The article looks at urban planning and construction processes in Vilnius during the Soviet era from a point of view that has not been widely explored in the existing historiography. The approach is based on analysing relations between the existing city and the city-in-construction within the context of Soviet urban modernisation. Interpreting the communist city as a utopia, the analysis looks at its role in shaping negative attitudes towards the historic city as well as what tangible forms this utopia assumes in the process of being realised. The article argues that this process, purportedly a rational way towards the utopia and characterised by a fragmentary implementation of development projects, is one of the main factors behind the disintegration of the urban space in the Soviet era.
This research focuses on plunder from variuos co-operative or state institutions (mostly those which had belonged to the Ministry of Internal Trading or the Unity of Co-operatives of Lithuanian SSR) in the first post-war years (1945–1947) in the Lithuanian SSR. The primary source for this article is comprised by 54 criminal cases from the archive of the Supreme Court of the Lithuanian SSR. Cases used in this study were chosen based on one important criteria: that there were not only acts of plunder but also the realization of stolen goods. This would most likely be achieved by selling the goods through various marketplaces (looking from the Soviet point of view, the plundered items belonged to the black market anyway – even if the market activities were not forbidden). Also, the practices of punishment applied in the cases of plunderers and speculators are analyzed. The research shows that even in the very first years of the post-war period, illegal economic processes were widespread in Soviet Lithuania. Plunderers were hitting the Soviet economy hard – despite the harsh practice of punishment, the Soviet government would lose tens of millions of rubles in the Lithuanian SSR each year.
The article examines the hypothesis on the possible influence of a Samogitian nobleman on the author of the chronicle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Samogitia. In the chronicle Lithuania and its ruling dynasty are traced back to Samogitia. The tradition of Gediminids’ pagan names in Samogitia suggests that the author of the chronicle was looking for an informer in this region and perhaps used the local naming tradition to create the names of the legendary Palemonids. The plot of the 1440 Samogitians Uprising, which appears in the Bychowec chronicle, as well as some indirect references, suggest that Stanislovas Orvydas may have been the informer.
From about 1923 onwards, two leaders of the Communist Party of Lithuania (CPL), Zigmas Aleksa-Angarietis and Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas, began to disagree on the tactics and direction of the party. In 1925–1926, because of the workload in the Comintern apparatus and the subsequent illness of V. Kapsukas, Z. Angarietis began to dominate in CPL matters and isolated V. Kapsukas from decision-making within the CPL and information pertaining to it. When V. Kapsukas recovered from his illness, he sought to recover his positions and wrote an appeal to the Comintern Executive Committee, asking the committee to resolve the conflict. Because of this, the conflict got more personal: both individuals started to gather supporters, initiating a power struggle for leadership positions, while the conflict itself, beginning with a disagreement about tactics, evolved into a personal matter. The Comintern formed a commission to resolve the conflict, but they took a balancing position: the commission wanted to maintain the status quo, but instead managed only to delay and not resolve the conflict.
The activity of Juozas Gabrys and his colleagues at the League of Nations in Geneva from 1927 until 1939 is the main subject of this article. The questions about this group of people are analyzed through several perspectives, such as journalism, business, and politics. The territorial and ethnical problems which were addressed by Lithuania at the League of Nations and the decisions of Lithuanian diplomats and politicians were overviewed in the press publications of Gabrys in various Lithuanian newspapers. In these texts he mostly focuses on two main topics in international interwar Lithuanian politics – the question of Vilnius its regarding mutual relations with Poland and the question of Memel and its region, which was intensely disputed by Lithuanian and German influences. Simultaneously, Gabrys had the intentions to develop business relations between Lithuania and Switzerland. He and his family worked in the fields of real estate and money exchange. Also, he established the Lithuanian Information Bureau in Geneva, which received irregular donations from the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yet most of the publications were funded by Gabrys himself. The answer to the question of Gabrys’s real influence on Lithuanian foreign policy could be given only partially. As for now, the possibility to measure this influence is limited only to the press and information field, as Gabrys’s work in those fields, although forgotten and underestimated nowadays, was observed and evaluated by his contemporaries. Due to his publications, Lithuanians could form an opinion about the League of Nations and its decisions as well as the situation on the level of European policy.
This article focuses on the process of monument listing, done by conservators of Vilnius in interwar Poland and which provided the monuments state protection. Between 1931 and 1939, monument conservators made 202 decisions confirming monumental value to various objects of architecture, urbanistics, archeology and nature. In the text the listing and evaluation process is described by analyzing the register of monuments and the decisions it was based on. The documents from the archive of the Art Department of Vilnius voivodeship are used in the article. The analysis of the register of monuments is based on statistical methods. Interpretation and evaluation are based on analytical and comparative methods. The research leads to findings that monument listing was dominated by architecture. Objects of nature were announced monuments based on their cultural value. Officially the status of a monument was given on the grounds of its aesthetics, age or documental value. However, the inner motive was Polishness. Thus, the most frequent monuments were baroque Catholic churches. The patriotic context is also seen in nature protection. The process of monument listing was led by only one expert – a conservator of monuments. The monument status and state protection depended on their interests, expertise and power. The conservator cooperated only with a small group of Polish authority and intelligentsia, leaving the majority of society out of this heritage process. The decision confirming monumental value was a way to control and have an impact directly on the monument’s existence, indirectly – on the discourse of memory. The monument listing reveals values and identities of a Polish art historian working for the state. Consequently, these values and identities were projected for the whole society as universal. This type of discourse on heritage, conception and practice was common in Western countries in the 20th c.
The article examines the introduction of Soviet Marxism (Marxism-Leninism) into the Lithuanian higher education system in 1944–1947. Based on archival sources and existing historiography, this paper explores the development of the higher education system in Lithuania during the first years of the Soviet occupation, including the translation, publication, and dissemination of ideological texts. It is argued that the introduction of Soviet Marxism in Lithuanian higher education institutions in 1944–1945 was carried out in a forced and chaotic manner, the organization of teaching and the preparation of ideological literature was slow, and there was a lack of staff to teach ideological courses. First came the creation of formal institutions (departments, divisions, institutes), and only then a consistent introduction of Marxist-Leninist teachings and the implementation of ideological control.