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Lithuania reminded of its first post-Soviet president’s communistic past

Algirdas Brazauskas. Photo: vsekommentarii.com

A scandal broke out in Lithuania, as the state Special Archive organized an exhibition timed to the International Day of Archives, an EADaily correspondent reports. A stand exhibited images of former leaders of the Communist Party of Lithuania, representatives of the Interior Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR, and the heads of the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the Lithuanian SSR.  On the top of the stand, there was an image of Algirdas Brazauskas, who became the first president of Lithuania in 1993, after its independence from the Soviet Union, and retained power for five years.

“It is not a board of shame, but historical facts that can be interpreted differently, but never erased from the history. Brazauskas was elected the first secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania. Later, that Party joined the Communist Party of the USSR,” Ovidijus Lėveris, the head of the Special Archive told Delfi. He said the exhibition aimed to inform the public of the documents and data stored in the archive.

Five years have passed since the death of the first president. Česlovas Juršėnas, a former teammate of Brazauskas said on that occasion that “the time passed allows brushing off all the subtle things and looking with dignity at what Brazauskas did for Lithuania within several decades.” Juršėnas said that Algirdas Brazauskas had always been with the people and knew what else and better can be done for the country.”

Saulius Grybkauskas, a senior research fellow at the Lithuanian Institute of History, in turn, said he is sure that Brazauskas had no direct ties with the KGB, though he was in the top echelons of the Communist elite. Grybkauskas recalled that since 1977, Brazauskas had been secretary for industry and construction at the Central Committee of the  Lithuanian Communist Party.

“It was a collegial body. The first secretary managed everything and everyone, the second – ‘general-governor’ who was sent by Moscow – has big influence. Other secretaries were also participants of the round table. However, linking Brazauskas with the KGB directly …It is a big, and complicated problem,” he said.

He said there was an industrial division at the KGB and the state security officials could not but communicate with Brazauskas. 

“Everything was so, formally, but it was the Soviet Lithuania then, and Brazauskas was elected as the first secretary in late 1988. Since the Central Committee of the Lithuanian SSR, especially the first and second secretaries, had ties with the KGB, the exhibition organizers wanted to demonstrate that fact. However, it should be recalled that transformation, a period of revival already started then and there was a bigger discord between the KGB and the Lithuanian Communist Party. There was a confrontation,” he noted.

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