12 June 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On Saturday the Lithuanian people will commemorate in silent sadness the
Day of Mourning and Hope, and the Day of Occupation and Genocide on Sunday.
These are the darkest days in Lithuanias history: on 15 June 1940 Lithuania
was occupied by the Red Army of the Stalinist USSR and on 14 June 1941, as if
celebrating the anniversary of the invasion, the occupant executioners and
their local aids started the first massive deportation of Lithuanians to
Siberia with unsurpassed cruelty when men were separated from their families
and sent directly to death camps.
Today, like each year, the public and the participants of this Seimas
sitting pay tribute to our famous state and public actors, bright people, and
our relatives who perished, who were crippled, or whose lives were destroyed by
an inhuman repressive USSR monster. We remember the deportees, prisoners of
labour camps, participants of armed and unarmed resistance; we bow before them
in honour and memory. Today, like each year, we must recall that during the
period of Soviet annexation around 300 thousand Lithuanian citizens were
deported to Siberia or imprisoned in labour camps. Every fifth prisoner or deportee
died and 50-60 thousand our compatriots were buried in the foreign land.
Let us observe a minute of silence to honour their memory.
The adjacency of the words of mourning and hope in the name of the day
has manifested itself in other important historic dates and anniversaries.
This year we celebrate the anniversary of the reborn hope of the public
3 June, the day of the establishment of the Reform Movement Sajūdis. A
solemn sitting of the Seimas dedicated for the Sąjūdis was held
in this hall. It was here that the international conference the Fall of the
Berlin Wall: from Budapest to Vilnius thoroughly analyzed the reasons and
circumstances of the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War
from the expert point of view.
One more date coinciding with the Day of Mourning and Hope deserves
respect and remembrance. That is the anniversary of the Lithuanian Freedom
League. Today we mark the 30th anniversary of the organization that was
established in 1978, which is ten years earlier than the Sąjūdis.
From the very beginning the Lithuanian Freedom League sought to restore the
statehood of Lithuania and to foster national, religious and political
consciousness of Lithuanians. This was an illegal underground hope. The
organization was lead by Mr. Antanas Terleckas, a figure well known to us, an
energetic and extraordinary man from Aukštaitija, who celebrated his 80th
birthday earlier this year. Mr. Terleckas is present in this hall and I
think he deserves our applause.
Due to the Moral Ultimatum to the Government of the USSR of 1979 and the
Memorandum of 45 Baltic Nationals (the Baltic Charter) drafted on 23
August, the Lithuanian Freedom League acquired some international weight. It
was the result of great courage and determination. The Memorandum was signed by
4 Estonian, 6 Latvian, 35 Lithuanian, and 10 Russian dissidents, including the
academician Andrei Sakharov. An appeal was made to the Governments of the
signatory countries of the Atlantic Charter and Secretary General of the UN
requesting to declare the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact null and void and to
eliminate its consequences, namely to withdraw the occupant army from the
On the grounds of the arguments of the Memorandum, the European Parliament
adopted a resolution of 13 January 1983 on the Situation in Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania, which condemned the occupation and annexation of the Baltic
States and urged the international community to recognize their right to free
The Lithuanian Freedom League continued to relate the restoration of
Lithuanias independence to making the Ribbentrop-Molotov conspiracy public.
The first public rally of the Lithuanian Freedom League that was intended for
this purpose, was a meeting at the monument of Adam Mickiewicz in Vilnius
organized on 23 August 1987, which gave the impetus to other public revival
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Lithuanian Freedom League with its maximalist strategy and the
Lithuanian Reform Movement Sąjūdis, which started its activity in the
context of the perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev, were not close friends
due to a number of objective and subjective reasons. Antanas Terleckas,
Vytautas Bogušis and the likeminded received most support from the organization
the Young Lithuania. However, undoubtedly, the Sąjūdis and
the Lithuanian Freedom League, as well as other dissident organizations, are
the wings of the same Hope and Victory. I believe that the members of the
Lithuanian Freedom League do not envy the Sąjūdis for the widely
recognized laurel of victory but they have the right not to pass into silence.
I think that today we will contribute to their memory. I also believe that by
commemorating the memorial days of our modern history we could also make a
wider mention of the publishers of the Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic
Church, the members of the Helsinki Group and other cases of resistance that we
must not let fall into historic oblivion.