Speaker of the Seimas: ‘Evaluation of the crimes of the totalitarian communist regime must become intrinsic to the Western political agenda’
Press release, 20 September 2022
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, took part in a discussion at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington on whether democracies were well-placed to tackle the challenges of increasingly frequent threats to freedom. At the discussion, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said the Foundation was not a mere monument to the victims of the traumatising regime and a testimony to the crimes against millions of people. In the words of the Speaker, the Foundation serves as a reminder that, unfortunately, communism still exists and its ideology is reborn in a new form.
‘On our way out of dependence on Russian gas, oil and electricity, we should also move away from Russia’s narrative on the history of Europe of the 20th century, including the causes and consequences of World War II. The Kremlin is trying to justify its aggression against the neighbouring countries by using this narrative, which is full of unfounded accusations and based on a cynical and arrogant approach. Therefore, it is important that the evaluation of the crimes of the totalitarian communist regime becomes intrinsic to the political agenda of the Western world, same as the fight against disinformation and hybrid warfare,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.
At the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, the Speaker of the Seimas focused on an exhibition stand featuring a number of authentic exile and resistance exhibits from Lithuania. The exhibits included a number-tag of a political prisoner, a rosary made of bread, a tobacco box bearing a carving of a verse on homesickness, an issue of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania confiscated during the search by KGB officials, and a tape containing an issue of the Chronicle re-photographed for secretly sending it to the West. The said exhibits are a donation from the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights of the Genocide and Resistance Centre of Lithuania in Vilnius.
Photos by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Yesterday, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen also met with Luke Coffey, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and participated in a discussion on Europe faced with war and on Lithuania’s prospects.
‘Although Lithuania’s orientation towards the western world is irreversible, the country remembers perfectly well the destructive communist regime, which it will never forget and will never allow others forget. It is our historical memory that has propelled us to constantly keep raising Western awareness of the threats posed by Russia. When the threats, unfortunately, became reality, Lithuania was equally vocal in calling for the toughest measures, because the Russian invasion translated into a critical time for Europe, transatlantic partnership and democracy. The crisis is neither restricted to a single country, Ukraine, nor a single region. Moreover, the Kremlin is not acting alone. It is supported by other authoritarian states. The Kremlin makes no secret of challenging both the United States and the democratic world order in general,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen at the Hudson Institute.
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, the current European security architecture would not have been created but for the US leadership, experience and support after World War II.
‘Decades of security and stability in Europe have been a huge success. This would never be possible without the United States. Nobody knows what the fate of Lithuania and other Baltic States would be, should we not have joined the EU and NATO. We succeeded because of the staunch support of the United States. Now that the war is ongoing, we must defend our achievements by acting in solidarity and promoting solidarity between the EU and the United States,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
On Sunday, 18 September 2022, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen met with members of the expat Lithuanian community in Washington and Baltimore and participated at the opening of the exhibition ‘Ties’ dedicated to the centenary of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the United States. In the evening, she visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.
The Speaker’s schedule for 20 September 2022 includes a historic meeting with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to be followed by meetings with Dick Durbin and other US Senators.