Lithuanians equally concerned with moral, material compensation of Soviet occupation damage

January 11, 2008 at 11:45 am 3 comments

Totalitarian regimesAccording to a survey commissioned last December by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Lithuanians are equally concerned with both the moral and material compensation of damage caused by soviet occupation. A slightly greater part of the population thinks talks with Russia should begin over moral compensation.

The Russians are stating that we should forget history and look to the future.  They also claim that the Lithuanians should remember that the USSR invested into the Baltic States, so the Balts could achieve the decent living standards.  The Lithuanians are maintaining that only acknowledgment of the crimes of the past Russia could start its journey to a civilised future.  This would help Russia not to repeat the crimes against its neighbours again.

Regarding the USSR’s investment to the Baltic States the Lithuanians claim that it is impossible to compare to the value of the lost lives, which resulted in the Soviet occupation.  Another example, which illustrates the damage that the Soviets inflicted on, the Balts lies just to the North of Tallinn; Finland and the Baltic States had very similar living standards just before the Soviet occupation.  And just look at us now!

BNS reported that most of respondents don’t believe Russia would compensate the damage caused in any one way or another.  Some 47 % of respondents are more concerned with compensation of moral damage – Russia’s acknowledgement that the occupation took place at all and an apology. A similar number, 46.8 % of the population, think that material compensation is more momentous. Another 6.2 % of respondents have no clear opinion on the subject.

The country’s youth gives priority to compensation of moral damage, together with university graduates and larger city dwellers.

However, most respondents don’t believe that Russia will compensate the damage in any of the two ways, with 83.7 % respondents having voiced this opinion. Another 13.4 % of respondents believe Russia will compensate the damage, and 2.9 % didn’t express their opinion on the issue.

Survey respondents believe Russia is responsible for the crimes committed during the years of soviet rule, with 69.9 % of respondents having expressed this opinion. Some 25.6 % of respondents think Russia’s not responsible and another 4.5 % expressed no opinion on the issue.

Lithuania and Russia have a different take on Lithuania’s incorporation in the Soviet Union, the rights of which were succeeded by Russia after the fall of the USSR.

Lithuania, just as the rest of the Western democratic world, sees this stage in history as an occupation and demands compensation of damage caused in its duration; however Russia does not acknowledge the occupation and refuses to negotiate damage compensation.  However, a law adopted after a referendum in 1992 obliges the Lithuanian Government to require the compensation from Russia.

As the BNS reminds, in 1939, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union and taken over by Nazi-led Germany in later years during World War II. After the Red Army ousted the German troops in 1944-45, Lithuania was forced to become one of the republics of the Soviet Union for 50 years.

During the Soviet occupation, Lithuania lost up to one-third of its population to deportations, killings, forced emigration. Lithuania has estimated the damages of 50 years of the Soviet occupation at 80 billion litas (EUR 23 b). Russia is categorically refusing to start discussions on the matter to this day. 

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

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. So?  |  January 13, 2008 at 4:04 am

    About as likely as returning Vilnius to Poland.

    Reply
  • 2. Dr. S. Backaitis  |  January 14, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Even if material compensation might be an unatainable objective, admission of guilt and trials of the guilty should be part of the cleansing process. If Yougoslav attrocities are subject to world court judgement by trials of individual perpertrators, why should those who have committed attrocities in the Baltic states during the occupations walk free. Israel has set an example and should be applauded for pursuing the guilty ones, since the world court has not paid attention to their cause.

    Reply
  • 3. Wrini  |  October 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Занимаюсь дизайном и хочу попросить автора irzikevicius.wordpress.com отправить шаьлончик на мой мыил) Готов заплатить…

    Reply

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