Collective Farm Workers' Strike

In December of 1975, two collective farms in the Kapsukas Rayon, "Dovinė" and "Piliakalnis", were consolidated. Early in

December meetings had been held in both collective farms, during which the consolidation had been agreed upon. Present at the meeting was the First Party Secretary of the Kap­sukas region, Sinickas. He publicly promised the collective farm workers that after the consolidation a meeting of all workers would be called to elect a new chairman, one of two candidates: either the past chairman of the "Dovinė" collective farm, Pra­nas Servytis, or Stasys Narauskas, past chairman of the "Piliakal­nis" collective farm.

"Dovinė" collective farm was much weaker economically, its workers received lower wages and, besides, the collective farm workers had many personal grudges against the former chairman, Servytis.

On December 10 in the Daukšiai school hall the election of a chairman for the consolidated collective farms was held. Present was a large majority of members of the former "Piliakalnis" collective farm. Members of the former "Dovinė" collective farm did not participate because earlier a meeting of the collective fram minority had been held, in which they had decided to elect Servytis as chairman of the merged collective farms.

On December 10, First Party Secretary Sinickas and Instructor Jankauskas came to the meeting at which the election was to be held. They brought along Servytis, the former chairman of Dovinė collective farm.

This meeting lasted only a few minutes. Instructor Jankaus­kas nominated Servytis as chairman of the merged collectives. The instructor asked who agreed with the nomination. No one voted for the candidate. Then the instructor asked whether anyone was op­posed. All present raised their hands. Instructor Jankauskas then turned to Servytis and extending his hand, said, "I congratulate you on your election."

Various voices were heard in the hall protesting. Sinickas and Jankauskas hid in another room of the school, and later returned to Kapsukas by a roundabout route via Igliauka.

The participants in the election meeting drew up a protest, declaring that they were on strike, signed it and that very day deliv­ered it to the Agricultural Administration in Kapsukas. During the strike no one would milk the cows from the former Piliakal­nis collective farm, and no one would feed the animals from there. Only the former chairman of the collective farm, Naraus­kas, with some former office employees, fed the extra animals.

All the workers of the collective farm went on strike.

During the strike, December 11 and 12, a plenary session of the Communist Party of the Rayonof Kapsukas took place. A group of collective farms went to the plenary session and to the attorney general of the rayon with their complaint, but they were not received.

All the participants in the strike were summoned to the headquarters of the Kapsukas RayonSecurity Police and asked who had organized the strike at the collective farm. Everyone said that they had gone on strike because First Party Secretary Sinickas had promised to let the collective farm laborers elect their own chairman from two candidates, but had not honored his word. More­over, they said that they had voted against the candidate proposed, but in the presence of the First Party Secretary, Instructor Jankauskas had congratulated the losing candidate as the "Winner".

Even though the collective farm workers went to the govern­ment of the republic and to the central organs of the govern­ment of the U.S.S.R. with their complaints, nevertheless the defeated collective farm Chairman Servytis continues as chairman of the merged collective farms and no one is seriously certifying his failure to be elected.


Letter of Vladislovas Žilius

To: First Secretary P. Griškevičius, of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania

On October 27, 1975, my wife and I submitted documents to the Visa Registration Division of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Lithuanian S.S.R., requesting that we be allowed to emigrate in response to the invitation which my wife's brother, living in Israel, had sent us.

Having submitted the aforesaid documents, I was immediately expelled from the Artists' Union and found myself in a predicament, without the right to obtaian work anywhere or to contract for work.

All my creative work since 1965 to the present day has been judged by official representatives of the government as '"formalism", incompatible with the demands of so-called socialist realism.

I am therefore being subjected to moral and material dis­crimination, prevented from exhibiting my pictures in official shows in Lithuania or elsewhere.

The profanation and isolation of my creativity, together with the general artificiality and decadence of cultural and creative life in Lithuania has finally convinced me that any further creative activity on my part in my homeland would be meaningless. For me, as a person and as an artist, the principles of so-called socialist realism are profoundly alien. I am convinced that they vulgarize a person's creative activity, turning it into a trade, for the advantage and convenience of the government. Socialist dogmatism with its denial of all other concepts of creativity, is a road-block to the ex­pression of individual creative thought.

Coercion is foreign to my nature, no matter with what high ideals it tries to justify or disguise itself. In the future, there­fore, I do not intend to comply with any attempts to administer my creativity. Nor do I agree with the idea that problems of creativity be decided and evaluated by government officials who often have not the most elementary notion of such matters. In this way, the spiritual life of the nation is being falsified and impoverished.

I therefore wish to live and work in another country, where my creativity will not be profaned, and possibly might be of interest and needed.

We consider subjective and unjust the denial by the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Lithuanian S.S.R. of permission tor me and my wife to leave the U.S.S.R., on the grounds that our relatives will remain in Lithuania. After all, neither for my wife's brother, nor for many others, whose nearest relatives have stayed behind in Lithuania, was this a reason for refusing them permission to leave the U.S.S.R.

I and my wife, who agrees completely with my convictions and my decision, constitute an independent family, we live apart from and independently of our relatives. Their agreement in writing, where necessary, has been attached to the documents submitted to the Ministry for Internal Affairs.

We desire an objective examination of our petition to emigrate from the U.S.S.R. Our decision is firm and final.

Vladislovas Žilius
Vilnius, Jan. 23, 1976               Ida Žilienė

Vladislovas Žilius, residing at Sluckio g. 13-9, in Vilnius, was born in 1939 in the Rayon of Šilalė. In 1964, he graduated from the

Fine Arts Institute, having majored in graphics. He has participated in a number of exhibits at home and abroad (Malbork, Poland, 1967, 1969; Cracow, 1968; Bareslov, 1969). He has illustrated books, he was art designer for the film, Jausmai, and J. Stavinskis' drama, Spūsties Valanda, at the Drama Theater of Klaipėda. He worked as editorial director of art publications at the Vaga publishing house. Since 1971, he has been chief artist at Minties publishers. He works mainly in etching. At the present time he resides abroad.