• July 19, 2017
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Lithuania became the part of the western civilazation with Poland’s help

“Battle in Grunwald had strenghten those changes which took place in Europe in XIV c. For Lithuania, this is a particularly important event because this battle has sealed our country’s attachment to the Western Christian civilization, “says Karolis Zikaras, historian, analyst at the Lithuanian Strategic Communications Department. On Friday in Niemenczyn, a joint parade of Lithuanian and Polish troops will take place on the occasion of the 607th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald.

“Lithuania thanks to Jagiello’s efforts was baptized at the end of the XIV c., however, the Teutonic Order did not recognize it and thanks to this battle Lithuania has proven its civilization choice. This happened with the help of Poland, which is very symbolic. Lithuania chooses not to baptize by the Teutonic Knights, but voluntarily accepts baptism with the help of Poland. It was a symbolic beginning of the centuries-old relations between Poland and Lithuania. It is sealed with blood and sword, both countries join together and achieve a huge victory. From a military point of view it is one of the greatest battles of that period, which has also had tremendous geopolitical effects,” explains Zikaras.

“The Battle of Grunwald is a symbol of the beginning of Polish-Lithuanian cooperation, which lasted for many years, has experienced different changes in both the good and the bad. At the time, however, this Union of Lithuania and Poland was important not only for our countries but also for the entire region. By the mid-seventeenth century, Lithuania and Poland were the leaders of our region, the most important of its strength. It is therefore important for us to remember this battle and treat it as a reminder that when we are together, we can overcome very great adversities. Later history shows that when disagreements between us reach a critical stage – as at the end of the 19th and early 20th century – it weakens us, and third parties benefit from it”- is convinced historian.

As he says, history is a science that is largely based on interpretations, which creates space for some manipulation. In fact, we should, however, distinguish where is the boundary between science, which is based on facts, and propaganda, which the facts treat arbitrarily. A good example of this is the action that took place over the weekend on social networks. In response to attempts to portray in a negative light the history of the postwar war guerrilla war in Lithuania and the Baltic States, thousands of Lithuanians have joined Facebook on the “Kremlin action, do not falsify our history.”

“The issue of the guerrilla war in Lithuania against the Soviets is equally important for us and for the Russian side. The myth of the Great Patriotic War, formed in Moscow, is a very multi-layered and important historical myth that is important for the Kremlin’s modern ideology. They proclaims that the people of Russia have achieved the greatest ever victory over the greatest evil – German Nazism. In this myth a role is also devoted to Lithuanian partisans. They are portrayed as members of the Nazis, who were hiding in the forests and had previously participated in the murders of Jews. In this way the space of the myth extends and it continues after May 9, 1945, and to a certain extent even today. This myth is very important for motivating Russian citizens, for example – yes, we now have economic sanctions, but it is a total trifle compared to what our grandparents who fought against fascism had to endure. For us the worst is that this myth creates a negative image of the Baltic states and the rest of Europe: here they are, they respect those partisans who are in reality fascists, that is, nazism in these countries is reviving” – says Karolis Zikaras.

“The most important is our consciousness. If we ourselves understand that certain moments of history are a red line on which we can not allow the Kremlin to cross, it is very important. To maintain this state and live well in it will only be possible if we have a solid foundation of values, ” – stresses the strategic communications analyst.


Translated by Marcin Trusewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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