delegation of the International Helsinki Federation visiting Moscow, is included. The Chronicle contains the texts of three messages addressed to Mikhail Gorbachev:
1. A Statement about the need of fair new regulations governing the activity of religious associations, dated March 12, 1988, and signed by 75 priests of the Vilkaviškis diocese (six priests have abstained);
2. A Statement on the new acts of terror against the Lithuanian clergy and an appeal for the release of the imprisoned priests, dated January 1988 and signed by 32 priests of the Kaišiadorys diocese;
3. An appeal for the return of the Vilnius Cathedral, which has been transformed into a picture gallery and concert hall, signed by 42,179 Lithuanian Catholics. The Soviet government has since returned the Vilnius Cathedral back to the faithful.
Excerpts from ELTA, No. 8 and 9, 1988
CHAIR OF ESTONIAN STUDIES
The University of Toronto announced the approval for the creation of an endowed Chair of Estonian Studies at the Fourth Estonian World Festival, held in Toronto in Mid-1984. It took two more years before its activities were actually launched. The capital endowment for the Chair is about $(CAN) 1,100,000. Approximately one-third came from the Government of Canada and two-thirds through the Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation, primarily through Tartu College, which is a residential facility for university students next to the campus and home for many Estonian academic associations, fraternities and sororities.
AABS Newsletter, 1988
A LITHUANIAN ARCHIVE
An archive to collect and preserve significant writings, memorabilia, and documents is being established in California. It is named after Dr. Jonas Šliūpas (see "The Centenary of Jonas Šliūpas", Lituanus, Vol. VII, No. 3,1961), a prominent Lithuanian civic leader in Lithuania as well as in the United States.
"The Archive of 'Aušrininkas' Dr. Jonas Šliūpas" will focus on documentation that deals with the American-Lithuanian cultural, political, and social activities. Related material will be collected as well. The Archive will be open to researchers interested in American-Lithuanian culture and history. Interested parties are invited to contact the Archive at P.O. Box 613300, South Lake Tahoe, CA 95761-3300.
The Accomplishments of Dr. Šliūpas were varied and many. In 1918, he was the first Lithuanian ever to penetrate the U.S. Senate by submitting a memorandum in which he argued the cause of Lithuania's independence. Senator Henry Cobot Lodge wrote an introduction to the Šliūpas memorandum, and had it placed m the August 19, 1918 issue of the "Congressional Record". Seventy years later, this memorandum makes a noteworthy reading, with parts appropriate for conditions in this day and age.
The Baltic States have been consistently in the news in the past few months as the level of participation in protest activities has increased. An estimated 3,000 people took part in a demonstration in Tallinn on 24 February to mark the 70th anniversary of Estonian independence despite an official ban on gatherings and stringent surveillance of leading activists. The formation of a new opposition party in Estonia has added a new dimension to the current wave of unrest. Sixteen Estonian activists signed the founding declaration at the end of January giving their names and addresses.
At a press conference in Stockholm, details of attempts by the authorities to prevent demonstrations on the 70th anniversary of independence were revealed. Secondary school pupils in Tallinn had been scheduled to leave the city on excursions that day in an obvious attempt to clear the city ahead of the planned demonstrations. Musicians and entertainers had been sent on tours out of the republic to forestall any large public events such as concerts or theatre performances around that date. Warnings discouraging people from demonstrating had been circulated at all workplaces.
Reports indicate that 16,000 leaflets were distributed throughout the country urging all Estonians to participate in commemorating the 70th anniversary in the five major cities Tallinn, Parnu, Tartu, Voru and Valga. Three key activists Viktor Niitsoo, Juri Adams and Urrnas Inno were called for 55 days of military service in Kaliningrad, another tactic that is commonly practiced in the Baltic states to prevent the leaders from taking part.
Excerpt from the Soviet Nationality Survey, London, England, February 1988.
In a movę that sent shock waves through Communist Party ranks all the way to Moscow, Dr. Juris Vidins, chief physician of Rezekne and a Latvian Communist Party member since 1974, announced on January 2, 1988 that he was formally joining the Latvian human rights group Helsinki 86.
Not surprisingly, Vidins was subsequently fired from his job, removed as a Deputy in Council of People's Deputies for Rezekne, and expelled from the Communist Party.
Sources within Latvia claim that Vidins has long been a secret supporter of Helsinki 86 and is personally friendly with many of the members. Vidins' announcement backs claims made by Western Helsinki 86 representative, Rolands Silaraups, asserting that support for the group is broadly based in Latvia. Silaraups has also stated that the group has many "secret" supporters who have chosen, for tactical reasons, not to go public. Despite expulsions of many original Helsinki 86 members, new activists continue to join the group. In addition, on February 2, a new youth group called "Fatherland and Freedom" and affiliated with Helsinki 86, was formed in Liepaja.
During a recent meeting with Party officials, Vidins made three demands on behalf of Helsinki 86:
1 That a memorial be built to the Latvian victims of the June 14, 1941 deportations.
2 That the independent Latvia magazine 'Auseklis' be legalized.
3 That the Latvian constitution be changed to make Latvian the official language of Latvia.
Excerpt from The Chicago Latvian Newsletter, March 1988.
Lithuanian patriots express solidarity with Armenians, Tatars, and Latvians.
Members of the Lithuanian patriotic and religious movement in Lithuania have recently affirmed their solidarity with similar groups in other non-Russian Soviet republics.
Twenty-six Lithuanians signed a statement released in March expressing "our sympathy and solidarity with the Armenian nation, fighting for the reunification of its national territories. Armenian-Lithuanian political ties are deeply rooted in the past . . . Both nations began to bear, almost simultaneously, the yoke of the Russian imperialism forced upon them. Armenia, like Lithuania, declared its independence in 1918 . . .
According to the signatories, "Lithuania managed to safeguard its independence for 22 years, at a time when Russia and Turkey divided up Armenia. Our common fate in 1940 brought us back together. Stalin . . . parceled out our ethnographic territories to Armenian and Lithuanian neighbors. Bearing this in mind, we Lithuanians fully understand the pain and sorrow of the Armenian nation."
The Lithuanian activists demanded that the Supreme Soviet "abide by the Constitution and return to Armenia the lands of its fathers and forefathers."
On April 1, thirty-one Lithuanian activists made public a message to the Tatar nation, denouncing the Soviet government's "crime against humanity the mass deportation of hundreds of thousands of Tatars from their ancestral homeland, Crimea, as punishment for the collaboration of a few Tatars with the Nazi invaders. "For over 40 years," the message says, "the Crimean Tatars, dispersed all over the USSR, are in a situation of cruel national rightlessness."
"We believe that the shameful anachronism of national rightlessness late in the 20th century, which still exists in the Soviet Union, must be liquidated as soon as possible. Therefore we demand that all the rights of the nation of the Crimean Tatars be fully restored and that they are allowed to be masters in their own fatherland, Crimea," the message concludes.
On April 4, twelve Lithuanian activists addressed condolences to the "Brotherly Latvian Nation," on the death of Gunars Astra, a veteran fighter for Latvia's freedom. Having spent 19 years in Gulag camps, Astra was recently released and died from blood poisoning on an operating table in a Leningrad hospital. "This loss," the Lithuanians wrote, "is even more painful, since it happened just before the dawn of national freedom."
Excerpt from ELTA, May 1988.
* The Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council in May, 1987, made a grant of nearly $90,000 for a "Latvju Dainas" research project in Montreal. In charge of this project is Dr. Vaira Vikis-Freibergs, Professor of Psychology at Montreal University and a Vice President of the Canadian Science Council together with her associate Dr. Imants Freibergs who is a Professor of Communication/Infor-mation and in charge of the Informative Systems Program at the University of Quebec in Montreal.
* The 8th Baltic Symposium cosponsored by the Canadian Committee of the AABS, the University of Toronto's Chair of Estonian Studies, and the University of Toronto's Centre for Russian and East European Studies, was held at the University's Trinity College on Friday and Saturday, 5-6 February 1988. This year's symposium, on the theme "The Second World War in the Baltic: The Years 1941-45," had as its objective the examination of issues in historiography and research methods. Financial support for the symposium came fully from within the Estonian community: the Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation, the Estonian Central Council in Canada, and the Estonian Learned Society in America.
* The University of Toronto announced the approval for the creation of an endowed Chair of Estonian Studies at the Fourth Estonian World Festival, held in Toronto in mid-1984. It took two more years before its activities were actually launched. The capital endowment for the Chair is about $(CAN) 1,100,000. Approximately one-third came from the Government of Canada and two-thirds through the Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation, primarily through Tartu College, which is a residential facility for university students next to the campus and home for many Estonian academic associations, fraternities and sororities.
Excerpts from AABS Newsletters, 1987-1988.
LITHUANIAN AND LATVIAN
Among a number of Lithuanian and Latvian computer fonts available, Dragonfly Software is the first company to advertise Lithuanian and Latvian word processing capabilities. To be sure, Nota Bene is one of the best and fastest word processors available today, but its Baltic promise remains only partially fulfilled.
Nota Bene is a sophisticated and maneuverable program that is broadening its market base by becoming more and more appealing to users with unique needs. Among its innovations is the Special Language Supplement which include biblical, classical, Semitic, Slavic and non-Western European languages. Lithuanian and Latvian (sorry, no Estonian) are included in subset A-III-B.
The supplement provides a set of characters that are attractive on the screen and on paper. The keyboard that contains these letters is readily accessible. Nevertheless, the help screen that displays the location of the letters is very confusing and unclear. The letters themselves often require very complicated keystroke combinations for implementation, like the five key sequence Shift + Alt + backslash followed by Shift + U for capital u-macron (Ū). The user has the option of designing a keyboard that would allow direct access to the necessary keys, but this, of course, demands time and know-how.
The major problem of the supplement is missing letters. Although it explicitly claims to support Lithuanian and Latvian, it lacks the following letters:
A program which promises these languages, has to contain these letters. For examples of printed text, see below.
Further, features that Dragonfly normally offers in Nota Bene are missing or deficient in the Special Language Supplement. Nota Bene's documentation is excellent, but the supplement's "Reference guide" is very poorly and apparently hastily written. It is xeroxed, not printed, on loose leaf pages that are stapled together. Dragonfly Software has been promising a bound manual since the supplement's release, but has not sent one yet. Nota Bene normally includes an advanced text database called "Text Base." Unfortunately, the supplement does not support "Text Base" for the additional language letters. Nota Bene is known for its formatting, typesetting and other publication capabilities, but the supplement does not carry all of these features. The lack of proportional spacing is especially noticeable. It also supports only three printers: certain Epsons, Toshibas and Hewlett Packards. In this instance, Dragonfly Software is not to blame since printer manufacturers produce many printers that do not accept downloadable characters.
Based on my experience, the quality of customer service at Dragonfly Software could be improved. There is no 800-number available and calling often results in long-distance hold. Moreover, letters are not always answered promptly.
A final drawback to Nota Bene: Special Language Supplement is the cost: $495 (program) + $125 (supplement), if purchased directly from the company (285 W. Broadway, #500, New York, NY 10013.1-(212)-334-0445). The supplement requires one of several expensive graphics cards and a graphics monitor in addition to the program cost. The total at list price could come to about $1,500, but bargains are available in all computer magazines.
Dragonfly Software's Nota Bene: Special Language Supplement has great potential due to the quality of the "master" program, Nota Bene. However, the current release of the supplement is seriously deficient in a number of ways, especially in its lack of basic Lithuanian and Latvian letters.
Vilius Lukas Dundzila
University of Wisconsin-Madison