Juozas Banionis. Lietuvos laisvinimo veikla Vakaruose įsigalint detantui 1970–1974 m.
Straipsnyje apžvelgiama pagrindinių Lietuvos laisvinimo organizacijų Vakaruose – Amerikos lietuvių tarybos (ALT), Vyriausiojo Lietuvos išlaisvinimo komiteto (VLIK’o), Pasaulio lietuvių bendruomenės (PLB) politinė veikla 1970–1974 m. Tuo laikotarpiu mažėjo tarptautinė įtampa tarp Rytų ir Vakarų, vyko pasirengimas Europos saugumo ir bendradarbiavimo konferencijai. Be to, parodomas egzilio baltiečių tolesnis jungimasis bendrai veiklai ir atskleidžiamos sovietų institucijų pastangos sklaidyti laisvosios lietuvijos vienybę bei trukdyti Lietuvos laisvės bylos kėlimui. (TĘSINĮ SKAITYKITE ŽURNALE „GENOCIDAS IR REZISTENCIJA“)
The Liberation of Lithuania in the West under détente, 1970–1974
During the period when international tension between East and West began to reduce, that is, the period of détente, the organizations involved in advocating the liberation of Lithuania, the Lithuanian American Council (ALT), the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania (VLIK) and the Lithuanian World Community (PLB) had to restructure their political activities.
Having embarked on its fourth decade of liberation activities, the ALT continued to adhere to its anti-Communist course and encouraged publication of the USSR’s crimes against Lithuania. This was realized through molding a positive opinion in American society and the U.S. administration towards Lithuania’s case for freedom, by promoting the history of the Lithuanian nation, and working for the unity of the organizations involved in the cause of liberation. A good example of this was the exhibition on genocide of the Lithuanian nation, organized in Chicago on 13–20 June 1970, which exposed the real face of Soviet practice,
Under wise leadership and encouraged by optimistic signs of the struggle for freedom from within the occupied homeland, VLIK resisted the attacks of Soviet propaganda and started strengthening its liberation activities. With this intention, they reformed the board and established closer liaison with the western Lithuanians émigrés, the so-called “free Lithuanians”. They also broadcast their ideas of political work through the press and radio and approved the coordination of activities among the organizations involved in the cause of Lithuania’s liberation. In the VLIK’s petition of 16 February 1971, it was forecast that the growing strive of the occupied countries for freedom and the supporting public opinion of the world would accelerate “the collapse of the Communist empire and anticipate the freedom to Lithuania”.
The PLB, accepting that it was impossible to maintain the Lithuanian language and culture without the independence and freedom of Lithuania, also joined the active process for the liberation of the Motherland. At this time, a significant role was played by a new generation which had joined the PLB. In this respect, the Lithuanian American Community also achieved a great deal, initiating in 1971 an annual publication, “The Violations of Human Rights in Soviet occupied Lithuania”, which would inform people on the situation in the occupied country. In 1972, the World Lithuanian Youth Association (PLJS) was established, which became a happening significant to the western Lithuanian émigrés and confirmed the resolve of young people to join liberation activities. On 8 June of the same year, the PLJS announced that they not only expressed their support “for the freedom of the Lithuanian nation and for the restoration of the independent republic of Lithuania”, but also called all Lithuanians in exile, regardless of their political beliefs, to strive as a team for the freedom of the Motherland.
Thus, the liberation activities resulted in a diarchical system which consisted of: first, both ALT and VLIK which had been established on the principle of political authorities and parties, and second, of the PBL, organized on the democratic principle and representing the Lithuanian community in the West. Besides the liberation activities listed above, all of them were concerned abuot maintaining the Lithuanian Diplomatic Service (LDT), the continuity of the policy of the U.S., and other Western countries, and constant criticism of the Soviets regarding the occupation of the Baltic states. They began publicizing the facts on the constraints of human rights, natural freedoms and religion in occupied Lithuania. Through the endeavors of the Lithuanian émigrés, a chapel for Lithuanian martyrs was established in Vatican. On 7 July 1970, it was dedicated and had a considerable symbolic significance.
In order to draw the attention of the West towards the case of the Baltic states’ freedom, their representatives pushed for joint organizations and cooperation. Alongside with the Joint Baltic American Committee established in 1961 and active on the American scene, the World Baltic Conference consisting of VLIK, the World Federation of Free Latvians and the Estonian National Council was established on 18 November 1972. This organization started coordinating liberation activities in the entire Western world.
The preparation for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) encouraged the organizations of Lithuanian émigrés to consider the future of the Baltic states’ issue. They made efforts to influence the Western countries, primarily the United States, to raise the question of the Soviet occupied Baltic states during the CSCE. However, the representatives of the Baltic states in exile succeeded only in publicizing this question. On 2 July 1973, a memorandum was proclaimed in Helsinki which raised the issue of the restoration of Baltic states’ independence.
During the period under consideration, the Soviet institutions (the Lithuanian Communist Party Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuanian SSR, the KGB of the Lithuanian SSR) started spreading its propaganda and attempted to divide the political forces of the Lithuanian émigrés. To increase conflicts among Lithuanians in the West, the Soviet invited not only the leftist émigrés but also the representatives of liberal movements to visit Soviet Lithuania. They also distributed propaganda publications on the “achievements of the Lithuanian SSR”, undertook defamatory actions against the liberation organizations and their activists and encouraged American and other diplomats from the West to visit the Lithuanian SSR.
© Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras