LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 37, No.3 - Fall 1991
Editor of this issue: Jonas Zdanys, Yale University
Copyright © 1990 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
THE LITMUS TEST FOR DEMOCRACY IN THE U.S.S.R.
Linas Kučinskas (born 1936) has taught Law at the University of Vilnius and has written for Respublika, a Lithuanian daily. He works presently for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University during the 1989-1990 academic year.
Roots of Independence
On many occasions, among them the last USA-USSR summit in May-June 1990, President Mikhail Gorbachev blamed the Lithuanians for "proclaiming independence through one night," without well-based consideration. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The struggle of the Lithuanian nation for independence began just at the moment of the country's occupation by the Red Army on June 15, 1940. The losses in this struggle were tragically enormous for a nation which had a population of about three million. Two thousand of the Lithuanian government's top officials, businessmen, politicians, journalists, and clergymen were arrested and deported to the USSR on the night of 11-12 July, 1940.1 An additional 34,260 persons, mostly members of Lithuania's intelligentsia, were deported from Lithuania between 14 and 18 June 1941.2 Anti-soviet resistance war deaths are estimated to be 50,000.3 Another 260,000 were deported from Lithuania to Siberia, most of them farmers; total losses in home-grown population in the years from 1939 to 1953 were estimated as 1 million (about 140,000 Lithuanian Jews killed during the German occupation and 50,000 who emigrated to the West and to Poland (150,000) are included).4
Population losses in Lithuania during the war and during the postwar period could be estimated as the largest percentage losses in Europe. Those figures could explain the fact that, even 20 years after World War II, the population of Lithuania did not reach the level of 1939 (2,954,000) compared to 3.1 million in 1939 in postwar borders.5
The roots of Lithuania's statehood go very deeply into the history. King Mindaugas in 1253 joined all Lithuanian territories into the Lithuanian Kingdom. Until 1569, Lithuania was one of Europe's biggest powers, and defended its independence successfully from the Russians as well as from the Germans. From 1569, Lithuania was in confederation with Poland until both countries in 1795 were occupied by Russia. After 123 years of Russian occupation, during which two unsuccessful rebellions in 1831 and 1863 took place, in 1918 Lithuania restored its independence and was a relatively prosperous European nation. It was a member of the League of Nations until World War II. In 1939. Russians and Germans signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which caused the second Lithuanian occupation on June 15, 1940.
Therefore, it would be extremely naive to think that with such an historical heritage the Lithuanians could lose an idea of their nation's statehood. On the contrary, this idea has been alive during the past fifty years of occupation.
The historical mind-set explains the victory of Sąjūdis (the Lithuanian movement for national revival) during the first free elections since 1940 to the People's Congress of the USSR. Sąjūdis, which was established only ten months before the elections, won thirty-six seats of forty-two. Among an additional sixteen deputies from organizations and creative societies, four-teen expressed their support for Sąjūdis during the first meeting of the People's Congress deputies from Lithuania in Vilnius in April 1989. In such a way, Sąjūdis got fifty of fifty-eight seats in Congress.
In addition, the Communist ideology was never popular in Lithuania. When the tragic events of 1940 began, the Lithuanians were a nation of individualists, so the ideas of vulgar collectivism did not get support. There were 287,380 private farmers in Lithuania6 who were well expressed individualists because of their occupations. The other large group of individuals was the Lithuanian intelligentsia. It was against these groups that the first blows of the Soviet KGB (then NKVD) were directed. The Communist Party in Lithuania hardly existed; in fact there were no more than 1499 party members,7 about half of them non-Lithuanians, and they had no real support in the nation. Among the delegates of the 5th Congress of the Lithuanian Communist Party in February 1941, only 30.5 percent were Lithuanians and barely half of them had any education beyond primary school.8 After the World War, the numbers of Lithuanian Communists grew, but a large number of them joined the Party not for ideological reasons but to ensure the best career possibilities.
Also influential in Lithuanian reluctance to accept Communism is the Roman Catholic religion. As devout Catholics, Lithuanians could not support an ideology based on lies, hatred, and violence.9
Beginning to Talk to Moscow
When the deputies of the People's Congress of the USSR from Lithuania were leaving for Moscow at the end of May 1989, they were told by the crowd at the farewell meeting in Vilnius Kalnų Park: "In 1940 'Stalin's Sun' was brought to Lithuania; now you must bring it back to Moscow." This expressed the nation's mood quite well.
When the Lithuanian deputies arrived in Moscow at the first - session of the People's Congress of the USSR, they considered themselves not as a part of the Congress but rather as the Lithuanian delegation to the Congress. They started to work cautiously but methodically for the restoration of Lithuania's independence.
By the opening of the Congress they had the Declaration from May 18,1989 of the Supreme Soviet of Lithuania, condemning the occupation of Lithuania in 1940 and proclaiming the priority of the Lithuanian Constitution and Lithuanian laws above the Constitution and laws of the USSR. This was the first attempt of the Lithuanian legislative body to reject Soviet authority.
The Lithuanian deputies to the People's Congress had three main goals: to seek the condemnation by the Congress of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, to make possible the creation of a self-ruling economy for Lithuania, and to fight attempts to establish the USSR Constitutional Review Committee which would be an instrument to overrule the Lithuanian legislature.
The first conflict developed when the Lithuanian delegation refused to attend the voting for Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev called such behavior "an ultimatum" but showed no inclination to lead the conflict to a head.
The second and final conflict at this session occurred during the voting for the USSR Constitutional Review Committee. Lithuanians again refused to attend the voting and when Mr. Gorbachev tried to disdain this protest, almost the entire Lithuanian delegation left the Kremlin Congress Palace. Lithuania's protest, expressed in such an unusual way, became an international sensation. The next morning negotiations were scheduled between the Lithuanian delegation and Mr. Gorbachev.10
During the negotiations Mr. Gorbachev gave up his demand to create the USSR Constitutional Review Committee and promised to support an idea oaf self-ruled economy for Lithuania. At this meeting for the first time the word "independence" was spoken. Mr. Gorbachev was asked by Lithuanian deputy Nikolai Medvedev to give his opinion on the question of the independence of Lithuania. Mr. Gorbachev responded that he supported the idea of sovereignty, but not of independence. When he was told that there was no difference between independence and sovereignty, he said he accepted sovereignty within the frame-work of the Soviet Union. Mr. Gorbachev was informed clearly that the idea of Lithuania's independence was alive; nine months remained until that independence was proclaimed...
This conflict showed the strength of the Lithuanian independence movement and was a symbolic breakaway from the Soviet Union. Having the support of the majority of Lithuania's citizens, Sąjūdis became a real and strong political power. All three main problems which faced the Lithuanian delegation at the beginning of the Congress were, at least for the moment, re-solved.11
A very important demonstration of the political strength of Sąjūdis, as well as of the Latvian and Estonian independent movements, was the Baltic human chain demonstration Tallinn-Vilnius, which was attended by almost two million people.12 This demonstration was intended to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The Politburo of the CPSU reacted by threats.13 This caused mutiny in Lithuania.14 At this moment the special Commission for evaluation of the pact was created by the People's Congress. Among the members of the Commission the opinions were so controversial that the Chair-man of the Commission, Mr. A. Hakovlev, refused to sign the first conclusion. Nonetheless, on December 1989, the People's Congress of the USSR proclaimed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as void from the moment it was signed.15 It was the main victory of the Lithuanian delegation at the Congress. Prom that moment there was an additional legal basis to further the struggle for independence.
Independent Communist Party
The next move toward independence was the 20th Congress of the Lithuanian Communist Party which was held on December 20-21, 1989. The Congress adopted a "Declaration on the Independence of the Lithuanian Communist Party" and a resolution "On the Status of the Lithuanian Communist Party."16 An LCP Program and Statutes were also adopted. The Congress proclaimed that the CPSU's Lithuanian Republic organization had now become an independent Lithuanian Communist Party, and it saw as its main goal the creation of an independent, democratic Lithuanian state.
The Congress adopted a message to the CPSU Central Committee, which stated in particular: "... we openly state that we want to be ourselves, we want to be independent (author's emphasis), pure and honest, to proceed from the lofty communist principles that guarantee nations the right to self-determination."17
Such development of events resulted in near panic in the Politburo of the CPSU. Only a very few days later, on December 25,1989, the Plenary Session of the CPSU Central Committee was held to discuss the Lithuanian Communist Party challenge. However, only one idea dominated that session: how to prevent the breakup of the so-called Soviet Union. In fact, this state never has been a Union; it was confirmed by Mr. Gorbachev himself, who said in his report at the Plenary Session: "Up to now, our state has existed as a centralized, unitary state. As yet, none of us has the experience of living in a federation."18 Unfortunately, the entire session took place in an aura of misunderstanding. Mr. Gorbachev, for example, said that the plenary session of the Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee in February 1989 "could become a reliable platform for consolidation of the healthy forces and could rectify the defects of the preelection struggle."19 As a matter of fact, few unpopular party bosses who recently lost their positions like J. Gureckas, J. Kuolelis, and some others called in the February session for a return to Stalinist methods in mass media and in the society's life. This session had negative resonance among the Lithuanian people and these former party bosses became politically dead. "Healthy forces" consolidated themselves, establishing after December 20 the "Lithuanian Communist Party on the CPSU platform." However, those "healthy forces" consisted of only fifteen percent of the Lithuanian Communist Party 20th convention delegates and a much lower percent among the people.
Further, Mr. Gorbachev accused the newly-formed Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and other political organizations of having "the aim of discrediting socialism, the CPSU, Soviet power, and the USSR Armed Forces." But up to this time socialism had discredited itself much more than anyone could discredit it.
Almost half of Mr. Gorbachev's report was taken up with the analysis of the question of Lithuania's independence. "For what reason had the idea of state independence become dominant in the republic's public consciousness?"20 dramatically asked Mr. Gorbachev. So, he recognized that the idea of independence became "dominant," although almost all his report was fixed to fight this idea. He also stressed that this was not an easy question, and attempted to explain it for two reasons. First, that decades of Stalinist tyranny had had an extremely grave effect on the nature of relations among the nations of the Soviet Union and had seriously compromised the very idea of federation; second, the "nationalistic, separatistic and downright anti-Soviet elements" (what a nice dictionary!) took advantage of the current situation. He showed a lack of understanding of the third, main reason: that Lithuania had been an independent nation for 600 years; that the occupation of Lithuania by the Red Army in 1940 interrupted only the political existence of the Lithuanian state but could not change the aspirations of Lithuanians to be an independent nation.
Against the secession of Lithuania Mr. Gorbachev brought two arguments. First, Lithuanians were accused of planning to cut economic ties with the rest of the USSR immediately after secession, despite the Lithuanian leaders stressing at every occasion that they had no intentions to cut any economic ties with the Soviet Union, but only to turn them to equal partner-ship. Second, the independence of Lithuania could hurt the integrity of the USSR and would be fraught with the destabilization of the political situation in Europe and in the world. In relation to this it is necessary to say that deliberations of East European countries could have provoked much stronger destabilization than the liberalization of the Baltic states, but nothing of the kind happened. On the other hand, the freedom of Lithuania is not a coin to pay for stability anywhere.
The crux of the matter is that after Lithuania's occupation in 1940, Lithuania's western border was proclaimed as the "sacred border of the USSR" and USSR is now trying to keep it at any price. Despite the fact that the present Soviet government condemned Stalin's policy of terror and proclaimed the international display of this terror policy, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, as void from the moment of signing, it shows no intention of giving up the results of Stalin's international terrorending the occupation of the Baltic countries.
The position of the Soviet government was expressed extremely openly in the report of Mr. Gorbachev during this session: "The present Party and State leadership will not allow the breakup of the Union state. I want to state this at the plenary session of the Party Central Committee. I say this bluntly."21 So, Stalin's iron logic prevails: nations have a right to self-determination, but this right could be exercised only by choosing to stay within the USSR. As will be shown later, this idea became a basis of the new Soviet "law on secession."
The December session of the Central Committee decided nothing except to advise General Secretary Gorbachev and some other high ranking party officials to make a trip to Lithuania. This trip was widely reported on by the American and international presses.
Gorbachev in Lithuania
This trip was predestined not so much to hear the opinions of the Lithuanians as to persuade them to resign the idea of an independent Lithuania. The argumentation was of the same sort or even quite naive. For example, Mr. Gorbachev, speaking in favor of federation and against separatism, told how nice it is when we, living in federation, can read the writings of Lithuanian poet Mieželaitis or Ukrainian writer Oleinik "in all languages."22 But with the same success we can read books of Hemingway or Marcel Proust. At the same time, Lithuanian literature is unknown in most countries of the world because our cultural life was totally closed for decades by the iron curtain of the "federation." Another similarly unfortunate example was that of Uzbekistan, which supplies cotton to all republics. But what about Kuwait or Saudi Arabia? They must also join into federation with those countries which import oil, and thus, there are economic ties of international trade, nothing more.
During his meeting with the workers at a fuel machinery plant in Vilnius, Mr. Gorbachev expressed an illusionary idea that the Lithuanian nation did not wish to be independent: "I get the impression that somebody wants to force to life, to all the nation, a scheme, imagined by professors."23 The elections to the Lithuanian parliament held on February 24,1990 showed evidently how wrong this illusion was. (Almost the entire nation, including many non-Lithuanian residents of the republic, voted for many candidates who supported the idea of an independent Lithuania.)24
While in Lithuania, Mr. Gorbachev also told the following: "We (the Politburo and the Governmentboth of them) must give sovereignty to the republics, maximally to fix limits of political competence of the Union and of the republics."25 This testifies to an absolutely wrong understanding of the sense of sovereignty by the Soviet leaders. Where did the Soviet leader-ship get sovereignty from? The only source of sovereignty is the people, the nation living on certain territory. But, except for the territories of the republics and its peoples, the central Government possesses neither territory nor peoples. So if there were a real Union, the central Government could have only the sovereignty given to it by the republics. However, at the present, the situation is quite the opposite of this. Still alive is a scheme invented by Joseph Stalin and at that time called "autonomization." Under this scheme, the sovereignty of Russia was extended to the other republics and in such a way, that up to this day, they are the provinces of Russia and don't have any sovereignty at all. Sovereignty is indivisible, you can have it or not; any compromise is impossible. The so-called "constitutional conflict" which started in November 1988 when the Supreme Council of Estonia proclaimed the priority of Estonian laws to the Union laws (the latest move was the similar claim of the newly elected Russian parliament on June 11,1990)26 is nothing else but controversy on the question of sovereignty.
At the beginning of the meeting with workers of the fuel machinery plant, Mr. Gorbachev told them that it was necessary to break the Stalinist conception of the unitary state. But he finished his speech with a proposal to build "a federationfull-blooded, sovereign republics and unitary CPSU as strong integrating political power."27 How can we talk about sovereignty of the republics if inside each republic the CPSU will act as the "integrating political power?" It will be nothing but the same Stalinist scheme. In this connection a quotation from the book of former minister of foreign affairs of the independent republic of Lithuania Juozas Urbšys (Lithuania: The Fateful Years of 1933-1940) is appropriate: "I asked Stalin if the republics really might leave the Soviet Union structure if they wished. He responded, 'Yes, if they wanted to. But that's why there's a Communist party in every one of them, so that they'd never want to.'"28
The "Trial" of the Lithuanian Communist Party
The second plenary session of the CPSU Central Committee on the Lithuanian Communist Party question which was held on February 7,1990, after Mr. Gorbachev and other party officials returned from Lithuania, brought nothing new. In his report Mr. Gorbachev stressed with passion: "Unfortunately, it must be stated that at present separatist sentiments prevail in the republic." He agreed that the Lithuanian Communist Party achieved an unprecedentedly high rating, but expressed regret that this popularity was achieved not "through defending principle positions but as a result of deviating from them."29
What kind of principles were mentioned by Mr. Gorbachev? Isn't it clear that, in this case, "the principles" must serve to maintain the Soviet empire untouched? As we have seen, some Moscow loyalists in Lithuania tried to defend "the principles" during the LCP February session, and, by so doing lost their remaining popularity. In this regard, it is interesting to mention that the Moscow newspaper Pravda recently published an article which accused the independent Lithuanian Communist Party of making a compromise... with the Lithuanian nation.30
So, at that time, the disposition of the main political forces in Lithuania was as follows: on one side, "Sąjūdis" and the independent Lithuanian Communist Party, supported by an absolute majority of the Lithuanian nation, including significant parts of Russian, Polish and other national minorities; on the other side, the "Jedinstvo" pro-Russian anti-independent movement and the "Lithuanian Communist Party on the platform at the CPSU" backed by only a small fraction of the non-Lithuanian population, which itself doesn't exceed twenty percent of the population of Lithuania.31
Unfortunately, the Soviet leaders refused to recognize the existing political reality and to draw a suitable conclusion. Instead of trying to seek compromise acceptable to both sides, they decided to support, at any price, the Lithuanian branch of the CPSU. Yu. D. Maslyukov, First Vice-Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, spoke at the plenary session, saying that "we couldn't let the Lithuanian Communist Party on the platform of the CPSU be in such a helpless position in which it is now." Nobody asked why this "party on the platform" was in such a bad position. The latest event showed that the Lithuanian branch of the CPSU was "helped" by paratroopers to seize several Lithuanian Communist Party and Lithuanian Government buildings.
Yu. D. Maslyukov also asked Mr. Gorbachev, as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, "to consider very precisely how to reflect the questions of saving the integrity of the Union in the laws to be accepted." On the question of the law on secession from the Soviet Union, Mr. Maslyukov was extremely open: "at the first to be foreseen how to save the federation."32
The Resolution of the Plenary Session of the CPSU Central Committee demanded that those actions be "condemned, since they undermine the unity of the CPSU and do great damage to the processes of the renewal of the Soviet federation." The resolution also called for the suspension of the decisions of the 20th Congress of the Lithuanian Communist Party and appealed to the Communists of Lithuania "to realize their historic responsibility for the fate of the Lithuanian people and of our entire multinational state, for the fate of revolutionary restructuring."33 The resolution didn't explain why Lithuanians, communist or non-communists, should feel responsibility for the fate of a "multinational state" into which Lithuania was incorporated through occupation by armed forces.34 A similar question could be addressed to the session about "the fate of revolutionary restructuring," keeping in mind that after all "revolutionary restructurings" since 1940 the living standard in Lithuania dropped to the lowest among European countries.35
The next problem for the Kremlin leadership was the elections to the Supreme Council of Lithuania (Lithuanian parliament). The elections were held on February 24,1990, and in the pre-election struggle seven political parties participated, among them the Social Democratic Party, Christian Democratic Party, Green Party, Lithuanian Communist Party, and others. This was an indication that Lithuanian society didn't lose its democratic traditions since the years of independence, and the democratic way of life was restored in a surprisingly short period.
The Soviet leadership must be surprised much more by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Lithuanian nation supported the "nationalistic, separatistic and downright anti-Soviet elements," not the "healthy forces" of the Lithuanian branch of the CPSU. This was the end of the great illusion of the Soviet leadership if they really believed what they spoke during December's plenary session.
During the first round of elections Sąjūdis won seventy-two of the ninety seats filled in the vote. Moscow's loyalists won seven and the independent Lithuanian Communist party twenty-two seats (thirteen of those were supported by Sąjūdis). Most of the remaining seats were also won by candidates backed by Sąjūdis which also supported candidates from Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and other parties.36
Declaration of Independence
Further events were developing faster than anyone could imagine. The newly-elected Lithuanian parliament convened on March 11,1990, and the "Act on Restoring the Independence of the Lithuanian State" was adopted by a vote of 124-0. "Expressing the will of the people, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania resolves and solemnly proclaims that the sovereign rights of the Lithuanian State, which were violated by a foreign power in 1940, are restored and that henceforth Lithuania is again an independent state," the Act read.37
The Chairman of the Council of the Seimas of the Sąjūdis Public Movement, V. Landsbergis, was elected as head of the Republic's Parliament. He was elected in competition with A. Brazauskas, First Secretary of the independent Lithuanian Communist Party; ninety-one deputies voted for him, while thirty-eight voted for A. Brazauskas. The Lithuanian Soviet Sodalist Republic was renamed the Republic of Lithuania, and the USSR constitution was declared invalid on the Republic's temtory.38
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted some important documents, among them an Appeal to the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet. Article 1 of this Appeal read:" There has been no legal foundation for the presence since June 15,1940, of units of the USSR armed forces on Lithuanian territory, and there is none now. Guided by provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of the July 12,1920 peace treaty between Lithuania and Soviet Russia, provisions that are still in effect, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania calls upon the USSR Government to support its proposal concerning the beginning, at the earliest possible time convenient to both sides, of talks on the question of the status and deployment of the aforementioned units and their complete withdrawal from the territory of the Republic of Lithuania."39
The first reaction of the Kremlin came even before the independence of Lithuania was proclaimed. During his meeting with Algirdas Brazauskas on March 7, 1990, Mr. Gorbachev presented Lithuania with compensation claims equivalent to $33 billion, to be paid if the Republic persisted in its course of secession from the Soviet Union. Mr. Gorbachev also challenged Lithuania's boundaries for the first time, suggesting that the Republic must surrender the major Baltic port city of Klaipėda and other territory before going its own way.40 In this way, Mr. Gorbachev for the first time challenged the resolution of the Helsinki Agreement of 1975 on the postwar borders in Europe.
He argued that the Soviet Union took over Klaipėda in 1945 directly from the Germans. It's true that the Germans on March 23,1939 annexed the Lithuanian port of Klaipėda by threat of force. So, Mr. Gorbachev claimed the territory, which was annexed from Lithuania one year before the Soviet occupation by another aggressor, Adolf Hitler. This claim seems to be not well-founded, to say nothing about the position of the Soviet Union from the point of morality.
The same could be said of the $33 billion compensation claims. According to international practice, usually such claims are expressed by occupied countries, not by aggressors. On the other side, the losses of Lithuania as a result of occupation and annexation were so big that they undoubtedly exceeded $33 billion. These Soviet claims were sharply criticized in Lithuania and in the U.S.A.41
Otherwise, neither Mr. Gorbachev nor the Lithuanians took these demands seriously. It was one of many hopeless efforts to force the Lithuanians to resign from the idea of independence. It was clear that much stronger measures would be taken. Such measures followed in short time after Lithuania proclaimed its independence.
On March 15, 1990, the third extraordinary session of the People's Congress of the USSR started and the first action related to Lithuania was made. The resolution was adopted by the extraordinary session on the decisions of March 10-12, 1990, made by the Supreme Council of Lithuania. "While affirming the right of every union republic to freely leave the USSR (Article 72 of the USSR Constitution), the Congress decided that until a law on the process of secession from the USSR has been adopted, the resolutions of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR are contrary to Articles 74 and 75 of the Constitution of the USSR and are invalid," the resolution said.42
This resolution contains a significant contradiction that should be analyzed. The contradiction is that two separate issues were combined in the resolution: the right of a republic to secede as a legal matter and the way to exercise this right as a legal proceeding. The legal proceedings about the right must never stand in the way of exercising the very right, which had just happened with this resolution. The resolution violates the right of every union republic to freely leave the USSR, the right affirmed by the resolution itself as well as by the Constitution of the USSR. It doesn't matter if a law on the process of secession from the USSR has been adopted or not. The aforementioned resolution of the People's Congress of the USSR is unconstitutional even from the viewpoint of the USSR Constitution. The resolution has nothing to do with legality; it is a political step, not a legal one. Therefore, this so-called "constitutional conflict" in the main is an "unconstitutional conflict."
The only fair legal way out of the situation would be to respect unconditionally the right of the Republic of Lithuania to secede from the USSR, and then to resolve "the political, economic, social, territorial, legal, and other problems that arise" (as was mentioned in the resolution) by negotiations. Never mind the fact that the Republic of Lithuania didn't join the USSR but was occupied and annexed in 1940, and it therefore doesn't need "to secede" from the USSR at all. The fact of occupation and annexation of the Republic of Lithuania as a result of an international crime accomplished by Stalin's government was affirmed by the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian SSR on February 7,1990.43 The People's Congress of the USSR indirectly affirmed this fact when it condemned the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.44
So it was for the other reason that the Resolution of the People's Congress has no legal basis. "In light of the fact that Lithuania had come under Soviet occupation by June 1940, all subsequent actions of Soviet authorities in Lithuania designed to subvert and destroy the nation's sovereignty were void ab initio," stated a letter from President of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 27, 1990. The Resolution of the People's Congress was one of such actions. Unfortunately, nobody except the leadership of the Republic of Lithuania was interested in dissolving the problem in a legal way.
Preventing Measures: Law on Secession
On April 6, 1990, the Supreme Soviet adopted the Law on Secession, so the second action was made.45 Despite a promise given by Mr. Gorbachev during his visit to Lithuania in January 1990 to discuss the draft of the Law on Secession union-wide or even to hold a referendum on the draft,46 nothing was done.
The law on which depended the fate of millions of people, of entire nations, was drafted and adopted in a hurry, without open debates and discussions, without consultations with the republics, without previous publication of the draft. And after that, the Lithuanians were blamed for declaring their independence during one night "using dishonest thief-like means."47 Indeed, the former is an excellent example of the imperial way of thinking and of acting.
The Law on Secession is unconstitutional. The main reason is that the Law on Secession rejects the unqualified rights of each Soviet republic to leave the USSR which are very clearly expressed in Article 72 of the USSR Constitution. The well-known Soviet constitutional expert, Alexander Lukyanov, in his comments on the USSR constitution, has written: 'This right of Soviet republics to secede is unconditional and for the right to be effectuated, the approval of the highest organs of the Soviet Government is not necessary, nor is the approval of the other Soviet republics."48 Article 20 of the Law on Secession includes a demand of adoption of a decision by the People's Congress of the USSR.
There are many other articles in the Law of Secession which make secession very difficult to exercise or even impossible. Under Article 2, a referendum shall be held in accordance with the procedures determined by the USSR law and Unionand autonomous republic laws on referendums. Keeping in mind the Soviet Constitutional law doctrine and practice, which stress the priority of Union laws over the laws of the republics, it is clear that a referendum must precede in accordance with Union laws, not with the republics.
Article 3 provides that the referendum shall be held separately in autonomous units within republics or even in "areas with concentrations of national groups that make up the majority of the population in a given locality." Such demand contends a threat of violation of the integrity of the territory of the republics in case of secession.
Article 9 indicates that during the transitional period, the USSR Constitution and USSR laws shall remain in effect on the territory of the seceding republic. So, the seceding republic is not recognized as an equal partner in negotiations on secession; the "transitional period" is only a prolongation of being a republic within the USSR.
Article 14, which determines the fate of ownership of the USSR in the republics, includes not a single note on the owner-ship of the republics in the USSR.
Article 15 states that "the seceding republic shall reimburse all expenses involved in the resettlement of citizens outside the republic's borders." And it contains not a single word about the resettlement of the citizens of the republic from the USSR to the republic. Anyway, this article gives a useful idea that the USSR should reimburse all expenses involved in the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel and other countries.
Then, if all the countless questions and pretensions of the USSR are fortunately resolved, a second (!) referendum may be held on the question of confirming the Union republic's decision to secede from the USSR, if this is demanded by one-tenth of the USSR citizens residing permanently on the territory of the re-public. If fewer than two-thirds of the participants of this repeat referendum vote to confirm the secession, "the Union republic's decision to secede from the USSR shall be considered rescinded, and the procedures stipulated in this law shall be terminated" (Article 19). It is quite evident that the idea of Mr. Maslyukov, quoted in this paper, was realized very scrupulously. One could call all those legal exercises "The Law on Preventing Secession." This law is a political, not a legal document, and it provides almost no possibility of leaving the USSR under its proceedings.
Nevertheless, this rather propagandist trick achieved certain success among Western intellectuals. After the Law on Secession was adopted, there were published some articles on the question of the secession. Authors of those articles urged the Lithuanians to change their minds and choose a slower but safer way to independence. It is evidence that the authors have never seen the text of the law; they only trusted the good will of Soviet lawmakers...49
War of Nerves
The aforementioned resolution and the Law on Secession were only the legal side of the conflict between Lithuania and the USSR. Psychological war was proclaimed by the USSR against the Republic of Lithuania. Of course, it shows certain progress in the USSR' s behavior on the international scene that conventional arms in this war were not used. The first discharge in this war was a series of the ultimatums from the Kremlin.
The first ultimatum from Mr. Gorbachev was a telegram of March 15 in which the President of the USSR gave the Lithuanian leadership three days to respond to the aforementioned declaration from the Congress of People's Deputies.50
The response was, as one could predict, that the resolution of the Congress "has no legal basis."51 The President of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis, also sent a telegram to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in which he indicated that the resolution was without legal foundation from the viewpoint of international law because Lithuania had never been legally part of the USSR and had proclaimed on March 11 the de jure continuity of the Lithuania State since 1940. "Although the USSR Constitution does not apply to Lithuania... the decision of the Lithuanian Supreme Council to restore Lithuanian independence is even valid from the standpoint of Soviet Constitutional Law," the statement said further. The Lithuanian leadership also expressed "its sincere hope that immediate negotiations would commence with the Government of the USSR" on all political, economic, social, territorial, legal, and other problems about which the Government of the USSR has been concemed.52
The response from the Kremlin came on March 21 in another ultimatum in the formal decree of the President of the USSR: within seven days citizens living on the territory of Lithuania must turn their firearms to agencies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.53
Unfortunately, the only weapons the Lithuanians had were hunting and sporting guns. The main goal of this mostly propagandistic demand for "disarmament" was to show to the world and to the peoples of the USSR that the Lithuanians are "well-armed and dangerous," that the situation in Lithuania is similar to the one in Azerbaijan or Armenia. It could be used later to justify armed actions in Lithuania.
Two days later, on March 23, the next ultimatum came from Soviet President Gorbachev. This time he demanded immediate measures to stop all activities "registering on the territory of the Republic... volunteers for [the] so-called national defense organization." A response was demanded within two days.54
The calm response of President Landsbergis followed on March 24, in which he explained that information about volunteers was too inaccurate and inadequate; the only people signing up were to help maintain public order and monitor roads.55
While the President Vytautas Landsbergis and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania showed no signs of giving in to Gorbachev's ultimatums, the President of the USSR tried to appeal to the wider public. On March 31, he delivered two documents: "An address to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania"56 and an "Appeal to the People of the Republic of Lithuania."57
In the "Appeal to the People of Lithuania," Gorbachev made an attempt to force a confrontation between the Lithuanian parliament and the people; he achieved nothing. "We have lived as one family for many years. Does this period deserve only negative words?" the Soviet President asked dramatically. Even a prisoner can say some positive words if he sometimes gets a sip of milk for his coffee or a walk on a sunny morning. The Lithuanians lost their freedom, lost their independent state, hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians lost their lives; the politics of genocide was on the agenda. Our agriculture, our economy, our social, political, and cultural life were destroyed. We were isolated from the rest of the world and forced to live according to foreign dictates. Does this deserve positive words?
In response, the Lithuanian people stood firm during the months of psychological, economic, and political war; even physical force was used, but unsuccessfully.
In its official response on April 5,1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania said that "Lithuania, as before, is prepared for honest dialogue; however, this should not be accompanied by willful actions of the armed forces of your country."58
Unfortunately, there was still no dialogue. Instead of dialogue, one more the fifthultimatum came on April 13 from Mr. Gorbachev and N. Ryzhkov: a telegram with the following warning: "If within two days the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR do not revoke their afore-mentioned decisions, order will be given to suspend delivery to the Lithuanian SSR from other Soviet republics the type of production that is sold on the foreign market for hard currency."59
The Lithuanian parliament in its response to this telegram wrote: "Unfortunately, having received concrete announcements about the future sanctions as well, we have little to add to the statement by the Council of Ministers of April 16,1990,60 except to possibly express regrets on the position and methods chosen by the USSR." The Lithuanian parliament also expressed a readiness for consultations and composed a delegation of deputies to go to Moscow.61
Nevertheless, the efforts of the Lithuanian parliament didn't change anything. On April 19, 1990, an economic blockade started, marking a new wrong turn in the relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the USSR.
Simultaneously with the war of ultimatums, real arms were taken to the political scene. On the weekend of March 18, Soviet armored vehicles drove through Vilnius, Lithuania's capital.62 The Lithuanian Government was not informed about this move; when the Lithuanian government expressed its concern on this issue, Soviet military officials explained that these were earlier planned maneuvers.
On March 24, a new, much stronger demonstration of military thought followed. More than one hundred tanks and trucks and more than 1,500 soldiers armed with automatic weapons thundered by the Parliament building in Vilnius at about 3 a.m. as legislators worked through the night to complete the creation of an independent govemment.63
The next Soviet military action took place on April 1 when a column of armored personnel carriers rumbled through the Lithuanian capital.64 Both the Soviet military sense and the psychological pressure on Lithuanians were strengthened on the day on which Gorbachev's "Appeal to the People of Lithuania" was published.65
In relation to this, it seems useful to mention what Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said about use of military force in Lithuania to reporters in Washington on April 4. The Soviets had not used force in Lithuania, but had sent in troops, tanks, and armored carriers "to have order, to have a normal situation."66 Mr. Shevardnadze didn't indicate a single fact of disorder or violence in Lithuania.
On March 27 more words were said as a part of an "honest dialogue"67 between Moscow and Vilnius. On that day, Soviet troops stormed a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Vilnius and arrested about two dozen young Lithuanians who had taken shelter there after they left Soviet Army units.68
On the same day, heavily armed Soviet troops took control of Lithuanian Communist Party headquarters and seized several other party buildings in Vilnius: the city's Party headquarters on the main street and the two buildings of the Party's Education Center. Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis sent a telegram to Mr. Gorbachev in which he demanded return of the kidnapped soldiers.69
Foreign diplomats and journalists were required to leave Lithuania when their visas expired. Foreign Ministry spokes-man Gennadi Gerasimov said that interference from abroad in the crisis would not be tolerated and added: 'The Lithuanians could have given the first Soviet president a quiet first one hundred days. They didn't. Too bad."70
On April 3 Moscow did show some indication of willingness to start negotiations. On the afternoon of that day, Mr. Gorbachev's closest political ally, Alexander N. Yakovlev, conferred with a delegation from Lithuania led by Deputy Prime Minister of Lithuania Romualdas Ozolas. During the talks a question about suspension of the March 11 Declaration of Lithuania's Independence was raised. Nikolai N. Medvedev, a member of the Lithuanian Parliament and also a member of the Lithuanian delegation in Moscow, called the discussions with Mr. A. Hakovlev "talks about talks."71 It was clear that all this was a political maneuver rather than an expression of willingness to undertake negotiations. Moscow needed such a move to make it easier for negotiations between Soviet Foreign Minister E. Shevardnadze and the U.S. Administration preparing for the USA-USSR summit.
A similar political maneuver was repeated by the Soviet leadership on the eve of the USA-USSR summit, when President Mikhail S. Gorbachev unexpectedly met with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Kazimiera Prunskienė in the Kremlin on May 1772 and a week later invited Lithuanian officials to an unscheduled meeting73 on May 24.
Although the Lithuanian officials described the meeting as friendly (Mr. Gorbachev offered his visitors tea, sandwiches, and cakes), there were no changes in Moscow's tough stand. Moscow still was demanding the suspension of the Lithuanian declaration of independence and a return to the position before March 11.
But let's return to the front of the "war of nerves" between Moscow and Vilnius. On April 13 the fifth and the toughest ultimatum, signed by Mr. Gorbachev and Soviet Prime Minister N. Ryzhkov, was delivered to Lithuania. "If within two days the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR [Moscow still continued to use 'Lithuanian SSR' instead of the 'Republic of Lithuania', the official name of the country] do not remove their aforementioned decision [the declaration of the independence and other laws], orders will be given to suspend delivery to the Lithuanian SSR from other Soviet republics of the type of production that is sold on the foreign market for hard currency," the document said.74
In response to this ultimatum, the Lithuanian leadership sent to the Kremlin two telegrams, one from Prime Minister K. Prunskienė on April 16 and the other from President Vytautas Landsbergis on April 18. In both documents the Lithuanian leadership tried to persuade the Soviet Government to start negotiations with Lithuania instead of imposing economic sanctions which would hurt the economy of the USSR as well as the economy of Lithuania. "We have not lost hope that our future relations will be marked by goodwill and common sense," Prime Minister K. Prunskienė said in her telegram.75 President V. Landsbergis also stressed a readiness for negotiations from the Lithuanian side and said "we have little to add to the statement by the Council of Ministers of April 16,1990, except to possibly express regrets on the position and methods chosen by the USSR."76 The telegram also informed the Kremlin leaders that a delegation of deputies of the Republic of Lithuania for consultation was arranged and would arrive in Moscow on the earliest possible date.
Such efforts by the Lithuanians came to nothing, and on April 19, the flow of crude oil from the USSR to Lithuania was cut off at 9:30 p.m.77 The economic blockade of Lithuania had begun. The Soviet Union cut off not only oil and gas but also broke off shipments of sugar, fish, metal, wood, rubber tires, and industrial parts. An additional measure, a military attack on the printing plants, was also arranged. Soviet Army soldiers armed with AK-47 assault weapons stormed a Communist party-owned printing plant beating civilian guards.78 A member of the Lithuanian parliament, Zigmas Vaišvila, who tried to stop the military action, also was beaten by armed soldiers. The Kremlin "is seeking to stop the plants, put the workers on the streets, and encourage social unrest," Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis charged at a news conference.79 Thus, the "honest dialogue" between the USSR and Lithuania reached its highest point.
Reaction of the West
How did the world react to this demonstration of political, economic, and even military force against the Lithuanians, who have chosen a peaceful way to freedom?
The very first reaction of the US government was positive and encouraging for Lithuanians. White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said on March 11 in a statement: "The United States would urge the Soviet government to respect the will of the citizens of Lithuania. We have consistently supported the Baltic peoples' inalienable right to peaceful self-determination. We call upon the Soviet government to address its concerns and interests through immediate constructive negotiations with the Government of Lithuania. We hope that all parties will continue to avoid any initiation or encouragement of violence."80 This long quotation expresses the US government position very clearly and unambiguously. One could feel also support for Lithuania from the American people. Almost all American newspapers put information about the proclamation of Lithuanians' independence on the front pages. It was the lead news story on television. Many of America's best-known journalists and TV commentators expressed in countless publications and TV transmissions their strong support for Lithuania's independence. Among them were William Safire, George Will, Bill Keller, A.M. Rosenthal, David Brinkley, Sam Donaldson, Patrick Buchanan, and many others. The case of Lithuania's independence was also supported by politicians like former President Ronald Reagan,81 former Secretary of State George P. Schultz,82 trade union leader and A.F.L.-C.I.O. President Lane Kirkland.
Poland's government voiced cautious approval of Lithuania's declaration of independence, expressing the hope that Lithuania and the Soviet Union "would resolve mutual problems" peace-fully. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said in a message sent to President of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis: "I would like to express my delight that Lithuanian independence has been restored."83
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia Gareth Evans made a statement which said that Australia recognized the resolution of the Lithuanian parliament and urges the Soviet Union to take no steps toward confrontation.84
Some European governments sent congratulations to the Lithuanian parliament and to President Vytautas Landsbergis but refrained from an official recognition of the Republic of Lithuania.
During a news conference in Washington on March 14,1990, President George Bush said, on the question of the recognition of Lithuania: "... we want to see the evolution of the control of the territory there." President Bush said also: "We never have regarded Lithuania as incorporated into the Soviet Union. That's been our policy."85 On March 20 the Bush administration issued a tougher public warning to the Kremlin not to use force against Lithuania. The statements of the White House and State Department carried the implicit warning that bloody conflict in Lithuania could affect US-Soviet relations.86 "We continue to urge a constructive dialogue. This would be complicated by an atmosphere of intimidation and increasing tension."87 On March 22 President Bush appealed to President M. Gorbachev to avoid using military forces in Lithuania.88 Unfortunately, those were only words, which President Bush was forced to say by public opinion and by Congress. At the moment when Lithuania faced economic and military threats, the U.S. was preparing to sign a new treaty with the USSR.
On March 27, speaking to reporters during a news conference, Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis accused the Western countries because of wavering on the Lithuanian question: "All we can do is raise the question to the democracies of the West: Are they willing once again to sell out Lithuania?"89
At this time a paradoxical situation took place: When the Soviets increased pressure on Lithuania, the U.S. softened its tone on the Lithuanian issue. It gave a reason to President Landsbergis to say that "The U.S. sold us out."90 President Landsbergis also said he thought James Baker may have told Shevardnadze that the United States would overlook a limited degree of Soviet military intervention. State Department spokes-man Margaret Tutwiler denied that there was any such agreement. "Any suggestion of such is absolutely and totally false."91
The statements of U.S. officials gave the impression that, although the U.S. did not change its position as it was described in the statement of March 11, it was too cautious and indecisive in regard to its impact on U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations. Such indecision by the U.S. administration on Lithuania's question caused some journalists to say that the U.S. was on Moscow's side.92
The main idea of the U.S. policy toward the U.S.S.R. was that it was necessary to back Gorbachev because of his inclination toward democratic reforms. Without Western support, Mr. Gorbachev could be ousted by hardliners and then that would be the end of liberalization. Supporting Mr. Gorbachev, the U.S. in this way supported democratic reforms. The reasoning was that by helping Mr. Gorbachev the U.S. was also helping independence movements in Lithuania and the other Baltic countries. Such political thinking seems to be logical, but under one condition: If Mr. Gorbachev continues toward democratic reforms.
But M. Gorbachev shifted his democratic position at the moment when the winds of freedom reached the borders of the U.S.S.R. which, in fact, were the borders of the three Baltic nations, occupied and annexed in 1940. Although M. Gorbachev did nothing to prevent the anticommunist freedom movements in the Eastern European countries, particularly in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, he stood firmly against the same movements in the Baltic countries. It was an historical turning point for M. Gorbachev when, after Lithuania proclaimed her independence, he shifted from democracy to autocracy. The formal expression of the "new deal" was the election of Mr. Gorbachev to the position of President of the U.S.S.R. on March 16,1990.
The President of the U.S.S.R. decided to speak to Lithuanians using the language of ultimatums and force. The Soviets promised that they would not use force in Lithuania. Now we could say, as George F. Will did in Newsweek: "Sealed borders, MIG overflights, journalists expelled, coordinated media disinformation, beatings, tanks rumbling through streets at 3 a.m., economic blockade: that is the sort of force not gunfire that Brezhnev primarily used in Czechoslovakia in 1968."93
In this way, M. Gorbachev is losing his democratic face, approaching a critical point in history, marking the cross-roads of democracy and ordinary imperialism. The United States by unconditionally supporting M. Gorbachev, is losing its principles of freedom and democracy on which the country was built. The United States shifted from supporting principles of freedom and democracy to supporting a man with a double standard. Unfortunately, freedom and democracy can't be based on a double standard: Nobody can be a democrat on one question and a non-democrat on another. There are no doubts about the U.S. Administration's good intentions toward the independence of the Baltic countries. Nevertheless, the way in which the U.S. administration realizes its Baltic policy seems to be not the best.
In the case of the Baltic countries the double standard of the U.S.S.R. policy is visible very dearly. On what principle are nations subjugated by Joseph Stalin in the late 1940s among them Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany owed freedom but those subjugated in the early 1940s like the Baltic countries are not owed it?94 Of course, the Baltic countries, by breaking with socialism and the U.S.S.R., bring graver consequences for the U.S.S.R. than created by changes in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, consequences cannot be allowed to change principles.
The Pressure is Continued
After Lithuania's independence was declared, Soviet President M. Gorbachev constantly sought to force Lithuania to "suspend" its declaration of independence. If that were done, M. Gorbachev promised "negotiations" within "the framework of the Constitution of the U.S.S.R." For this he demanded that Lithuania go back to its situation on March 10,1990. M. Gorbachev insisted on negotiations not between equal partners, but between the Soviet Union and its province, a status which Lithuania had in fact until March 11, 1990. Such a "negotiation" never could be a real negotiation in the fullest sense because only equal partners can negotiate. There could be no negotiations between a butler and a baronet.
From the other side, even if such unequal "negotiations" were held, they would be held within the framework of the Constitution of the U.S.S.R.; M. Gorbachev would insist in this way that Lithuania break with the U.S.S.R. under the recently passed Soviet Law on Secessiona process which would be absolutely impossible as it was shown above. So, M. Gorbachev invited Lithuania to the kingdom of curved mirrors from which there is no way out.
At the same time the West showed some signs of support for Lithuania. The U.S. Congress, by a 416-3 vote, passed a non-binding resolution urging the President to recognize an independent Lithuania "at the earliest possible time."95 Thus, American legislators made their position extremely clear.
The other move came from Europe. On April 26 President Francois Mitterand of France and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany sent a letter to Lithuania's President Vytautas Landsbergis.96 Both leaders said in their letter: "to facilitate the opening of the talks, it would be helpful if the effects of the decisions taken by your Parliament were suspended for a while." The leaders added that the documents adopted by the Lithuanian parliament "would lose none of their validity." In that way, President Mitterand and Chancellor Kohl expressed their willingness to make efforts toward a solution of the Vilnius-Moscow conflict. It was also a move of great importance for Lithuania because it meant one more step toward recognition of Lithuania.
Lithuania reacted immediately. The same day President Vytautas Landsbergis promised to carefully study a French-German proposal.97 Of course, the French-German initiative came after intensive consultations in Washington and other Western capitals and, that is self evident, must be taken by Lithuania very seriously. President Vytautas Landsbergis called the letter "a step forward toward realization of Lithuanian independence."98
The Soviet government reacted favorably to the effort by Western leaders to ease the crisis on Lithuania, although Moscow evidently overestimated the positiveness of the letter for the Soviets, understanding it as only backing of Moscow's position by the West. President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's spokesman Arkady Maslennikov, in Moscow's habitual rough tone, said, "We consider it's a kind of appeal of reason against extremism, extremism being a policy of present day Lithuanian leaders."99 It makes no difference how Moscow explained for itself the French-German initiative; the most important thing was that Moscow couldn't ignore it and it meant one more step to the international recognition of the Republic of Lithuania.
On April 27 nine senators attacked sharply President Bush's policy of seeking to maintain good relations with U.S.S.R. during the Lithuanian crisis. "I am appalled at the lack of sensitivity by the White House towards the Lithuanian people as they desperately struggle to reassert independence," said Senator Gordon J. Humphrey, of New Hampshire. "To announce an agreement liberalizing trade with the Soviets, two days after the President revealed he would assess no penalty against the Soviets for their bullying of Lithuania is callous and unfeeling in the extreme."100 "This is a sellout of freedom, and, to be quite frank, it is sickening," said Senator Alfonse D'Amato, of New York. "It is unacceptable for the U.S. to enter into a favorable trade agreement with the Soviet Union while it crushes Lithuanian freedom under a jackbook," the Senator added.101
Such serious criticism from U.S. senators caused no change in President Bush's policy on Lithuania. As we know now, President Bush during the U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit signed a trade agreement with the U.S.S.R. despite the Soviet economic blockade on Lithuania. The U.S. President softened a little his not-too-friendly stand toward Lithuania by inviting to the White House Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskienė on May 3,1990. Although this was announced as a "private visit," it was important enough: it was the first time that an American president had met a Lithuanian government leader since Lithuania was occupied and forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940.
It seemed at least strange when U.S. administration officials were frightened even by this rather symbolic move toward Lithuania's interests. Marlin Fitzwater, the White House spokes-man, said on May 1 that Mr. Bush "is not meeting with Mrs. Prunskienė as Prime Minister of an independent Lithuania." But what, Mr. Fitzwater was asked, will Mr. Bush call Mrs. Prunskienė? "Prime Minister, I suppose," said Mr. Fitzwater.102
The reception of Mrs. Prunskienė in the White House proceeded without suitable ceremonial activities and even not very gracefully: she never expected to have her Lincoln sedan stopped at the White House gate; she did not expect to have to get out of the car, show her red Soviet passport to a security guard, go through a metal detector, and walk up the long driveway to the White House on her own.103 President Bush refused to allow the U.S. to be a mediator between Lithuania and the U.S.S.R., a role he was asked to assume. In diplomatic language it meant that U.S. would still recognize de facto that Lithuania's question is an internal problem of the Soviets. During her visit to the U.S. Mrs. Prunskienė proposed a simple solution to a dilemma that had been a nightmare for the U.S. administration for a long time: a choice between helping Lithuania and helping Gorbachev. "The solution is this: Gorbachev together with a breakthrough for democracy in the Soviet Union and an independent Lithuania," she told members of Congress on the Helsinki commission.104
Mrs. Prunskienė never complained publicly about her reception at the White House, but she criticized President Bush for doing nothing to help Lithuania. "Simply making statements that there should be cooperation and urging Lithuania to sit down at the bargaining table is not sufficient at this time, when the Soviet Union is interfering in Lithuania's relationships with Western countries," she said a day after meeting with Bush.105
In the meantime, the Estonians also expressed their will to be an independent nation; they chose a more measured, less confrontational approach to achieving independence than Lithuania.106 On April 3 in a telephone call to Estonian President Amold F. Reutel, Mr. Gorbachev cautioned that Moscow would take steps similar to those taken in Lithuania unless Estonia retracted its initial move toward an independent resolution.107 Similar steps against the cautious Estonians to those taken against ignorant Lithuanian "extremists"? What could that mean? The answer could be found in this quote from a Gorbachev speech to the Young Communist League in Moscow: "To exercise self-determination through secession is to blow apart the union, to pit people against once another and to sow discord, bloodshed and death."108 What kind of self-determination could be exercised only by staying within the U.S.S.R.? What kind of logic is that? The answer is simple: Soviet President Gorbachev is, in principle, against any single republic leaving the U.S.S.R. It does not matter that in the case of the Baltic nations there would be the restoration of their independence/ not a secession.
The aforementioned remark by Gorbachev could explain Moscow's tough position on the Lithuanian question. Nevertheless, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on May 9 urged moderation and compromise on the visiting Prime Minister of Lithuania.109 Neither Mrs. Thatcher nor West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterand paid any attention that the Lithuanians had no room for compromise. There could be a compromise only if both sides expressed their will to give up something. But the Kremlin only repeated its demand to recall or suspend Lithuania's independence declaration and go back to the position before March 11,1990, which meant going back under Soviet sovereignty.
There were no precedents in world history that, after a nation had proclaimed its independence, other nations demanded that it recall that declaration. A declaration of independence is a historical event, not only a political act. The demands to recall or to suspend a declaration of independence are equal to a demand to remake history.
Despite the fact that the stand of Western countries on Lithuania's question was never too encouraging, invitations to Lithuania Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskienė from the U.S.A., Great Britain, France, West Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Greece show that international recognition of the Republic of Lithuania, although not fully realized, is on the way.
On May 4, Latvia's parliament declared Latvia independent. The deputies of the Latvian parliament voted for independence 138-0; there was one abstention and 57 boycotted the vote, mostly members of the Russian minority in Latvia. The Latvian independence declaration foresees a transition period for the reestablishment of the de facto independence of the Republic of Latvia. In this way, Latvia was the more moderate toward Moscow."110
Although Estonia's and Latvia's legislators stopped short of declaring independence immediately and instead set a transitional period, Soviet President Gorbachev, on May 14, issued a presidential decree declaring the independence moves by Latvia and Estonia illegal because they violated Soviet law."111 Unfortunately, such a position by President Gorbachev was not well-based from a legal point of view, given the fact that everything said above about the Lithuanian question could be applied as well to the position of Latvia and Estonia. The only difference was that the Soviet President did not establish an economic blockade against Latvia and Estonia.
The Lithuanian government took a step toward meeting the Kremlin's demands and formally agreed to suspend all laws it had passed since its declaration of independence. "Basically it's the offer Mitterand and Kohl suggested," said Rita Dapkus, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Parliament."112 However, there was no positive reaction by Moscow. The Soviet government continued to insist on its demand that the declaration itself be suspended as a condition to start negotiations. On May 22, the Lithuanian Parliament backed a position for the Lithuanian government but rejected demands to suspend Lithuania's declaration of independence, apart from the fact that, during his meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskienė on May 18, American Secretary of State James Baker urged the Lithuanian Prime Minister to suspend the declaration of independence as a way of opening negotiations with Moscow."113
Despite the joint efforts of the West and of Moscow, the declaration of Lithuanian independence remained untouched until the U.S.-U.S.S.R summit began. The positions of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. also remained without changes. The position of the U.S. on the Lithuanian question was criticized in the U.S. press, in particular by Frank J. Gaffney Jr., Director of the Center for Security Policy in Washington. Mr. Gaffney said: "...Mr. Baker has failed to grasp that the U.S. lack of support for Lithuania dramatically reduces the pressure for radical political reform in Moscow." As indicated above, a similar view was expressed by Prime Minister of Lithuania speaking in Washington.
The U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit brought nothing good for Lithuania. Lack of support for Lithuania was clearly expressed by the U.S. administration throughout the summit. President Gorbachev, during the summit, several times expressed a very tough position on the Lithuanian question. At a breakfast with Congressional leaders at the Soviet Embassy on June 1, the Soviet President even called the proclamation of Lithuania's independence "absurd."114 His words were strengthened by the continuing economic blockade on Lithuania. The Soviet President insisted on a "constitutional" solution of the Lithuanian question forget-ting that the economic blockade itself was non-"constitutional." Never mind that the "constitutional" wayfrom President Gorbachev's point of viewmeant the way through the law on secession; in fact it meant a dead end, as shown above.
During the summit, the U.S. administration's policy of helping Gorbachev culminated when President Bush signed the trade agreement with the U.S.S.R. despite the economic crack-down on Lithuania. Members of Congress criticized President Bush's step, warning that such an agreement would not find support in Congress unless Moscow changed its position on Lithuania.115
Without any support from the West and under heavy economic and political pressure from Moscow, Lithuania didn't have any other way out except to put a moratorium on its declaration of independence. Such a move was proposed by the government of Lithuania in the form of a recommendation to the Parliament.116
The Lithuanian Parliament agreed on June 29 to put a moratorium on the declaration of independence for one hundred days if Moscow would end its economic blockade and if negotiations between Moscow and Vilnius would start. Members of Parliament voted for the resolution on the moratorium 69 to 35, with two abstentions. The resolution was backed by Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, who said: "Two years ago we chose the peaceful route to independence, the route of negotiations. Now the condition for negotiations is a moratorium."117
One could call this resolution a forced compromise, adopted by Parliament while Lithuania was facing economic catastrophe. The sense of the moratorium was the suspension of legal actions flowing from the Act on the Restoration of the Independent Lithuanian State of March 11,1990. The moratorium will be set in motion from the start of negotiations and will become invalid automatically upon the breaking off of negotiations. The moratorium also will become invalid if certain circumstances or events do not allow the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania to continue its normal state governing functions.
The very first reaction of Moscow followed the next day: On June 30 the Soviet Union reopened the oil pipeline to Lithuania."118 The economic blockade subsided but economic losses are estimated in the millions of rubles on both sides. The Soviet parliament kept its silence during the blockade and it seems that no one is responsible for those losses. As was often the case in Soviet history, the people will pay for this unreasonable action. There were many talks about the "unconstitutional" action of the Lithuanian legislature. Was the economic blockade of Lithuania a constitutional act?
During the fall of 1990, the Lithuanians were preparing for negotiations with Moscow very carefully. Alongside the official delegation headed by President Landsbergis, a working group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Romualdas Ozolas was formed. The working group was assisted by nine groups of experts.
At the very beginning, the Soviet side showed some interest in negotiations. After both official delegations met in October 1990, the start of official negotiations was scheduled for November 30, 1990. However, when that day arrived, the U.S.S.R. refused to attend the negotiating session, explaining that top officials were preoccupied by preparations for the fourth Congress of People's Deputies. A new date for negotiations was not set.
The voice of Moscow was getting tougher and tougher. On January 7,1991, the Soviet Defense Ministry announced that it would send elite paratroop units to help the military draft board in Lithuania. "They are looking for bloodshed," President Landsbergis said.123 Unfortunately, he was right.
The bloody events started when Soviet Army troops, using tanks and live ammunition, stormed the Lithuanian press center, the 22-story building in the suburbs of Vilnius, and the head-quarters of the Lithuanian Defense Department, located nearby. Seven people were hurt.124
In the early morning of January 13, the next attack came. Soviet Army troops stormed the television broadcast center, which was surrounded by singing and dancing crowds. As a result, 14 unarmed civilians were killed by gunfire or crushed by tanks.125 The pretext for the Army to intervene was an appeal for help by a pro-Moscow "National Salvation Committee." Mikhail Gorbachev said on January 14 that he did not know who belonged to the "committee."126
What kind of help did this mysterious "committee" need? It is a well-known fact that, since the Republic of Lithuania declared the reestablishment of its independence on March 11, 1990, there had been no intimidation of the non-Lithuanian population.
No one took responsibility for the bloodshed in Vilnius: neither Mr. Gorbachev nor his Minister of Defense Dmitri Yazov nor his Minister of Interior Boris Pugo."127 It seemed to be un-folding like the theater of the absurd.
At this time, the United States and other Western countries are preoccupied with the Persian Gulf crisis. It is understandable. But it would be a terrible mistake to think that events in Lithuania are less important. If it would be possible, the Soviet leadership would threaten any country the same way as it threatens Lithuania. The events in Lithuania demonstrate exceptionally clearly what is truly going on in the U.S.S.R. One can draw only one conclusion: without a free and independent Lithuania, and without a democratic Russia, there can be no "common European home," nor a "new world order."
The most recent events demonstrate that the policy of Western countries toward Mr. Gorbachev and the Soviet Union has brought results opposite to those which had been expected. The hardliners have enormous influence and the democrats are in opposition. So, for the West this is the best time to revise its policy toward the Soviets and to do all it can to help democratic forces in the Soviet Union.
Lithuania recently gave a clear message to the world during the plebiscite on February 9, in which more than 84 percent of eligible voters participated, more than 90 percent voting for independence.128 It is a rather rare case in the history of the world. Now it depends on the rest of the world if Lithuania, which is located in the center of Europe, at the close of the 20th century can exercise its right to self-determination. All we need is the firm moral, political, and democratic support of the nations of the world.
At this time, both sides are preparing for negotiations. What are the strengths and weaknesses of both sides?
The Lithuanian delegation will bring to the negotiating table a large package of arguments: historical, political, legal, economic, etc.
The main historical argument, as well as the political one, is that Lithuania has been a body politic"119 for almost 800 years, since the thirteenth century. During this long period, even long from the viewpoint of civilized history, Lithuania enjoyed independence for almost 600 years. One can find Lithuania on every historical map of Europe. Lithuania's political life was interrupted during the years from 1795-1918 and 1940-1990, both times by force. Even though occupied by a foreign power, Lithuania never lost her feeling of being a nation, and never stopped being a body politic. All efforts of the nation were directed to its main goal: to restore the independence of Lithuania. The Lithuanian nation achieved this goal two times: in the year 1918 and again in 1990. The second restoration of the Lithuanian independent state is not completed, but the legal basis is built firmly. The Lithuanian legislators, proclaiming the independence of the Republic of Lithuania, stressed strictly the continuity of Lithuanian statehood. No one can deny this argument. Throughout the centuries, Lithuania was one of the world's nations, it always existed as a body politic and its right to be an independent nation is indisputable.
A second historical argument related to World War II. Lithuania as well as neighboring Latvia and Estonia lost her independence during the war. There were a number of countries which lost their independence during the war or during a prewar conflict being occupied and incorporated by aggressors: Albania, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Poland. All those countries restored their independence after the war. The only exceptions were Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In this sense, World War II still isn't ended, and this is one of the reasons why a peace treaty was not signed until now. Therefore, one of the conditions for long-term peace and stability in Europe is the restoration of independence of the Baltic countries.
A third historical as well as political argument is that Lithuania and the other Baltic countries were members of the League of Nations, predecessor of the United Nations. It is a mockery of the principles of the international community that the USSR, being expelled from the League of Nations on December 12, 1939, because of its aggression against Finland, was among the founders of a new international organization, the United Nations, while the Baltic countries, the victims of the same aggressor, never were adopted as a member of the United Nations. This is a blot on the conscience of the world community.
From the point of view of international law, the legal existence of Lithuania as well as other Baltic countries has continued. The Stimson doctrine120 of non-recognition of forcible seizure of territory which grew out of the Roman maxim "Ex iniuria ius non oritur" (legal rights will not arise out of wrongdoing) now is one of the well-developed doctrines of international law. Under the principles of the Stimson doctrine, the independence of Albania, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, and Poland was restored after the end of the Second World War. Not legal but political circumstances made it impossible to restore the independence of the Baltic countries at the same time. Nonetheless, the majority of the members of the world community have refused to recognize the legitimacy of Soviet sovereignty over the Baltic countries.121 Not a single country recognized annexation of the Baltic countries de jure, and Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia continue to maintain a legal existence, although suffering through the Soviet occupation. Condemnation of the criminal Molotov-Ribbentrop pact by the People's Congress of the U.S.S.R. in December 1989 was one more legal step, this time from the side of the U.S.S.R. to the restoration of the independence of the Baltic countries. The proclamation of independence of the Republic of Lithuania on March 11,1990, as well as similar declarations of the Parliaments of Latvia and Estonia, were further legal steps toward such independence. The political situation also changed significantly. There are therefore no legal obstacles for the restoration of independence of Lithuania, or of Latvia or Estonia.
Among the arguments of the U.S.S.R, two prevail: first, a legal one, that the unilateral declaration of Lithuania's independence violates the Constitution of the U.S.S.R.; and second, an economic one, that the Lithuanian economy is so closely tied to the economy of the U.S.S.R. that it is impossible to cut all of Lithuania's economic ties with the U.S.S.R.
In answer to the first argument, one could stress that from the point of view of international law, the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. is not applicable to foreign countries, which is what the Republic of Lithuania is since its proclamation of independence on March 11, 1990. On the other hand, even from the viewpoint of the Constitution of the U.S.S.R., Lithuania never violated the Soviet Constitution because Article 72 of that Constitution recognizes unconditionally the right of the republics to leave the U.S.S.R. Lithuania refused to adopt the Law on Secession, arguing that its steps were not secession but the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania. The Law on Secession, in fact, is itself an example of a violation of the Soviet Constitution.
The economy argument also is specious because Lithuania never had any intention of cutting economic ties with the U.S.S.R. On the contrary, the best interest of Lithuania would be served by maintaining such ties. Lithuania only seeks to liberate those ties from the bonds of the command economy and transfer to those of equal partnership. Moscow cut those ties by itself, setting the economic blockade on Lithuania. This was done with two purposes: to press Lithuania to suspend its declaration of independence and to evince that Lithuania couldn't exist as an independent country. There was not only an economic blockade; the economic ties with other countries also were blocked. In such conditions no country could exist normally and there was a violation of international law.
Of course, all those questions are related closely to the democratic reforms in the U.S.S.R. There could be two alternatives: first, a Soviet empire, maintained by force and able to exist only for a relatively short period; second, a democratic Russia in the form of a loose confederation or even a kind of Russian common-wealth. If the Lithuanian crisis is resolved in the very close future, it will show that the U.S.S.R. is becoming a democratic country. Moreover, the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia issued a joint statement on July 28 refusing to take part in talks on a new Union treaty. "Representatives of the three Baltic countries did not participate in work on a U.S.S.R. union treaty, and in the future do not consider it possible to take part in this process," the Presidents said.122
Therefore, the Soviet empire is disintegrating. There are strong fears among the Western politicians of "instability" which could occur during this process. Those fears seem to be groundless. There is the question which Russia is more dangerous for the rest of the world: An undemocratic and well-armed empire, ruled by one or another dictator, or a democratic Russia, remembering the world experience that armed conflicts never occurred in democratic countries. Of course, the process of transition could show some signs of instability, but this is not that kind of instability which could threaten world peace. When the Western politicians are helping Gorbachev and when they are thinking how to help the best answer is: the final goal is not to help Gorbachev, but to help democracy. The policy of Gorbachev is worth helping so long as Gorbachev is helping to build a free and democratic Russia, not to maintain restructuring of the empire at any price. Lithuania' s independence is the best litmus test for democracy in the U.S.S.R.
1. Romuald J. Misiunas, Rein Taagepere The Baltic States. Years of Dependence. 1940-1980. (Berkeley: University of CA Press, 1984, pp. 38-39.) One of those who were arrested, the former Secretary General of the Lithuanian Nationalist (Tautininkų) Party, Dominykas Česevičius. told the author during private conversation in January 1986 that only 17 survived.
2. Op. cit.: Misiunas, Taagepere, p. 41.
3. The figure was taken from Misiunas, Taagepere, p. 279, supplied by note: "Very approximate not to be quoted without this qualification."
4. Misiunas, Taagepere, pp. 276-80.
5. Misiunas, Taagepere, pp. 272-73.
6. Encyclopedia Lituanica, vol. 1 Boston, MA, 1970, p. 37.
7. Lietuvos Koministų partija skaičiais 1918-1975. Statistikos duomenų rinkinys. (Vilnius: Mintis, 1976), p. 40. In the opinion of the author, every such number of communists in Lithuania in this source was artificially enlarged; the figure was never confirmed by other sources.
8. Lietuvos Komunistų..., p.61.
9. During almost 50 years of occupation there were always signs of resistance from armed fighting, to the activity of dissenters, and to the edition and distribution of underground newspapers like "The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania," "Aušra" and others.
10. Later, in a stenographic report, the term "negotiations" was changed to "consultation;" it indicates that Moscowis very sensitive to political ambition.
11. Long and hard discussions on the question of the establishment of the USSR Constitutional Review Committee during the second session of the People's Congress in December 1989 (55 deputies were registered for discussions) showed that the followers as well as the antagonists realized that the Committee would be an instrument for maintaining the Soviet "federation" together and would restrict the sovereignty of the republics. Despite the protest of the deputies from the Baltic Countries, read by Lithuanian deputy K. Motieka, the Lawon Constitutional Review in the USSR was adopted on Dec 24,1989 Izvestia, Dec. 25,1989, pp. 2-4; English text see: The Current Digest of the Soviet Press (hereafter CDSP), vol. xlii, no. 8,1990, p. 16.
12. Esther B. Fein "Baltic Citizens Link Hands to Demand Independence," New York Times, Aug. 24,1989, p. A10.
13. Esther B. Fein, "Moscow Condemns Nationalist Calls In Three Baltic Lands," New York Times. Aug. 27,1989,p. 1.
14. Esther B. Fein, "Baltic Nationalists Voice Defiance But Say They Won't Be Provoked," New York Times, Aug. 28,1989, p. 1.
15. "Resolution of the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR: On the Political and Legal Assessment of the Soviet-German Nonaggression Treaty of 1939." Pravda, Dec. 1989, pp. 1-2; English text see: CDSP, vol. xlii no. 10, 1990, pp. 17-18.
16. Tiesa, (Lithuanian daily newspaper), Vilnius, Lithuania, Dec. 21,1989; see also: Esther B. Fein, "Communist Party in Lithuania Parts with Soviet Rule," New York Times, Dec. 21,1989. p. 1.
17. "Central Committee Debates Lithuanian Split," CDSP, vol. xli, no. 52,1989, p.3.
18. CDSP, vol. xli, no. 52,1989, p.8.
19. CDSP, vol. xli, no. 52,1989, p.4
20. CDSP, vol. xli, no. 52,1989, p.7.
21. CDSP, vol. xli, no. 52,1989, p.8.
22. "Our Common Problems to be Settled by Us Together," Pravda, Jan. 13, 1990, p.3.
23. Pravda, Jan. l3, 1990, p. 2
24. Report on Elections, Tiesa, Feb. 26, p. 1. See also: February 24, 1990. "Elections to the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet." The Lithuanian Review, March 2, 1990.
25. Pravda, Jan. l3, 1990, p.
28. Juozas Urbšys. "Lithuania: The Fateful Years of 1939-1940.: Baltic Forum. Fall 1989,vol.6,no.l,p.31.
29. "Plenum Acts on Lithuanian Party Split," CDSP, vol. xlii, no. 8,1990, p. 9.
30. 'The Political Drift. The Chronicle of One Compromise," Pravda, April 21, 1990, pp. 3-4. Lithuanian comment on this, see: Tiesa, April 25, p. 2.
31. Analysis made by Lithuanian sociologists showed that the resolutions of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania on independence are backed by 95 percent of Lithuanians, 60 percent of Poles and 42 percent of Russians residing in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capitol. Only 0.9 percent of Lithuanians, 10 percent of Poles, and 20 percent of Russians expressed their support for "Lithuanian Communist Party on the Platform of the CPSU," the Moscow loyalists. 38 percent of Poles and 46 percent of Russians said that they were undecided. Eugenijus Staneika "On the Political Situation in Vilnius," Tiesa. April 11,1990, p. 4.
32. "The Speeches on the Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU," Tiesa, Feb. 13,1990, p. 4.
33. Resolution of the Plenary Session of the CPSU Central Committee, dated Feb. 7, 1990: On the Decisions of the 20th Congress of the Lithuanian Communist Party. Pravda, Feb. 8,1990, p. 1. English text: CDSP. vol. xlii. no. 8,1990, pp. 14-15.
34. See: "Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian Soviet Sodalist Republic: On the Question of the German-USSR Treaties from 1939 and the Liquidation of the Consequences of those Treaties for Lithuania," Tiesa, Feb. 9,1990, p. 1.
35. The American economist, Lawrence Summers, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, wrote recently that "highly skilled and educated Lithuanian workers now earn less than 15 cents an hour one tenth of the wage rate of South Korea." Lawrence Summers "Gorbachev Should Pay Lithuania," New York Times, March 14, 1990, p. A21.
36. Francis X. Clines, "Nationalist Victorious in Lithuanian Election," New York Times, Feb. 26, 1990, p. A1.
37. "Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos Aktas dėl Lietuvos Nepriklausomos valstybės atstatymo," Tiesa, March 13, p. 1; English text see: "Lithuania Declares its Independence," CDSP, vol. xlii, no. 10,1990, pp. 7-8.
38. Tiesa, March l3, p. 1.
39. "Appeal to the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet," Tiesa, March 14, p. 1; CDSP, vol. xlii, no. 10,1990, p. 8.
40. Bill Keller "Moscow Demands Lithuanians Pay Billions to Secede," New York Times, March 8, 1990, p. 1. The territorial claims M. Gorbachev repeated during the Washington Summit with President Bush are mentioned in "Bush-Gorbachev News Conference," New York Times, June 4, 1990, p. A.10.
41. Vladislovas Jankauskas "Kiek Tarybų Sąjunga skolinga Lietuvai," Tiesa. April 14,1990, p. 2; "Gorby's Mad to Demand Such Ransom," editorial. New Haven Register, March 9,1990, p. 8; Lawrence Summers, op. cit.
42. English text see: "Lithuanian Independence. The Re-establishment of the Rule of Law," A Lithuanian Independence Series Publication (hereafter LISP), USA1990, Document 12, 70.
43. Tiesa, Feb. 9, 1990, p. 1 (see note 34).
44. "Resolution of the Congress of People's Deputies of the Union of Soviet Sodalist Republics: On the political and Legal Assessment of the Soviet-German Nonaggression Treaty of 1939," Pravda, Dec. 27, 1989, pp. 1-2. English text: CDSP, vol. xlii, no. 10, 1990, pp. 17-18.
45. "Law of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Procedures for Resolving Questions Related to the Secession of Union Republics from the USSR." Pravda, April 7, 1990, p. 2. English text: CDSP, vol. xlii, no. 15,1990, pp. 20-21, 32.
46. Pravda, Jan.l3, 1990, p. 3.
47. Deborah Orin "Grumpy Gorby Lands Lightly," New York Post, May 31, 1990, p. 18.
48. Telegram on March 22, 1990, from the President of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis, to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. LISP, Document 18, p. 75.
49. Jeane Kirkpatrick, "The Soviet Road to Secession," New York Post, April 9, 1990, John B. Dakes "Mr. Bush, Lean on the Lithuanians," New York Times, April 21,1990, p. 23; Thomas L. Friedman "Why the U.S. Has a Case of the Mumbles on Lithuania," New York Times, April 22,1990, Reo M. Cristenson, "Give Gorbachev Benefit of Doubt on Lithuania," New York Times. Letter to the editor, New York Times, April 27,1990. Soviet propaganda also made efforts to spread disinformation on the Law on Secession; see: Victor Danilenko "Vilnius: Its Own Worst Enemy," New York Times, April 17,1990, Sergei Roginko "Lithuania's Wrong Turn," The Christian Science Monitor, May 16,1990.
50. Alison Mitchell, "Soviet Ultimatum to Lithuania," NY Newsday, March 17, 1990, p. 4.
51. LISP, document 14, p. 72.
52. LISP, document 18, p. 75.
53. LISP, document 19, p. 78.
54. LISP, document 22, p. 80.
55. LISP, document 25, p. 83.
56. LISP, document 36, p. 99.
57. LISP, document 37, pp. 100-01; in the original, both documents were addressed to the Supreme Council and to the people of the "Lithuanian SSR."
58. LISP, document 42, pp. 110-11.
59. LISP, document 47, pp. 117-18.
60. LISP, document 50, p. 121.
61. LISP, document 52, pp. 122,123.
62. Esther B. Fein, "Moscow Putting Added Pressure on Lithuanians," New York Times, March 20,1990, p. 1.
63. Esther B. Fein, "Tanks Roll Into Vilnius," New York Times, March 24, 1990, p. 1; Alison Mitchell, "Soviet Tanks in Lithuania," NY Newsday, April 5, 1990, p.13.
64. Francis X. Clines, "Moscow Sends Armored Vehicles Through Tense Lithuanian Capital," New York Times, April 2,1990, p. 1
65. Pravda, April 1990, p. 1.
66. Saul Friedman, "Soviets: We'll Be Fair to Lithuania," NY Newsday, April 5, 1990, p.13.
67. After arriving in Washington on April 3, 1990, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said that an "honest dialogue" with Lithuania was his government's goal. See: R.W. Apple, Jr., "Dual Bluffs On Lithuania," New York Times, April 4,1990, p. 1; Mr. E. Shevardnadze also told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base, "Our main weapon in resolving any issue... is dialogue, honest dialogue. And the dialogue we are looking forward to is with the Lithuanian people and the Lithuanian leadership."
68. David Remnick "Deserters Seized In Lithuania," Washington Post, March 27,1990, p. Al. The writer used the word "deserters" just as the Soviets are used to doing; as a matter of fact, those young men are not deserters, because they were forced to serve in the occupation forces of a foreign country. The Geneva Convention from 1949, signed also by the Soviet Union, forbids conscription into the armed forces among the population of the occupied country.
69. David Hoffman, Ann Devroy, "Lithuanians Protest Soviet Use of Force," Washington Post, March 28,1990, p. A1. For the text of the telegram see LISP, document 31, p. 93.
70. Ibid. p. A18.
71. Craig R. Whitney, "A Sign of Movement," New York Times. April 4,1990, p. 1.
72. Bill Keller, "Offer to Negotiate," New York Times, May 18,1990, p. 1.
73. Esther B. Fein, "Gorbachev Offers Deal to Lithuania." New York Times, May 25,1990, p. A1.
74. Pravda, April 14,1990, p. 1; English text see: New York Times. April 14,1990. p.4.
75. LISP, document 48, p. ll9.
76. LISP, document 50, p. 121; see also New York Times, April 19,1990, p. A11.
77. Deborah Orin, "Lithuania Says Sovs Have Cut Off Fuel" New York Post, April 19,1990, p. 12; Peter Passell, "Lithuanians Say Moscow has Cut Main Oil Pipeline," New York Times, April 19, p. Al. Esther B. Fein "Toughening Stand, Moscow Cuts Back Gas for Lithuania," New York Times, April 20, 1990, p. A1.
78. Post Wire Services: "Soviet Troops Turn Violent in Lithuania." New York Post, April 21,1990, p. 12; see also a picture on the first page of the New York Times, April 21,1990.
80. Thomas L. Friedman, "US Advises Moscow to Respect Lithuania," New York Times, March 12,1990, p. A11.
81. "Communist Dominoes Are Falling," Ronald Reagan in a commencement address at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, The Wall Street Journal, May 24,1990, p. B4.
82. George P. Schultz, "What I'd Tell Mikhail Sergeyevich," The Wall Street Journal, April 9,1990, p. A11.
83. John Kifner, "Poland's Leaders Praise Lithuanian Sovereignty," New York Times, March 13,1990, p. 3.
84. Tiesa, March l4, 1990, p. 4.
85. "Excerpts From President's News Session on Foreign and Domestic Issues," New York Times, March 14,1990.
86. Susan Page, "Bush Warns the Soviets," NY Newsday. March 21,1990, p. 13.
87. Andrew Rosenthal, "U.S. in Sharper Tone, Is Worried By Soviets' Pressure on Lithuania," New York Times, March 21,1990, p. A18.
88. Andrew Rosenthal, "Bush Urges Gorbachev to Avoid A Military Assault in Lithuania," New York Times, March 23,1990, p. A1.
89. David Remnick, "Lithuanians Protest Soviet Use of Force," The Washington Post, March 28,1990, p. 1.
90. Francis X Clines, "Lithuania Anxious and Angry at U.S. After Soviet Raids," New York Times, March 28, 1990, p. A1; Andrew Rosenthal "U.S. Softens Tone on Lithuania's Issue," New York Times. March 27, 1990, p. A1; David Hoffman and Ann Devroy, "White House Tones Down Its Comments," The Washington Post, March 28,1990, p. Al.
91. David Hoffman and Ann Devroy, p. A18.
92. A.M. Rosenthal, "Who Needs Friends?" New York Times, May 20, 1990, Section 4, p. 11; Frank J. Gaffhey, Jr., "Baker Snatches Defeat From the Jaws of Victory," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 1990, p. A16; George F. Will, "If Lithuania's Liberty is Sold to 'Save'; Gorbachev What is Not for Sale" Newsweek, May 7,1990, p. 76: William E. Odom, "Why Helping Gorbachev Could Backfire," U.S. News & World Report, May 21, 1990, p. 44.
93. George F. Will, "If Lithuania's Liberty..." p. 76.
95. Richard Lacayo, "A Hurry-Up Summit," Time, April 16,1990, p. 26.
96. Alan Riding, "Lithuania is Asked by Paris and Bonn to Halt Decisions," New York Times, April 27,1990, p. 1; Bill Keller, "Compromise is Weighed," New York Times, April 2,1990, p. 1.
97. "Lithuanian to Study Message," (Reuters), New York Times, April 27,1990.
98. Bill Keller, "Compromise...," p. 1.
99. Francis X. Clines, "Moscow Endorses Paris-Bonn Effort in Lithuania Crisis," New York Times, April 28,1990, p. A4.
100. Richard L. Berke, "G.O.P. Senators Attack Bush on Lithuania," New York Times, April 28,1990, p. A4.
102. Andrew Rosenthal "Lithuanian Leader on 'Private' Visit, to Meet Bush," New York Times, May 2,1990, p. A10.
103. Maureen Dowd, "Lithuania Premier Sees Bush, But There's No Red Carpet," New York Times, May 4,1990, p. Al.
105. Lithuania's PS to Bush; "Good faith is not enough," AP, New York Post, May 5,1990, p. 2.
106. Esther B. Fine, "Estonia Sends Firmer Signal to Moscow," New York Times. April 3,1990, p. A10.
107. Francis X. Clines, "Gorbachev Warns Estonia on Moves For Independence," New York Times. April 5, 1990, p. A1.
108. Michael S. Serrill, "War of Nerves," Time, April 2,1990, p. 27.
109. Craig R. Whitney, "Lithuanian Compromise Urged by British Leader," New York Times ,May 10, 1990.
110. "Latvia Declares Independence" (Reuters) NY Newsday, May 5, 1990, p. 7.
111. "Gorby Nixes Estonian and Latvian Bids for Freedom" (AP) New York Post, May 15, 1990.
112. Bill Keller, "Lithuania Agrees to Suspend Laws on Independence," New York Times, May 17,1990, p. A1.
113. Bill Keller. "Baker Said to Ask Vilnius to Suspend Independence Act," New York Times, May 19, p. A1.
114. "Excerpts From Remarks by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev at a Breakfast with Congressional Leaders." Questions and Answers. New York Times, June 2,1990.
115. Susan F. Rasky, "U.S. Lawmakers Tie Soviet Trade Pact to Kremlin Progress on Lithuania," NY Newsday, June 6, 1990, Andrew Rosenthal, "White House Spared a Conflict With Congress on Soviet Trade," New York Times, June 6,1990.
116. Francis X. Clines, "Lithuania Leaders Urge Suspending Independence Bid," New York Times, June 17,1990, p. A1.
117. Bill Keller, "Lithuania Agrees to 100-Day Delay on Independence," New York Times, June 30,1990, p. A1. Text of the Lithuanian Resolution see on p. A5.
118. Francis X. Clines. "Moscow Orders Oil to Lithuania After Suspension of Independence," New York Times, July 1, p. A1.
119. More particularly, see: Stasys Alsėnas, Algis Širvaitis, "Kaip apginti kovo 11-tosios deklaraciją?" Lietuvos Rytas, July 24,1990, p. 3.
120. United States Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson dispatched on January 7, 1932, a note to the governments of China and Japan in which he stressed that the U.S. government did not intend to recognize a seizure of Chinese territory by Japan. For more, see: William J. H. Hough III, "The Annexation of the Baltic States and its Effect on the Development of Law Prohibiting Forcible Seizure of Territory," New York Law School Journal of International and Comparative Law, vol. 6, no. 2, Winter 1985, pp. 326-27.
121. Ibid. pp. 391-446.
122. "Gorbachev Rebuffed by Baltics on Unity," (Reuters), New York Times, July 29,1990, p. A11.
123. Craig R. Whitney, "Moscow Is Sending Troops to Baltics to Enforce Draft," New York Times, January 8, 1991, p.1.
124. Bill Keller, "Soviet Army Raids Lithuania Offices," New York Times. January 12,1991, p.1.
125. Craig R. Whitney, "Gorbachev Puts Blame for Clash on Lithuanians," New York Times, January 15, p. 1.
126. Ibid. p. 1.
127. Ibid. p. 1.
128. Francis X. Clines, "Lithuanian Voters Add to Relentless Prodding," New York Times, February 11, p. 2; "Votes for Democracy," New York Newsday, p. 12.