Conference "Occupation after liberation"
Paldies Inese, for this initiative and opportunity to talk openly on that concrete and general item – occupation after liberation. There is a lot to say and rethink.
First we, the Baltic nations, experienced it not "after" and more than once.
Occupation like "liberation", or as alleged liberation, that was the phenomenon.
When Soviets invaded Lithuania in a middle of June 1940, they called themselves liberators of the working people from the bad regime of that badly independent Lithuania. Our European state, member of the League of Nations, seized to exist thanks the liberating mission – an occupation – of Red Army.
In two days after that liberation spotted by blood of the border officer Aleksandras Barauskas, who was first Lithuanian then liberated from his life, both Latvia and Estonia as nations were "liberated" as well. All three Baltic sisters were allowed to glorify freely the greatest liberator Comrade Stalin and to sing in full freedom of expression, unknown to them before, the hymns about their new homeland Soviet Union:
"I don't know another beauty country, where the man is breathing so much freely!" The officer A. Barauskas, as thousands of other victims shortly after, were not breathing anymore.
A propos, the fourth Baltic state, Finland, missed such opportunity of liberty more than half a year before others, when Soviet invasion was stopped there. It happened even after two Red divisions were immediately offered the freely established Finnish Soviet Republic to help it liberate the rest of the country from bad regime of Helsinki.
The Fins were much better prepared to meet Soviet liberators burying entirely several their divisions, and harsh winter helped brave Fins as well, not alike our blossoming June next season.
Then in one year later, in June of 1941, the grim trains of cattle wagons rolled eastwards from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia bringing tens of thousands of families to deadly cold and starvation, this way to be liberated from their beloved native places for ever.
If anyone in those happier West-European states is open to know from the witnesses, – the entire decades later we, the pupils and students of soviet schools, were taught and should repeat (and sing!) about happiness to live inside of the USSR so free and secure as never before. Before the soviet liberation from capitalist independence, of course.
But first we still had experienced another liberation – now from Soviets – by Germans in 1941-1944. They tried to build up from occupied Baltic countries the Third Reich province Ostland for its total germanization in the bright future. As Hitler failed both in East and West, his former ally Joe Stalin went back liberating us once more, and this time also from all hopes that promises of Atlantic Charta should be fairly implemented. Unfortunately, the liberators forgot to leave after their honest mission was over. The big part of Europe was "liberated' this way for long years. Thus, the war after war was our destiny in Lithuania, the armed and civic resistance confronted with mass deportations and total sovietisation – until the opportunity of true self-liberation came together with bankruptcy and collapse of the Evil Empire. That greatest positive turn in European history came in 1990-1991, and we were there contributing to liberation of other captive nations esp. the Russia's continental colonies as well.
Coming still back to the Second World War we should note several particularities of soviet politics and more transparent wording needed.
When occupation and "liberation" merge, it is proper to use common denominator of action as conquest. In special cases as ours, the conquerors were throwing the body of a victim from each another.
When some call Stalin the great manager, the ultimate goal of his management projects should not be forgotten, as also his solemn oath at the coffin of Lenin: to enlarge and enlarge the Soviet Union. Therefore the proper historical name for him is Joe Conqueror.
To use Hitler as a tool was a little bit risky method, but finally Stalin's calculation how to get Europe appeared brilliant.
The stalinist Red Terror was extended to military actions, and not only as mass murder of prisoners or "punishable" civilians. Something special were the barrier-fence squads (zagradotriady) shooting into backs of Stalin's own soldiers, if they hesitated to die senselessly as "meat" of German guns. Therefore the losses of soviet military are counted now for about 20-28 millions, when Germans – about 6 millions, at least four times less. That was the price for Stalin's passion to get maximum possible European lands, including Berlin, "liberated" by him, not Americans.
The last post-soviet troops left Lithuania in 1993, while both Latvia and Estonia - a little bit later. It could look so, that occupation was over. On a military sense, it could look so, indeed. Even the inscriptions on the walls of empty barracks "We will be back", even the military exercises of Russian troops near to our borders being labelled like "Coming back" or "Westwards", should not threaten us directly so much, especially after we became members of the EU and NATO. Nevertheless, there are more forms of that proclaimed "staying when leaving"; and also the new forms of remote governance from the "near abroad" can be noticed.
Ones could talk thus about the continued or renewed occupation of minds (by nostalgia of the former hostages), then about too big dependence on energy related to state politics, taken communications, banks, media, bribed politicians etc. How significant may become even single monument of occupation, we saw in Estonian case. How threatening may appear the eventuality that space of the official communication falls under domination of a foreign language, we could see in Latvian case. If that is the sense of an item "occupation after liberation", it deserves to be the matter of concern communicated inside the EU. Let colleagues take further deliberations on our implemented or sophistically blocked liberations.
Thanks for your kind attention.