New “National Council of Historical Memory” to Control Thought About History in Lithuania?



VILNIUS—Among other news portals in Lithuania, 15min.lt reported on 23 December that a group of nationalists in the Seimas (parliament) had proposed establishment of a new institution, the “National Council of Historical Memory” to set the “indisputable truth about historic events.” Coming on top of the 2010 red-brown criminalization of opinion law that has brought alarm from human rights circles in the European Union, this latest layer of state establishment of alleged historic truth would compound the damage.

But this time, according to 15min.lt, major Lithuanian historians have rapidly spoken up in protest. They include history professors Egidijus Aleksandrevičius (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas) and Rimvydas Petrauskas (History Faculty, Vilnius University) who both indicated that Lithuania would suffer from the diminution of freedom proposed.

According to the 15min.lt report, the politicians pushing on behalf of a newly empowered memory commission include Virginija Baltraitienė, Julius Dautartas, Česlovas Juršėnas, Algis Kašėta, Valentinas Mazuronis, Gintaras Songaila, and Vidmantas Žiemelis.

According to some, the proposed new legislation may result in part from an initiative by MP A. Anušauskas, himself also a member of the “red-brown commission” (the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania). The parliament records his proposal on 8 October 2013 [translation below by Geoff Vasil]:

MP A. Anušauskas’s message: Let’s defend our memory

October 8, 2013

Tomorrow at 2 PM on October 9 in room 520 of Building III of the parliament we are holding a meeting of the parliamentary group “For Historical Memory and Justice” which will discuss three especially pressing topics for the protection and celebration of memory in Lithuania: for organizing a discussion of “How to Defend Article 25 of the Constitution?” (banning the transmission of disinformation); for the initiative of initiating a coordinating commission at the 2014 Baltic Assembly for calculating damages from the occupations; and for the initiative to establish an association for studies of the occupation of Lithuania.

Arvydas Anušauskas, chairman of the parliamentary group and member of the Homeland Union/Lithuanian Christian Democratic faction in parliament, says these topics are extremely important at the current time, Lithuania coming under pressure from all sides, and so require exceptional political support for implementation.

The parliamentary group “For Historical Memory and Justice” was formed on December 21, 2012.

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