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Invitation to the Ministry of Internal Affairs


The Lithuanian Helsinki group's manifesto
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Ir paskelbėm tą manifestą, mes jį surašėm Maskvoj, net radom vieną disidentą, Levą Kopelevą, vertėją iš vokiečių kalbos, kuris turėjo lotynišką mašinėlę, kadangi mažai kas Maskvoje tas lotyniškas mašinėles turėjo. Surašėm lietuviškai manifestą, išvertėm į rusų kalbą, išvertėm į anglų kalbą ir paskelbėme tame, toj spaudos konferencijoj. Sekančią dieną jau Vakarų spauda pranešė, kad įsikūrė dar viena Helsinkio grupė Lietuvoj, okupuotoj Lietuvoj, reiškia, ir taip pat dirba tą patį darbą kaip Maskvoje Maskvos grupė, Ukrainoje – Ukrainos. Kiek vėliau po mūsu, čia mes net juokavom, kad čia jau soclenktynės vyksta, įsikūrė Gruzijos grupė. Gruzijos grupės vadovas buvo Gamsachurdija, kuris vėliau tapo Gruzijos prezidentu pirmuoju. Tiesa, tai buvo tragiško likimo prezidentas, prieš jį buvo sukeltas perversmas, jis turėjo bėgti, žuvo, neaišku kaip žuvo, ar nužudytas, ar pats nusižudė. Nu, bet dabar palaidotas Tbilisyje garbingoje vietoje Panteone. Na ir, žodžiu sakant, tų grupių buvo kelios ir Lietuvos grupė buvo viena iš jų. Po to aš iš Maskvos, paskelbę tą manifestą ir kai kurias žinias apie žmogaus teisių pažeidimus Lietuvoje, mes grįžome vėl skirtingais traukiniais į Vilnių.

We made that manifesto public, we wrote it in Moscow, we even found one dissident, Ler Kopelev, a translator from German, who had a typewriter with Latin alphabet keys – few people in Moscow had those Latin alphabet key typewriters. We wrote out the manifesto in Lithuanian, translated it into Russian, translated it into English and announced it at that... at that press conference. The following day the Western press announced that one more Helsinki group had been set up, in Lithuania, in occupied Lithuania, and that it was doing the same job as the Moscow group in Moscow, the Ukraine group in Ukraine. A little later – we were joking that a socialist race was taking place – a Georgian group was set up. The leader of the Georgian group was [Zviad] Gamsakhurdia who later became the first president of Georgia. To tell the truth, that was a president with a tragic fate. There was an uprising against him and he had to flee. He died, it’s not clear how he died, or whether he was killed or killed himself, but now he’s buried in Tbilisi in a place of honour in the Pantheon. Well, and in short, there were several of those groups and the Lithuanian group was one of them. After that I returned from Moscow after we had announced that manifesto and presented some information about human rights violations in Lithuania; we travelled back to Vilnius again in separate trains.

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: Lithuania, Georgia, Tbilisi, Pantheon, Lev Kopelev, Zviad Gamsakhurdia

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012