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The Helsinki Accords groups


The state of human rights in Soviet Union
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Na, tokiu būdu aš kažkaip egzistavau, ir tada pas mane atėjo du vaikinai, kurie mane išsikvietė pasivaikščioti. Tie du vaikinai buvo Viktoras Petkus, lietuvis katalikas, toks, sakyčiau, net krikščionių veikėjas, kad susijęs su Lietuvos katalikų bažnyčios kronika, pogrindiniu leidiniu, ilgametis politkalinys, praleidęs kalėjimuose apie dvidešimts metų ir Stalino laikais, ir vėliau po Stalino. Antrasis buvo visai kitokio pobūdžio žmogus, Eitanas Finkelšteinas, kaip iš pavardės matyti- žydas Vilniaus, kuris kovojo už teisę savo tautiečiams išvažiuoti į Izraelį. Ir pats norėjo išvažiuoti į Izraelį. Nu, daugeliui vis dėlto žydų buvo daromos kliūtys norint važiuoti į Izraelį, tie apsunkinimai kad ir, sakysime, tas mokestis už mokslą, ir didelis mokestis, reikėjo grąžinti didelius pinigus valdžiai. Buvo ir kitų kliūčių daroma, ir vadinasi... bet Finkelšteinas kaip tik teikė juridinę ir kitokią pagalbą, jis buvo juridiškai apsišvietęs tiems kurie nori išvažiuoti į Izraelį. Ir štai jie man pasakė, mes buvome užlipę ant Tauro kalno, kad aplinkui, keturių šimtų metrų spinduliu, nebūtų matyti jokio žmogaus, kadangi buvo žinoma, kad Saugumo pasiklausymo aparatai veikia keturių šimtų metrų spinduliu. Jeigu toliau, tai jau nieko nebegirdėti. Na, ir mes, reiškia, ir jie man pasakė, čia dabar yra tokia idėja – Tarybų Sąjunga ką tik pasirašė Helsinkio susitarimą, kuriame jinai sutinka gerinti žmogaus teisių padėtį savo valdomoje imperijoje, o žmogaus teisių padėtis ir toliau yra labai bloga. Yra spaudžiamos, reiškia, yra spaudžiami religingi žmonės, yra spaudžiami tautiniai aktyvistai, yra spaudžiamos tautinės kultūros, yra spaudžiami žmonės, kurie nori išvykti į Vakarus, tame tarpe žydai, kurie nori išvykti į Izraelį. Žodžiu sakant, yra labai daug žmogaus teisių pažeidimų.

Well, thanks to this I somehow managed to get by, and then two young men visited me and invited me for a walk. Those two young men were Viktoras Petkus, a Lithuanian Catholic, somebody I would call a Christian activist because he was connected to the Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic Church, an underground publication – Petkus was a long-term political prisoner who had spent about 20 years in prison under Stalin and after Stalin. The second one was quite different, Eitanas Finkelšteinas, a Jew as you can tell from his surname, who was fighting for the right of his people to go to Israel. And he also wanted to go to Israel. Well, barriers were being put up, in spite of everything, for many of the Jews wishing to go to Israel. Those difficulties... let’s say, for example, that payment for one’s education... and it was a large payment, a lot of money had to be returned to the state. There were other obstacles... but Finkelšteinas, as it happens, was providing legal and other kinds of help, he was knowledgeable about the law and able to help those who wanted to go to Israel. And they told me... we had climbed to the top of Tauras Hill so that nobody could be in a 400m radius, because it was known that the listening devices used by the state security people only worked within a 400m radius. Any further and they couldn’t hear anything. Well, we, that is to say, they told me, ‘Here’s an idea: the Soviet Union has just signed the Helsinki Accords in which it agrees to improve human rights within the empire it rules, whereas the state of human rights is still very bad. Pressure, that is to say, pressure is being put on religious people, on national activists, on national cultures, on people who want to leave for the West, including Jews who want to go to Israel. In a word, the human rights of a very large number of people are being violated’.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic Church, Tauras Hill, Helsinki Accords, Soviet Union, Viktoras Petkus, Eitanas Finkelšteinas

Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012