20 years had past since the first political protest demonstration in Lithuania

August 23, 2007 at 11:12 am 1 comment

Demonstration on 23 August 1987Twenty years ago the first political demonstration since the begining of Perestroika took place in Vilnius.  Read a passage from the ‘Lithuania Awakening’ by Alfred Erich Senn. 

‘The past and the future met in the demonstrations organized in Vilnius in August 23 1987 to mark the forty-eighth anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939. At

the beginning of August 1987 a group of Lithuanian dissidents — Antanas Terleckas, Vytautas Bogusis, Petras Cidzikas, and Nijole Sadunaite — announced their intention to gather on the twenty-third, a Sunday, at the Adam Mickiewicz monument alongside St. Ann’s Church in Vilnius’s Old City. The demonstration would coincide with demonstrations in the other two Baltic capitals of Tallinn and Riga.

The actual demonstration was small. A year later more than one resident of Vilnius told me that people were afraid to attend the gathering, thinking that this was perhaps a provocation organized by the Saugumas, the security forces, with the aim of bringing potential dissidents out into the open. The Soviet press spoke of several hundred demonstrators; western sources raised the number to 5,000. The square where the demonstration took place is itself small, and a reliable observer estimated to me that there were about 300 people in St. Ann’s Church, a core of about 500 demonstrators in the square, and some 2,000 passersby who manifested interest in varying degrees.


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia, Totalitarian regimes.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sr Maria Cristiana  |  November 14, 2007 at 8:17 pm


    Dear Nijole,

    I am religious sister, missionary in Ukraine. I come from a Ukrainian family but I grew up in Argentina. All my life I heard about how the faithfull suffered in the former USSR.

    I belong to the religious family “Of the Incarnate Word”www.ive.org, founded in Argentina in 1984. In 1999 I came to mision in Ukraine. Ive been to Konigstein last week at Kirche in Not and I read your book A song from Sybiria. You are only seven years older than my mother, and the dates of the events of your life impressed me very much, because I remember what I was doing at that time. I would love to talk with you if it is posible.

    God bless. Yours in Christ and His Blessed Mother,

    Sr Maria Christiana


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