To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Copies to: The Bishops of Lithuania and the Administrators of Dioceses
Editors of Tiesa From: Priests of Lithuania
On September 9,1955, the incumbent pastor of Adutiškis and priest of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Julijonas Steponavičius, chosen by the Holy Father with the agreement of the Soviet government, was consecrated bishop, and since the end of 1957, has been administering the Archdiocese of Vilnius and the Diocese of Panevėžys.
On January 4,1961, the incumbent Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, attached to the L.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, Juozas Rugienis, revoked Bishop Steponavičius's certification as administrator of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, and ordered him to move to Žagarė, stating that he was doing so byway of carrying out the decision of the Lithuanian S.S.R. Council of Ministers. Rugienis refused to show or read the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian S.S.R. itself.
In the August 6,1987 article by the current Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Petras Anilionis, published in Tiesa, a falsified history of the exile of Bishop Steponavičius to Žagarė is presented. In reality, the bishop was calumniated in Tiesa.
In his article, Anilionis claims that the bishop was transferred to Žagarė by the leaders of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. As a matter of fact, then Commissioner Juozas Rugienis tried to obtain from the Administrator of the Archdiocese of Kaunas, Canon J. Stankevičius, a written appointment of Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius to Žagarė, but Canon Stankevičius refused to do so, saying he had no right to do so, since only the Holy Father can transfer bishops.
Then the militia, against the bishop's will, revoked his registration in the City of Vilnius, while state security agents told him to depart for Žagarė immediately, otherwise he would be hauled out by force. When the bishop asked what laws of the state he had broken, the security agents told him that he had not broken any laws, but simply had not carried out the government requirements which were presented to him by the Commissioner.
Specifically, he had refused to order priests in writing not to catechize children, to forbid children to participate in religious ceremonies, to stop arranging retreats for their parishioners, to stop making pastoral visitations, to stop helping out in other churches without government permission, and to stop gathering in large groups for priests' retreats.
Moreover, it was demanded of the bishop that he not allow those priests whose certificate of registration the Commissioner revoked, to do priestly work, and that he be sure to ordain to the priesthood all candidates proposed by the civil government.
The greater part of these requirements have already been revoked, as the highest leaders of the Lithuanian S.S.R. have proclaimed in their meeting of September 17,1987, with the representatives of the Roman Catholic clergy.
At that time, however, for not complying with these demands, incompatible with Canon Law and his episcopal conscience, Bishop Steponavičius was removed from office and on January 18,1961, came to Žagarė, where he was required to take up residence in a delapidated apartment with 34 square meters of living space, without running water, without sewage, without a bath, without a toilet and without central heating. His housekeeper was supposed to take up residence in the apartment.
Bishop Steponavičius (left) and Father Tamkevičius.
In the article by Anilionis, it states that the Holy Father tried to transfer Bishop Steponavičius to the Diocese of Kaišiadorys as Apostolic Administrator, but allegedly, Bishop Steponavičius would not agree and decided unilaterally to remain in Žagarė. (See Bishop Steponavičius' own account of these events in Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, No. 75. -- Trans. Note) This is not true! For that transfer to Kaišiadorys was only a proposal which the Holy Father himself later withdrew. That the Holy Father still considers Bishop Steponavičius the real administrator of the Archdiocese of Vilnius can be seen from the the annual registry of bishops of the world, published by the the Vatican, the Annuario Pontificio.
In these days of the proliferation of openness and democracy, when so much is being said and written about the correcting of mistakes and righting of wrongs, we request that the wrong committed against Bishop Steponavičius, his banishment to Žagarė by the unjust actions of officials, also be righted. In other words, we also request that Bishop Steponavičius be allowed to return to his post as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Vilnius. Moreover, we demand that Tiesa retract the disinformation disseminated by the article of Commissioner Petras Anilionis regarding the question of Bishop Steponavičius' exile to Žagarė.
Signed by the following priests, Fathers:
From left: Virginija Bogušienė, Nijolė Sadūnaitė, Robertas Grigas, Vytautas Bogušis, Antanas Terleckas, and KGB Agent Antanas Bimbyris at the August 23,1987 demonstration in Vilnius, which was held in memory of the victims Stalin and Hitler during World War II.
To: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev From: Priests of Lithuania
We are shocked by the new terrorist attacks against Catholic priestsand laymen in Lithuania. On September 28, 1987, Father Rokas Puzonas, pastor of the parish of Kiaukliai, Rayon of Širvintai, Robertas Grigas, sacristan of that church and Nijolė Sadūnaitė, a devout Catholic woman, were kidnapped by terrorists in civilian garb and militia uniform, aided and abetted by traffic officers, without presenting any documents or warrant.
The victims were driven about Lithuania and Byelorussia: Nijolė Sadūnaitė for thirty hours, with several groups of terrorists relieving each other. Father Puzonas was released in in a forest in Byelorussia, 100 km. from Vilnius. Sacristan Grigas escaped from the terrorists in the City of Joniškis, 300 km. from Vilnius. After the "ride" under duress, the terrorists warned that if they did not change their attitudes with regard to religious and national questions, it would be worse. The terrorists did not conceal the fact that they were KGB.
A similar act of terrorism was perpetrated the night of August 22,1985, against a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, the pastor of Krokialaukis, Father Vaclovas Stakėnas. The terrorists kidnapped him from home by night, under the pretext of a sick-call, drove him out into the woods, tortured him, and left him at midnight gagged and bound hand and foot in the depths of the forest. The perpetrators of this terrorist act have not been discovered to this day.
With such terrorist acts going on, the suspicion arises whether those same forces did not shove Father Bronislovas Laurinavičius under a truck, November 24,1981, and contributed to events associated with the tragic death of Father Zdebskis, February 5,1986.
We request that these crude offenses against justice, that is, terrorist attacks, be stopped and the culprits punished.
At the same time, we request that in the process of restructuring, the sentenced priests Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius, be released, and that Julijonas Steponavičius of the Archdiocese of Vilnius be restored to his post.
Signed by the following priests,
10. Antanas Milašius
To: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev From: Priests of the Diocese of Vilkaviškis
On August 28, 1987, the pastor of Kiaukliai, Father Rokas Puzonas, the sacristan of that church, Robertas Grigas, and a devout Catholic woman, Nijolė Sadūnaitė, were assaulted and kidnapped by unknown culprits. Terrorizing and threatening them in every way, the terrorists drove their victims about Lithuania and Byelorussia for a long time. It was ten hours before they released Father Puzonas, in the territory of Byelorussian, S.S.R., near the Town of
Robertas Grigas (glasses) at the Aug, 23, 1987 demostration.
Svyriai, about 70 km. from Vilnius. Robertas Grigas escaped from the culprits in Joniškis, after having been driven almost 270 km. from Vilnius. Nijolė Sadūnaitė they drove around for thirty hours before they finally released her near her home.
The assailants did not present any documents, but they did not hide the fact that they were KGB agents. Some were wearing militia uniforms. Although their cars were without license plates, traffic police who stopped them would respectfully wave them on, even giving them assistance.
A similar act of terrorism was perpetrated August 22, 1985, against the pastor of Krokialaukis, Father Vaclovas Stakėnas. Treacherously summoning the priest on an unknown sick-call, they drove him from his home, tortured him and at midnight, left him in a strange forest, gagged and tied hand and foot. These criminals have not been found to this day.
Nor have those other criminals been found out, who, on September 10 of this year, wearing the uniform of militia officers, assaulted Father Juozas Čepėnas, pastor of Gruzdžiai. Breaking into the rectory about 9:00 P.M., they bound the pastor, for about two hours took over his apartment, and afterwards, drove off to points unknown, taking his automobile.
We apply to you, General Secretary, with the request that you direct the attention of the appropriate government organs to those events, and that you require that such excesses be prevented in the future, and the culprits be found out and punished.
At the same time, we request that in the process of restructuring, when so much is being said about the correcting of past mistakes, the cases of the sentenced priests, Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius, be reviewd, and that they be released.
Signed by the following priests, Fathers:
To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev
Copies to: The Bishops of Lithuania
Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, Petras Anilionis
The Executive Committee of the Council of Peoples' Deputies of the City of Alytus
From: Father Antanas Gražulis, Associate Pastor of the Alytus II Parish
On October 6, 1987, A. Makštutis, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Council of Peoples' Deputies of the City of Alytus, coming to the rectory of Alytus II, read me the September 20, 1987 warning from Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs. Makštutis refused to leave a copy of the warning or allow me to copy the text of the warning.
Such behavior by officials is evidence of the fact that they are not convinced of the grounds for the accusations raised, and therefore wish that the wider circle of citizenry not be apprised of the exact contents of the warning. Such a tactic of concealing from the public documents which are official and allegedly promulgated, formerly rampant, is not consistent with the present climate of restructuring and openness.
In the warning signed by Petras Anilionis, I am accused upon my arrival at the Basilica of Šiluva, September 13,1987, of preaching a sermon anti-Soviet in nature.
Allegedly during the sermon, I urged people not to believe in Soviet propaganda, praised the imprisoned state criminals Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius and Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis, and invited the faithful to liberate "Lithuania from unbaptized hands".
After the sermon, I am supposed to have sung the bourgeois national anthem of Lithuania. In so doing, I allegedly violated Par. 50 of the Constitution of the Lithuanian S.S.R., forbidding the sowing of discord in connection with religious cults and, the Regulations for Religious Associations, limiting the activities of clergy to that religious association for whose ministry the Office of the Council for Religious Affairs has registered them.
In response to these accusations, this is what I have to say:
September 13, 1987,1 came to the shrine of all Lithuanian Catholics to pray as a private worshipper. That day, I did not carry out any specifically priestly ceremonies. After the principal Mass, I took part in a penitential procession of devout people: we went around the basilica on our knees reciting the rosary. In Šiluva, I delivered no sermon, but only announced aloud at the beginning of the rosary, as is customary, what intention we would be praying for: i.e., the intention of penance for sins committed by our fellow countrymen, joining our prayer with the sacrifice offered up for that same intention by priests in prison.
As far as I know, there is no law of Church or state forbidding the faithful in church or in the churchyard, to pray aloud. Nor is there any law against a rank-and-file lay believer announcing at the beginning of prayer in common what we are praying for. Thus, having done that which a lay believer is allowed to do, I am accused of performing the duties of a clergyman in a church other than the one to which I am registered.
If I am penalized for such a "crime", then to be consistent with the view of Petras Anilionis, all faithful who stop to pray in a church where they are not registered should be punished. Then it would be necessary to station at the church doors government officials who would not allow faithful from elsewhere into church. Does Petras Anilionis really have so little grasp of matters that he makes such absurd accusations?
I am accused in the warning of urging people not to believe Soviet propaganda while I announced the intention for the rosary. This is just the point, that Soviet propaganda is involved in atheistic, that is godless, propaganda. I urged the faithful to pray that we not succomb to atheistic propaganda, and value our faith. Surely, a priest or layman cannot pray for the intention that atheistic propaganda succeed in tearing the faith from peoples' hearts. Such an intention for prayer can be demanded of a believing person only by someone who is mentally ill. Surely there is no Soviet law forbidding believers to pray that faith would not be extinguished, but rather, grow in peoples' hearts?
Also incompatible with freedom of professing the Christian religion is the demand of Petras Anilionis that the faithful not pray for prisoners, especially priests, without even raising the question whether the prisoners are justly or unjustly sentenced. In the Gospel, kindness and love shown them is equated with kindness shown to Christ Himself. (See Mt 25,45)
In the First Century, during the persecution of the Christians when the apostles were arrested, the entire Church prayed publicly (See Acts, 12,5). Surely, the laws defended by Petras Anilionis are not meant to be harsher than the laws promulgated by the persecutors of the early Christians?
The phrase, "he invited" the faithful to liberate "Lithuania from unbap-tized hands" was nowhere in the intention I announced for the rosary; it is the fruit of the imagination of the spies sent to the church by the athestic government.
It is not true that after the penitential procession that I sang the national anthem of bourgeois Lithuania. It was intoned and sung by the believing public. In that anthem, the "national hymn" of the well-known Lithuanian writer, Vincas Kudirka, there is no anti-Soviet feeling, since it was composed at the end of the last century when there still was no Soviet government.
That it contains nothing anti-Soviet is also witnessed by the fact that from 1944 to 1950, this anthem was the official anthem of the Lithuanian S.S.R. At that time, Anilionis worked as Chairman of the Joniškėlis Rayon Executive Committee, and surely knew what the L.S.S.R. state anthem was. And if he forgot, then before writing the warning, he could have glanced at the Lithuanian Soviet Encyclopedia (Lietuviškąją Tarybinę Enciklopediją, Vol 12, Vilnius, p.44). That would have sufficed to avoid the unpleasant distortion, that the singing of the L.S.S.R. state hymn, dating from the days of Stalin, is considered an anti-Soviet crime.
In Petras Anilionis' warning, it states that I spoke in the church of Šiluva without the permission of the Raseiniai Executive Committee. Actually, the Regulations for Religious Associations require that we inform the Executive Committee, not that we obtain its permission.
Since, as has already been mentioned earlier, the announcing of a prayer intention is no priestly function, then all the less is permission of the Rayon government required for it.
As for the Raseiniai Rayon government, by its fanatic atheistic behavior, it has long ago turned the faithful against itself and the atheists protected by the government, e.g., in 1986, one week before the great religious festival in Šiluva, the preacher invited by pastor Msgr. Grauslys, the pastor of Eržvilkas, Father Petras Meilius, was forbidden to preach sermons during that festival. This year, another preacher invited for the festival, the Dean of Lazdijai, Father V. Jalinskas, was treated the same way.
The atheists can invite bright, interesting speakers to give atheistic lectures, while the faithful in Šiluva are allowed to hear only the sermons of priests from neighboring villages, with just a week's preparation. Is this compatible with the principle of equality of believers and atheists before the law written into the Constitutions of the U.S.S.R. and the L.S.S.R.?
Can such excesses of officials of the atheistic government strengthen the confidence of believers in the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Soviet government? Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs, instead of trying to abolish excesses of this nature, encourages and sustains them by warnings such as those sent to me. Can it be that restructuring will not effect the style of operations of the Office of Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs?
I ask you, General Secretary, to direct Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs to retract his baseless warning and to continue to try to ease the tension which has arisen between the believing public of Lithuania and Soviet government officials propagating atheism.
To: The United Nations Human Rights Commission Copies to: General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
U.S.S.R. Ministry of Education
L.S.S.R. Ministry of Education From: Marytė Gudaitytė Residing in the Village of Skersbalis, Prienai Rayon
After some years of tiring and fruitless correspondence with Soviet agencies, and having lost all hope that my problem would be solved legally and set right, I have decided to set out my complaint to international organizations defending human rights.
In the fall of 1983,1 enrolled in the Pranas Mažylis Nursing School in Kaunas. As I was completing my studies in 1985, the director of this school sent me to the offices of the Kaunas City KGB to see agent Jocas. In the interview, he told me that I would no longer be able to study, since I had written the priest-prisoners, Sigitas Tamkevičius and Alfonsas Svarinskas, Christmas greetings. I was interrogated and threatened.
School director Tamašauskienė said that she wouldn't dismiss me from school herself, but it was demanded by the KGB, and she had to carry out orders.
March 9,1985, together with my father, I went to the Ministry of Higher and Special Intermediate Education. We were received by a staff member of the Ministry of Education, Stonys. He explained that I had been expelled justly, but that next year, I could finish school. After that, I was summoned by some official named Šnipas. He explained that writing letters to Fathers Tamkevičius and Svarinskas is a great crime; it is anti-Soviet activity; my father and I are extremists, so my expulsion is justified.
In May of that same year, I appealed to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, requesting that he allow me to finish school. The response was negative.
On April 4,1986,1 went to the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Intermediate Education. Stonys told me to go to the Pranas Mažylis Nursing School in Kaunas.
On April 5, 1986,1 went there. Assistant Director Grigas said that I would not be able to study in that school, and advised me to go to some other nursing school.
On April 11,1986,1 went to the Utena Nursing School. The director of the school, having learned everything about me, was amazed that I was still working in a kindergarten, and would not accept my application. She told me to apply to the Pranas Mažylis Nursing School in Kaunas.
That same year, I appealed once more to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to allow me to finish nursing school. From the Ministry of Education, I received another negative response.
In the fall of 1987,1 tried to enroll in the nursing school in Šiauliai. I could not take the entrance examination, because I was sick in the hospital at that time. I took my documents down after the entrance examination August 24, and was accepted for nursing school. The specific date for the entrance examination was not stated.
On October 5,1 received certification as a student, so I was treated as a student at the Šiauliai nursing school. In the group, I was given the assignment of taking care of the groups' atheistic training.
On November 30, after a meeting of the group, I refused these duties on the basis that I am a religious believer.
That same day, after the meeting, the group leader came to the house where I live, together with three students from the group. He explained that he was visiting all students. He took down my personal information, and inquired whether any outsiders visited me. He wrote down the names of the girls in the group who visited me.
On December 1,1 was summoned to see the director of the school. The director explained that I was being expelled from school and moreover, was not yet accepted for school, since I did not take the entrance examination. Hence, I had to take back my records.
The real reason for my expulsion is that I refused to do atheistic work. To me it is incomprehensible how a believing individual can be demeaned more than forcing him to do work contrary to his or her religious beliefs.
I would like to ask those who proclaim the well-advertised Soviet "democratization", who cry so loudly that every Soviet citizen regardless of beliefs, race or station in life has the right to education and work. What is this loud slogan worth? How can all this be reconciled with the Soviet Constitution and other international obligations with regard to human rights?
To: U.S.S.R. Minister of Defense, Yazov
Copies to: The Chief of the Military Commissariat of the City of Kapsukas From: Petras Gražulis, Son of Antanas
Residing in the Village of Sasnava, Rayon of Kapsukas
An Open Letter
With the approach of the 70th anniversary of Lithuanian Independence, I, Petras Gražulis, son of Antanas, protest the occupation of Lithuania according to a secret protocol which Molotov and Ribbentrop, the representatives of two dishonest governments, Russia and Germany, secretly signed in 1939; in 1940, the Baltic States were occupied.
This protest is amply set forth in a 1987 petition written and addressed to the leaders of these two states, and to the Secretary General of the U.N., which I also signed. In protest against the occupation, I withdraw and ask you to consider null and void the oath which I took when serving in the Soviet Army.
I leave for the training session to which I am being summoned November 27,1987, as a slave, the son of a captive nation who does not have the right to a free decision.
I categorically refuse:
1.To go to Afghanistan, for I consider this war unjust.
2.To serve in Chernobyl, since by law, only volunteers go there.
I am a believer, so I demand that during my training period, the following conditions be provided which were not present during my two years of compulsory military training:
1. To be able to hear Mass on Sundays and holidays, and not to be
forced to work.
2.To allow time for morning, evening and other prayers.
3.Not to be forbidden religious literature.
These are commandments of the Church which I am obliged to follow. I ask all people of good-will to solidarize with me and I ask them to support me with their prayers.
To: U.S.S.R. Minister of Defense Jazov From: Romas Žemaitis, Son of Petras Born 1966
Residing in the Rayon of Vilkaviškis Kybartai, Ostrovskio - 9
On December 6, 1987, at the urging of the Military Commissariat of the City of Vilkaviškis, I am being summoned for compulsory military service in the Soviet Army.
On November 12,1984,1 was falsely arrested for my religious beliefs, and together with Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis, sentenced to two years of incarceration. I consider any restraint of religious freedom unjust, compatible neither with the Soviet Constitution nor with the International Declaration of Human Rights.
Father Matulionis in 1957 (left), and in 1987.
Since my case is not unique, therefore, protesting against the unjust confinement of Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas and Sigitas Tamkevičius and other prisoners of conscience in Soviet camps, I refuse to take the military oath. For that same reason, I consider military service in the Soviet Army itself unjust, imposed on me by force.
(The following refers to the aftermath of a birthday party held for the Gražulis sisters in the Village of Makniūniai, Alytus Rayon. The party was interrupted by militia, teachers and others. These events are recounted in Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, No. 73 - Trans. Note)
To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev Copies to:
1. The Bishops of Lithuania and the Administrators of Dioceses
2.General Chief Chebrikov of the Soviet KGB
3.Procurator General of the U.S.S.R.
4.The Editors of Youth Publications
5. Procurator of the L.S.S.R.
6. Editors oi Komjaunimo Tiesa 7. Editors of Valstiečių Laikraštis
8.Editors of Komunistiniu rytojus
9.City and Rayon of Alytus Department of Education
10. Procurator of the City of Alytus
From: The Gražulis Family and other participants
Honorable General Secretary, we have appealed to you and to other levels of government. Since we have not received any answer in writing, we are sending you the texts of these petitions. We wish to inform you how the local government and press reacted to our complaints.
On March 17, 1987, through Assistant Procurator J. Balčys of the Rayon and city of Alytus, Assistant Procurator Bakučionis summoned a few members of our family, youth representatives, and the parents of minors. We were surprised that the purpose of the meeting was not to reply honestly to our petitions, but in the sight of officials, to accuse and ridicule us.
Bakučionis explained that among the guests were some who had nothing in common with the Gražulis family, since some of them were as much as ten years younger than the girls celebrating their birthday.
The Assistant Procurator of the L.S.S.R. did not cite a single paragraph of the law which would indicate who can be invited, what degree of kinship they should be, and how old. Among the fifty people present at the birthday party, the intruding officials found only seven minors. The age difference between the youngest minor and the oldest of the girls whose birthday was being celebrated was nine years.
Bakučionis tried to maintain that the officials who broke in without a warrant broke no law. However, Par. 53 of the L.S.S.R. Constitution says, "No one has the right, without a legal basis, to enter a dwelling against the will of the persons living there."
District Chairman Rubliauskas told Mrs. Gražulienė, "We came to see who is using the premises", while other participants in the "raid", without waiting for the lady of the house, began to force their way into the room where the young people were enjoying themselves.
Bakučionis further tried to justify the officials: "The law obliges them to take all necessary measures in educating minors. In this connection, a raid on the Gražulis family is possible." He read the officials' explanation that driving by, they had heard music, saw an obvious light, and two minors.
Teacher Matonienė stated, "We found out, and came."
Who is speaking the truth, Teacher Matonienė or the officials? Is it possible to hear music while driving by at a distance of 200 meters, when it is playing in a closed area, over a 10 watt tape player? It is impossible to understand how we can, in a poorly lit yard at night, determine from such a distance, a person's age. Surely, a light burning in a private yard, at 10:00 P.M., and two young people seen in the yard, could not constitute cause for a raid when the aforesaid "army" was not driving by, but came specifically to the yard?
And it was not just one car, but four of them at one time (among them & Latvija ), full of officials, while five other automobiles and a bus remained on the road before the property. They even brought two German Shepherds.
On their arrival, the officials not only looked for minors, but immediately fell to listing the license plates of birthday party guests. It would be interesting to know what license plate numbers have to do with the affairs of minors!
That the participants in the "raid" did not "hear music" by accident and turn into the Gražulis' yard, but that it was a pre-planned action, is attested by the fact that the officials came, not only from the offices of the Alytus Rayon but also from the Rayon of Prienai.
It appears that someone had already informed the "appropriate organs", who had been invited to the birthday party and where they were from. One of the officials, asking not to be identified, later reported that it had all been organized in advance by the KGB.
Bakučionis complained that the officials had not been fittingly received: the young people had not given their names.
This is true. They did not give them, because they knew that on account of all this, they could be terrorized. Moreover, the young people looked upon the officials as transgressors against the law, that is, of Par. 53 of the Constitution, who, on private property, acted as though they were in the House of Culture.
"Minors were found!" exulted the procurator.
Were they found without adult supervision? What law would They have broken if they had not been driven home that evening (if the parents had given permission)? According to the way Bakučionis interprets the February 15,1977 Instruction of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., it would be necessary every evening to have the militia round up minor children taken by their parents to visit relatives and friends, and to bring them back home to their parents in town for the night.
Can a seriously-thinking official comment on the law so unwisely? The guests at the birthday party were gathered not in some public place, but on private property!
Teacher Matoniene alleged that the young people had acted provocatively: standing around demonstratively in the yard, they had sung hymns.
Yes, they sang hymns, because the officials requested it!
The procurator, wishing to justify the penalty meted out to Mrs. M. Gražulienč's son-in-law, Algis Baciuška, based his argument on his explanation.
In it, allegedly Baciuška regretted having lied and having acted inappropriately toward the officials. Forgetting to note that Baciuška's unsuitable behavior had manifested itself in that he had written down license numbers of the officials, in so doing he had broken no law, yet the officials demanded that he turn over the paper with the license numbers. Baciuška refused to do so, and the officials detained him.
The Assistant Procurator never mentioned Baciuška's statement, later written to the Procurator of the L.S.S.R., "Having brought me to KGB headquarters in Alytus, without presenting any warrant from the procurator, they searched my pockets and took me to a cell. There I remained about two hours. Later, two civilians took me to the third floor where two other vague characters were waiting, who, once again without a warrant from the procurator, carried out a personal search, checking my veins, probably thinking that I am a drug addict.
"Then they began asking why I had come to the Gražulis'. Some captain asked why I took down their license numbers. In a loud voice, he said, 'You didn't work long at the packing house; you won't be working long at the ATI. If you don't talk, we'll make you crazy! You know that we can do anything!'
"They threatened to sentence me to fifteen days, allegedly for cursing them. After yelling at me for a while, they told me to repent and sign the report."
Algis explained to his friends that the officials with their threats forced him to sign.
It is impossible to understand the officials' reasoning. In the yard, they demanded that the minors be immediately taken home to their parents. When Gintas Sakavičius, carrying out this directive from the officials, was taking children to Alytus, those same officials, driving out to the main road, detained him. In the opinion of Bakučionis, Sakavičius tried to avoid falling into the hands of officials, because in the luggage compartment of his automobile, was a tyepwriter. If Sakavičius had been trying to avoid another encounter with the officials, it would have been best for him to remain in the home after the officials' departure, and not drive the minors to Alytus.
Hence, Assistant Procurator Bakučionis' judgement that the typewriter which was found was evidence of an anti-Soviet plot hatched at the birthday party, is unfounded (all the more since the typewriter was broken).
To the report that the minor Dapkūnas was beaten by Major Verenius, Chief of the Division of Juvenile Affairs, Assistant Procurator Bakučionis responded, "This accusation arose from collective petitions. Why did the mother, Mrs. Dapkūnienė, not come to the procurator's office herself to file a complaint? Such a silence on the mother's part arouses suspicions. Hence, the Rayon Procurator refused to file criminal charges."
Surely, it is not only the mother who can report a transgression against the law?
Bakučionis, wishing to show that Mrs. Gražulienė's health was good, read from a document obtained from the Polyclinic. Here it was stated that she last visited the Polyclinic October 10, 1985. He added, "Perhaps she received treatment elsewhere, but her health has not deteriorated."
Is Bakučionis, besides being a procurator, also a physician? As a matter of fact, the Assistant Procurator, coming to look at the scene of the "raid", did not even inquire after Mrs. Gražulienė's health, and now he draws conclusions such as can be drawn only by a medical practitioner.
Even though it had been some time since Mrs. Gražulienė had visited the Polyclinic, nevertheless, she has suffered a heart attack, and she now suffers from hypertension and stenotic heart vessels. The attack with dogs and various threats have caused her health to deteriorate.
Mrs. Gražulienč was accused of bootleg construction; that was so. However, before beginning construction, she applied to a rayon official for permission. She received the following reply: "Mrs. Gražulienč, do not ask for permission, it will never be granted to you. If your sons were not priests, but Party members, you would get all the permits. Go ahead and build; everyone builds nowadays, most of them without permits."
Why did the Assistant Procurator suppress the incident which took place in the Miroslavl Middle School? The school director, Dabašinskienė, came to the XI Class, where Povilas Gražulis was a student, and asked the students, "Whoever heard teacher Ališkevičienė publicly compare the Gražulis Family, because they are believers, to a pile of manure, raise your hand!" All hands went up, except two.
The procurator did not explain why the local procurator's office requisitioned the profiles of some parents and children from offices and schools. Are they such terrible criminals? He did not tell why officials came and took down the license numbers of the parked automobiles three times. What is the connection between juveniles and automobiles? Why were cameras, dogs and pistols needed? It became unclear to us how a letter written to the editors of youth publications ended up with Procurator Bakučionis.
A good week after the interview with Procurator Bakučionis, in Komjaunimo tiesa, number 61, Aldona Svirbutavičiūtė's article, "Birthday Con-flict,"appeared. In the article, the author explains that the senior assistant procurator of the republic had responded broadly and in depth to the authors of the complaint.
The author herself, who heard the text of the complaint, could understand that Bakučionis responded superficially to arguments set forth in the petition, distorting the facts and leaving most questions unanswered.
Miss Svirbutavičiūtė states that in the complaint, some things were kept secret, some things were distorted, and in places, there were lies. But why does she not specify what is suppressed or distorted?
Why does the author herself distort the facts? After all, Renata herself states that the reporter never asked her who sent out the birthday invitations, and there was no young man named "Saulius" amoung the birthday celebrants.
Why did the reporter mention Miss Šimkūnaitė, and not Regina Gražulytė, who also had her conduct mark lowered?
The raid, according to the author, is one aspect of official work. But is there any law permitting a raid on a private home, rather than a House of Culture? Is there any law against juveniles enjoying themselves in a private home, rather than in public, under the supervision of adults and with parental permission?
What business is it of the author, whom a birthday girl can invite, and how old they should be?
The reporter's claim that the parents of the juveniles at the birthday party met three days later to discuss the event and to agree on what to say, what to suppress, and what to distort, is a fabrication. Another fabrication is the story of Daiva's brother jumping through a window in order to avoid going to church.
Miss Svirbutavičiūtė, the author of the article, also repeats the absurd interpretation of the 1977 Directive of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., that after 10:00 P.M., minors cannot be in anyone else's home without their parents. There is a law forbidding them to be in public places without adult supervision, after 10:00 P.M. The juvenile participants in the birthday did not break this law, either.
We have never heard of any law forbidding anyone to invite someone to a birthday through an intermediary, just as we have never heard that it was forbidden to be friends with or to invite to one's birthday persons ten years younger than the one doing the inviting.
It is not the place of a journalist to decide whom we can invite for our birthdays, or how.
About a week later, on April 7, the Peasants' Newspaper published P. Matukas' article entitled, "A Wave of Unnecessary Passions", and on April 18, that same article was reprinted in the Rayon newspaper, Communist Tomorrow. This article repeats the fabrications in Miss Svirbutavičiūtė's article, adding new inventions.
Bakučionis, responding to the complaint of those at the birthday party and their parents, read an explanation to Alytus Rayon KGB Assistant Chief Grigaravičius, who led the raid, in which it stated that participants in the raid, driving at night, saw two juveniles walking about on the Gražulis property.
In Matukas' article, those two adolescents became a group of "children buzzing around in the yard". According to the officials' explanation, there is a comical situation: If, after 10:00 P.M., a minor tries, for instance, to use an outside toilet, the Rayon militia has a duty of "taking an interest in that event".
Matukas writes falsely that the juveniles asked by officials to give their names, were incited by Petras Gražulis who was there, to prevaricate. As a matter of fact, Gražulis tried to calm the young people who were annoyed at the officials.
In Matukas' article, the elder of the birthday girls, Janina Gražulytė, is portrayed two years older than she really is. How can it be otherwise, for it is necessary to bolster the basic thesis, that there is a ten-year age gap between the older birthday girl and the youngest teenager present.
This is the kind of nonsense and distortion of fact we come to in the Soviet press, in the effort to justify at all costs, the unjustifiable, the anti-Constitutional behavior of government officials.
We demand that the misstatements which have appeared in the press and the wrong information publicly disseminated by officials be retracted, so that in these times of openness and restructuring, such unjustifiable excesses by officials would not be repeated.
Signed by the following:
1.Mrs. Gražulienė 16. S. Buzaitė
2.V. Makrickaitė 17. Janušauskas
3.M. Gudaitytė 18. J. Marcinkaitė
4.D. Petraitytė 19. J. Mikailionytė
5.V. Gražulytė 20. M. Kaškonaitė
6.M. Baciuškienė 21. Z. Ališauskaitė
7.A. Gražulis 22. V. Daunaravičius
8.A. Baciuška 23. V. Sinkevičiūtė
9.V. Šimkūnas 24. V. Dapkūnas
10.Br. Krisiūnaitė 25. A. Gražulytė
11.K. Gražulis 26. R. Makrickaitė
12.Petras Gražulis 27. R. Gražulytė
13.S. Gudaitis 28. P. Gražulis
14.R. Mikalauskaitė 29. G. Kekmonaitė
15.V. Kačergis 30. R. Venecevičiūtė
and thirteen others. (The language of petitions is unedited - Ed. Note)