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The making of modern Lithuania
 2008045893, 0415454700, 0203878728, 9780415454704, 9780203878729

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The Making of Modern Lithuania

Tomas Balkelis

R

Routledge Taylor & francis Croup

L O N D O N A N D N E W YORK

The M aking o f Modern Lithuania

This book argues that - contrary to contemporary Lithuanian nationalist rhetoric - Lithuanian nationalism was modern and socially constructed in the period from the emergence of the Lithuanian national movement in the late nineteenth century to the birth of an independent state in 1918. The book brings into sharp focus those aspects of the history of Lithuania that earlier commentators had not systematically explored: it shows how, in this period, the nascent political elite fashioned its own and the emerging nation’s identity. Moreover, factors such as the elite’s social isolation, educational experience, marital strategies and narrowly based, fragmented and uncoordinated political activities were crucial factors in shaping identity and nation-building. It demonstrates how the elite was often in conflict with the peasantry, the religious establishment, and other ethnic groups, and how critical considerations such as class, religion, displacement and ethnicity rather than national ideology - were. The book’s conclusion that Lithuanian nationalism is a construct emerging from modern social forces is highly significant for understanding nationalism and contemporary political developments in Eastern Europe more generally. Tomas Balkelis is AHRC Research Associate in History at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests include nationalism, nation-building, population displacement, forced migrations and war memory in Eastern Europe.

First published 2009 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, 0X14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint o f the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2009 Tomas Balkelis Typeset in Times New Roman by RefineCatch Limited, Bungay, Suffolk Printed and bound in Great Britain by TJI Digital, Padstow All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library o f Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Balkelis, Tomas. The making of modern Lithuania / Tomas Balkelis. - 1st ed. p. cm.—(Basees/Routledge series on Russian and East European studies) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Lithuania—History—1795-1918. 2. Lithuania—Politics and government. 3. Lithuania—Intellectual life. 4. Lithuania-Social conditions. 5. Nationalism—Lithuania—History— 19th century. 6. Nationalism—Lithuania—History—20th century. 7. Intellectuals—Lithuania—History—19th century. 8. Intellectuals—Lithuania—History—20th century. 9. Politics and culture—Lithuania—History— 19th century. 10. Politics and culture—Lithuania—History—20th century. I. Title. DK.505.53.B35 2009 947.93'08—dc22 2008045893 ISBN 10:0-415-45470-0 fhbk) ISBNI0: 0-203-87872-8 (ebk) ISBN13: 978-0-415-45470-4 (hbk) ISBN13: 978-0-203-87872-9 (ebk)

Contents

..ik

Preface Abbreviations Introduction 1

Imperial periphery: Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

xi xiii xv

1

Social and economic conditions 1 Russification 4 The temperance movement and the rise o f literacy 7 The 'patriotic movement’ o f the Lithuanian gentry 9 2

Provincials in the empire: the birth of the intelligentsia

11

Question o f origins 11 Demographic and occupationalfeatures o f the intelligentsia 13 Generational conflict: sons versus parents 14 The intelligentsia as a student movement 18 Geographical displacement, centres o f patriotic activity and 'the lost intelligentsia’ 24 Aušra and Varpas: first communities o f the literati 26 Politicalfragmentation before 1905 31 Conclusion 34 3

The making of the urban elite The Lithuanian intelligentsia between the city and the country 36 In search o f the city: the emergence o f the intelligentsia’s community in Vilna 40 The impact o f Vilniaus žinios 44 Conclusion 48

36

x

Contents

4

In search of the people: the intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

50

Revolution: nationalist or social? 50 Social unrest and the patriotic elite prior to the All-Lithuanian assembly 52 The Lithuanian intelligentsia and non-Lithuanian elites in 1905 55 The intelligentsia and peasants in the All-Lithuanian assembly 59 In the wake o f the assembly 63 Conclusion 67 5

In search of national brides: the intelligentsia and the women’s issue

69

The origin o f the women’s debate 69 Theory versus practice: experimental marriages, politics o f bachelorhood and gentry salons 73 From the making o f nation-mothers to patriotic friendships 77 Women’s politics after 1905 80 Conclusion 83 6

The making of national culture: the intelligentsia and politics of culture, 1906-1914

85

Cultural nationalism and nation-making 85 The period of 'cultural work’: general features and the issue o f leadership 86 The intelligentsia and writing 90 Disciplinary cultural strategies 94 Conclusion 102 7

War, displacement and nation-building

104

Early responses to war and the spread o f the idea o f independence 105 Refugee politics: forging a national community 109 Journey to homeland: repatriation and nation-making 114 Conclusion 118 Conclusions Notes Bibliography Index

121 127 153 169

Preface

.•J&k

This book was born from my personal long-time interest in the study of the history of Lithuania. I was fortunate to witness the transformation of this country from a Soviet republic into an independent state in 1990. As a student, I also had a chance to study its history in three educational environments - in Soviet Lithuania, independent Lithuania and in the West. This book was born partly from my intellectual confusion and a desire to sort it out - all three educational experiences in many respects denied and con­ fronted each other by providing conflicting views on the emergence of mod­ ern Lithuanian state and nation. My doctoral dissertation was also part of this evolving educational process. As I discovered my other professional interests as a historian, new themes and chapters, some of them published as journal articles, gradually added to the book giving it its current shape. My other intention was to fill in a significant lacuna in the knowledge of the history of the Baltic region in the West. As a lecturer of Baltic history in England, I found a serious shortage of new and up-to-date academic studies in the English language on modern Lithuania and the Baltic region as a whole. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltics soon disappeared from television screens in the West. They also remained largely a peripheral area in the studies of post-Soviet Europe. Meanwhile, they underwent a rapid political and social transformation that led to their speedy accession into NATO and the EU in 2004. Yet in the West, the Baltics are still often viewed as a contested borderland between Russia and Germany. Hopefully, this vol­ ume will challenge this narrow and outdated perspective by presenting one of the countries in the region with its own identity and a strong sense of history. Due to its multinational and multilinguistic character, Lithuania’s history is a challenge for a historian while naming places, people and institutions. When dealing with administrative and geographic descriptions, I followed, with some minor exceptions, the historical principle which requires the pre­ servation of historical names common to a specific historical period; hence Vilna, and not Vilnius or Wilno. However, I preserved ‘Vilnius’ as an original used in the writings of the Lithuanian intelligentsia since such use reflected their political views. ‘Vilnius’ was also kept in different proper names of their patriotic institutions.

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Preface

In writing surnames, I have tried to follow the spelling common to a given person’s nationality. Sometimes it was difficult due to multiethnic identities of certain people, as in the case of Juozapas Herbačiauskas (or Herbaczewski). In these cases, the original forms found in the Lithuanian or Polish sources of the specific period were followed. I also included English translations of all Lithuanian institutions and periodicals when they are mentioned for the first time. All dates, except when indicated otherwise, follow the Julian calendar, which was an official calendar of the Russian Empire before 1918, when the Gregorian replaced it. In the book all translations are mine unless otherwise indicated. I never would have written this book without the help of several indi­ viduals and institutions. The fellowships from the Department of History at the University of Toronto, the Lithuanian Foundation in Lemont, the Open Society Institute in New York and the Centre of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto provided funds for research and travel. I am indebted to Professor Piotr Wrobel, University of Toronto, for his advice, encouragement and patience while preparing different chapters of the manuscript. I am very grateful to Professor Modris Eksteins, University of Toronto, for his mentorship, inspiration and perceptive efforts to improve book’s structure and style. I am also thankful to Professor Peter Gatrell, University of Manchester, Professor Vėjas Gabriel Liūlevičius, University of Tennessee, Dr Nerija Putinaitė and Dr Algimantas Valantiejus for their crit­ ical readings of early versions. To them all I owe a special debt of gratitude. It goes without saying that all the faults found in the book are entirely my own. This volume would be incomplete without the aid of the staff's at the Mažvydas National Library in Lithuania, the Lithuanian Museum-Archive in Toronto, the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto and the Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore in Vilnius. My special thanks go to the knowledgeable librarians Teresė Gustienė, Irena Kvieselaitienė, Rasa Mažeika and Mary Stevens. Finally, this book is dedicated to my beloved friend and companion Dr Violeta Davoliūtė.

Abbreviations

FLWC GARF KVA LAIS LDP LKDP LLTI LMokS LMI LMS LNBRS LSDDP LSDP LVIA LVS LWRC MAB RS

PPS RGIA

Pirmasis Lietuvos moterų susivažiavimas [First Lithuanian Women’s Congress] Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Rossiisskoi Federatsii [State Archive of Russian Federation] Kauno Valstybinis archyvas [State Archive of Kaunas] Lietuvių atgimimo istorijos studijos [Studies of the History of the Lithuanian Revival] Lietuvių Demokratų partija [Lithuanian Democratic Party] Lietuvos Krikščionių Demokratų partija [Christian Democratic Party of Lithuania] Lietuvių Literatūros ir tautosakos institutas [Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore] Lietuvos Mokytojų susivienijimas [Union of Lithuanian Teachers] Lietuvos Vidaus reikalų ministerija [Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior] Lietuvos Moterų susivienijimas [Union of Lithuanian Women] Lietuvos Nacionalinė biblioteka, Rankraščių skyrius [National Library of Lithuania, Manuscripts Division] Lietuvos Socialdemokratinė Darbo partija [Lithuanian Social Democratic Labor Party] Lietuvos Socialdemokratų partija [Social Democratic Party of Lithuania] Lietuvos Valstybinis istorijos archyvas [State Historical Archive of Lithuania] Lietuvos Valstiečių sgjunga [Union of Lithuanian Peasants] Lietuvių Draugija dėl karo nukentėjusiems šelpti [Lithuanian War Relief Committee] Lietuvos Mokslų Akademijos biblioteka, Rankraščių skyrius [Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Manuscripts Division] Polska Partja Socjalysticzna [Polish Socialist Party] Rossiisskii Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv

xiv

Abbreviations

SDKPL SDPL SKKLB TLDP VUBRS

Socjal Demokratia Krolewstwa Polskiego i Litewskiego [Social Democratic Party of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] Sozjal Demokratyczna Partja Litwy [Social Democratic Party of Lithuania] Stronictwo Konstytucyjno Katolickie Litwy i Bialorussi [Constitutional Catholic Union of Lithuania and Belarusia] Tautinė Lietuvių Demokratų partija [Lithuanian National Democratic Party] Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka, Rankraštių skyrius [Vilnius University Library, Manuscripts Division]

Introduction

•a.

The young movement of the Lithuanians encountered a great number of obs­ tacles: from the furious persecutions by the Russian government to the fact that in their new work the Lithuanians did not have any ties with ancient Lithuania. Having to work secretly in very difficult conditions, often far away from their homeland, without permanent ties with the Lithuanian people, drawing inspiration only from their own good wishes, the belief in their own ideas and understanding of people’s misery, young nationalists more than often had to abandon their true road and fail to grasp the real interests of people.1

The study of intellectuals is a well-established scholarly tradition, one that has preoccupied the minds of other intellectuals for many years. Intellectuals have been studied in a variety of ways: ranging from analyses of their polit­ ical attitudes and social functions to questioning of their moral credentials as intellectuals.2 Such interest is hardly surprising, because in the modern era they had perhaps a disproportionate share of influence on modern life in comparison with other groups of society. After the collapse of the Soviet system and with the revitalization of studies of nationalism, there re-emerged a growing interest in the ways intellectuals were instrumental in constituting nations, nation-states, national cultures and identities. Their key role is by now widely recognized by most influential theoretical works on nationalism.2 In the last few decades there was a noticeable shift from the study of nationalism as an ideology or a form of politics to the ways nationalism became articulated and its agents. Classical thinkers of nationalism such as Ernest Gellner, Anthony D. Smith, Benedict Anderson and others concur that intellectuals were a key group not only in the process of the creation of modern nation-states, but also in the dissemination of the ideas of nationalism among various populations. Today there is an abundance of theoretical approaches towards nation-making and the roles of intellectuals in it.4 In a volume on nationalist intellectuals, Ronald Suny and Michael D. Kennedy attempted to project new directions for investigation of nationmakers:

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Introduction

First of all, the variety of ways in which different kinds of intellectuals articulate the nation ought to be studied. These articulations need be assessed in different circumstances, in times of rapid social transform­ ation, explicit social struggle, quiet resistance, and apparent social repro­ duction. We need not only study how intellectuals articulate the nation, but also how the nation articulates intellectuals, as well as how intel­ lectuals are embedded in everyday life, institutional arrangements, power relations, and above all, the discourse of the nation.5 There are many works which successfully scrutinize the lives of individual nationalists, their outlooks, political and cultural backgrounds, prejudices, and also gender and sex attitudes.6 It is more difficult, however, to come up with a similar scrutiny of groups of nationalist intellectuals. To explain their collective mentality and social behaviour are tasks that need an immersion in the historical contexts where they operated. Since intellectuals are usually credited with the creation of new public spheres, the mechanisms of this process also need to be taken into account.7This also requires an explanation of those modes of behaviour that cannot be elucidated only in rational terms. As one of the theorists of nationalism, John Armstrong has acknowledged ‘psychological aspects of national identity have been most neglected’.8 We are well aware that intellectuals are known to be highly capable of creating, solidifying and sustaining myths of nation-making. Indeed, they often served as creators and leaders of various national movements. In the hands of nationalist historians these pioneering figures were gradually trans­ formed into ‘national prophets’.9 As most of such narratives tell, it was they who were primarily responsible for ‘awakening a dormant national spirit of people’ and for helping them to discover their nationality, culture, language or history. Even if we also know how weak, vulnerable and politically divided were the first circles of activists, nationalist historians rarely give a more critical consideration to this formative perspective.10 Very few of them enjoy questioning their own prophets since nationalist values are deeply embedded in their academic narratives. Yet there is always a temptation to look beyond this self-praising rhetoric of nation-makers to discover their political, social or cultural interests as well as those pitfalls in which these leaders often found themselves. Being on the frontier of the political or cultural struggle could bring not only victories but also failures. What were the motivations of the nation-makers to stand up for their ideas? What were their personal transformations from loyal subjects of multi-ethnic empires into subversive political radicals? How did the ideas that they had created play out in their personal lives? Did their intellectual and ideological fulfilment have as much of a sense of destiny, vision and purpose as nationalist historians so often remind us of? This volume is an attempt to offer a social and cultural analysis of the Lithuanian patriotic elite, their mentalities and efforts to forge links with society. It explores a history of the Lithuanian national movement from its

Introduction

xvii

origins in the 1880s to the emergence of an independent state in 1918. This was a period when a concept of ‘modern Lithuania’ became constituted, first as a nation and later as a state project. The key role in this process was played by the Lithuanian intelligentsia, who claimed the role of the nation’s leaders from the early days of their movement. In today’s Lithuania their names are remembered and commemorated as a key part of the heroic nation-building narrative endorsed and supported by the state. Their monuments, sculptures and paintings appear in local squares, museums and exhibition halls, while their writings today form a canon of the ‘national culture’ of Lifljuania. The independent Lithuania that re-emerged from the Soviet occupation in 1990 traces its origins from this early period of ‘national awakeners’. Most early nationalists also linked their notions o f ‘Lithuania’ with the medieval Grand Duchy of Lithuania that at its peak extended across the vast region between the Baltic and Black seas, and in different shapes survived from the mid­ thirteenth until late eighteenth centuries. One may only wonder what are the continuities between them. How do nationalists manage to reconcile the modernity of their projects with such historical claims? This volume does not claim to offer an exhaustive account of the early history of the Lithuanian nationalist movement. Instead, it tries to bring into spotlight those features of the movement that earlier writers, in my view, had not sufficiently explored. The book focuses on those aspects that highlight a modern, constitutive and socially constructed character of Lithuanian nationalism. My intention is to present a reappraisal of the self-praising rhetoric of early patriots by suggesting that issues such as the elite’s dis­ placement, social isolation, educational experiences, gender views, and their narrowly based and factional political activities, were critical factors that shaped their identity and the whole nation-building project. Needless to say, this ‘constructionist’ approach does not make the object of study anyway artificial or manipulative. As Craig Calhoun reminds us, ‘nationalism is a positive source of meaning . .. and of mutual commitment among very large groups of people’.11 After all, today’s Lithuania is not any kind of artificial creation but an independent state with its unique culture and a strong sense of identity. Rather, I hope this approach helps to raise questions that would allow the Lithuanian case to be placed in a larger comparative framework of nation-making projects. The book also tries to engage some key debates in contemporary social theory - how ancient is the nation, what is the nature of nationalism, and what role is played respectively by social context and ideology in the emer­ gence of nationalism? By exploring the nascent Lithuanian elite and the social and political context in which they fashioned their sense of purpose, I suggest that their identity was shaped by considerations of class, religion, gender, ethnicity and displacement as much as by ideology. The process of nation-making in Lithuania was closely related to the construction of various social categories that intersected with ethnicity, particularly class.12 As a result, the Lithuanian intelligentsia are presented as a new and dynamic

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Introduction

social and cultural group, with rapidly shifting self-understanding, often in conflict with their own social milieu, religious establishment, other ethnic elites and official policies of the empire. This volume investigates the patriots’ codes and practices of social behaviour that strengthened their claim for power and explores the development of their self-consciousness. The book’s other thematic concern is to explore how a public sphere is constructed within a social movement. As Geoff Eley suggested, in the late nineteenth century in much of Eastern Europe the emergence of nationality was simultaneous to the birth of a public sphere.15 Lithuania was no excep­ tion. The local intelligentsia created a new public realm of ‘national culture’ through which their political leadership became constituted vis-à-vis other social groups, in this case, vis-à-vis peasantry, clergy, other ethnic groups, women and war refugees. I hope this approach will shed some light on this issue by suggesting that the ‘national culture’ that emerged as a result of the intelligentsia’s effort to defend a newly emerging civic society against the state also created its own system of domination within this society. In this book my focus is largely on the nationalist intelligentsia, as theorists of nationalism such as A. D. Smith, E. Gellner, B. Anderson, M. Hroch and others understand them. Anderson calls them simply ‘missionaries of nationalism’.14 By the nationalist intelligentsia, they mean those individuals who took an active part in a national movement as its articulators, ideol­ ogists, speakers and organizers.15 Hroch defines them as ‘patriotic activists’ in a way which is most appropriate for this case, because he stresses ‘the subjectively intended personal sacrifice’ of the intelligentsia.16 To attempt a social definition of the nationalist intelligentsia is a task beyond the confines of this volume because any intelligentsia always presents a mixture of different social classes and professions. Karl Mannheim, among others, suggests that the intelligentsia, due to their messianic function, always rises beyond their class interests and consequently cannot be defined as or attached purely to the category of a social class.17 Yet I assume that the Lithuanian intelligentsia formed a distinct social and cultural community with their own peculiar social, political and cultural interests.18 Also this book is largely concerned with the secular intelligentsia, while the clerical elites are only occasionally discussed as contributors or opponents to the national movement. Although some authors make a clear distinction between ‘intellectuals’ and ‘intelligentsia’, I use both interchangeably along with the terms such as ‘patriots’ or ‘activists’. If ‘intellectuals’ is usually applied to Western contexts, the term ‘intelligentsia’ tends to be used to describe the intellectuals of non-Western countries. A largely theoretical debate on the different roles of each of these groups is beyond the confines of this book.19 I am fully aware that such an elitist perspective chosen to explain the emergence of Lithuanian nationalism is only one of a number of possible ways for its explanation. Certainly, as every other approach, this one has its own limitations. Although this volume’s thematic scope is more ambitious

Introduction

xix

than a study of one specific group of intellectuals, because of its focus on nationalism as a social project of the elite it may not give enough credit to other critical factors that helped to constitute ‘modern Lithuania’. By this 1 mean issues such as an impact of economic change, social mobility, centreperiphery relations, ethnic tensions, religious persecution, social conflict, popular forms of nationalism and, in particular, their reception among other groups of society. Although these issues periodically come into view in my discussion, they do not receive a systematic treatment. Nevertheless, I hope this perspective is one of the most effective alternatives to those traditional accounts which continue to see the Lithuanian nation moving through history as a given and anonymously created reality rather than as a work-in-progress constructed by specific groups of society. Theoretically the volume uses, but also tries to engage, one of the most popular models for the study of national movements proposed by Miroslav Hroch.20 Hroch was one of the first scholars of nationalism who turned to the social environment of nationalist elites (or activists, as he calls them). He explored a number of communities of intellectuals in different small European nations using common variables such as their social status, social origins, territorial distribution, location of birth and patriotic activities, and educational backgrounds. Most importantly, he introduced a comparative model by basing his research on the assumption that in some social environ­ ments the rise of national movements was more likely to occur than in others due to more favourable social, economic or cultural conditions.21 Perhaps the most popular feature of Hroch’s model is a three-stage periodization scheme that offers a chronological explanatory framework for the development of a national movement.22 According to Hroch, in most national movements the period of scholarly interest (Phase A) is superseded by the period of patriotic agitation (Phase B), which eventually leads to the rise of a mass movement (Phase C). In the first stage, small circles of intel­ lectuals discover the idea of a particular nation and indulge in different forms of its cultural study. In the second stage, groups of professional agitators link themselves in various patriotic organizations to disseminate the ideas of nation to the masses. While in the last stage, these processes of agitation reach the people. This final phase signifies the emergence of a mass national movement and basically ‘the birth of the nation’. Hroch was also one of the first to compare the Lithuanian national movement with others. He suggests that together with Estonian, Latvian and Slovak movements, it belongs to the so-called ‘belated’ type. Its most promin­ ent features were that, in comparison with other East European societies, in Lithuania the formation of the modern nation took place belatedly and at particularly high speed. The national agitation (Phase B) emerged before the political revolution and industrialization, ‘but the transition to Phase C, the mass nationalist movement, was delayed, so that it first took place when the class-conscious proletariat were already organized’, or even after that.23 As a result of this delay and foreign oppression, he argues, patriotic agitation

xx

Introduction

closely followed the lines of a social conflict. Chronologically, Hroch traces the period of scholarly interest (Phase A) in Lithuania between the 1820s and 1880s. The patriotic agitation (Phase B) started with an advent of the period­ ical Ausra [The Dawn] in 1883 and lasted until the revolution of 1905. After that, he claims, patriots of all tendencies were able to make an open political appearance (Phase C).24 Hroch’s model also presupposes that in most cases national movements start as cultural revivalist movements and then gradu­ ally transform themselves into political movements with open demands for various forms of autonomy or outright independence. This volume offers a critical reading of Hroch’s model both in terms of the chronology of the Lithuanian case, its key participants, and in terms of the shift from cultural to political forms of nationalism. The local workers’ movement that emerged only around 1905 barely had any significant effect on Lithuanian nationalism. In contrast to Hroch, I argue the emergence of the Lithuanian mass movement (Phase C) took place as late as during the years of World War I and even beyond them. Most of the activities of the Lithuanian patriots stayed within a public sphere of ‘national culture’, only occasionally taking an openly political form as in 1905 and 1917-1918. It was primarily through their different cultural activities, not political action, that Lithuanian nationalists forged their links with the masses. In this respect this volume pays a tribute to those scholars of nationalism who insist that so called cultural forms of nationalism deserve as much attention as political ones in their potential to mobilize different populations.25 Structurally, the book focuses on four major historical developments: the birth of the first communities of the secular Lithuanian patriots in the 1880s; the impact of the 1905 revolution; the period of ‘national cultural work’ during 1906-1914; and the years of wartime population displacement between 1915 and 1918. These were the four critical moments that shaped and determined the social, political and cultural character of the Lithuanian intelligentsia and the Lithuanian movement in general. Today most of them are part of the collective memory of modern Lithuanian society and continue to provide heroic narratives to the official nation-making discourse. The ‘belated’ character of the Lithuanian movement was responsible for the fact that it passed through initial stages of its development in a relatively short span of time (1880s—1905). The young patriotic elite of peasant origins had to form their political agenda while still actively engaged in cultural agitation and construction of their own national and class identity. The years 1904-1918 stand out as an especially intensive and vigorous period in the history of the making of modern Lithuania. The abolition of the ban on Lithuanian publications in Latin characters in 1904, the 1905 revolution, and mass population displacement during World War I gave an explosive impetus for the development of the Lithuanian movement. Young Lithuanian gradu­ ates of imperial universities of different political persuasions migrated back to their native provinces in search of their ‘homeland’, people, new identity and public recognition. As a consequence, the years 1904-1914 witnessed the

Introduction

xxi

emergence of the Lithuanian element as a part of the multi-ethnic urban environment of Lithuania. This volume explores the social and cultural character of the Lithuanian patriotic intelligentsia by concentrating on several key practices that shaped their self-understanding. The focus here is on those practices of their social and cultural behaviour that articulated their sense of common purpose and community, and set them apart from the peasantry on the one hand and on the other hand from non-Lithuanian elites. The relationship between patriots and peasants is of particular interest here. Nationalist historians usually take for granted that peasant-based nationalist elites are natural (or ‘organic’) representatives of the social milieu from which they originate.26 This relationship deserves a more critical exam­ ination. Were there any social and cultural tensions that existed between the two? There is no doubt that the intelligentsia derived their political and cul­ tural credibility as ‘nation’s leaders’ from their peasant origins. At the same time, it remains to be seen to what extent their ideological commitment was natural or ‘organic’, and to what extent it was shaped by their class interest and the political environment of late imperial Russia? Educated at imperial universities and exposed to radical circles in Russian and Polish cities, many patriots were forced to re-examine their relationship with their native peasant background in the light of their changing social status. As early as 1902, some Lithuanian critics lamented that a great number of the Lithuanian intelli­ gentsia were lost to the cause of the national movement and had ‘removed themselves from our common national work for good’.27 This was happening due to their geographical dispersal, inability to find employment in Lithuania, assimilation to Polish or Russian cultures, marriages with non-Lithuanian spouses and their social isolation. Thus my attention will often focus on the conflicting factors that affected the Lithuanian movement. The intelli­ gentsia’s road to power should not be taken for granted, and their political credibility had to be purchased at a certain price. Ronald Suny wrote of patriotic elites as major articulators of national­ ism.28 In this volume, I will be looking at how the emerging discourse of nationalism articulated their lives too. Thematically, I will concentrate on both the exploration of the private lives of leading members of the patriotic elite as well as on their public work. What is of interest here is not only the intelligentsia’s role as public leaders, but also how those nationalist ideals, which they stood for, played out in their personal lives and shaped their collective self-understanding. Not only the patriotic press and political pro­ grammes, but also private diaries, letters and literary works are scrutinized here in order to understand how nationalism shaped their identities. This also raises different questions about ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, the ‘cul­ tivated’ person, collective psychology, duty and responsibility in ‘patriotic work’. The years 1883-1918 witnessed not only the emergence of Lithuanian political parties and ‘a national culture’ based on the mass readership of the patriotic press, but also a great deal of social experimentation in the private

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Introduction

lives of the elite. This was a high time of progressive ideas of nationalist and socialist education, peasant emancipation, equal marriage and liberal reforms being played out both in public and private lives of the intellectuals. They needed to develop not only their political agenda, but also their codes of private and public behaviour, manners, habits, customs, rituals of initi­ ation and correspondence, comradeships, meanings of brotherhood, atti­ tudes towards courtship and marriage.29 All of this required a degree of personal will, commitment and discipline. The first chapter offers a brief survey of the social and political conditions under which the emergence of the Lithuanian national movement became possible in the post-1861 reform period. Key issues such as economic and social changes, Russification, a temperance movement and the rise of literacy are debated along with the role of the first intellectual harbingers in the early nineteenth century. The second chapter examines institutional origins and demographic and occupational features of the first Lithuanian patriots including their dis­ placement and centres of patriotic activity. It traces the growth of the move­ ment from student circles of the 1870s—1880s to the formation of the first patriotic communities around various periodicals in the 1890s. It also explores the first political divisions among the patriots, their generational value differences and the birth of political parties. The third chapter concentrates on the relationship between the activists and peasantry by tracing their gradual transformation from students to urban intelligentsia. The emergence of the first Lithuanian urban elite com­ munity in Vilna is explored in the context of a generational conflict with their native social milieu. The elite’s social and cultural practices (informal circles, rituals of initiation, leisure activities) are examined as well as the impact on their communal life of the first Lithuanian daily Vilnious zinios [The Vilnius News], The fourth chapter is devoted to the study of the intelligentsia and their shifting identity in the 1905 revolution. Their political relations with the non-Lithuanian elites are discussed along with their changing attitudes towards the rebellious peasantry through the study of the central revolution­ ary event in Lithuania, the All-Lithuanian assembly (21-22 November 1905). The revolution is presented as one of key events that redefined the intel­ lectuals’ identity, formulated their first political demands but also exposed their weaknesses. Chapter 5 shifts the focus to the process of gendering the Lithuanian national movement. It explores the intelligentsia’s attitude towards women and their constitutive impact on the elite’s identity. The relationship bet­ ween male and female patriots is examined as well as the elite’s evolving views on ‘patriotic’ marital strategies, women’s education and their roles in the nation-building project. The chapter suggests that re-ordering gender roles and family values was a key process that shaped the identity of the patriotic elite.

Introduction

xxiii

The sixth chapter is devoted to the post-revolutionary period known for its emphasis on ‘evolutionary’ and cultural politics. The main focus here is on the cultural revivalist movement of the Lithuanian intelligentsia whose major feature was an attempt to create ‘national culture’ as a political alternative to the dominant Russian and Polish cultures. The chapter traces the birth of a self-critical tradition among the Lithuanian intellectuals, difficulties arising in ‘the cultural work’ and some of disciplinary strategies they adopted in order to develop and solidify their negligent links with the Lithuanian papulation. The final chapter discusses the impact of war displacement on nation­ building and the constitution of the Lithuanian political elite through the relief work among refugees. The war years saw the creation of a network of war relief agencies which were critical in dissemination of patriotic ideas among the Lithuanian refugees in Russia. Displacement loosened the elite’s political loyalties to Russia and allowed them to formulate their new political goal of complete independence. The chapter also examines the repatriation of refugees as a critical process that allowed the patriots to shape it according to the needs of the nation-building project. A note on sources and historiography As its major sources the book tried to use a variety of primary materials published by the Lithuanian activists themselves: patriotic newspapers, aca­ demic articles, memoirs, diaries, fictional works and personal letters. They were supplemented by a number of archival materials from Lithuanian and Russian archives. Yet a volume of this thematic scope would not be possible without numerous works of other historians. Since most of the studies pub­ lished on the topic in English language are quite outdated, I relied largely on the recent work of Lithuanian historians. The Baltics never received adequate attention among English-speaking his­ torians, comparable, for instance, to Poland or the Czech Republic. If the post-Soviet developments have been covered relatively well, early modern and especially modern Baltic histories are still largely undiscovered lands for the English-speaking academia, let alone the general public. In case of Lithuania, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are the periods which have a very limited number of original, archive-based histor­ ical studies written in English. This gap is somewhat compensated for by classical works such as of Alfred Senn, Leonas Sabaliunas, Jack Stukas and Edward C. Thaden, among others.30 The Cold War and post-Soviet periods have received a better coverage with the emergence of studies such as Romuald Misiunas, Stanley Vardys and especially Alfred Senn.31 Anatol Lieven’s The Baltic Revolution remains perhaps the most popular, accessible and definitive work on contemporary Lithuania and Lithuanians that shapes the West’s perceptions towards the region even today.32 The last few years somewhat reversed this scarcity of scholarly historical publications with the emergence of academic works by Virgil Krapauskas, Timothy Snyder,

xxiv

Introduction

Theodor Weeks, Leonidas Donskis, Jonas Eriksonas and Darius Staliūnas.33 Having said that, most of the other works in English are hopelessly outdated, not to mention the fact that today there is no adequate historical survey of the history of modern Lithuania in English though some Lithuanian historians are trying to fill in the gap.34 This cannot be said about Lithuanian historiography, which naturally developed a strong interest in the history of Lithuanian society and, particu­ larly, the local national movement. The Lithuanian historiography, chrono­ logically, geographically and ideologically, can be divided into at least five major traditions: pre-World War I, interwar, Diasporic, Soviet Lithuanian and post-Soviet. Here I will mention only the most significant academic con­ tributions from each of them, which in some ways deal with the national movement and which helped shape historical debates on Lithuanian national­ ism most significantly. In most of them, the elites are covered as a parallel phenomenon to the national movement and only rarely do they form an independent subject of study. Thus far, the Lithuanian elite per se was mostly a subject of some periodical articles and book chapters.35 The classical study that charted research directions to many contemporary authors is Micha! Römer’s Litwa. Studium o odrodzeniu narodu litewskiego, published as early as 1908.36 No other author had such an impact on the study of the Lithuanian movement as Römer. He was the first to provide an account of its origins in the Aušra period, to propose its periodization and to describe different political currents that have formed around the turn of the century. Even if perceived as a Lithuanian Pole of divided loyalties, Römer influenced most of the pre-World War I Lithuanian authors who started publishing different historical materials in the patriotic press in the early twentieth century. This process accelerated after 1905, when Lietuvių Mokslo draugija [the Lithuanian Learned Society] provided the first academic insti­ tutional framework for professional historical studies in Lithuania. Brothers Mykolas and Vaclovas Biržiškos, Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Augustinas Janulaitis and Albinas Rimka were among the first to publish a series of historical studies on the early period of the ‘Lithuanian national revival’ (1880s—191 Os).37 Since many of these authors participated in the movement personally, their memoirs and other writings are especially valuable sources for the study of early Lithuanian nationalism. This group includes pioneers and early leaders of the movement, such as Jonas Basanavičius, Jonas Šliūpas, Kazys Grinius, Povilas Višinskis and many others.38 This body of materials (most of them published as selected works of individual authors) along with the patriotic press served as principal sources for this book. After the emergence of an independent Lithuania in 1918, Lithuanian historiography developed under the auspices of academic state institutions, especially Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. Many of the new Lithuanian historians of the period, who wrote on the national movement, received their education in the West, especially in Germany. Works of Jonas Totoraitis, Zenonas Ivinskis, Adolfas Šapoka. Juozas Jakštas a n d I n n a s

Introduction

xxv

Matusas are representative for shaping the study of the Lithuanian move­ ment in this period.39 Most of the efforts of the interwar historians were directed at tracing the movement’s origins to as early as the first decades of the nineteenth century, and to explaining the negative impact of Russification and Polonization on Lithuanian society. Vincas Maciūnas’ The Lithuanian Movement in the First H alf o f the 19th Century is a typical academic study of the period, while A. Sapoka’s Lithuanian History serves as the first synthetic academic history of the Lithuanian movement.40 In the wake of World War II and the destruction of the Lithuanian state, many Lithuanian historians found themselves displaced. This only reinforced their ideological commitment to the nationalist perspective, which charted a clear continuity with the interwar historiographic tradition. Works such as M. Biržiška’s The Road o f the Lithuanian Nation to the New Life and Pranas Čepėnas’ monumental two-volume History o f Modern Lithuania tried to come to terms with the loss of statehood and Nazi and Soviet occupations by placing a greater emphasis on the social aspects of the Lithuanian movement and the development of the sense of nationhood among the Lithuanians.41 Another fundamental study of the emigré school was Vincas Trumpa’s Lithuania in the 19th Century, which offered a new perspective by focusing on the conflicting relationships between Lithuanians, and Poles and Russians, and the significance of these ethnic conflicts for the Lithuanian movement.42 A Lithuanian emigré sociologist, Vytautas Kavolis, was one of the first to introduce a socio-psychological approach to the study of the psychological and cultural makeup of the early Lithuanian patriots.43 He was chiefly responsible for opening the field to cross-disciplinary and modernist socio­ logical and historical approaches. Overall, the Lithuanian emigré tradition played an important academic (as well as political) role in providing an alternative model to the Soviet Lithuanian school of historians. Despite political restrictions and the Soviet censorship, Soviet Lithuanian historians managed to produce a series of important archival and empirical studies on the Lithuanian movement. Even if many of these works suffer from an unmeasured methodological indulgence in Marxist-Leninist approaches (in which workers’ history acquires a disproportional role at the expense of other social groups, or ‘the Lithuanian nation’ becomes an independent his­ torical subject with oddly developed class-consciousness), some of them still offer a useful empirical basis for the study of the national movement today. Understandably, in most of these works the 1905 revolution is seen as the central event that shaped the class-consciousness of Lithuanian society, while the All-Lithuanian assembly is presented as being of minor importance, a trivial gathering of bourgeois activists. Vytautas Merkys, Leonas Mulevičius, Antanas Tyla, Rimantas Vėbra, Meilė Lukšienė and Edvardas Vidmantas are among those who produced the most fundamental works of this school.44 Vėbra was one of a few who tried to study the Lithuanian elite as a social group; while Tyla’s empirical study on the Lithuanian countryside in 1905 rev ealed a H e a r l v t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l ( n a t i o n a l —ęo r.iah n a t u r e o f t h e l .i th iian ian

xxvi

Introduction

revolution, which paradoxically unmasked the official ‘socialist’ interpretation of the Lithuanian revolution in 1905.45 The re-emergence of an independent Lithuania in 1990 opened new meth­ odological ways for the study of Lithuanian nationalism in the context of new theoretical approaches that have emerged in the West. The period also saw a certain convergence of the émigré and post-Soviet historiographical traditions. This development was reflected in a number of less ideologically charged and more theoretically diverse studies that explored various aspects of Lithuanian nationalism. It became more situated in the context of nation­ building projects among other East European societies.46 Today the historical series Lietuvių atgimimo istorijos studijos [Studies of Lithuanian Revival History], published in Lithuania, lead the way in the diversity of approaches to the subject, ranging from the works on the Lithuanian elite of gentry origins to explorations of issues such as the collective memory, national identity and nation-mythologies.47 In the early 1990s, Lithuanian historians Egidijus Aleksandravičius and Antanas Kulakauskas challenged a thesis that the development of Lithuanian nationalism took place under ‘an incomplete social structure’ pointing to the patriotic, ethnically defined, activism among the Lithuanian gentry in North Lithuania.48 Recently, Dalia Marcinkevičienė’s Society o f the Married People offered a fresh modernist feminist perspective on the early phase of the Lithuanian movement.49 Today the studies of Lithuanian nationalism continue to develop towards adaptation of post-modernist, structural and deconstructivist approaches.50 The Lithuanian historiography on Lithuanian nationalism was deeply influenced by the Polish school: either by following its interpretational models (Römer), or trying to reject the claims of those Polish historians who failed to appreciate its internal dynamics and political significance (Wladyslaw Wielhorski).51 This does not diminish the value of works of Polish historians such as Leon Wasilewski, Henryk Lowmianski, Jerzy Ochmanski, Juliusz Bardach, Piotr Losowski, Henryk Wisner and Jan Jurkiewicz.52 Many of them tended to concentrate on the study of the Polish-Lithuanian landed nobility, Polish-Lithuanian regionalists (krajowcy) and the history of the Polish-Lithuanian conflict. Yet the publication of several solid historical works on the Lithuanian movement by the so-called Poznan historical school (Lowmianski, Bardach and Ochmanski) seriously damaged the stereotypical views of Polish historians, such as Henryk Moscicki and others, who con­ tinue to see the Lithuanian movement mostly in the light of the Russian antiPolish conspiracy.53 A new generation of Polish historians is more critical towards the Polish-Lithuanian past and the work of historians such as Moscicki and Wielhorski.54 Perhaps this is a reflection of the warm contem­ porary relations between the two states, which support each other’s member­ ships in European power structures and see each other as economic and political partners. Occasionally German, French and especially Russian historians wrote about the Lithuanian provinces in the nineteenth centurv and the Lithuanian

Introduction

xxvii

national movement. Although their works did not have such a lasting impact as the works of the Lithuanian and Polish authors, they produced some important studies. Among them, first of all, one has to mention a number of writings produced by different Russian tsarist officials who worked and lived in the north-western provinces.55 Russian historians have also developed an interest in the region, especially in the light of the Polish-Russian conflict there.56 Understandably, their desire to see the complete integration of the north-western provinces into late imperial Russia is evident in mo«t of their works, which today fall more into the category of historical sources. Among the few German and French historians who wrote about Lithuania in the period one could mention Gerhard Bauer and Daniel Beauvois.57

1

Imperial periphery

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

Social and economic conditions The Lithuanian movement originated in the political and social setting of late imperial Russia. Starting from the 1860s the empire underwent slow yet increasing modernization in different realms of its life. Most significant fea­ tures of the post-reform years were growing social mobility of its multiethnic peasant populations, belated industrialization and urbanization and rising tensions in the centre-periphery relations as a result of the policy of forced integration introduced after 1863. These were the key developments that pro­ vided a historical background to the birth of multiple national movements among non-Russian populations of Russia, including the Lithuanians. During the Soviet period, most Lithuanian, Russian and Polish writers, who wrote about the conditions under which the Lithuanian movement emerged, traditionally emphasized the impact of social and economic factors. They pointed out that, as a result of the land reform of 1861, in Vilna, Kovno and Suwalki provinces, a substantial number of the Lithuanian peasants became increasingly wealthy by acquiring more land.1 The confiscations of land property from participants of the 1863 January uprising as well the 1865 government ban on the purchases of land in the Lithuanian provinces by ‘persons of Polish origins’ further increased the amount of available land, some of which went to the peasant owners. In the wake of the reform, peas­ ant land possession increased by 46 per cent in Kovno province and by 29 and 12 per cent in Vilna and Suwalki provinces.2 As a result of this land transfer, the socially homogeneous Lithuanian peasantry became increasingly strati­ fied. Hence, the second part of the century witnessed gradually improving material conditions in the life of the peasantry, among which there emerged a group of well-to-do farmers able to afford education for their children. This process was particularly visible in Suwalki province which had the largest group of independent peasantry.3 Gradual technological advances, such as the development of railways and small-scale manufacturing, as well as increasingly modern forms of agricultural production and emigration, fur­ ther stimulated social mobility among the peasantry some of whom could already afford to educate their children.

2

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

The motives that prompted peasants to educate their children were mostly practical and economic: unwillingness to divide land among sons, agri­ cultural overpopulation and growing demand for various professionals in the wake of measured modernization in the Russian empire.4 One of the early Lithuanian activists, Stasys Matulaitis, pointed out that at the time ‘a large number of Catholic priests in Lithuania were children of well-to-do peasants, because the profession of priest was one of the most affordable careers for peasant children; it required neither a long period of study nor great expense’.5 However, by the 1870s—1880s increasing numbers of peasant children also started pursuing secular education. Later they formed the core of the new Lithuanian ethnic elite, the intelligentsia (on their origins see Chapter 2). Yet these social and economic changes should not obscure the fact that the Lithuanian provinces remained essentially an economic backwater of the Russian empire, a sort of ‘double periphery’, as described by some writers.6 The government saw the region largely as a north-western defensive bulwark against Germany which meant that a large share of the new economic investment went into a military sector. As a result, Lithuanian provinces largely missed out the large-scale industrialization that took place in cities such as Riga, Warsaw, Bialystok, Lodz, Saint Petersburg and Moscow, but barely in Vilna or Kovno. The largest industrial centres in the region were Bialystok with its textile factories and Riga with its shipbuilding docks, while only small-scale industries (distilling, wood and agricultural product process­ ing) were found in the Lithuanian cities.7 The belated abolition of serfdom in 1861 (in the Baltic provinces it ended as early as 1818-1919) and slow urbanization were among the key factors that hindered the local social and economic development. After the abolition of serfdom, peasants gained their personal freedom in Lithuanian provinces as well. However, the reform did not alleviate the social tensions between the predominantly Polish and Russian landlords and the Lithuanian peasantry.8 The latter did not gain legal title to the land; instead of corvee they now had to pay rent for the land they worked. Despite the growing availability of land for independent farmers, the social relationship between landowners and the majority of peasants remained the same after the reform, which meant that the peasant still economically relied on his landlord. The local landlords, along with the inefficient and heavily under­ staffed Russian police, still meted out justice to peasants. No wonder that the rebellion of 1863 in Lithuania had a strong social undertone. According to the 1897 population census, Lithuanian society consisted of almost a monumental group of peasants (93 per cent among the ethnic Lithuanians).9 The largest cities of Vilna and Kovno had populations of only 150,000 and 70,000 respectively, while Riga, an economic hub of the Baltic region, had more than 280,000. Less than two per cent of Lithuanians lived in towns which were heavily dominated by Poles, Jews and Russians. A noticeable feature of late imperial Lithuanian society was almost a complete absence of an ethnic Lithuanian middle class. Local town and country economies were

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

3

dominated either by Jews or Polish-speaking nobility. Of all population of Kovno and Vilna provinces, 14 and 13 per cent respectively were Jews, while in Grodno their percentage was almost 18 per cent.10 In 1897, Jews formed 40 per cent of Vilna’s population, while there were 30 per cent of Poles, 25 per cent of Russians and Belarusians and only two per cent of Lithuanians.11 This contrasted sharply with places like Riga and Reval which by the end of the century had Latvian and Estonian majorities. The Lithuanian economy continued to be dominated by a heavily agricultural and self-subsjjstent peas­ ant economy with a poorly developed communication network. In Lithuania the first railways were constructed between 1860 and 1873, while in the Baltic provinces and Central Russia they appeared in the 1850s. The emergence of modern ways of transportation in the region of eco­ nomic stagnation facilitated migration of local population to more developed countries. The lack of economic opportunities and the social tensions in the countryside were responsible for massive emigration starting from the late 1860s. According to some estimates, out of 1.64 million Lithuanians who resided in Russian empire (1897 census data) almost twenty five per cent (410,000) emigrated to foreign countries and Russian cities between the 1860s and 1914.12The two largest groups of emigrants were the landless Lithuanian peasants and the Jews. As a result of the mass emigration, on the eve of World War I, almost 75,000 Lithuanians found themselves living in other Russian provinces, largely in urban centres such as Riga (28,000), Saint Petersburg (26,000) and Libau (Liepaja, 11,000).13 In the post-Soviet years, the majority of Lithuanian and exile historians who wrote about the early national movement tended to embrace the impact of political and cultural rather than economic and social factors.14 Their preoccupation with the process of national identity formation among Lithuanians directed them to linguistic, cultural and religious conflicts. The failure of the 1863 uprising and subsequent nationality policies of Russia in the region became seen as key factors that shaped the early national movement. As a reaction to the uprising, the Tsarist authorities started pur­ suing a policy of forced integration in the north-western provinces that in turn stimulated national movements among local populations. The most vis­ ible manifestation of this policy was the pursuit of cultural and linguistic Russification among Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians in the region starting from the early 1860s. Most significantly, Russification greatly encouraged the resurgence of Polish nationalism, the strongest oppositional force in the region, which readily assumed the role of a defender both of Polish nationhood and the political tradition of the former Polish-Lithuanian state. In the long run, Polish nationalism clashed with the movements among Lithuanians, Belarusians, Jews and Ukrainians which claimed their own indi­ vidual share of the same historical heritage. These conflicts in turn helped to define national identities of local patriotic elites and their respective ethnic groups. The proponents of this argument usually claim that the tradition of political radicalism was extinguished neither after 1831 nor 1863, and

4

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

resurfaced in new forms in 1905 and 1918. The fact that throughout the nineteenth century, the Lithuanian nobility (with only a few exceptions) gravitated towards the Polish elite opened new directions for political action for the emerging Lithuanian national elite of peasant origins. Russification A debate continues among scholars over the meaning, character, scale and purposes of Russification in late imperial Russia. Many East European, and a large group of Western historians tend to emphasize its systemic and openly aggressive character towards ethnic groups such as Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians. They see the policy as playing a constitutive role in the formation of local national movements. For them, Russification is largely an expression of the newly born Great-Russian nationalism expressed in government’s desperate efforts to bring administrative, social and cultural uniformity to the Russian empire.15 Often this policy is teleologically attrib­ uted to Catherine the Great, or as far back as Peter the Great.16There is little consent among these authors on the issue whether this policy was intended as a means of modernizing the empire or as negative reaction towards modern­ ization. Many agree, however, that Russification was envisioned as total assimilation with an intention of transforming Russia into an ethnically homogenous nation-state on the scale of Bismarck’s Germany or Napoleonic France. According to this line of thought, in the long run, ethnic groups such as Belarusians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians were destined to be transformed into Russians. This interpretation is often corroborated by the writings of Russian officials such as the Governor General of Vilna, P. D. SviatopolkMirskii, who argued that because of their small numbers and lack of histor­ ical traditions the Lithuanians, for instance, would ultimately ‘be absorbed into the general population of Russia’.17 In the last decades, this traditional account of Russification underwent serious revision by a group of Western historians including Thaden, Rogger, Pearson, and most recently, by Weeks and Rappeler. Without denying the negative impact to various ethnic groups, they point out that Russification hardly represented a uniform, coherent and consistent policy.18 This was largely due to the confusing and contradictory motives that shaped it. The most sophisticated interpretation is offered by Andreas Rappeler, who questions whether there ever was a single Russian policy of nationalities. He proposes to use the term ‘Russification’ only with regard to its linguistic and cultural aspects.19 Rappeler sees the policies of assimilation as an ongoing dialogue in the Tsarist government between the proponents of the imperial and nationalist (reformist) strategies of integration of non-Russian groups into the empire. The major weaknesses of the traditional account of Russification are revealed, first, by the fact that it was unevenly applied to different ethnic groups. If Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians were targeted right after 1863, the Baltic provinces and Armenia only from 1881. In the case

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

5

of Finland, Russification was almost non-existent before 1903 when the Governor General N. Bobrikov was given dictatorial powers.20 In some instances, the government continued to cooperate with local elites even after Russification had started, as in the case of the Baltic Germans. Moreover, some of the ethnic groups such as the Jews and Tatars were isolated and segregated, rather than integrated. The proponents of this line of thought argue that total Russification, in the sense of full assimilation, was never intended towards an ancient historical nation such as the Poles^Jherefore, Russification can be better understood, according to Rappeler, as an exten­ sion of a policy of forced integration or bureaucratic standardization com­ parable to similar policies in the late Habsburg and German empires.21 The key rationale of this policy was not the linguistic assimilation but strengthen­ ing of state structures within the non-Russian peripheries. Despite the fact that Russification was primarily intended as a means of administrative standardization, in the lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian state it assumed an especially oppressive character. There, besides standard­ ization, the major goal of the Russian government was to curtail the political and cultural influence of its major political foe within the post-1795 imperial borders. Among the nationality issues, the Polish question always remained at the centre of Russian concerns. The same cannot be said about the Lithuanians, whose national movement the Russian authorities would barely notice before the late 1890s. In his official annual report of 1896, the Suwalki provincial governor noted a rapid increase in the illegal anti-governmental literature in the Lithuanian language in Suwalki and Kovno provinces.22 The central authorities also took notice in 1897, when under an order of the Governor General M. N. Muraviev, the prosecutor of Vilna’s Judicial Chamber provided the Foreign Ministry with a detailed report regarding the spread of illegal Lithuanian publications through the Prussian-Russian bor­ der.23 Despite this, the Lithuanian national movement was conflated with the Polish one until as late as the first decade of the twentieth century.24 In Lithuania, the policy of forced integration was most clearly visible in the ban on printing of Lithuanian works in Latin letters from 1864 to 1904. The idea of the ban was introduced by Muraviev, and the curator of the Vilna school district, I. P. Kornilov. They based their decision on the need to defend the Lithuanian-speaking peasants against a negative cultural influence of the Poles and to strengthen Russian civilization in the region.25 Instead, the gov­ ernment unsuccessfully tried to introduce Lithuanian publications printed in the Cyrillic alphabet, a move that only antagonized the local population. Other repressive measures included economic, administrative and edu­ cational reforms. After 1863, Muraviev requisitioned estates of those landowners who participated in the uprising which increased an amount of land available for Russian colonization. In Kovno province alone more than 20 per cent of estates were taken by the state, while more than 11,000 Russian colonists settled. This, however, did not significantly alter the ethnic distribu­ tion of land. By 1900 only 16 per cent of landlords were Russian in the

6

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

province, many preferring to lease their estates to the locals,26 Meanwhile, the administrative reforms included the replacement of Catholic officials with Orthodox, elimination of the Polish and introduction of the Russian lan­ guage in the administration. The period also saw closing down of Polish parish schools and opening of a network of primary state schools staffed with Russian instructors. By 1869, there were 157 new state schools opened in Kovno province alone, while the Lithuanian language as a separate subject continued to be taught only in Suwalki province.27 However, the Lithuanian peasants did not find a prospect of educating their children in the Russian schools attractive. The Russian language seemed to be foreign, and more significantly its knowledge did not offer prospects for immediate social advancement. As a result, the majority preferred to teach their children privately in the Latin script. For the local peasant population, however, the most distasteful feature of Russification was a state’s attempt to dislodge the Catholic church from a dominant position it traditionally enjoyed in the region. Although this policy was primarily intended to curtail the Polish influence in Lithuania, by openly attacking the church it also antagonized the so far loyal Lithuanian peas­ antry. The measures included closing down Catholic monasteries, banning the building of new churches, giving many of the old ones to the Russian Orthodox church, introducing Orthodox curricula in state schools, requiring that Catholics who married the Orthodox convert and also meddling in the appointments of Catholic bishops. This policy culminated in the destruction of a monastery’s church and the massacre of a group of Catholic Lithuanians in the village of Kražiai, Kovno province, in 1897, an event that had some international repercussions. As a recent study of the event has shown, the Kražiai massacre entered the consciousness of local people and helped dis­ tance them from the oppressive regime.28 All these restrictive measures had a dual effect on Lithuanian society. On the one hand, they slowed down social mobility and modernization of local economy by deepening class divisions within Lithuanian society. On the other hand, they alienated both the Polish-speaking nobility and the local peas­ antry forcing them to look for new forms of resistance. As a result of these persecutions, the confrontation between the Lithuanian Catholic peasant population and the imperial government began playing out along mainly religious lines. In the long run, this external religious conflict greatly facili­ tated the emergence of Lithuanian nationalism.29 The group against which Russification was primarily targeted, the nobility, suffered most. However, despite all the efforts of the government, the local landlords managed to preserve their dominance in Lithuania throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. As late as 1905, they constituted only about 10 per cent of the population but owned 33 per cent of land in Vilna, 40 per cent in Kovno and 25 per cent in Suwalki provinces.50 More importantly, Polish language and culture continued to dominate among the Lithuanian nobility, town populations (except in those which had Jewish

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

7

majorities) and even large segments of peasantry (particularly in Vilna and Grodno provinces). The first generation of Lithuanian patriots were also heavily affected by both Polish language and culture which were traditionally perceived as a means for social advancement. At the same time, the official policy of forced integration to a certain extent limited deeper penetration of the Polish element into the Lithuanian provinces. By the 1890s when the first ethnic tensions between Poles and Lithuanians spilled out in open clashes over the use of the Lithuanian language in Catholic churches, the Russian government took a tacit pro-Lithuania position. Nevertheless, this did not amount to any kind of official endorsement of the Lithuanian movement. The government will notice its potential political significance only as late as 1904.31 The temperance movement and the rise of literacy Meanwhile, the Lithuanian peasantry started developing their own, mostly cultural and religious, forms of resistance to the imperial government. Some of them were especially conducive to the emergence of the Lithuanian patri­ otic intelligentsia and, therefore, deserve a more thorough discussion. Among them, the most important were the temperance movement instigated by bishop Motiejus Valančius in the 1850s, a system of clandestine schooling and an illegal network of book-smugglers. All three were a product of the dra­ matic rise of literacy among the local peasant population in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the end, they produced a set of socio-cultural conditions beneficial for the emergence of the Lithuanian intelligentsia. Being an historical import from Poland, the mass temperance movement spread in Žemaitija (Samogitia) in the late 1850s under the leadership of the Lithuanian bishop Valančius. Like its counterpart in Ireland in 1840s, the Lithuanian temperance movement also had some anti-colonial undertones.12 It lacked any political content, but its strong nativist and religious character implied a limited measure of cultural and religious opposition to the Russian rule. Nevertheless, while visiting Lithuania in 1860, Tsar Alexander II expressed his approval and publicly thanked Valančius for this initiative.31 A report submitted by Valančius to the Vilna governor general V. Nazimov revealed that 83 per cent (692,000 people) of all Catholics in Kovno province belonged to temperance brotherhoods in 1860. The movement also received strong popular support in Vilna province where almost a half of its Catholic population became involved.34 The brotherhoods were organized by the bishop and the church establishment, local priests assuming leadership of local branches.35 All activities of the brotherhoods were closely related to the church. It used them to extend not only its religious influence, ideas of tem­ perance and pietism, but also as religious educational networks. They were employed to spread mostly religious didactic writings, and in this way fur­ thered literacy among the Lithuanian peasants. Although primarily an expression of religious resurgence, the temperance movement represented

8

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

the first manifestation of collective consciousness among the Lithuanian peasantry on such a massive scale. Membership in the movement implied belonging to a community whose boundaries lay beyond the confines of a single locality. Nevertheless, this community was defined largely in religious, not ethnic terms, as some Lithuanian historians claim today.36 The 1897 census reveals an important feature of Lithuanian provinces the high literacy rate there, compared to the rest of the empire. Although the highest rates of literacy were among Protestant groups such as Finns and Estonians (more than 90 per cent), and Jews (50 per cent), the two most important Catholic groups of the empire, Lithuanians and Poles, had rates of 48 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. This was much higher than the Russians (29 per cent), whose rate was close to the average in the empire as a whole.31 Lithuanian males had a literacy rate of 49 per cent and females 48 per cent. However, only 0.3 per cent of Lithuanians had received educa­ tion beyond primary school. Although these figures reflect only reading skills, they nevertheless accurately convey that, despite the slow progress of industrialization, social mobility and urbanization, Lithuanians had stronger potential to develop native literary cultures and national elites than Belarusians or Ukrainians. Paradoxically, the relatively high rate of literacy among Lithuanians con­ trasted sharply with the small number of pupils attending state schools in Lithuania. According to some estimates, this number in Vilna and Kovno provinces was one of the lowest in the whole empire. Kovno province ranked seventy-fourth and Suwalki sixty-ninth among the eighty-nine provinces of Russia in the 1880s.38 There were only three gymnasia left in Lithuania - in Kovno, Shavli and Vilna - after 1863. The unusually high literacy was rather a consequence of a vast and efficient network of clandestine primary schools that sprung up in the Lithuanian countryside after 1863. Some authors claim there could have been as many as 4,800 clandestine schools in Kovno and Vilna provinces between 1864 and 1904.39 Despite official persecution, this network developed not only as a peasant response to the restrictions on the use of their native language, but also as a more economical alternative for primary education. Peasants preferred their children going to a clandestine, rather than a state school, because of its Catholic curricula and its proximity to their homes. These schools were run by a motley of self-educated persons called ‘daraktoriai’ [lit. doctors] who made their living travelling and teaching from one village to another. These secret schools often provided the first educational experience to the future members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia. One of ‘the patriarchs’ of the Lithuanian movement, Jonas Basanavičius, writes in his memoirs, ‘Having gained elementary reading skills with “daraktorius”, I started to eagerly partake in religious Sunday prayer singings with my relatives’.40 This well-developed illegal educational network created an increasing demand for different sorts of printed materials in the Lithuanian language that could not be satisfied by a few illegal printing presses in Lithuania. The

Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

9

result was the development of a vast black printing market of Lithuanian materials in neighbouring east Prussia. It also produced a first ethnic Lithuanian ‘reading public’: a network of printers, writers, distributors and readers who started sharing the same language.41 In Lithuanian histori­ ography, this development is named ‘the time of book smugglers’, a term that accurately reflects its importance for the gradual emergence of the Lithuanian national identity. If, in 1872, there were only three new titles and 17.000 copies printed in Prussia, in 1893 the numbers reached 45 titles and 168.000 copies. By 1896, there were 26 new titles and 187,000 copies.42 In 1901 alone, the Tsarist authorities seized almost 30,000 illegal publications in Lithuania, 90 per cent of which were in Lithuanian.43 Although most of the literature was of a religious nature (Catholic calendars, prayer books, bibles), from the early 1880s more and more secular materials (especially of Lithuanian periodicals such as Aušra, Tėvynės sargas [the Fatherland’s Guardian, 1896-1904], and Žemaičių ir Lietuvos Apžvalga [the Review of Samogitia and Lithuania, 1890-1896]) found their way across the imperial border. No wonder this lucrative printing market needed a great number of distributors in the interior of Lithuania. The majority of them saw it as a profitable business, but for some it also became an expression of their early patriotism.44 For the Lithuanian peasants these publications were the only available readings in their native language which facilitated their mass distri­ bution. Thus the first generation of Lithuanian intelligentsia originated in this milieu of the clandestine literary culture. The ‘patriotic movement’ of the Lithuanian gentry Many authors writing on the history of Lithuania in the nineteenth century agree that the birth of the patriotic movement should be sought after the reform of 1861.45 Yet others claim that even before the November rising of 1831 there was a group of individuals involved in patriotic study and agitation, and therefore the roots of the Lithuanian national movement are earlier.46 As a rule, the proponents of this argument point out that in the north-western region of Žemaitija (Samogitia), some members of the Lithuanian gentry became involved in various patriotic activities as early as in the 1830s. They shared their interest in the Lithuanian language, folk traditions and, especially, local history. Typical representatives of this early ‘patriotic movement’ such as folk-song collector Simonas Stanevičius, lin­ guist Dionizas Poška or their follower, historian Simonas Daukantas, who is considered a pioneer of modern Lithuanian historiography, should be given their due as intellectual harbingers of yet-to-come Lithuanian nationalism. In the 1850s—1860s some of their ideas were taken and developed by bishop Motiejus Valančius, another major figure with whose name the entire stage of the national movement is typically associated.47 Nevertheless, these early romantics and enlighteners hardly represented a coherent social or ideological community of patriots: there were too many

10 Lithuanian provinces in late nineteenth century

ideological, political and social divisions that separated them, as well as too few common cultural, intellectual or political visions that united them. Their numbers were small, and they heavily relied on sponsorship of great local landlords. These were the people who, despite their intellectual inclinations, still lived in the cultural world of the old Polish-Lithuanian elite. Although some of them wrote their works in Lithuanian, most of these treatises remained to be discovered and canonized by their intellectual compatriots only in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The Lithuanian interwar historian, Adolfas Šapoka, whose History o f Lithuania played a central role in the formation of modern Lithuanian identity, speaking about these gentry romantics, accurately points out: ‘while in love with their land, they were patriots of their old and perished state’.48 Thus a typical representative of this movement such as Poška had ‘a typical mentality of a resident of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of his time. He wrote primarily in Polish and he voiced no separatist or nationalist sentiments, nor did he have any notions of Lithuanian nationalism’.49 In 1826, Stanevičius in his letter to Poška urged the latter to write a poem to the deceased Tsar Alexander I. Though the language of the poem should have been Lithuanian, none of them seemed to question the Tsarist regime.50 The romantic vision of history of these early enlighteners already seemed quite odd and outdated to their more action-oriented successors such as bishop Valančius. Having read one of Daukantas’ romantic pseudohistorical works titled Istorija žemaitiška [Samogitian History], Valančius supposedly asked him, ‘Did you write it when you were drunk?’ referring to its excessive length of more than a thousand of pages and uncritical use of sources.31 It is rather ironic, but also symbolic, that these two central figures in the contemporary Lithuanian nation-building narrative parted without much sympathy to each other. Yet these few early patriots are not the concern of this volume for two major reasons. First, their work had only very limited repercussions on their intellectual contemporaries (the majority looked at them as provincial odd­ ities), let alone on Lithuanian society as a whole. And secondly, despite some personal friendships, they hardly formed a cohesive community of intel­ lectuals that shared a unanimous cultural, not to mention political, vision of Lithuania. Behind the rise of the mass national movement in Lithuania stood not these gentry romantics of the 1820s—1830s or those few scholars who developed an early interest in the language, culture and history of the Lithuanian people in the first half of the nineteenth century, but a generation of the secular intelligentsia who entered onto the historical stage in the 1870s—1890s. The patriotic Lithuanian elite as a coherent community of intel­ lectuals working in opposition to the Russian state emerged only with the onset of the Tsarist reforms and post-insurrectionary repressions. Their appearance was concurrent with the process of belated modernization and social change in the Western fringes of the Russian empire.

2

Provincials in the empire

The birth of the intelligentsia

Question of origins Some historians studying national movements among small East European nations traditionally distinguish between those ethnic groups that preserved their own traditional elites and ‘high cultures’, and those who inherited a so-called ‘incomplete social structure’. For the latter, it basically meant that either their landowning aristocracies were assimilated into a political or cul­ tural structure of a dominant ethnic group, or they failed to develop their native middle-class groups altogether. Even if it is difficult to find such clearcut divisions in every case, this distinction is useful in helping to differentiate individual cases. Thus, if the Poles clearly belong to the first group, then the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Latvians and Ukrainians belong to the second.1 Their intelligentsias had to develop not from their old landowning elites, who leaned heavily towards Polish or German cultures, but from the peasantry. Thus many consistently repeat that in Lithuania (as well as in Latvia or the Ukraine) there was a peasant national movement.2 Such a perspective trad­ itionally emphasizes the social origins of nationalist intelligentsias, bearing in mind that their values, outlook, or ‘class’ mentalities are derivatives of their social roots. However, in the light of the modernist perspective of nationalism and growing interest in the study of empires, institutional mechanisms for pro­ ducing these new elites merit as much attention as their social roots. If nationalism is a modern phenomenon brought about by forces of social mobilization and capitalism, and if the nationalist elites played such a central role in building nations, as we are told by modernist theorists, then the insti­ tutional approach to the study of nationalist elites is more than warranted. In other words, if the intelligentsia can be analysed as a social agency respon­ sible for generating national movements, then their own institutional origins deserve as much attention as their social background. The argument that intellectuals as a social group are initially produced by an empire and then made redundant by it is well familiar within a more general historical and sociological theory. Benedict Anderson was among the first to extend it to nationalist intellectuals by suggesting that ‘Creole

12

The birth o f the intelligentsia

pioneers’ of South America who initiated local national movements developed their irredentist identities frustrated by their stunted integration into the ruling circles of the Spanish empire.3 Similarly, Jerzy Jedlicki claimed that the rise of the Polish national intelligentsia was closely connected to the overproduction of young educated people in late imperial Russia in the early nineteenth century.4 He argues that it was these intellectuals, whose expectations of adequate employment and social advancement were frus­ trated, who came to be referred to as intelligentsia both in Russia and in Poland.5 The Lithuanian intelligentsia, along many other elites of the non-dominant ethnic groups, were a product of the modern educational system of late imperial Russia. Moreover, it was not so much the intelligentsia’s social, as primarily their institutional origins that transformed them into political opponents to the Tsarist state. In order to trace the roots of this transform­ ation, we need to examine the educational pilgrimages of the would-beintellectuals from an imperial periphery to Russian academic centres. These educational journeys (or ‘secular pilgrimages’) were of critical importance in forging their political views and national identities.6 Thus for the members of the nascent Lithuanian intelligentsia, it was their direct exposure to the modern intellectual culture of Moscow, St Petersburg and Warsaw that imbued their restive student enthusiasm with modern ideas of nationalism, liberalism and socialism. Their subsequent disillusionment with the limited professional prospects that the Tsarist state had to offer to them gradually turned them into political activists. Having discovered their inferior position in the ethnic, social and political structure of Russia, some of them turned to the search of their ethnic identity, national homeland and its people. On the one hand, this process of self-discovery led to the intelligentsia’s realization that they originated from a social and ethnic group whose inter­ ests were being denied by the state, and, therefore, they should act as guard­ ians of these interests. On the other hand, this transformation produced a social and cultural gap between the uneducated peasantry and the intelli­ gentsia as newly emerging urban elite. Even if this gap initially existed only in a symbolic realm, the world of ideas, it had a significant impact on the intelligentsia’s mentality. Thus, though these educational pilgrimages helped to form their political outlooks, at the same time, they distanced them from their native social milieu. It is important to emphasize here that the elite have developed their ideological and political mindset not so much in their native setting (as we so often are told by nationalist historians) but in the social and cultural scenery of the imperial metropolitan centres of the late nineteenth century. In other words, their political maturation can be viewed as a result of their migration experience.

The birth o f the intelligentsia

13

Demographic and occupational features of the intelligentsia The relatively small numbers of the secular intelligentsia were due to the educational and employment limitations imposed by the Russian government on non-dominant ethnic groups such as the Lithuanians. Hroch counted only about 260 members of the intelligentsia who were actively involved in the patriotic movement in the period around 1890.7 They were largely the people engaged in the publication and distribution of an illegal Lithuanian press: professionals, clergy and students. In 1897, there were only 2(843 ethnic Lithuanians who had more than a primary education.8 The Lithuanian newspaper Žemaičių ir Lietuvos Apžvalga claimed that in 1892 there were about 2,000 Lithuanians with gymnasium-level education in Russia.9 The first Lithuanian patriotic newspaper Aušra [the Dawn, 1883-1886] had only 74 contributors and never ran a circulation higher than 1,000, though hardly all of its readers belonged to the intelligentsia. The second most important periodica] Varpas [the Bell, 1889-1906] had 150 contributors and reached about 1,500-2,000 readers.10 In any case, since our interest is limited to the intellectuals involved in patriotic work, so called patriotic activists, we can presume that their numbers remained relatively low in the early stage of the movement. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, their ranks did not grow significantly. If in the Aušra period, students comprised about 40 per cent of all activists, after 1890 their share decreased to a mere 5 per cent." The majority of the Lithuanian intelligentsia came out from the academic youth most of the students of the 1880s had become graduate professionals by the turn of the century. The three main institutional sources of their production were gymnasia in the Lithuanian provinces, local Catholic theological semi­ naries and imperial universities. One can only assume that intelligentsia’s numbers should have increased after the turn of the century.12 The so-called literati dominated the patriotic intelligentsia. To them belonged people mostly of free professions (doctors, lawyers, writers, phar­ macists and teachers) who regularly contributed to the emerging Lithuanian press. As a result, the Lithuanian nationalist elite also had ‘an incomplete social structure’: there were very few technical specialists in its ranks, let alone financiers, traders, merchants, manufacturers, or officers. To a large extent, this reflected a low level of capitalist development in Lithuania at the turn of the century and repressive policies of the state which restricted their employment in native provinces. However, by the 1890s the absence of the ethnic Lithuanian middle class in Lithuania’s cities (which were heavily dominated by Poles and Jews) had opened some new vistas for those few Lithuanian doctors, lawyers or engi­ neers who resided in Lithuania. This small group of people appropriated some of the economic functions typical of the middle classes. The best known example is the engineer Petras Vileišis, who having moved to Vilna with his fortune of 830,000 roubles in 1899, established his own Lithuanian daily

14

The birth o f the intelligentsia

Vilniaus žinios (1904-1909), printing house, bookstore and a railway factory staffed by Lithuanian-speaking workers.13 He alone was responsible not only for the first significant ethnic Lithuanian penetration into the local economy, but also served as a sponsor who employed and supported almost one-third of the Lithuanian literati in the city. Another example is future president Kazys Grinius, an editor of the newspaper Varpas and one of the founders of the Farmers' Association in Mariampol in 1907, which had 700 members by 1913.14 A remarkable trend in the early history of the Lithuanian national move­ ment was the fact that the local clergy, who played a significant part in it prior to the period of Aušra, gradually lost their leadership to the secular intelli­ gentsia. Around 1890, Catholic priests still formed about 23 per cent of the patriotic intelligentsia.15 Among about 1,150 Catholic priests of Lithuanian origins, 86 per cent resided in the Lithuanian provinces in 1897.16 Because they worked mostly in the countryside, they often kept closer ties with peas­ ants than the secular and largely city-based intelligentsia. Their moderate patriotic wing, led by individuals such as Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas and Adomas Dambrauskas-Jakštas, had their own periodical Tėvynės sargas [the Fatherland’s Guardian, 1896-1904] and eagerly cooperated with the secular intellectuals. The most conservative group of the Catholic intelligentsia grouped around Žemaičių ir Lietuvos Apžvalga, notorious not only for its sharp criticism of the Catholics’ persecution by the Russian government, but also for its periodic attacks on the ‘godless’ secular Lithuanian intellectuals. Despite this, from the 1890s the clergy started to lag behind the secular intel­ ligentsia, serving at best as a conservative check on their political and social activism (for the complex relationship between clergy and secular intelligentsia see further this chapter). Generational conflict: sons versus parents The concept of the generational conflict as a stimulus for new forms of social and political action is often employed among social scientists.17 Brian Porter in his study on the Polish radical intelligentsia used it as a conceptual tool to trace a break in the ideological continuity between the Polish positivists that came after 1863, and the generation of so-called niepokorni [the defiant] that appeared in the 1880s.18 In Russia, Lewis Feuer used it to explain political radicalism of the Russian student movement in the late nineteenth century.19 This conflict was epitomized by Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons and the stormy public debate that followed its publication in 1862.20 Feuer places this conflict at the very heart of Russian political radicalism. He points out that its key features were ‘an emotional rebellion’ and ‘a rejection of the values of the older generation’.21 In Lithuania, the relationship between early patriots and their social milieu was less revolutionary and hostile but also complex. There was little ‘organic’ about it though, even if many nationalists historians claim otherwise. The

The birth o f the intelligentsia 15 elite’s diaries and memoirs reveal that their vocational paths often had to go through a conflict with their peasant milieu. The scale and frequency of the conflict suggest that it affected their individual identities and ideological bearings. At the core of this clash lay the patriot’s need to reconcile their intellectual universalism with their cultivation of ethnic particularism. The conflict developed from contrary expectations of peasants and their adolescent sons over their future professional careers. A career of priest served as the easiest and most accessible way to move to a higher so c ial category - an ideal cherished by many well-to-do peasants. Basamtvičius recalls how his mother pressed him to pursue this career after his graduation from a gymnasium (‘she used to tell me very often that I would make “a handsome priest” ’).22 In the world of the Lithuanian peasantry, Catholic priesthood retained the highest moral authority (in the contrast to the Russian bureaucracy that remained foreign and distant). Priesthood prom­ ised their offspring a better material and social life. Traditionally, the eldest son would inherit all farmland of the family, still the most important social unit in the economic life of the peasantry. It can also be expanded by suc­ cessful marriages of all daughters with well-to-do farmers, while the remain­ ing sons would be forced either to leave home with the hope of starting their independent farms, to immigrate overseas, or to seek a career as a professional.23 Those who were unable to pursue either of the above often had to stay and work for their elder brothers as labourers, and were considered social misfits. In his novel Pragiedruliai, Tumas-Vaižgantas creates a memorable character of Mykoliukas who, due to unfortunate circumstances, is obliged to live with and work as a slave for his older brother.24 To have one of the younger sons educated as a priest was a matter of social prestige and advantage. Priesthood also guaranteed a way of permanently securing a decent and fixed income. Among the other motives that prompted religious education was also the fact that, as one contemporary claimed, ‘the priest does not have a wife, a family, he is not so occupied, and he is more inclined to support his rela­ tives’.25 In Lithuania, the shortage of official vocational schools meant that a Catholic seminary often was the only available option for peasant educa­ tion.26 No wonder then that Apšvieta claimed in 1893, ‘the Lithuanian youth face two roads: either to the boring Russian clerk offices or to sombre clerical seminaries’.27 For the few peasant graduates of the gymnasia, who received a secondary yet secular education, their decision to challenge the parental expectations of priesthood would lead to a conflict with their families. Basanavičius writes: When having finished my gymnasium studies, I returned home, my father told me that I should not expect even a penny, if I refuse to go to [a Catholic Seminary in] Seinai. I spent all my holidays unhappy and dark as a cloud. Although I tried to change my parents’ mind by pointing out that there were too many priests, and one also needs other

16

The birth o f the intelligentsia

educated people, my mother would not listen. Only after long conversa­ tions and many tears shed, the father allowed me to travel to a foreign country - and I left to Moscow as a totally reborn person . . ,28 If Basanavičius persuaded his parents, others were not so lucky. The forfeit­ ing of their financial support could mean poverty and personal isolation. Another patriot, Juozas Bortkevičius, at the age of fifteen was solemnly cursed by his father and lost all his financial support for academic studies.29 When Povilas Višinskis, one of the founders of the Lithuanian Democratic Party (LDP), decided to go to university, his parents refused to approve his decision and reproached him for not entering a seminary.30 Throughout his student years in Moscow, he received only a very meagre financial support from them, which served as one of the reasons why in his middle twenties he developed tuberculosis. This is how a neighbour of the Višinskiai family recollects one of Povilas’ visits home: Unexpectedly we heard the news that Povilas is back... . His country house is full of people, noise, everybody laughing, humming. ‘Where is Povilas?’ I ask his mother. ‘He went to sleep to a barn’. ‘Why to the barn? It is so cold there’. ‘There are too many people here, all these dress­ makers, all beds are taken, he returned ill, it will be more peaceful for him to sleep on the hay . . .’ The words cut through my heart like a knife, if he wished to become a priest, the beds had not been taken . . . he would not have to sleep in such cold.31 The role of the social misfit had to be accepted and internalized, or rejected through the adoption of a different kind of outlook. Socialist Steponas Kairys refused to abide his father to pursue a career of a cleric.32 Another socialist (later Bolshevik) Zigmas Angarietis who came from a rich peasant family of Suwalki province radically cut his ties not only with his father but also with his brothers and sisters.33 Liberal Petras Klimas also had to go through such a conflict, which he later ironically described as ‘the classical dilemma, which could not be avoided by almost all of gymnasium pupils - to go to the [Seinai] seminary or to return back to pig tending’.34 Vincas Kudirka, one of the patriotic leaders and an inspirational model for other patriots, also had to go through a bitter conflict with his dictatorial father Motiejus. The father never forgave the son for choosing a non-priestly career. His biographer suggests that Kudirka’s patriotic and almost fanatic dedication to the national movement was also shaped by his hatred of the patriarchal figure of the father, who was a religious fanatic and ‘a true ortho­ dox Catholic’.35 Unhappy that he was not able to make a priest out his eldest son, his father ‘felt deeply sad’. He requested the son to go to a notary, so that he could sign papers that he is not going to take anything more from home and that he would provide his father with a legal proof that he received 2,000 roubles from him’.36 At the time Kudirka was already lying in a bed dying

The birth o f the intelligentsia

17

from consumption caused by his poverty: ‘I’m dying here and he drags me from a bed to sign the papers’.” What did inspire the sons to challenge their parents? Basanavičius left a noteworthy description of his intellectual development from a youngster who used to entertain his parents with religious singing to an adolescent, conscious of his secular intellectual leanings: Until grade four, I used to be a very religious fellow and often thought about a religious seminary. But after the holidays, when I had a chance to read Polish translation of ‘Bostwo Jezusa Chrystusa’ by French author A. Nicolas who was arguing with E. Renan and criticizing his book ‘Vie de Jėzus’, I felt that something started changing inside me . .. Since from the early years I was a very curious child, drawn by a distant unknown world.38 The local gymnasium, only occasionally staffed with some Lithuanian­ speaking teachers, despite its heavily pro-Russian curriculum, was as a hotbed of secular ideas that pulled the peasant youth away from priesthood. The graduation diploma received by Basanavičius from the Marijampolė gym­ nasium in 1873 pointed out that he received good or excellent marks not only in religious education (Zakon Bozhjij) but also in Latin, Greek, German, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian languages, Russian and Polish histories, algebra, geometry and physics.39 A former candidate to a Catholic seminary, Petras Kriaučiūnas, who, from 1881 to 1888, taught in Marijampolė, was credited by many of the Lithuanian intelligentsia as the person responsible for ‘conversion’, meaning both secularization and Lithuanization, of about one-third of the Lithuanian patriots. Hence in his memoirs, Grinius draws a list that includes 80 pupils of Kriaučiūnas, among them prominent activists of the Lithuanian movement such as J. Andziulaitis, J. Bagdonas, J. Jablonskis, Kudirka, P. Leonas and many others.40 One of the consequences of these personal transformations was a decline of the church influence among the Lithuanian youth. This tension between Catholic conservatism and modernizing secularism would remain a perman­ ent feature of patriot’s identities. It was common both among liberals and socialists.41Antanas Smetona, an excellent student in a gymnasium, was pres­ sured by a Catholic priest to enter a seminary by offering him ‘a gift of 100 roubles’. After some painful deliberations, Smetona chose a university, a decision that involved cheating the priest with a help of a local clerk who agreed to provide a proof that his application to the seminary was well beyond a deadline.42 In his memoirs, Grinius attempts to explain the declining influence of the church by pointing to inability of local priests to adjust to changes in the countryside and their late response to ‘the national struggle of Lithuanians’43 Yet the generational conflict was partly responsible for a typical feature of the early Lithuanian intelligentsia - their poor material condition. For many,

18

The birth o f the intelligentsia

the conflict meant constant starvation, deprivation and bad health. The his­ tory of the Lithuanian movement is full of stories of early deaths of patriots caused by consumption and deprivation: Kudirka, P. Višinskis, J. Biliūnas, P. Arminas, J. Mačys-Kėkštas and many others died in their twenties. Strangely, in the local contemporary narratives of nation-making their early deaths are often presented as part of heroic nationalist struggle. Nevertheless, the uncertain future in a foreign university for many was still preferable to the career of a Catholic priest or a social misfit. Given an opportunity, and often minima! material support, the peasant sons embarked on their educational pilgrimages to cities where their identities became moulded in new ways. The intelligentsia as a student movement The emergence of the secular intelligentsia became possible as a result of the new educational opportunities that opened to the Lithuanian-born young males around the middle of the nineteenth century. As early as 1836, Moscow University had agreed to admit several students from the Vilna educational district. Between 1883 and 1893, fifty-six Lithuanian students entered Moscow University with these scholarships. According to some estimates, between 1833 and 1917, more than 2,000 Lithuanians studied at Moscow University alone.44 There were also about ten scholarships for Lithuanians from Suwalki province each year with a value of 350 roubles, and they were administered by the Warsaw educational district. Throughout the 1880s, there could have been about twenty-five students from the Lithuanian provinces annually.45 If the first generation of Lithuanian youth came largely from the families of gentry, this gradually changed after 1863. From the early 1870s, peasantborn graduates from Lithuania flocked to the main Russian universities in pursuit of secular careers. Of all the Lithuanian students, about 80 per cent were of peasant origins at the turn of the century - a figure suggesting a sharp contrast with the pre-reform period.46 Around the year 1870, Lithuanians established their first semi-legal student society at Moscow University. In his memoirs, Grinius claims that between 1886 and 1893, there were fifty-eight members in this society.47 Significantly, almost 80 per cent of them came from Suwalki province (thirty-two from the Mariampol and six from Suwalki gymnasia).48 The society acquired its patri­ otic colouring from the early 1880s. The most popular professions among the Lithuanian students were medicine and law, while only some chose the sci­ ences, engineering and humanities. Among the fifty-eight students of the society, more than two-thirds became doctors, pharmacists, or lawyers. Their choice of profession was primarily determined by the tendencies of the labour market in late imperial Russia and, particularly, by the rigid employ­ ment restrictions in the Lithuanian provinces. Only people of free professions could expect employment in their native provinces as private practitioners. Since the state was the main employer of fresh university graduates, they depended heavily on its grace. Due to the industrial underdevelopment of the

The birth o f the intelligentsia

19

north-western region, there were hardly any openings in industry, transport, commerce or banking for the Lithuanians. As a result of the post-1863 forced integration, Lithuanian students could not expect many jobs in the civil sector or in the judicial and educational systems of their native provinces. Thus, as late as 1897, about half of the Lithuanian medical graduates had to find jobs in other Russian provinces.49 For example, after his graduation, Basanavičius, one of the founders of the Lithuanian movement, tried unsuc­ cessfully to practise as a doctor in Moscow, but was soon forcejĮ to take a position in a newly created Bulgaria in need of specialists in the late 1870s.50 Engineer Petras Vileišis, before his return to Vilna, had to take up a state job in Greater Russia. In their academic pilgrimages, Lithuanian students were drawn to each other not so much by their love of homeland and its people, as because it was a common practice among students coming from the same province to con­ gregate in separate semi-legal societies.51 The emerging sense of camaraderie and community among individuals who shared similar social roots and lan­ guage was a likely result of the prolonged stay in a foreign milieu. The fact that they knew each other from their time in the gymnasia only strengthened their communal ties. Grinius observed that ‘the main purpose’ of this student society was ‘self-support, entertainment, and getting together’.52 Their mem­ bers gathered to socialize, shared food packages from home, played cards and sang folk songs. Their club resembled a self-supporting union: they shared books from private libraries, accommodation, meals and provided financial assistance to their poorest compatriots. Significantly, as early as the 1860s, there was as yet no clear-cut distinction between Polish and Lithuanian students. Both groups often belonged to the same student societies, used Polish as their vernacular and were perceived by others as Catholics. Basanavičius, who kept his early diary in Polish, recalled that Lithuanian students were gladly accepted in these mixed societies as ‘rodacy’ [natives] and only a few of them who kept aloof were nicknamed ‘litvins’.53 However, from the 1870s some of the Lithuanian youths from Suwalki province already preferred each other’s company to these mixed societies. Basanavičius writes that ‘. . . persons from one or another province, one or another gymnasium kept together, partied, visited each other for a song, chat, beer, or tea . . .’.54 Just a few years after his arrival to Moscow in 1886, another student already found a Lithuanian student organization there, ‘which cut its ties with the Polish society’, and, instead, decided to side with Latvian students.55 By the 1880s, one of the features of the Lithuanian student community in Moscow was its isolation from similar associations of students of other ethnic groups. According to one memoir, if Latvians, as a rule, were active in different Russian student movements, Lithuanians kept themselves aloof.56 When most of the Moscow University students protested against the decision of Alexander III to introduce reactionary measures against students, the

20

The birth o f the intelligentsia

Lithuanian society refused to join the protest. Petras Klimas, who studied in Moscow between 1907 and 1914, admitted, ‘studies .. . consumed my five years here. My acquaintances were not very impressive to o .. . . I did not forge any connections, not to speak of friendships, with Russians during the time’.57 Despite their partly self-imposed and partly culturally conditioned isol­ ation from the social life of the Russian capital, the Lithuanian students managed to transform themselves from a group of half-educated peasants into a modern urban elite with a well-developed national consciousness. This transformation took place not so much in the radical circles and literary salons of Russian society but in the lecture halls, libraries, study rooms of metropolitan universities and their own meetings and discussions. It required self-discipline, persistence and dedication. Their thirst for knowledge is well reflected in the numerous passages in their diaries devoted to their academic readings, while only limited space, as a rule, is reserved for descriptions of their social and private lives. Klimas, having learned from his Russian profes­ sor that one could perhaps find only one person among a thousand socialist critics who had fully read Marx’s Capital, set the task for himself ‘to be the second one’, and completed not only three volumes of Capital, but also nine volumes of Kant.58 Basanavičius spent endless hours researching Russian archival collections on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Moscow. Nevertheless, the Russian radical thought made deep inroads in the minds of many Lithuanian students. It was, especially, evident in its call ‘to return to the people’. This idea, though it did not lead to any organized trips to the countryside, was particularly attractive to the younger generation of Lithuanian patriots. Yet their ‘return’ was different than as understood by the romantic Basanavičius who preferred a secluded study of people’s customs and history in a library room to the active social work. The direction charted by Russian narodniki called for the social progressive action, refusal to admit the post-reformative status quo and the increased awareness of the social issue. Early Lithuanian radical Stasys Matulaitis admitted how in 1888 he was moved by the public address of writer Lev Tolstoy to the Russian intelligentsia to educate themselves before ‘going to people’, T heard the words of Tolstoy and received from his hands a copy of the address. This made a remarkable impression on me. Having critically examined myself, I came to the conclusion that my knowledge was still inadequate’.59 His readings included most of the Russian democratic and radical thinkers, writers and poets: Chernyshevski, Dobrolubov, Gertsen, Dostoyevski, Nekrasov (the latter was soon discarded after Matulaitis found his panegyric to the Vilna governor Muraviev, the suppressor of the 1863 revolt in Lithuania) and many others. Liberal Felicija Bortkevičienė indulged herself in reading of Chernyshevski’s What is to Be Done, the secular bible of the Russian radical youth of the time, which inspired her with positivist ideas of self-education, social work and feminist emancipation.60 In Moscow, Jonas Šliūpas established personal ties with the

The birth o f the intelligentsia

21

Russian radical organizations Narodnaia volia and Chiornyiperedel for which he was ejected from the university and imprisoned.61 The Lithuanian youth in Russian universities viewed Russian radicals as models for their own education and political activism. As one of the first Lithuanian socialists, Mykolas Biržiška, wrote: For the Lithuanians, who were forced into the Russian schools, Russian writers . . . were almost the only sources of their education^in litera­ ture, art, psychology, humanism and they helped to form their ideo­ logical views. To a smaller or greater extent, they affected the maturing Lithuanian youth, most often disoriented in the context of Russian culture and literature, which was foreign to us.62 This cultural foreignness of the Lithuanian student community did not necessarily translate into its intellectual isolation. During their study years at imperial universities, they developed a mindset typical to other intelligentsias of the late Russian empire. What Isaiah Berlin said about the Russian intelli­ gentsia as a group of young men, 'self-conscious bearers of a western mes­ sage’ who ‘tended to feel a certain solidarity simply because they were so few and far between’, and who found themselves placed between a repressive regime and an ‘uncomprehending mass’ of peasants, can be applied equally well to the patriotic Lithuanian intelligentsia.63 More importantly, they became a semi-urban elite equipped with a Western-type of education with high expectations about their professional careers. Like many non-dominant ethnic elites of Russia, most of the Lithuanian intelligentsia were trilingual, able to speak, read and write in Lithuanian, Polish and Russian. Through their university years, most also developed a good knowledge of Western European languages and cultures, especially of German, and strong interests in Western intellectual traditions. Edward Shils, speaking about movements of intellectuals in undeveloped countries, distinguishes two generations of intellectuals.64 He argues that traditionally, in most cases, the first generation were the people of liberal (constitutional) outlook and religious-moral renewal whose major concern was not political goals or secular social reforms but rather ‘cleansing of the cultural - religious inheritance of their society from what they claimed were historically accidental accretions’. The second generation of intellectuals in these countries were more radical in their ideological outlook. They were less fascinated by the West than their predecessors, albeit eager to adapt ideas of socialism and nationalism to their native societies. There is a remarkable similarity between what Shils describes as the first generation of the intellectuals and the generation of scholars involved in Hroch’s phase A (‘the period of scholarly interest’).65 In both cases we speak either about a small group of scholars passionately concerned with the study of language, folklore, culture and history of ethnic groups in Eastern Europe or about the moralizing religious intellectuals of the colonial world. They

22

The birth o f the intelligentsia

were the people whose major preoccupation was the moral renewal of their nations. These individuals were, in the first instance, enlighteners or ‘dis­ coverers’ of their nations and in most cases they did not command wide­ spread social influence until their works had been discovered by subsequent generations. Their world outlook remained largely romantic and liberal. As a result, their understanding of the politics of nationhood was more universalist and inclusive in regard to other ethnic groups that resided within the boundaries of their imagined ethnic homelands. These intellectuals were of a very different breed from the second gener­ ation. The latter were more sceptical towards the pseudo-scientific romantic rhetoric of their predecessors and more interested in the diffusion of the ideas of liberalism, nationalism and socialism among the masses. Their world out­ look was more positivist, pragmatic, less concerned with historical debates on identity and more with the ideas of social progress and political activism. More importantly, they succeeded in establishing closer political, social and cultural ties with their national grouping, which could not be said about their predecessors. Their visionary boundaries of the nation came to be defined in much more rational and exclusivist terms by which the highest law governing human societies became the law o f ‘ethnos’. The character of the first generation of the Lithuanian secular intelligentsia, born roughly between the 1840s and 1870s, has been shaped by the tradition of Polish romantics, especially those who referred back to the political trad­ ition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They were essential readings for the first generation of Lithuanian intellectuals. Its typical representative Basanavičius recalled: My first knowledge of the Lithuanian past 1 received from my father; it was about the serfdom in our country. A little later my guides became ‘Kronika polska, litewska, zmodzka’ by Stryjkowski, Guagnini, Dlugosz, Cromer, and other chroniclers. Later works of Kraszewski heavily influ­ enced me.66 Their romantic outlook was reflected in their strong interest in the tradition of Landespatriotismus as well as pseudo-scientific theories of the origins of nations. Hence, on the basis of some limited linguistic resemblances between Lithuanian and Greek languages, Basanavičius attempted to prove that the Lithuanians had descended from the ancient tribe of Trakians. For the younger generation of the Lithuanian patriots, born in the 1870s1880s, who developed more positivist, scientific and radical outlooks, such ‘theories’ often became an object of ridicule. Thus radical writer Jonas Biliūnas lamenting the wasted patriotic efforts, wrote: ‘and how many put their scientific knowledge and efforts into this totally useless work; some are researching small details of the Lithuanian past and its relationship with Greece and the Trakians using a dubious methodology and unknown assumptions’.67

The birth o f the intelligentsia

23

The Lithuanians who went to universities in the late 1880s-1890s developed different intellectual concerns from the earlier generation. The youngsters were more reserved towards humanitarian disciplines such as history, litera­ ture and linguistics, and more fascinated with studies in economy, politics and sciences. If the generation of Basanavičius read widely and eclectically the Polish romantics (especially Mickiewicz, Syrokomla and Slowacki), ‘Sturm und Drang’ poets, German philosophers, as well as Byron, Garibaldi, Kossuth and other romantics and nationalists - the generation that came after them were more disposed to social criticism, represented by tfe Western liberalism of D. Ricardo, A. Smith and J. S. Mill, or socialists Marx, Engels and Liebknecht.68 The gradual transformation that took place in the identities of the students was reflected both in their changing self-perceptions and their evolving views on their parent milieu. Every summer they would journey back to their home­ land only to discover that their relationship to the world of their relatives unexpectedly acquired new perspectives. One of them describes an incident that occurred between him and his relatives after his return home during one of these trips: . . . After my eldest brother invited me from Moscow to his wedding, I refused to drink a toast to the happiness and health of the young couple, though they seated me in the most honourable place next to the bride. Priests and the older generation became angry with such a stubborn student: it seemed to me that one should not compromise on this issue as there is no such thing as half-truth, there is no half-abstinence.69 The years spent at university provided the student with a new perspective on the drinking habits of his native circle, set him apart in the eyes of his people, and distanced him from a peasant milieu. The Lithuanian peasant writer Julija Žemaitė grasped this tendency well when she wrote in 1908: ‘[the student] differs from his people and he has different views. Traditions of compatriots seem to him brutal, ill mannered, language is rough, houses look scruffy, meals are dirty and everything seems to be wrong’.70 The summer journeys back home for many were not only the chance to see their families, but also a time to earn some money to finance their studies. As a rule, many tried to secure a tutor’s position in Polish-speaking gentry families. A contemporary complained, a Lithuanian student does not stay with his family, but ‘in summer with some gentry leaves somewhere to teach their children’.71 Basanavičius used to spend his summers working as a private doctor among the Polish gentry in Suwalki province (‘Having moved to Vilkaviškis, I was treating Miss Jastrzgbska . . . and Miss Jagni^tkowska’). Another leader of he movement, Kudirka tried to improve his knowledge of the Polish at the Dambrowicz family.72 The student hero of Jurgis Gaidamavičius’ story ‘Antanas Valys’ goes to teach children of the local gentry family, whose youngest daughter falls in love with the young tutor.7’

24

The birth o f the intelligentsia

The students did not spend their time educating peasant children, and it was not coincidental: the summer spent in the middle-class milieu served as a good opportunity to reinforce their self-respect and the new social status in the eyes of the local gentry. This was also reflected in numerous marriages between the aspiring peasant graduates and local gentry women. Among the contributors to Ausra and Varpas there were twenty-eight known cases of such marriages (for these marriages see Chapter 5).74 Geographical displacement, centres of patriotic activity and ‘the lost intelligentsia’ The limited employment opportunities of the Lithuanian intelligentsia resulted in their geographical dispersion across all parts of the Russian empire. This had serious negative consequences for the national movement as a whole and was instrumental in shaping a number of its special features. A distinguishing trait of the early Lithuanian movement was that its main geographic centres of activity were to be found outside Lithuania. According to the 1897 census, more than one-third of all the intelligentsia resided outside Lithuania.75 Among the literati, this number was higher than 60 per cent.74 Only after the legalization of the Lithuanian press in 1904 did a sig­ nificant migration of Lithuanian intellectuals to the Lithuanian provinces begin, first of all, to Vilna. Moscow University, as already suggested, was the most significant centre of activity for the Lithuanian intelligentsia prior to 1904. Most importantly, Moscow was the hotbed for the core group of the intelligentsia who were behind the organization and publication of the first Lithuanian newspaper Ausra in Tilsit in 1883.77 The second most active group was attached to the University of St Petersburg. Among the most prominent members of this group was the above-mentioned P. Vileisis. In 1888, V. Kudirka, another leader of the movement, formed a student society ‘Lithuania’ in Warsaw. Other less significant centres formed at the University of Dorpart (Tartu), and the Mitau (Jelgava) gymnasium in Courland. The two most important hubs of patriotic activity inside Lithuania were Mariampol and Vilna. Mariampol drew the intelligentsia due to the presence of active Lithuanian pupils in the local gymnasium as well as the fact that their several leaders found employment in Suwalki province. Meanwhile, Vilna became the hotbed for the first Lithuanian socialists actively involved in agitation among city workers. Although there were some small-scale patriotic activities among pupils of the theological seminaries and other schools in the Lithuanian provinces and in Prussian border towns, prior to the mid-1880s most of the patriots remained outside Lithuania. Hroch suggests that the absence of a strong centre of patriotic life within the territory of Lithuania, and the resulting fragmentary nature of the early national movement, belated the whole movement.78 The dividing administra­ tive order in the Lithuanian provinces (only Vilna and Kovno provinces

The birth o f the intelligentsia

25

belonged to the so-called north-western region, while Suwalki was adminis­ tered as a part of Congress Poland) was another disintegrating factor, since only in Kovno province were Lithuanians a clear majority among other ethnic groups. However, the major consequence of the displacement was that the Lithuanian intelligentsia, forced to reside outside Lithuania, as a result, pre­ served only limited links with the Lithuanian population and remained largely an isolated social group. As late as 1912, a radical writer wrote, ‘There is no question that our intelligentsia have a very weak connection with the people. The intelligentsia live their life, while the people live their own’.79 Similar voices were heard all over the patriotic press prior to World War l.80 Another negative effect was that only a small part of those Lithuanian students who entered the Russian universities emerged from them as patriotic activists. A great number became integrated into Russian and Polish cultures, chose politics of a different form (socialism), or became totally apolitical, preferring instead the pursuit of their personal lives and professional careers. Thus a contemporary lamented the situation: Nobody has remained in their homeland except a dozen men who alone are pursuing cultural work in Lithuania and who are true members of the intelligentsia. Former patriots of Lithuania, having found warm places, scattered all across Russia, they forgot their ideals and like moles hid themselves from the light of the rising homeland.81 Basanavičius recalls that among the large group of Lithuanian students in Moscow, there were several who sided with the Polish national movement and changed their Lithuanian surnames into Polish ones. As a consequence, Puišis became Pujszewski, Andriukaitis became Andrzejewski, while others assimilated into the Russian culture through their marriages with Russian women.82 There were even cases of some converting to Orthodoxy.83 During their studies at imperial universities, many Lithuanians abandoned their language and culture because they could not resist the temptation to assimilate into the dominant culture of the empire. Their diaries and memoirs tell that this was a widespread phenomenon. It was also quite common among other ethnic elites coming from the imperial peripheries, such as among Latvians.84 The occurrence o f ‘the lost intelligentsia’, the term exten­ sively used by the patriots themselves, was so painful to some that it has been described as ‘a tragedy of the nation’. One of them suggested that ‘in com­ parison with the overall number of the Lithuanian intelligentsia, there are only a very few who belong to our movement’.85 Another scornfully wrote about those young and educated who lost their ties with homeland and became ‘strangers to everyone, members of the semi-intelligentsia’.86 Education in the traditional tsarist society entailed power, if not political, then at least symbolic or intellectual power. For many young Lithuanians, their education opened doors socially. As skilled and qualified professionals,

26

The birth o f the intelligentsia

they were drawn away from the traditional peasant world of their parents towards more refined Russian and Polish cultures. At the turn of the century, the concept of ‘ethnic Lithuanian culture’ barely existed. It still had to be created and articulated by the new elite. No wonder that at the time it seemed hardly an attractive form of identification for some young and educated Lithuanians. Hence the Lithuanian poet Juozas Baltrušaitis made his artistic career as a Russian symbolist and discovered his ethnic roots only after 1918. At the same time, a patriotic activist such as Vincas Mickevicius-Kapsukas gradually abandoned his early national ideals and became fully involved with the Russian Bolsheviks (in 1919 he became a head of the LithuanianBelarusian Socialist Republic). In 1910, a Lithuanian critic wrote that ‘our type of intellectual is on the brink of losing his ethnicity’.87 Thus the process of de-Lithuanization went parallel to nation-building. A u šra

and Varpas: first communities of th e lite r a ti

The ideological differences between the two generations of the intelligentsia were well reflected in the appearance of the two most important Lithuanian patriotic periodicals of the early period: Aušra (1883-1886) and Varpas (1889-1906). Their emergence marked the beginnings of patriotic agitation and the birth o f ‘the Lithuanian public man’. Behind their publication stood the cohort of the former Lithuanian students who now embarked on new careers as literati. The significance of Aušra and Varpas cannot be under­ estimated: if the political boundaries of Lithuania were dictated by World War I, its cultural contours were charted in the pages of these two news­ papers. Both assembled and sustained two small elite communities who increasingly spoke on behalf of the whole nation. Although the numbers of patriots involved in them, as mentioned, were quite small and their circula­ tions never reached more than a few thousand, they were the first coherent press communities of intellectuals who shared similar ideological visions and a sense of unity.88 This sense was strengthened by the fact that both periodicals were ille­ gal and were published outside the Lithuanian provinces, in East Prussia. Conspiratory practices, such as the use of literary pseudonyms, and their illegal distribution through a network of book-smugglers only increased a feeling of comradeship among the intelligentsia. Both newspapers played a key role in defining their sense of collective purpose and recruiting new people into the ranks of the patriots. Even though some activists worked in both Aušra and Varpas, and there was an ideological continuity between the two newspapers, their editors rep­ resented patriots of different generations and outlooks. Aušra came to life in 1883 as a result of the efforts of Basanavičius and Jurgis Zaurveinas. The first issue was written almost entirely by Basanavičius who also served as its first editor. Since most of the time he was based in Bulgaria, the publication and distribution were taken care of by J. Miksas, J. Šliūpas, M. Jankus and

The birth o f the intelligentsia

27

J. Andziulaitis, all serving as editors at different times. Among its most active contributors were V. Pietaris, P. Vileišis, M. Davainis-Silvestraitis, A. Višteliauskas and P. Kriaučiūnas. As some authors claim, Aušra hardly had anything as coherent as a polit­ ical or social programme.89 It had an openly cultural agenda. The first editorial claimed, ‘our most important concern will be to spread among the brothers knowledge of ancient works of our kin as well as our works as contemporary Lithuanians’.90 In the same issue, Basanavičius pledged not to touch ‘foreign politics’. Instead, Aušra’s major concern had to be fostering of Lithuanian national consciousness, culture and language through the study of the Lithuanian past. In his memoirs, Basanavičius also acknowledged the limited, mostly educational, aims of the newspaper.91 Thus Aušra was a typical romantic project to express largely cultural views of the early generation of the secular intelligentsia. Its pages were filled with patriotic poems of the Lithuanian students, pseudo-historical treatises and polemical works on the Lithuanian past. Its language, based primarily on the dialect spoken in Suwalki province (the majority of its contributors came from the province), was still far from the standard Lithuanian that would emerge only in the first decade of the twentieth century. The first enthusiastic responses to the emergence of Aušra came primarily from the patriots them­ selves and a few farmers in Samogitia.92 Its popular impact on the masses of Lithuanian peasantry was rather limited. Nevertheless, Aušra charted a path for the cultural and political activism of the educated Lithuanian youth. The imaginary boundaries of the first community of patriots came alive in its pages. For many, Aušra sparked self-discovery of their ethnic roots and a sense of nationhood. One of the ideological leaders of the movement, Kudirka, who in his early private correspondence with Basanavičius and other Lithuanian intellectuals used Polish, recalled his emotions on reading the first issue of Aušra: . . . I received the first issue of Aušra. I looked and saw the name of Basanavičius on the front page. ‘Prophet’, I thought about him already in Lithuanian. I hurriedly started turning pages and . . . I already don’t remember what was happening with me . . . I just remember how I stood up, turned my head down afraid to raise my eyes to the walls of my little room . . . It seemed to me as if I heard the voice of Lithuania accusing me and at the same time forgiving: and you wanderer, where have you been until now? Then I became so sad that I wrapped my hands around my head on the table and wept.93 Such self-discoveries were rare, but they amounted almost to religious con­ versions. Perhaps this one reflects Kudirka’s later effort to immortalize its significance for the rhetoric of the nation-builders, but there is no doubt that Aušra served as a major catalyst for patriotic efforts of the intelli­ gentsia. As a contemporary put it in his memoirs, ‘there were quite a few

28

The birth o f the intelligentsia

Lithuanians who in this way were woken up by Aušra from their national sleep’.94 The other notable feature of the Aušra period was that, at this stage, the intelligentsia congregated around the periodical without developing any sig­ nificant political divisions in their ranks. In the eyes of its publishers, Aušra was intended as a patriotic newspaper for the whole nation. The first serious division that occurred as a consequence of Aušra was between the secular patriots and Catholic priests. Although its leaders like Basanavičius and P. Vileišis never approved of the split, they were also unable to prevent it.95 There is a debate among the Lithuanian historians as to whether the division occurred due to the somewhat eccentric J. Šliūpas - the main editor of Aušra from 1884 and a reputed ‘atheist’ - or whether it reflected a more general conflict that came about due to ideological differences between the intelli­ gentsia and the clergy.96 While some of the clergy contributed eagerly to early issues of Aušra, they soon became angered by a number of articles by Šliūpas who questioned their leadership in the Lithuanian society.97 This led bishop Antanas Baranauskas (Baranowski) to express his public indignation with Aušra in Przeglpd katolicki (The Catholic Observer] - the view soon to be supported by most Catholic priests in Lithuania. The split helped further to project the boundaries of the secular patriotic community and signalled a political split between the secular liberals and the conservatives led by the clergy. As a response to Aušra, clergy started publishing their own period­ icals such as the archconservative Žemaičių ir Lietuvos Apžvalga (1890) and the more moderate Tėvynės sargas (1896). Although they defended the Lithuanians in the face of Russification, their primary concern was the dis­ semination of Christian values among the peasantry, not their Lithuanization. As a result, from the mid-1880s, the political initiative passed into the hands of the secular intelligentsia. From now on, their relationship with the church would be marked by an uneasy tension. The second major split that occurred as a result of the appearance of Aušra was the emergence of the first signs of Polish-Lithuanian rivalry. Despite their cultural and educational goals, Aušra's editors soon became embroiled in a polemical exchange with Dziennik Poznanski [The Poznan Daily], which ran an angry article about the Lithuanian movement ridiculing its cultural aspirations.98 Although initially this rivalry took the form of an endless series of mutual recriminations about history and culture, in its last years, Aušra started expressing some clearly anti-Polish sentiment. Basanavičius and Šliūpas were especially eager to emphasize historical and cultural differ­ ences between the two ethnic groups. They exerted great efforts at tracing ‘the golden age’ of the Lithuanian nation prior to the medieval Christian period of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while the subsequent union between Poland and Lithuania (in 1385, reinforced in 1569) came to be seen as ruin­ ous. The cultural self-perception of the patriotic Lithuanians thus came to be defined by juxtaposing key elements such as language, culture and history against the Poles. This was a claim that demanded a share of the common

The birth o f the intelligentsia

29

Polish-Lithuanian past and lay the ideological foundations of the Lithuanian nationalism. The Polish-Lithuanian rivalry was transformed, however, into a full-scale political conflict by the younger generation of the Lithuanians, who stood behind Varpas. It was this monthly published in 1889 that expanded this rivalry from the historical and cultural battlefield onto the political and eco­ nomic. Varpas was born from the initiative of a small circle of the Lithuanian students at Warsaw University. It was established by Kudirka wjho was its chief editor and the moving spirit. After the bankruptcy of Aušra in 1886, which had to survive mostly from small donations of individual patriots, there was a need for a new periodical devoted to the secular intelligentsia." In one of his letters to Basanavičius, Kudirka tried to persuade him not to revive Aušra, but to establish a new monthly. Kudirka pointed to the fact that Aušras reception among the Lithuanian clergy was too negative, and that the latter needed to be attracted to the cause of the national movement.100 Eventually Varpas became the most prominent patriotic publication of the 1890s. It mobilized not only the circle of former Lithuanian students who formed its ideological core, but also some members of the older generation and even patriotic priests. However, the leaders of the Aušra period, such as Basanavičius, Šliūpas and Davainis-Silvestraitis had abandoned their ideo­ logical stewardship in Varpas to the new generation of patriots. The fact that Varpas, like Aušra, had to be published illegally and outside Lithuania also limited its direct impact on the larger population. Varpas was published in Tilsit (Sovetsk) and Ragnit (Neman) in East Prussia. Among its first 125 subscribers, 44 were clerical students from Seinai.101 The first serious test of its durability came between 1895 and 1897 when most of the clergy discontinued their cooperation and subscriptions after a series of articles against the Pope and the negative role of the church in the Lithuanian movement. Nevertheless, due to the individual efforts and personal dona­ tions from some of its most devoted supporters, Varpas was able to survive until 1906. In contrast with Aušra, intended more for popular readership, Varpas was designed primarily for the intelligentsia. Notably, its first editorial launched a self-reflective and highly moralizing critique of the elite’s situation in 1889: It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is nothing more difficult for the Lithuanian intelligentsia than to behave according to the needs of Lithuanianess, and no easier thing than to forsake a spirit in their work. Only after unleashing this criticism, the editor Grinius lay down the aims of Varpas: The newspaper will be open to all Lithuanian voices, true patriots of the homeland. . . . We will reject all projects relating to and conceived by one or other group of Lithuanians, because our goal is to serve Lithuania,

30

The birth o f the intelligentsia

not the different parties . . . Our goal and the purpose is to teach Lithuanians to think in Lithuanian, to stir them up and call them for work, to show them how they should behave, to delineate the road which they could follow and say: ‘We are the Lithuanians!’ to raise the material and spiritual condition of Lithuania, to shake off from them their incomprehensible attraction to foreign nations. . . ,102 Hence, Varpas represented the birth of self-reflective undercurrent among the Lithuanian intelligentsia, something quite unfamiliar to the circle of aušrininkai. The euphoria of the first generation, eager to credit themselves as pioneers of the Lithuanian movement, was replaced by a more sombre realiz­ ation that the patriots’ community was small, fragmented, geographically dispersed, socially isolated and lacking in self-awareness. This was a sobering alert in the face of a gruesome reality. This tendency was reflected in the introduction of a number of new themes in Varpas. In 1889, Kudirka, pointing to the weak ties between the intelli­ gentsia and society, complained that ‘in half a year we received only six articles from our correspondents and almost all of them came from the same place. . . . Today we collect all news about Lithuania from foreign news­ papers’.103 Another contributor sounded an alarm by pointing out that the Lithuanian elite are in danger due to the lack of the Lithuanian-speaking and nationally conscious brides.104This sparked a debate among the intelligentsia that continued for decades over the issue what should be marriage strategies for a Lithuanian patriot. This debate further articulated the new Lithuanian identity by calling for the elite’s reintegration into the local society (for the debate see Chapter 5). A whole new set of themes was introduced in Varpas that related to the positivist outlook of the second generation of patriots. Articles such as ‘The Necessity and Effectiveness of Commerce’ (July 1889, Nr 7), ‘Our Scholarly Aims’ (August 1889, Nr. 8), and ‘Private and Social Organization of Economy’ (May 1890, Nr. 5) charted a new direction in the development of the Lithuanian movement. The intelligentsia found themselves deeply involved in the discussion of the social and economic situation of the Lithuanian prov­ inces at the turn of the century. Varpas reflected on the increasing diversifica­ tion of the economic, social and cultural interests of the Lithuanian society as a whole and its separate social groups. This was evident in Kudirka’s call to the Lithuanian farmers to participate more actively in commerce and business and, thus, to respond to the economic domination of the Lithuanian provinces by Jews, Russians and Poles. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian intelli­ gentsia was urged to migrate to the cities. In comparison with Aušra, which only occasionally displayed signs of anti­ semitism, Varpas took a tougher and less tolerant position towards the Jews: Jews are trying to push us away from all positions, especially the educated Jews such as pharmacists and lawyers. . . . We all can see that, but we do

The birth o f the intelligentsia

31

not have enough bravery to resist the crookery of Jews; . . . we keep silence, and Jews are stepping on our toes and laughing at our cowardly character.105 If Aušra showed traces of peasant-type anti-Judaism, Varpas developed openly antisemitic economic undertones that reflected the intelligentsia’s efforts to establish themselves as a native middle class. The increasing eco­ nomic competition and social mobility forced them to define their cjgss inter­ ests against the interests of the dominant urban groups in Lithuania. However, if the Polish-speaking nobility could be claimed as somewhat ‘native’, the Jews were rejected as inherently alien. Quite often, the vitriol of Varpas' antiJewish attitudes revealed the limitations of the argument that its antisemitism sprang only from fears of economic competition. Thus, in Kudirka’s writings, Jews were also described as racial enemies (‘the Semites harm us, the Aryans’), or the morally evil enemies of the Christians (‘Even the most intricate science cannot remove the dirt from the Jew . . .’).106 There is little doubt that Kudirka borrowed his antisemitic rhetoric from his Polish contemporaries, such as the leader of the National Democratic Party (‘Endecja’) Roman Dmowski and other Polish radicals, though this hardly serves as justification for his views. Although Varpas' critique of Russian policies in Lithuania was harsher and more refined than Aušra's, an idea of political independence hardly entered its pages. Some Lithuanian historians credit Šliūpas for mentioning the possibility of an independent federal Lithuanian-Latvian state as early as 1885.107 The emergence of the idea as a part of a political programme is attributed either to the Lithuanian Social Democrat Party (LSDP) programme of 1896 or to the Lithuanian Democrats (LDP) in 1902.108Nevertheless, in his memoirs, Grinius claims, ‘in our committee of varpininkai the problem of independence was rarely discussed, nor was this question of importance in our annual meetings’.109 The idea of full independence (as opposed to con­ cepts of autonomy or federation) remained a utopian vision among the Lithuanian intelligentsia before World War I. In this respect, the Lithuanian elite did not differ from other oppositional groups in the Russian empire for whom the idea of a federation of peoples replacing the autocratic institutions of empire was particularly attractive.110 The key political aim of varpininkai was to remove the administrative ban on Lithuanian publications and other repressive policies that came as a result of Russification. Political fragmentation before 1905 The first signs of political stratification, as mentioned, appeared as early as in the period of Aušra when the Catholic clergy withdrew their support for the movement between 1884 and 1886. Although Varpas tried to unite all groups of the intelligentsia for patriotic work, and for a time it seemed that this might be achieved, by 1892-1896 the nationalist and liberal editors of Varpas

32

The birth o f the intelligentsia

alienated not only the clergy, but also a group of Lithuanian socialists. The split between liberals and socialists had such profound repercussions on the further development of the movement, that Lithuanian socialists come to be credited for ‘politicization’ of the entire Lithuanian movement."1 Indeed, the emergence of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (LSDP), led by A. Domaševičius and A. Moravskis, in 1896 in Vilna radical­ ized the nascent national movement. The nationalist and liberal intelligentsia now faced a strong competitor in their competition for the allegiance of the Lithuanian masses. The division that emerged in the ranks of the intelligentsia between pirmeiviai [progressives] and atžagareiviai [régressives], as proponents of each group labelled one another, helped to further chart political boundar­ ies within the nationally minded body of intellectuals. The liberals remained centred around Varpas and, as a response to the socialist challenge, they formed their own LDP in 1902. Among its early leaders were varpininkai such as P. Višinskis, K. Grinius, A. Smetona and F. Bortkevičienė.112 The Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party (LKDP) was the third major polit­ ical party to be formed in 1907. Its late emergence reflected the unwillingness of the Catholic church to embroil itself in the political struggle as well as its belated response to the challenge of the secular intelligentsia. Despite some claims that the emergence of the parties represents a mature stage of the Lithuanian movement, before 1905 (and even beyond) these parties remained small and narrowly based clubs of the intelligentsia rather than genuine representative institutions.113 Party boundaries were fluid, and patriots could migrate from one party to another quite freely. More import­ antly, their links with population were almost non-existent. They were the parties of the intelligentsia par excellence not only in regard to their social composition and sources of financial support, but also their functions as selfsupporting institutions primarily serving the needs of the elite. Thus among the major concerns of the early Lithuanian political parties were both their anxious search for the Lithuanian people and further recruitment of conscious patriots, especially from the ranks of Lithuanian students. Throughout 1902-1915, the LDP, born as a result of a secret gathering of sixteen varpininkai at the country estate of V. Zubovas in Dabikinė, never had more than seventy members.114 It was a party of intellectuals par excellence because the majority of its members belonged to the intelligentsia. The party supported itself mostly from their personal donations as well as Varpas' funds. It was also a party in permanent flux because several of its leading members (Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas, Jonas Biliūnas, Stasys Matulaitis, Antanas Smetona, Jurgis Šaulys) migrated to their socialist opponents. Its first political programme, drawn up by Višinskis, reflected the ideo­ logical confusion that prevailed in the party over its goals and major con­ stituents. Although as its key aim the programme called for ‘Lithuania, free and independent from other nations and states’, its short-term goal was to secure ‘Lithuanian autonomy within ethnographic borders’.115 Nevertheless, at this early stage the Democrats hardly envisioned Lithuania outside the

The birth o f the intelligentsia

33

political framework of Russia. Cultural issues such as the removal of the restrictions over the use of the Lithuanian language and liberalization of education dominated their agenda. The nation-building strategy to include all possible social groups as their potential supporters clashed with the need to find a specific group as its constituents. Thus, despite the LDP’s pledge to promote the interests of ‘workers, farmers, small merchants, and craftsmen’, it also tried to work among peasants. For this purpose they established the weekly Lietuvos ūkininkas [The Lithuanian Farmer] in 1905 which succeeded in gaming a circulation of about 3,000 before World War I."6 Flowever, despite all the efforts, prior to 1905, the LDP remained mainly a party of the intelligentsia. Its programme also contained a call o f ‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’, for which it was criticized by more liberal-minded members, such as Višinskis. The party saw local Poles and Jews either as foreign elements or ‘denationalized Lithuanians’ both outside the nation-building project whose membership was defined exclusively in ethnic terms.117 The LSDP fared better than its major competitor, the LDP, in forging links with the masses. This was due partly to its populist programme, which called for the defence of political interests of all workers of Lithuania (most of whom were non-Lithuanian), but also because it did not impose sharp ethnic boundaries around their potential constituents as the LDP did. The 1903 conference of the LSDP reversed its earlier orientation towards the prole­ tariat and called for penetration of the Lithuanian countryside.118 Due to its larger network of supporters among the peasantry, the LSDP contained more members from outside the intelligentsia. In the mid-1890s, it commanded considerable influence over workers in Vilna, but among its activists only one was a labourer.119 The party’s leadership never relied on workers or peasants, but on the intelligentsia. Some of its leaders, such as Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas, Stasys Matulaitis and Juozas Bagdonas, actively engaged in national work together with the liberals and changed their political affiliations at ease. The fluidity of party boundaries was common both to the liberal and socialist wings of patriots. Perhaps the most notorious case is of MickevičiusKapsukas. One of the most active members among the liberals, in 1903 he switched to the social democrats. Soon, however, his personal charisma and relentless energy produced deep divisions among the socialists. In 1904, he led a small group of his followers to establish a splinter Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDDP) grouped around the periodical Draugas [The Comrade], The LSDDP was virtually a one-man’s party until 1905, when its members decided to migrate back to the LSDP. This did not satisfy Mickevičius-Kapsukas who soon developed ‘a close personal relation­ ship’ with Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov and in 1919 found himself as a head of the Communist government in Lithuania and Belarus.120 His evolution from the Lithuanian nationalist to the Bolshevik was not typical, but indeed remarkable.

34

The birth o f the intelligentsia

The LSDP was the first Lithuanian political party whose programme included as its long-term aim the autonomy of Lithuania within a Russian federal framework.121 This federation was to include Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Belarus and the Ukraine. The LSDP always remained plagued by the tension arising over the commitment of some of its right-wing members to the Lithuanian movement and its socialist ideals, which relegated the national question to second place. This internal conflict meant that the party had to struggle constantly with other socialist competitors such as the Polish Social­ ist Party (PPS), Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPL) and Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDDP). Des­ pite the fact that the LSDP, as the largest and most organized Lithuanian party, played a prominent role in the revolution of 1905, it always remained divided. As a result, the nationalist rhetoric of early Lithuanian socialists was greatly diffused by universalist ideals of socialism coming mostly from Russia and Poland. The third most significant Lithuanian party, the Christian Democrats (LKDP), used a large network of parish churches for their political mobiliza­ tion and relied heavily on the clergy. Nevertheless, their popular support came largely after 1907. The same could be said about new parties such as the Lithuanian National Democratic Party (TLDP, 1905) and the Lithuanian Peasant Union (LVS, 1905), both born as a result of the 1905 revolution. Conclusion Aviel Roswald claims that early ‘conceptions of national identity corres­ ponded most closely to the personal experiences and emotional needs of educated urban sophisticates and intellectuals whose lives were no longer bound up with the tightly knit . . . parochial communities, yet who earned for a sense of morally engaged communal fellowship’.122 The formation of the new Lithuanian elite was gravely affected by the dilemma: how to reconcile their social middle-class aspirations with the cultivation of ethnic particularism. The tension between the two was crucial in articulating their national identity and shaping the contours of their social and political outlooks. The birth of the secular Lithuanian intelligentsia was determined by a set of social, cultural and economic conditions similar to those that shaped other non-Russian elites in the Russian empire of the late nineteenth century. If their social roots were in the Lithuanian peasantry, institutionally they were a product of the educational system of the Russian empire. The secular Lithuanian intelligentsia was born as a student movement based in major imperial universities starting from the 1870s. Given the opportunity, and state financial support, increasing numbers of Lithuanian peasant sons undertook their educational pilgrimages to the universities of Moscow, St Petersburg and Warsaw. These journeys transformed them into urban, educated and ambitious professionals eager to assume leading roles in their native society.

The birth o f the intelligentsia

35

Their experiences in the modern intellectual environment of Russia were instrumental in shaping their collective identities. Living in the foreign milieu prompted the process of ‘discovering their native roots’. It was also stimu­ lated by the state’s unwillingness to offer them proper employment. Educated with the ideas of modern Western philosophers, but without adequate employment that would reflect their new social status, these Lithuanians turned to cultural and later political radicalism. Meanwhile, some of them chose to assimilate into dominant Russian or Polish cultures. Thij tendency resulted in the phenomenon of ‘the lost intelligentsia’, a development that weakened and belated, but also radicalized the emerging national movement. A few others, who preferred to return to Lithuania and took the careers of literati, eagerly assumed their new role as self-appointed leaders of the emerging national movement. They were the pioneers of Lithuanian nation­ alism, young patriotic activists who stood behind the creation of the first secular Lithuanian periodicals, Ausra and Varpas. As one Lithuanian author claimed, ‘Our national and political revival is almost entirely based on stu­ dents’.123 At the same time, there emerged quite substantial differences in the political outlooks of the older and younger generations of patriots. If the first one was a typical group of romantic enlighteners driven by the ideas of Landespatriotismus, the second had developed more practical and positivist views disposed to social action. These differences lay the foundations for early political stratification of the movement which started in the mid-1890s. By the turn of the century, two major political camps - liberals and socialists - formed themselves into parties. The fact that key centres of the early Lithuanian national movement remained outside the Lithuanian provinces resulted in social isolation of the intelligentsia which affected their identity formation. Their educational and social experiences in imperial cities distanced them from their native rural milieu. This distance was often stimulated by a generational conflict between the sons and their peasant parents over their secular careers. The Lithuanian activists claimed their new social status largely on their educational creden­ tials. However, this was not sufficient to allow them to integrate successfully into other dominant elites of late imperial Russia. To fulfil their social ambi­ tions and political visions, they desperately needed to re-establish political links with their native rural milieu. As a result, the vital issue that dominated the later years became, as one contemporary put forward, how to develop ‘bridges to the people’.I2J

3

The making o f the urban elite

The Lithuanian intelligentsia between the city and the country Modernization is a particular challenge in societies where social mobility between the urban and rural milieus is almost non-existent. In the late nine­ teenth century Lithuania, the gap that developed between the countryside with its largely Lithuanian-speaking peasantry and cities, dominated by Poles, Jews and Russians, seriously obstructed nation-building efforts of the patriots. This is how socialist Kipras Bielinis saw the condition at the turn of the century: Due to ethnic, religious and other differences, there was no sense of unity between country and urban populations. An urban dweller differed greatly from a villager, and each of them lived their separate lives. Neither a church-town beggar, nor a town trader .. . could deliver the sense of unity to the countryside. A villager who ended up among them was also perceived as a stranger. The local society could not develop without social institutions and its local press .. . The future country intelligentsia was still in their high school benches, unable to realize what challenges they will have to deal with in the near future.1 Bielinis’ assessment was more than accurate. Yet Kudirka’s call for Lithuanization of the cities was not left unheard: starting from the mid-1890s Lithuanians patriots increasingly settled in the urban centres of Lithuania in pursuit of secular careers. But the city was not only a place to have a career or make a living; it was also a social space where intelligentsia’s new middle-class aspirations could be sustained and enacted. The city became a locus that shaped patriots’ lifestyles, group behaviour, modes of communication and identities. Mapping the multiethnic urban space socially and culturally was a serious challenge for the elite who originated largely from the peasantry. If linguistic barriers could be overcome (many learned several languages), it was more difficult to break through those walls which separated them from the Polish, Russian and Jewish elites socially. In the eyes of the Lithuanian activists, to achieve their

The making o f the urban elite

37

aspirations the city needed to be transformed into a locus of cultural (and later political) battle against the dominant non-Lithuanian groups, particu­ larly the Poles. This struggle against ‘the foreign element’ was reflected in the emergence of a distinctly urban theme in the intellectual discourse of the Lithuanian intelligentsia around the turn of the century. This theme opens up through literary representations of their early urban experience in their various journalistic and fictional writings. An early typical perception of the city as a treacherous placea\vhere the patriots could loose their identity due to assimilation into dominant foreign cultures was expressed by one of the most prolific members of the national movement, priest Tumas-Vaižgantas. Hence, in his 1899 article ‘Lithuanians in towns’, he writes: . . . Lithuanianness in towns is melting like a snow in spring. . . . Those who had lived in St. Petersburg, Liepaja, Riga and especially Kaunas and Vilnius noticed how many Lithuanians are disappearing there; they become the Poles. Everyone is trying to get rid of his Lithuanian back­ ground and to become a gentleman. A Lithuanian grew up as a country boy in a village, but in search of living, he moved to the city and ended up among strangers. In the city, he can hear all languages: Russian, Polish, German, Latvian, Jewish, but he never hears his own language. He sees how his other Lithuanian brothers, after their studies . .., aban­ don the native language and start speaking only Polish. . . .2 The view of the city as a foreign and, therefore, corrupt element was typical to the Lithuanian peasantry. Interestingly, the newly made intelligentsia did not seem to question this perception. Instead, with some modifications, they incorporated it into their intellectual discourse. In the long run, this produced a key trait of modern Lithuanian culture - the social critique of the city as a modern and foreign element. Meanwhile, defence of a rural world as a reposi­ tory o f‘pure’ primordial ethnic values became a regular theme in the rhetoric of nation-makers. This rhetoric was a reflection of the weakness and novelty of the Lithuanian presence in the local urban centres. One of the earliest literary representations of the Lithuanian urban experi­ ence is a story ‘Antanas Valys’, written by Gaidamavičius in 1889. The main hero is a student of peasant origins who is torn by his indecisiveness whether he belongs to the country or to the city. This vacillation is parallel to his emotional split between his love for two women. One of them is a simple Lithuanian peasant girl, while the other is a sophisticated and refined daugh­ ter of a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman. Unfortunately, Gaidamavičius never finished his story, though Kudirka urged him to do. Among the plausible reasons for this were the author’s marriage with a gentry woman and the fact that the marriage was never approved of by his compatriots.3The significance of this story of a rather dubious literary value was that it offered a new thematic landscape for similar works by introducing a social critique of ‘the

38

The making o f the urban elite

Lithuanian public man’ who was being corrupted by the urban world. The dilemmas of country versus city and the marriage with a peasant versus gen­ try woman reflected the patriots’ efforts to reshape their identity in view of the changing social and economic landscape of Lithuania. These themes were further developed by writers such as Liudvika Didžiulienė-Zmona and Lazdynų Pelėda. In her 1893 story, ‘Dėl Tėvynės’ [For the Fatherland], Didžiulienė-Žmona sets her narrative around five recent Lithuanian graduates of Russian universities who solemnly vow to each other to ‘serve our native Lithuania’.4 However, their life paths take them to totally different directions: Julijonas, with a protection of his academic rec­ tor, ends up as a trader in Moscow; Martynas makes a career of an expensive and greedy lawyer in a big city; Petras abandons his peasant love for a rich daughter of a local German dealer; Gabrys squanders all the money that his uncle had left him for patriotic work; and Benediktas dies of hunger, consumption and deprivation. The moral of the story is that the five heroes suffer failures because they forsook their patriotic mission and abandoned their native rural world for the demoralizing city. Hence, Julijonas is seated to play cards with a Russian daughter of a university rector, his future wife: if he wins, he will return to his homeland, if he loses, he will stay with the host family for good. Yet a more than limited literary merit of the story could not overshadow its moral message to the Lithuanian elite. The story reflected the desperate plight of the patriots in the face of their shrinking numbers due to assimilation into the foreign urban environment and called for mobiliza­ tion of the remaining few activists. No other literary work received so much negative response till now and stirred emotions among the literati as Klaida [Mistake], produced by one of the first Lithuanian women-writers Lazdynų Pelėda in 1908. The novel reflects the author’s general disillusionment with the revolutionary events of 1905 in Lithuania. However, her critique is particularly against the passive role that the elite played in these events. Their political divisions, personal intrigues, power struggle and, most significantly, their declining link with peasantry form the root of her criticism. Lazdynų Pelėda sullenly writes, ‘Our Lithuania is a miserable bunch that makes peace only at the grave of some activist who died from starvation’.5 Among the many ‘mistakes’ that are being committed in the novel, the author singles out the story of the Jonaičiai family who allows their son Petras to be corrupted by secular education in a Russian university and his degrading life in a city. In his early days, full of high expectations of ‘useful social work’, he ends up as a gambler and drunkard, abandons his peasant love, and squanders all the money that his uncle had left him for ‘the awakening of the homeland’. The hero justifies his failure by his disastrous marriage with a city woman. A reviewer of the book tried to summarize the moral message as follows: ‘. . . Petras is a spineless city bourgeois who lost all the sense of responsibility, abandoned his personal and public commitments and, finally, squandered his male pride’.6 The other central character is Juodeikis. the exact opposite of Petras, a left-wing radical

The making o f the urban elite

39

dedicated to the 1905 revolution. Juodeikis is depicted as a brutal and half-educated extremist, involved also in robberies and other crimes against peasants. His character was intended as a caricature of a typical Lithuanian socialist and the political programme of the LSDP that sufferer a failure in the 1905 revolution. No wonder right after its publication Klaida was attacked both by the left and right wings of the Lithuanian patriots. The leftist critics accused it of being ‘reactionary’ and ‘servile to Catholic priests’. The novel was called ‘a dirty stone’ in the face of the revolutionaries.7Others claimed theifithor has betrayed her earlier radical political views.8 A liberal reviewer complained that Klaida ‘dared to stain a bright memory [of the intelligentsia]’.9 The author’s defence that most of the characters and events were based on the true historical events that she had experienced herself in 1905 did not assuage her critics. Nevertheless, despite its limited literary qualities and negative reception, Klaida was one of the first serious attempts of the elite’s criticism. The novel openly exposed their social isolation, weak ties with the masses and their condescending and patriarchal views of the Lithuanian peasantry. Klaida spoke of different tensions and pitfalls in the process of the identity-building of the intelligentsia. On the one hand, patriots showed their aspirations as the middle class group scared of radical social changes. On the other hand, their political commitment as the self-proclaimed ‘leaders of the nation’ was constructed through their cultivation of the peasantry. As a rule, the first generation of peasant sons found it difficult to adapt to their new social status of the middle-class intelligentsia. Their old cultural habits could not be easily replaced by the ones of gentry or city bourgeoisie. Hence, a daughter of one of the Aušra's editors, Šliūpas, who married a woman of gentry origins, complained that during a dinner her father and his visiting Lithuanian peasant relatives would dump leftover herring under a table - a practice quite acceptable for a peasant, but hardly for a middle class family.10 Patriots’ individual transformations required self-discipline that would help them become the urban middle-class elite. Yet often this new urban identity would be adopted quite superficially - for instance, as a tool of self­ promotion. One of the effects of this could be the adoption of a paternalistic view in regard of their native social background. The educated sons would return to peasants not as belonging to the same kin, but as educators or moral preachers. Hence, the main hero in ‘Antanas Valys’, after his return home, teaches local farmers how to organize their farming more efficiently." This hierarchic relationship with the peasantry developed in the process of patriots’ transformation into a middle class group. The early migration of the intelligentsia to the cities entailed a certain identity crisis conditioned by the clash of traditional (rural) and modern (urban) elements in their outlooks.12 Their increasing patriotic commitment was partly a response to reconcile these elements. The next section takes a

40

The making o f the urban elite

closer look at the ways how the first urban community of Lithuanian patriots was formed through a number of social practices. In search of the city: the emergence of the intelligentsia’s community in Vilna During the period prior to 1905, Vilna became the heart of the Lithuanian movement. With the city’s rise as a centre of patriotic activities, the movement gained a new momentum, energy and dynamism. Vilna served as a place of attraction for many activists as the only greater city in the Lithuanian provinces. By the turn of the century it had more than 150,000 people, while Kovno, the second largest, had only 70,000.13 More importantly, Vilna (or Vilnius as the patriots called it) was a historical capital of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The city commanded patriotic emotions of the intelligentsia who saw it as an epitome of ‘the golden age’ of Lithuania. Basanavičius, having spent twenty-five years in Bulgaria, described one of his first visits to Vilna in 1905 with a composed yet vivid emotion: ‘On July 20 I left for Vilnius and arrived there at 6:30 pm. I could not hold myself (sic) and the same day visited the castle-mount of Gediminas’.14 Vilna was also one of the few places where Lithuanian medical and law graduates could expect employment as private practitioners close to their home. M. Biržiška recalls how in 1903-1904, in secret meetings of the Lithuanian students in Moscow, they ‘became increasingly aware of the significance of Vilnius as a capital for the ancient Lithuanian state, but also for the reviving Lithuanian nation’.15 He also notes, ‘as a Lithuanian lawyer I will most likely have to settle down in Vilnius’. For varpininkai like Kudirka Lithuanian cities were still places of foreign domination where the patriots may be eventually lost to the nationalist cause due to assimilation. Yet there were already some voices, who saw the situation not only as a threat, but also as an opportunity to take control over the cities by their patriotic and cultural work.16 The city had to be ‘reclaimed’ by the Lithuanians, first, as a symbol of Lithuanian statehood, and then possibly, as a social and political space needed for the successful development of the nation. By the turn of the century, the intelligentsia’s ‘reclaiming’ of the Lithuanian urban centres became one of their most urgent tasks. This cul­ tural battle would continue well beyond 1905, throughout World War I, and the interwar period, finding its way into different intellectual discourses of contemporary Lithuania. In Vilna a small group of Lithuanian patriots settled as late as in the mid-1890s. The most prolific among them, who made the greatest impact on the emergence of the community, were Catholic priest Juozas Ambraziejus, engineer Petras Vileišis and a so-called ‘Group of Twelve Apostles’. In 1914, writer Liudas Gira claimed that ‘the history of the Lithuanian revival in Vilnius is indispensably tied to the name of Ambraziejus’.17 As a Catholic priest employed in three different parishes of the city in the late

The making o f the urban elite

41

1890s, Ambraziejus was responsible for the creation of a Lithuanian church chorus whose members started indulging in singing Lithuanian religious and patriotic songs written by him. This was quite an unusual ritual in the city dominated by the speakers of Polish, Yiddish and Russian.18 In 1898 Ambraziejus with the help of few other patriots, organized a first Lithuanian sóirée in a private apartment in Bokšto street. A notable feature of the event, which included a concert of the chorus, group singing and dancing, was that it secured an official permit from the Russian police. The participants had to purchase tickets that were made available only to a smafl circle of personal acquaintances.19This event eventually set a practice of similar social gatherings which marked the emergence of the first Lithuanian patriotic community in Vilna. In 1900-1901, the brothers Vileišiai continued the tradition of semi-secret Lithuanian soirees. They attracted a growing number of friends and their close associates involved in the patriotic work’.20 One of the participants recalls how he and his father were allowed into one such soiree, only after being asked to take a solemn oath: ‘the wife of Vileišis opened the door, ordered them on their knees and asked them to swear that they will never tell anybody what they saw, heard and who they met in their house’.11 It was quite a memorable ritual that resembled secret gatherings of masons or a religious ceremony. The bond of secrecy among the participants strengthened their sense of refinement and group solidarity. Yet it is unclear whether this solidarity was a product of their highly romanticized middle-class fascination with the Lithuanian peasant culture or a genuine expression of their radical political views. The early ‘patriotic work’ of the Vilna’s group initially resembled family get-togethers. The scene was dominated by three intelligentsia families of the Vileišiai, Bortkevifciai and Šlapeliai - all ardent lovers of the Lithuanian language and culture. Mostly close family associates attended these events. Such conspiracy was caused partly by the fear of official persecution.22 Nevertheless, these clandestine get-togethers soon gave way to more inclusive and refined forms of patriotic entertainment. In 1901, Varpas already reported that in Vilnius one of the Lithuanian soirees ‘with a choir, military music and dances’ attracted 500 people of ‘different genders and social estates’.23 An observer notes, though ‘the first two soirees that took place in private apartments of Mesdames Krumanienė and Volteriené reminded fam­ ily gatherings’, the other two drew a crowd o f ‘several hundred Lithuanians’.24 Their few brief descriptions point to their growing popular acclaim and the fact that both Polish and Lithuanian languages were heard in them: One could hear mostly Lithuanian, though Polish was also heard, because some of the Polonized people barely spoke Lithuanian. Nevertheless, having realized that the Lithuanian here is in high esteem, they tried to use it as much as they could, and only in their own circle they spoke Polish.25

42

The making o f the urban elite

For some of the Lithuanian mavericks, their complacency with the Lithuanian language and ethnic culture was not something easily achievable or taken for granted. Often it required a conscious effort and self-discipline to learn the Lithuanian language, since Polish was the lingua franca of Vilna’s elite. A contemporary notes, ‘one could not call those families truly Lithuanian, because not everyone knew how to speak Lithuanian. But they tried to learn it very eagerly’.26 Hence, both members of the Bortkeviciai family had to hire Lithuanian teacher Gaidelionis to properly learn the Lithuanian. In fact, the latter seemed to be able to make a name for himself teaching the language to the patriots in their homes.27 A notable social ritual of the patriots’ community was their collective trips to the Lithuanian countryside. During these trips they went in search of the Lithuanian-speaking peasants to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. These excursions also gave them a sense of cultural bonding with the peasantry. In these encounters they tried to speak with local people in Lithuanian - a practice not typical to people of their social standing at the time. Initially peasants were afraid to speak Lithuanian with these city bourgeois, assuming they wanted to make fun of them.28 Another key event that helped to consolidate the Lithuanian group was the struggle for the introduction of a Lithuanian mass in the Catholic churches in Vilna. The semi-official ‘Group of Twelve Apostles’, which included the twelve most active members of the Lithuanian movement, are credited for the introduction of the mass in the St Michael church in 1901.29 The group did not have any formal programme or political agenda, but as a loose associ­ ation of a dozen of intellectuals, it was successful in making the Lithuanian presence visible in the city’s public life. A contemporary notes, ‘quick­ tempered males’ and women were not allowed into their ranks as unreliable elements in the patriotic work.30 As a result of their efforts, in 1899, a group of Lithuanians started singing a mass in the Lithuanian, which ultimately led to a conflict with the Polish bishop of the city, S. Zwierowicz. In response, ‘The Group of Twelve Apostles’ started public campaigning for the Lithuanian-language mass and collected signatures of about 500 protesters. Finally, after mutual threats to appeal to higher authorities, the bishop agreed to allow the Lithuanian mass.31 The event was heralded by the Lithuanian patriotic group as one of the major steps in reclaiming their historical capital from the Polish influence. Hence, later a contemporary claimed: Before the St. Michael church came into the Lithuanian hands, there were no Lithuanians in Vilnius, i.e. nobody heard them, nobody reckoned with them, since there was no need to reckon with them. The Lithuanian was a guest without any rights in his capital like an African in Paris.32 Only small numbers of the Lithuanian intelligentsia were able to permanently settle down in Vilna due to their inferior material condition and inability to

The making o f the urban elite

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find adequate employment. By the turn of the century some were able to secure minor positions in a banking sector, as private lawyers or technical specialists.33 Yet, for many, the most accessible career remained that of a literati. The community badly needed a self-supporting network of Lithuanian organizations, which could provide more employment opportunities for the intelligentsia and could help further enforce their claims to the city’s social and cultural space. Such an opportunity suddenly came with the arrival to the city of Lithuanian engineer Petras Vileišis in 1899. Besides being an arcfent patriot and well-published journalist, he brought with him a handsome allowance of 830,000 roubles which he accumulated as a bridge constructor in Great Russia.34 P. Vileišis is the first ethnic Lithuanian bourgeois philanthropist who brought a new life into the patriotic community as well as the whole national movement. Soon after his arrival he opened a railway factory in Vilna, which employed about 150 workers; among them were the prominent members of the Lithuanian movement, such as S. Kairys, J. Mašiotas and K. Vosylius.35 The general manager of the factory was a Lithuanian engineer, while most of the workers were ethnic Lithuanians. This led to a claim that Vileišis established his factory not for business, but to increase a number of Lithuanians in the city.36 However, Vileišis’ major contribution to the Lithuanian movement came with the establishment of his private publishing house and the first Lithuanian daily Vilniaus žinios in 1904. These developments became possible after the official legalization of the Lithuanian publications in Latin characters in 1904.37 Vileišis was personally responsible for attracting into the city a number of prominent Lithuanian activists who due to different reasons were unable to settle down in Lithuania earlier. Among them was the pioneer of the movement Basanavičius who took up a position in Vilniaus žinios after more than 25 years of being absent from Lithuania.38 As the contribu­ tors to his newspaper, Vileišis also invited other prominent figures such as P. Kriaučiūnas, P. Višinskis, J. Tumas-Vaižgantas, A. Smetona, M. Biržiška, K. Šakenis, J. Staugaitis, L. Gira, G. Petkevičaitė-Bitė, K. Puida and others.39 Vileišis also became the first collector of the emerging modern Lithuanian art: he purchased early works of ethnic Lithuanian artists, such as P. Rimša and M. K. Čiurlionis helping them to continue their artistic careers. In the end, more than a third of the Lithuanian patriotic community in the city in one or the other way came to rely on his financial support.40 In 1901, as an influential businessman, he was also elected to the municipal council. The semi-conspiratory soirees of the intelligentsia were soon replaced by lavish receptions and dinners at the Vileišis’ palace in Antakalnis, a pres­ tigious suburb of Vilna. To build the neo-baroque marble palace that occupied 4,500 square metres on the scenic bank of a river and had modern amenities such as a biologically filtered sewerage, Vileišis had to spend about one third of his fortune. His lavishness drew criticism from some Lithuanian patriots. One critic wrote, ‘the villa of a bourgeois and the presence of prominent

44

The making o f the urban elite

guests, including Russian landowners, bureaucrats and the general governor himself made Vileišis the first citizen of Vilnius’.41 Unfortunately, his unabated spending finally helped to bring his own financial ruination. By 1912 his factory was bankrupt, the publishing house had to be sold, while Vilniaus žinios barely survived until 1909. Although none of Vileišis businesses suc­ ceeded, his vision of establishing a Lithuanian community in the city came to the life. One is left wondering though whether this consoled the broken­ hearted Vileišis, who confesses in his notebook: l am greatly suffering from the lack of funds . . . unfortunately, I received most of help from Poles, Russians and even Jews, but not Lithuanians. They did not help me, they simply robbed me . .. uncultured and unsubtle people.42 Yet the efforts of the intelligentsia came to fruition: by 1904-1905, the Lithuanian community managed to establish a self-sustainable network of various patriotic, charitable and educational societies that strengthened their position in the city. By 1905, Vilna already hosted both the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (1896) and the Democratic Party of Lithuania (1902), the Lithuanian Society of Mutual Aid (1904), publishing society ‘Aušra’ (1905), the Society of Lithuanian Catholic Women of St Zita (1905) and the Society of Vilnius’ Students (1904). Thus the first years of the twentieth century saw the transformation of ‘Vilna’ into ‘Vilnius’ as the major centre of the Lithuanian patriotic move­ ment. Future president of independent Lithuania, Grinius describes this change as ‘an intense aggression of the Lithuanians into Vilnius’.43 If it was an aggression, their first battles had been won in the realm of ideas and culture, not politics. Yet their most significant victory was achieved in their self-transformation, Selbst-Bildung: from the educated but uncertain of their future peasant graduates they became an urban bourgeoisie actively engaged in nation-building. The impact of V ilniaus žin io s After legalization of the Lithuanian publications in 1904, the patriotic press faced a new dilemma: to legalize and attempt to expand its so far limited grasp on a wider circles of the Lithuanian population while trying to adapt to the official censorship, or to continue illegal work with limited opportunities for mass distribution but fully preserving its political radicalism. As mentioned, the emergence of the first Lithuanian daily Vilniaus žinios in 1904 was a result of the legalization. Soon after its appearance the period­ ical assumed leadership of the whole movement. This was due to its active engagement with most lively elements of the patriotic community, but also because its main competitors, varpininkai and the social democrats, chose to remain in the underground which limited their popular appeal.44

The making o f the urban elite

45

As a private venture established and managed by P. Vileišis, Vilniaus žinios turned out to be his another complete business failure. Only for a brief period of 1904-1905 did the daily enjoy a relatively high readership, which in the early 1905 peaked to more than 5,000.45 Paradoxically, it never sold more than 150 copies in Vilna.46 Yet his impact on the patriots cannot be under­ estimated. Mostly due to his generous salaries and well-established patriotic credentials, Vileišis attracted to the daily a small but a very capable team of writers that included P. Višinskis, A. Smetona, P. Kriaučiūnas, J. Jablonskis, J. Tumas-Vaižgantas, P. Klimaitis and others. From its early days Vilniaus žinios tried to avoid the political bickering that had already become a norm among Catholic, liberal and socialist camps of the intelligentsia. Instead, Vilniaus žinios dedicated itself mostly to cultural and educational issues. In the first number, Vileišis asserted its moderate stance: I pray to Almighty God . . . that they [the editors] would always be concerned with the enlightenment, wealth and happiness of Lithuania, .. . that we would bring science to those who need it most, that the editors would, first of all, look at Lithuanian farmers, ploughmen, those who work in the fields, in short, at the people.47 Although some doubted whether the daily would be able to find larger read­ ership ‘in the country where masses were not used to reading any press’, the intelligentsia greeted it with a great enthusiasm.48 A contemporary recalls how linguist Jablonskis, moved by the occasion, kissed the first issue, put it into his pocket and burst into tears.49 Vilniaus žinios were heavily filled with general news from Russian news agencies, reprints of various Russian and Polish newspapers, literary works and translations of local writers, and reports from various Lithuanian local­ ities. Its editorial body had a largely positivist and liberal outlook: themes of self-education, organic advance, self-improvement, innovative farming, cultural work and economic progress dominated over political radicalism. This was clearly an evolutionary, not radical, vision of nation-building. Prior to 1905, this moderate and positivist stance was an attractive feature of the daily - there was a great demand for a periodical which simply would provide news and an analysis of current affaires. Yet the advance of the 1905 unrest and the growing diversification of political views within the patriots’ community soon led to political bickering among the editors. Even if some liberals from the Varpas’ group initially worked at Vilniaus žinios, their collaboration turned out to be short-lived due to ideological differences and particularly the heavy-handedness of P. Vileišis, who pre­ ferred to keep everything in his own hands. The decision of the liberals to leave in 1905 forced the newspaper into the first of its many crises. Another problem was its inability to attract any sizeable business adverti­ sing: the Lithuanian-owned businesses were almost non-existent, while Poles and Jews remained largely ignorant due to the language barrier. Poor

46

The making o f the urban elite

marketing skills of its staff and occasional anti-Polish and anti-Semitic slurs did not improve the image of the daily. Hence, one of the issues claimed, ‘there are no true Poles in Vilnius. There are only Russians, i.e. Lithuanians who forsake their native language’.50 Liberal Višinskis was among the first who protested against this increasingly intolerant tone, as well as the daily’s lack of a more radical political vision, but at the end he was forced to quit.51 There was only a slim chance that Vilniaus žinios was going to survive only through subscriptions. Their numbers were steadily shrinking: in 1906 they went down below 3,000, and in 1907 shrank to 2,000.52 Vilniaus žinios, in contrast to early periodicals, was the first truly urban Lithuanian newspaper intended both for rural and urban audiences. The periodical served as one of the first channels through which new voices of modernity entered the Lithuanian society. For instance, Vilniaus žinios saw the beginnings of the advertising in the Lithuanian language.53 Even if those few commercial adverts were simplistic and unimaginative (trying to per­ suade a buyer not with quality, but with abundance of goods), they already catered for the needs of a modern consumer: Request everywhere! The most recent discovery of fragrances by S. J. Čepelevieckis . . . - ‘New Toilet-Water of Flowers’! Perfect cut-glass bottle for 1 rub. Scents: True Hyacinth - Nila Flora - Cuckoo - Fiolette Delice - Blooming Forest - Rosella France.54 The adverts served primarily the advertising needs of the Vileišis’ factory, but a few other non-Lithuanian enterprises also promoted their products through Vilniaus žinios. Most importantly, the publishers for the first time envisaged the Lithuanian-speaking consumer. If a community of such con­ sumers barely existed as yet, at least it could be imagined in a foreseeable future. In this respect, Varpas, compared with Vilniaus žinios, was an anachro­ nism, filled with the moralizing advice of the intelligentsia for a rural audience on how to improve agricultural methods. Vilniaus žinios faced a chronic shortage of writers and local contributors with adequate writing skills. The same four or five people filled its pages, while only a few local authors sent materials for the daily on a permanent basis. The distance between the small circle of literati and the uneducated masses thwarted the patriots’ efforts to reach a larger Lithuanian readership. Their public appeals to ‘write about everything in their town or district’ were barely heard and led to disappointment, complaints and reproaches on the part of the editors. ‘Please send us more news and less complaints’, ‘we need more news about social life and less about the personal affairs of individuals’, begged and preached Vilniaus žinios,55 One of the editors later acknowledged, ‘. . . the misfortune was that society did not contribute sufficiently to the carrying of this heavy burden, especially that part of soci­ ety which could not yet understand what it was going to lose if the daily disappears’.56

The making o f the urban elite

47

The other difficulty was a language issue. From the first days the editors were swamped with complaints from various parts of Lithuania of the readers who could not comprehend the language of Vilniaus žinios. Hence, in late 1904 one contributor reported that many people could not understand its language.57 The editors were flooded with letters full of requests ‘to write the same way as we speak in Ukmergė and Panevėžys; then we will understand you’.58 This was not surprising, given that at the time there was no standard Lithuanian language as yet. It had to be standardized and developed. Even the intellectuals faced the language issue: ‘many of the members of the edi­ torial staff and contributors knew Russian, Polish, German and French, but did not know their native language’.59 Linguist Jablonskis was the only quali­ fied person who tried to alter the situation by introducing Saturday grammar seminars for the editors while also rigidly enforcing a uniform style on their writings. However, the creation of the standard Lithuanian language also demanded self-discipline and personal dedication. Jablonskis led a campaign of linguistic purification from foreign words, an endeavour that caused protests against his dictatorial language practices. In fact, soon he had to quit too. P. Vileišis adamantly refused to obey his linguistic dictatorship by pointing out that the daily can be accessible to the broad masses only if it reads ‘the way people talk’.60 T had serious disputes with Petras [Vileišis]’, Jablonskis confessed in his letter to a friend explaining his resignation, T told him that he has no clue about these things as I have no understanding of factory work . . .’.6I The intelligentsia claimed the responsibility for the society’s language by imposing standardizing needs of nationalism on it. It did not matter that often the efforts of Jablonskis and his followers to invent new terms and words for the Lithuanian language misfired.62 Some of the terms pro­ posed by patriots were never accepted in popular usage.6’ Often the public preferred more comprehensible adaptations from Polish or Russian lan­ guages instead of strange Lithuanian neologisms used by a small circle of intellectuals. However, in the end, these efforts for standardization and lin­ guistic purification started to bear fruit - after 1906, largely due to the influence of Vilniaus žinios, most Lithuanian periodicals accepted its stand­ ardized grammar style.64 In 1904 Vileišis decided to replace the conflicting liberal editors with others. This led to the daily’s gradual slide from liberal to conservative. Despite his pro-clerical views, the new editor priest Tumas-Vaižgantas managed to close the ranks of the patriots once again. His charismatic personality and popu­ larity helped to stabilize the daily’s readership. As a result, in 1906 the circula­ tion of Vilniaus žinios temporarily grew up to 4,000, mostly due to increased subscriptions by clerical students.65 In his first editorial, Tumas-Vaižgantas presented his own ‘ultimatum’ to Lithuanian society by pointing to the most sensitive issue of the publishers:

48

The making o f the urban elite

I repeat again: in December it will be made clear whether the daily is truly public and Christian Democratic, whether it is needed by the majority of Lithuanians or only by the minority that produce it because of its patriotic views.66 Despite his further promises that Vilniaus žinios would not be a representative of any single political group and ‘[it] will attack neither Poles, Russians, nor Jews’,67 the daily continued experiencing serious difficulties due to a shrinking readership. In 1907, P. Vileišis tried to revive it by selling to another publishing venture, but this did not solve its financial problems. By March 1909 the first Lithuanian daily was bankrupt. Conclusion The birth of ‘the Lithuanian public man’ was parallel to the process of Lithuanian penetration of the local urban scene. In literary representations of their first urban experiences the patriots saw the Lithuanian cities as places of a cultural battlefield against the influence of dominant non-Lithuanian groups. The task of reclaiming the city from ‘the foreign element’ became one of the key aims of the Lithuanian intelligentsia who increasingly migrated to Lithuanian towns starting from the mid-1890s. This cultural battle took place both in the realm of ideas and through the construction of new social and cultural spaces within the city. In the cultural realm, the patriots lay a claim to Vilnius as a historical capital of the medieval Lithuanian state and, in this way, challenged the local Polish tradition as foreign. On the practical level, they developed their first native urban community through the constitution of a rich associational and cultural life. The distance that emerged between the intelligentsia and their native rural milieu as a result of their educational trips to imperial universities was only widened by their further migration to the cities. This only reinforced the patriots’ need to re-establish their emotional links with their native environ­ ment. As a result the city came to be seen as a dangerous space where activists may be assimilated into dominant cultures of the Poles and Russians. Thus the early intellectual discourse of the Lithuanian intellectuals painfully reflected the crisis of ‘the lost intelligentsia’, a substantial part of the elite that chose to abandon the nation-building project. One of the ways out of this crisis was to establish an urban community of the nationalist intelligentsia that would develop its own ‘high (national) cul­ ture’ and models of social behaviour. The emergence of a patriotic urban community in Vilna came as a response to this situation. In the city, patriots succeeded in building a self-sustainable network of various patriotic institu­ tions which gave a new life to the whole national movement. The central role in this process was played by two significant events: the removal of the ban on Lithuanian publications and the emergence of the first Lithuanian daily Vilniaus žinios in 1904. The periodical became not only the elite’s public

The making o f the urban elite

49

arena to discuss issues related to the nation-building, it further articulated their identity vis-à-vis other ethnic groups who increasingly came to be seen as political competitors. The daily helped to consolidate a small circle of liberally-minded activists who gradually assumed political leadership of the entire movement. Yet its small readership already served as a cultural community that stepped beyond the narrow circle of the intelligentsia. This community already shared not only the same language, but also common ways of self-identification as members of the Lithuanian nation. The daily served as a medium through which elite strategies of social behaviour, political visions and language policies were created and projected to the wider Lithuanian society. The polit­ ical divisions that appeared among the editors of Vilniaus žinios, weakened the community. However, at this early stage most of these splits ran along personal rather than ideological lines. Meanwhile, the failure of Vilniaus žinios was mostly due to still weak and limited links between the urban patriots and their intended rural readership. The Lithuanian elite would have to face the 1905 revolution to redefine their relationship with the wider society whose political and cultural sympathies they were after. In this sense, Vilniaus žinios served as one of the harbingers of those challenges and obstacles that patriots would have to face in the wake of the revolution, when for the first time the peasantry will enter the political stage en masse. In the next chapter, I investigate how the elite coped with this challenge.

4

In search o f the people

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

Revolution: nationalist or social? Until now there is a clear uncertainty among historians on the issue of what the 1905 revolution represents for non-Russian nationalities of the Russian empire. This is quite understandable bearing in mind that the revolution was more thoroughly studied from the perspective of imperial centres where it after all originated, while peripheries were left largely for historians of nation-states which formed as a result of war and revolution after 1918.' No wonder, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of the latter came to see the revolution of 1905 as a great manifestation, if not outright victory, of nationalist politics, while neglecting its social aspects. Some even suggested that the 1905 revolution in the periphery was nothing less than the springtime of the people of Russia.2 Thus by the summer of 1905, when central Russia was relatively peaceful, the revolutionary momentum was car­ ried by the western and southern peripheries.3 Yet, if the general revolution, as we know well, failed largely due to the lack of unity among various social groups, could the same be said about the nationalist revolution taking place in the periphery? What makes the understanding of 1905 even more difficult is the fact that the revolution developed along different paths in various ethnic peripheries. The degree of social, ethnic or anti-colonial conflict varied at large. Thus, in Finland, Lithuania or Belarusia it was less violent than in the Baltic prov­ inces, Poland and Transcaucasia. Regional, economic, religious and cultural factors played an important role as well as social structures and the position of local elites in the respective societies. In Lithuania, both nationalist and social elements were clearly present in the revolution, which is most evident in the unprecedented proliferation of a multitude of right- and left-wing political organizations. Both nationalist and socialist tendencies were also manifest in the central revolutionary event in Lithuania, the All-Lithuanian assembly that took place in Vilna on 21-22 November 1905.4 A continuing debate over the roles that socialist, liberal and nationalist politics played in the events of 1905 in Lithuania is a testimony to the complexity of what happened during that brief period of time.5 All the

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

51

while, many agree that 1905 represents a watershed in the development of Lithuanian nationalism.6 At the same time, social problems such as the issue of land were critical throughout 1905 and remained so well into the early 1920s. Miroslav Hroch points out that in Lithuania, the 1905 marked the trans­ formation of the national movement among the elites into a mass move­ ment.7 This interpretation is supported by many Lithuanian historians who see a direct link between the revolution and the emergence of an itjdependent state in 1918.8 Yet, others suggest, there was nothing like ‘a broad-based and coherent national movement’ during the creation of independent Lithuania.9 This ‘mass mobilization argument’ needs to take into account those features of the early Lithuanian nationalism, which point to its modern, formative and often contingent character. The relationship between the intelligentsia and the masses here is of critical importance, since 1905 produced a con­ vergence of the elite and popular politics on an unprecedented scale. Yet, the revolution was a challenge not only to the imperial structure, but also to the young and inexperienced intelligentsia. For them the revolution came as a deep shock since cultural identity-building politics of the early patriots were barely equipped with the tools necessary to lead or control the mas­ sive unrest. The revolution questioned their links with Lithuanian society, political leadership and their identity. In Lithuania, 1905 set a stage for a political theatre in which political rhetoric of different elite groups played as important role as their political actions. The metaphor of ‘political theatre’ here is useful to explain not only all the efforts to ‘Lithuanize’ or socially radicalize groups of population, but also those joint political alternatives to the Tsarist regime that came alive among local ethnic intelligentsias. The revolution was also a political theatre in a sense that its significance as a socio-emotional event today seems more tangible than its limited political achievements (most of the which were taken back by the regime as soon as 1907). In Lithuania the revolution released an enormous wave of social and nationalist unrest among its population. This was largely a result of rigid Russification and economic grievances that accumulated over a course of time. No wonder that the local nationalist elite tried to use this discontent to their advantage, but their nation-building project was still far from complete. Finally, the revolution was also a political theatre because this insurgent spirit with many of these revolutionary agendas vanished as soon as it emerged. After the revolutionary elan was gone, there remained a deep divide between elitist party politics and society. Here, one could point out not only the lack of political radicalism among the well-to-do peasantry which remained largely under the influence of Catholic church, but also a deep socio-cultural schism between the intelligentsia and peasantry. After 1906, the Lithuanian movement turned largely to a non-political cultural agenda, except for a small, dispersed group of left radicals who continued to pursue confrontational politics.

52

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

Social unrest and the patriotic elite prior to the All-Lithuanian assembly The rise of social unrest in Lithuania in 1905 was both a continuation of the revolution in Russia and a phenomenon that had distinct regional features and its own internal dynamics. The latter, to a large extent, were shared with other non-Russian Western peripheries of the Tsarist empire. The principal feature of the revolutions in Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic provinces and Finland was its anti-colonial undertone, perhaps more evident in Poland and Finland, but also noticeable in Lithuania and the Baltic provinces.10 In the Baltic and Lithuanian provinces, the social demands of workers and peasants dominated initially over the struggle for cultural or national freedoms of local ethnic groups, as a rule, promulgated by the local patriotic intelli­ gentsias. Cultural and national issues, such as the right to use local languages and to receive education in native tongues received a major boost in the later stage of the revolution, especially after the October Manifesto and the con­ vocation of local national assemblies. Toivo Raun suggests that the higher degree of social stratification and antagonism in such places as Courland and Livland evoked an especially bloody and violent response there, while Estland and, particularly, Finland remained relatively peaceful." The Lithuanian provinces could be included in the second group because of the relatively limited number of violent events that took place in them. In Lithuania, the revolution started with a general strike of workers in Vilna on 11 January, and then moved on to Kovno, and other major towns. The largest agricultural demonstration occurred in Skapiškis on 1 May 1905, and was attended by 1,500-2,000 peasants. However, in Lithuania the high point of the revolution came only after the October Manifesto and, espe­ cially, after the All-Lithuanian assembly in late November. Out of 247 polit­ ical demonstrations in 1905 in the Lithuanian provinces, 132 (53 per cent) took place in November.12This alone places the assembly at the centre of any historical interpretation of 1905 in Lithuania. After 1905, it is problematic to speak about the Lithuanian intelligentsia as a united ideological project. The revolution marked its political and ideo­ logical fragmentation into four major political camps: social democrats (Lietuvos Socialdemokratų partija; LSDP), liberals (Lietuvos Demokratų partija; LDP), national liberals (Tautiškoji Lietuvių Demokratų partija; TLDP), and Christian democrats (Lietuvos Krikščionių Demokratų partija; LKDP). In 1905, each group shared largely the same patriotic vision, which is evident from the declaration of the assembly, endorsed by all political groups, that Lithuania should constitute a separate (autonomous) political entity. However, their views on the political nature of this entity, the methods of its achievement, and most notably, their social programmes became quite irreconcilable. Prior to the revolution, the political group with the greatest following among the Lithuanian intelligentsia were the social democrats. Before 1905,

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

53

they boasted the biggest membership, strong intellectual leadership (Steponas Kairys, Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas and Augustinas Janulaitis among others), as well as the largest network of party activists and supporters in the towns and countryside. At the party congress of 1903, the social democrats had adopted a resolution, calling directly ‘to expand work to the country­ side’ - the decision that marked increasing activism of the party in rural Lithuania.13 The LSDP welcomed the events of 1905 with euphoria. They attempted to assume leadership of the revolution from the very beginning: the LSDP together with other socialist parties such as the PPS, Bund and SDKPL organized the January strikes in Lithuania in 1905.14Only a few days after Bloody Sunday, on 12 January, the LSDP issued its first revolutionary manifesto calling for civic and democratic freedoms for the Lithuanian popu­ lation, pledging the party’s support to Russian workers, and demanding ‘a separate Lithuanian state in the congregation of other nations’.15 The LSDP’s awareness of the popular political mood was reflected in its several congresses that took place throughout the year and numerous political meet­ ings. The party was quick to grasp the restless mood of society by launching a vast campaign of political leaflets: in 1905 it published about eight political manifestos, each of them with an average circulation of about 25,000.16 Leo­ nas Sabaliūnas argues that, ‘elevating the socialists to champions of the common people, the new mind-set [of the revolution] invested them with ample deference and authority’.17 Indeed, people welcomed socialist agitators at their meetings, offered them protection and sought their moral support and local authority. In the face of mass unrest, the demand for the socialist activists was so overwhelming that soon the party faced a dearth of them. As one of the socialists complained: A shortage of the intelligentsia could be felt in every step. Not all intelli­ gentsia party members were suited for organizational work . . . some were unsocial and could not deliver ‘sermons’, others were not capable of organizing things.18 A solution was sought by recruiting new activists from the ranks of the liberals and nationalists: in its provocative July 1905 manifesto ‘Lithuanian Intelligentsia!’ the LSDP urged all the Lithuanian intelligentsia groups ‘to join us by helping in active work with money and arms. We are not asking a favour from you - we demand that you fulfil your obligations to our society . . ,’19 By October 1905, the LSDP would feel so confident and arro­ gant about its leadership that it would initially reject an initiative of a group of national liberals to cooperate in organizing the All-Lithuanian assembly in Vilna. Hence, one of the intellectual leaders of the LSDP, Kairys, later admit­ ted, ‘for them [social democrats] . . . the idea of calling the Diet [assembly] was just another episode in the general revolutionary movement, and, there­ fore, not worthy of serious consideration’.20

54

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

The second largest, and potentially strongest, group were the liberal group of varpininkai. By 1902, it had crystallized into the Lithuanian Democratic Party. Despite being a party of and for the intelligentsia par excellence, the liberals also had a smaller network of party cells in the countryside as well as a strong intellectual nucleus of leaders (Grinius, Višinskis, Smetona, Ernestas Galvanauskas to mention a few). However, the events of 1905 were totally unexpected for the LDP and found the party completely unprepared both organizationally and politically.21 This was recorded not only by its leftist critics (Kairys, Bielinis), and impartial observers (Micha! Römer, Vincas Kvieska), but also by some of its own leaders (Višinskis and Galvanauskas).22 The chief editor of Varpas, Juozas Bagdonas, admitted, ‘our organization is totally ruined’.25 By 1905, the veteran monthly Varpas faced not only bank­ ruptcy and shrinking readership, but also sharp ideological and personal divisions in its leadership: young radical liberals (Višinskis, Grinius, Juozas Gabrys and Galvanauskas) split from a more conservative group of veterans (Bagdonas, Smetona and Pranas Mašiotas), who gravitated towards the group of national liberals of Vilniaus žinios. This looked like a debacle for the old liberal tradition of Kudirka and the idea of the unity of all Lithuanian activists in their common patriotic work. Indeed, the political mood of 1905 almost produced a complete dismemberment of the Lithuanian liberals by forcing them to choose between socialist and nationalist agendas.24 Despite all the difficulties, the LDP did manage to survive as an odd conglomerate of affiliate semi-political and cultural organizations; a hybrid political institu­ tion that lent its support to both the left and the right of the Lithuanian movement. The prestige of the party was saved by its radical youngsters (Gabrys, Galvanauskas, Paulikonis and others) who eagerly advocated the policy of ‘the return to the people’, and, in the summer of 1905, started organizing the Union of Lithuanian Peasants (Lietuvos Valstiečių Sąjunga; LVS).25 If the conservative leadership of the LDP remained in the city, involved mostly in the production of public appeals and the publication of Varpas and its sup­ plement Lietuvos ūkininkas, the young liberals moved to the countryside establishing local cells that would recruit not only the intelligentsia but also peasants. Significantly, the LVS, though formally established only in November 1905, came into being without any prior approval of the LDP leadership - a fact that pointed to the unrestricted political initiative, ambition and imagination of its young liberal leaders.26 The other two major right-wing political groups of the Lithuanian intelli­ gentsia, both the national liberals of Vilniaus žinios and Christian democrats drifted into the 1905 maelstrom without any clear political vision, programs, or strategies that would help them face the popular pressure. Their political transformation from small clubs of the patriotic intelligentsia into political parties (TDLP and LKDP) would come only in the wake of the assembly: the TDLP would be formally established on 10 December 1905,27 while the LKDP would be born only in 1907.28

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

55

The national liberals had only negligible links with the Lithuanian coun­ tryside and concentrated on the publication of Vilniaus žinios, which served as the main media channel for all liberal and nationalist patriots’ groups throughout 1905. In that year, the daily would increase its circulation to almost 6.000. Yet, its publisher, Petras Vileišis, remained determined to avoid any radical programs, preferring, instead, to pursue limited cultural and national objectives (especially, the struggle for the Lithuanian language in schools and churches). Nevertheless, the moral prestige of the national lib­ erals was greatly enhanced by the arrival from Bulgaria of Basanavičius in the summer of 1905. He immediately joined their ranks, lending them his intel­ lectual and moral authority as ‘the patriarch of the nation’.29 Basanavičius would be a central figure in the preparation and work of the All-Lithuanian assembly, an initiative that would attempt to seize the patriotic leadership of the Lithuanian movement from the overconfident social democrats and struggling liberals and deliver it into the hands of the national liberals. The last of the intelligentsia groups, the clerical elite, looked at the revolutionary events with great concern, distrust and reserve. The clerical intelligentsia was overwhelmed by the wave of social unrest that swept the Lithuanian countryside in 1905. However, it became particularly worried by the rising influence of socialist agitators who often criticized the church publicly. As the priest Jonas Totoraitis wrote, ‘. . . the speeches of social democrats showed to the priesthood that the enemy of religion is approaching, and it will strike and destroy either today or tomorrow’. As a result, referring to the position of the Christian democrats in the assembly, he summarized their views: Priests also agreed that one has to fight, but only by moral means: strikes, boycotts, removal of Russian schools, etc. But they were against bloody struggle, all killings, robberies, and other immoral methods.30 Some individual priests (Totoraitis and Tumas-Vaižgantas) represented a more liberal wing of the clerical intelligentsia and showed moderate sym­ pathies for the revolution, while most of the church hierarchy remained hos­ tile.31As a rule, the clerical intelligentsia remained relatively passive and, with the exception of a few individuals, reluctant to put to work its by far the largest network of local followers (parish churches) in support of the revolu­ tion. Nevertheless, some of the liberal priests played significant roles in the All-Lithuanian assembly and in the subsequent emergence of the LKDP. The Lithuanian intelligentsia and non-Lithuanian elites in 1905 In Lithuania, the first stage of the revolution witnessed another new devel­ opment, shared by both left and right wings of the intelligentsia. The first half of the year brought a series of attempts at political cooperation among the Lithuanian, Polish (PPS) and Jewish socialists (Bund), and also the

56

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

Lithuanian liberals and Polish-Lithuanian regionalists (krajowcy). In the end, only the first of these alliance projects, the socialist, was effective, but they both offered alternative solutions in the revolutionary situation in Lithuania. Therefore, they should be mentioned as ethno-political alterna­ tives to the increasingly hostile and homogenizing Lithuanian and Polish nationalisms. The revolution called to the attention of many on the left the disunity that prevailed on the socialist front in Lithuania: besides the LSDP, socialist parties such as the Kapsukas’ splinter group ‘Draugas’, PPS, SDPL (Socjaldemokratyczna Partja Litwy), and the Jewish Bund competed for the influ­ ence among local workers.32 This situation seriously weakened their position vis-à-vis each other and forced them to seek at least limited agreements. Since the LSDP was the most powerful among them and commanded sympathies not only in the city, but also in countryside, it was natural that smaller parties such as the ‘Draugas’ group and the SDPL would seek its support or, possibly, an eventual merger. This is what happened with Kapsukas’ group, which essentially did not have any political disagreements, except personal, with the LSDP, and eventually joined it in September 1905.33 The SDPL, which was stronger than the Kapsukas’ group, especially among the Polish workers in Vilna, followed its lead by joining the LSDP in the fall of 1906. The merger between the LSDP and SDPL included an agreement that ‘There should not be any organizational connection between the SDPL (the former PPS na Litwie) and PPS (in Poland)’.34This pointed to a growing gap between the Lithuanian and Polish social democrats. Each movement followed its own national-socialist agenda, while their social programmes failed to bring the main socialist parties to any meaningful cooperation. The decision of one of the main leaders of the PPS, Józef Pilsudski, to stay away from the activities of the LSDP typified this development, as did the unwillingness of the LSDP leadership to lend their support to the PPS. The cooperation between the Lithuanian and Jewish socialist intelligentsias was more limited, and it did not produce any significant party mergers. Nevertheless, there was no real animosity between these two groups either. By its nature the LSDP was the most multi-ethnic political organization among Lithuanian parties: it included not only Lithuanians, but also some Poles and Jews (especially after the merger with the SDPL). One estimate is that among its 2,310 members in 1907, 380 were Jews.35 The seventh LSDP congress (1907) called the party to ‘expand its work among the Jewish workers’, to ‘publish party documents in the Jewish language’ and ‘to seek unification of Christian and Jewish workers’ organizations’.36 There is little evidence that these statements became anything more than revolutionary dreams of Lithuanian socialists. The main dividing line ran across the future vision of the Lithuanian state and its boundaries: if the LSDP sought autonomy, based on the ethnic Lithuanian core, in a federal union of neighbouring states, the Bund preferred the historical borders of 1792 and leaned towards closer ties with Russia.37 Besides common participation in several general

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

57

strikes of workers in Vilna, the LSDP and Bund still acted as socialist com­ petitors, not political allies. The centre- and right-wing politics served as another major arena where Lithuanian, Polish and sometimes Belarusian and Jewish elites sought com­ mon solutions to the Lithuanian problem. Differing visions of history, eth­ nicity, nationality and statehood competed and negotiated with each other in an attempt to determine the future contours of Lithuanian society. Among them, the most significant and likely to succeed seemed to be an idea of a federal Polish-Lithuanian state built on the heritage of the historic Com­ monwealth. This political tendency deserves more attention here, since on the Lithuanian side it temporarily involved some leading patriots. Even prior to 1905, for a brief time some members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia were attracted by the proponents of this political vision of Lithuania, the so-called regionalists (krajowcy). The latter were a group of prominent Polish-Lithuanian gentry and intellectuals, such as M. Römer, T. Wröblewski, L. Abramowicz, B. Krzyzanowski, D. Rymkievicz and others who had strong intellectual capabilities and elitist aspirations but almost no popular support among the local peasantry.38Their activities centred in Vilna and evolved around the periodical Gazeta Wilenska (founded in 1906 and edited by M. Römer). Some of the Lithuanians in Vilna were attracted to the social gatherings of the regionalists from as early as the late 1890s.39 After all, they all shared a similar social status, language and the lifestyle of the urban intelligentsia. Two most remarkable features of these common soirées were their multi-ethnic character and democratic atmosphere: they were attended by the Lithuanian liberals, socialists, conservative priests, Polish regionalists, some Polish national democrats and others.40 In his memoirs, Jonas Vileisis makes a reference that Pilsudski, too, participated in at least one of the gatherings of the group.41 These semi-secret meetings usually took place in private quarters and were always characterized by lively debates and hot disputes over the past, present and future of Lithuania. There are some opinions that suggest close connec­ tions between the Polish and Lithuanian intelligentsia groups and a Masonic movement in Vilna.42 Without a doubt, this liberal attempt at cooperation serves as one of the brightest episodes in the relationship between the Polish and Lithuanian elites: it stands in sharp contrast to the increasing hostility between the Polish and Lithuanian nationalists that would continue for dec­ ades. The period of 1904—1905 served as the culmination of this rapproche­ ment during which the regionalists attempted to convert their ideas into a political currency. However, the social unrest of 1905 with its political stratifi­ cation brought an eventual political bankruptcy of this cooperation. By May 1905, the Lithuanian liberals chose to withdraw their support from the regionalists, who would continue their unpromising struggle well into the interwar period.43 Besides numerous private meetings that took place prior to the revolution, there were at least two major political gatherings that marked an attempt

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The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

by the regionalists to come to a viable political understanding with the Lithuanian, Belarusian and Jewish elites on the shape and character of future Lithuania. In December 1904, a so-called ‘Group of Polish and Lithuanian Irredentists’ made their public appearance by publishing a political program and by sending their representative Tadeusz Wröblewski to the Second Russian Congress of Zemstvi on 9-13 April 1905. Besides requesting civil and political liberties for the population of the north-western provinces, the programme also demanded: We request that the Russian constitution should be based on a free feder­ ation of the people of those countries (in ethnographic borders), who have already expressed their particularity and who demand autonomy for their nations (Lithuania, Poland, Finland, the Ukraine).44 However, in the first half of 1905, it became evident that such a general statement could not satisfy the two dominant groups among the irredentists. The Lithuanian liberals persistently pushed for a separate autonomy for Lithuania in the narrowly defined ethnic Lithuanian borders, while the Polish regionalists (as well as the Belarusians and Jews) supported various forms of a Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian state based on the historical boundaries of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. A compromise was desperately sought, but the Lithuanian side refused to change its stance on the ethnic borders, practically sealing the fate of the movement. This is how Jonas Vileišis explains the motives of the Lithuanians for abandoning their cooperation with the regionalists: I have to remind [you] that Lithuanians already started to cool off from these common talks, which besides wasting our time didn’t lead to any common work because Lithuanians had to work without any support from representatives of those nations. The other reason for this cooling off was the fact that those so-called ‘Belarusians’ were the same Poles. They don’t have any significant links with the Belarusian masses. The Belarusian masses are still nationally dormant and they didn’t state their wishes. It is easy for the Poles who live there to work among such a nation. After the rebirth of Lithuania, Poles lost their power in it, but in Belarus they still can work for long. That’s why they speak so eagerly about the boundaries of historical Lithuania . . ,45 The refusal of the Lithuanian liberals to cooperate served as a serious blow to any future plans of the regionalists, based on the notion of federalism between different ethnic groups of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There was also a lack of trust between Poles, on the one hand, and Jews and Belarusians, on the other hand, who were openly defiant about the Polish influence into any future federal structure. For many of the regionalists this also meant a personal tragedy: in the course of the time, they would be forced to choose between Lithuanian (for example, Römer) or Polish nationalisms

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

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(Wrôblewski, Rymkievicz). The refusal to look for common grounds also marked the end of the brief, but perhaps the most democratic and multi-voiced period of cooperation between various nationalist elites of Lithuania. The divisions among ethnic elites ran deeper as one moved from the political centre to the right. Efforts, such as those of the Lithuanian patriotic priest A. Dambrauskas-Jakštas to appeal to the Lithuanian nobility to support the Lithuanian cause were ridiculed and rejected by the latter as the ‘Lithuanian mania’.46 The Lithuanian section of the Polish National Democrats (the Endecja), established since 1897 and led by W. Wgslawski, treated the Lithuanian movement as a hostile separatist group, instigated and sponsored by the Russian authorities.47 According to one estimate, the Polish national democrats attracted about one half of the Lithuanian landed nobil­ ity in Kovno province and more than third in Vilna province.48 In the end, the political ideologies based on elitist and traditional, historical models of polit­ ical or civil loyalty could not keep pace with such powerful and exclusionist forms of modern mass politics as nationalism and socialism. The absence of significant numbers of the nationalistically minded Lithuanian nobility was a permanent feature of the Lithuanian movement that determined its radical and populist character. The intelligentsia and peasants in the All-Lithuanian assembly The All-Lithuanian assembly is one of the central events in both the history of the Lithuanian movement as well as in the nationalist mythology of modern Lithuania. Despite the fact that its final resolution called only for ‘autonomy (self-government) for Lithuania with a diet in Vilnius within ethnographic borders of the Lithuanian nation’, most Lithuanian authors make a link between this resolution and the emergence of an independent Lithuanian state in 1918.49 Writing about its significance, one of its participants, L. Gira, noted, ‘After a long break, it was the first public voice of Lithuanian society in respect to the politics of their country’. He compared it to a burning volcano that was awakened after a sleep of several centuries.50 In a recent study devoted to the assembly, Egidijus Motieka argues, ‘the Lithuanian nation expressed its will already in the diet of 1905’, and emphasizes that the event ‘crowned the emergence of the modern Lithuanian nation’.51 At the same time, the fact that, almost immediately after its conclusion, the assembly had been renamed into ‘the Grand Lithuanian Diet’ or even described as ‘the Constituent assembly of Lithuania’ pointed to the need of its participants to endow the event with stronger political legitimacy, which it originally lacked.52 However, some authors acknowledged that, despite its mass attendance (about 2,000 participants) and the presence of all the major political parties, the assembly was not a real, or legitimate diet.53 First, despite later efforts to change its name from ‘Lithuanian’ to ‘of Lithuania’, it was meant only as a congress of ethnic Lithuanians. Other major ethnic groups of Lithuania did not have any genuine representatives in it (although a small number of Jews, Belarusians and Poles participated). Second, regardless of

60

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

the fact that many Lithuanian peasants were appointed or elected to the assembly by their local communities, there were no formal democratic elec­ tions of its delegates in the Lithuanian provinces. Most of the Lithuanian intelligentsia who attended the event did so on their own initiative, not as elected representatives but as private individuals. Finally, some of the major social groups of Lithuania, for instance, the Polish-Lithuanian landowners, were not represented as well, though some of the Lithuanian patriots of lowgentry origins (for instance, Donatas Malinauskas and Davainis-Silvestraitis) attempted to speak on their behalf. Yet, in the eyes of its most contemporar­ ies, the assembly was quickly elevated to the status of a general diet of all Lithuanians - such was its political importance for the nation-builders. Here I will limit myself only to those aspects of the All-Lithuanian assembly that, in my opinion, have been insufficiently addressed in historical literature thus far. Most of them will point to the formative, volatile, fluid and often-paradoxical character of the Lithuanian movement, and those political, social and psychological schisms that still existed between the intelligentsia and masses in 1905. In the assembly, perhaps for the first time, the activists faced Lithuanian society on such an unprecedented scale. It was a defining moment that for the first time forced the political elite to re-examine their relationship with the Lithuanian population caught up in the revolution. As such, the event had a highly charged and revolutionary atmosphere, something that was quickly transferred to the countryside through its resolutions. Among approximately 2,000 participants of the event (of whom only 1,800 were officially registered), the majority were Lithuanian-speaking peasants from different parts of Lithuania. Kovno and Suwalki provinces were espe­ cially well represented, while the number of peasants from Vilna and Grodno provinces was considerably smaller. According to various estimates, peasants made up between 1,000 to 1,500 of the participants.54 Also there was a small group (50-100) of workers from Vilna and Kovno, mostly supporters of LSDP.55The Lithuanian intelligentsia formed the second-largest group of the participants (500-700). They represented an entire spectrum of the Lithuanian elite, including a substantial group of patriotic priests (about 50-100). One of the paradoxes of the event was that the two most prominent and largest Lithuanian parties, the LSDP and LDP, stayed away from its organ­ ization, and decided to join only at the last minute. Their late decision was largely based on the enthusiastic wave of support for the idea of a congress that swept the Lithuanian countryside after an official ‘Proclamation to the Lithuanian Nation’, signed by Basanavičius and Petras Kriaučiūnas, was published by Vilniaus žinios on 29 October. There is a debate as to whether the event was intended mostly as a congress of the Lithuanian parties, organized as a local response to the official October manifesto, or as a genuine All-Lithuanian assembly.56 It seems there is no clear answer to this question since the original motives of its organizers became shrouded by their later enthusiastic apologia for the event. However,

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

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there is little doubt that the idea of assembly originated between national democrats Basanavičius and Kriaučiūnas. Even though the first proclamation of Vilniaus žinios’ group calling for an all-Lithuanian congress was addressed to ordinary Lithuanians in every dis­ trict and parish as well as to the intelligentsia and ‘all patriots of Lithuania’, the organizers were totally taken aback by the large numbers of peasants who started turning up for the event one day early. The social democrat Kairys claims that ‘the organizers expected mostly the intelligentsia . but now they faced a hall full of peasants’.57One of the secretaries of the congress also noted, ‘nobody expected such a crowd of Lithuanians’. The fact that a large part of the peasant participants arrived one day before the assembly witnessed to their great expectations of the event. In the eyes of the peasants, the assembly became perceived almost as constitution of a new government that would resolve most land and economic issues.58 It is no surprise then that, on the morning of 21 November, after its arrival at the city hall designed for 1,000 people, the organizational group led by Basanavičius could barely make their way to the stage through an excited crowd of 2,000. Already at the beginning of the assembly, it became quite clear that this emotional charge, differing expectations of the participants and the political rivalries between the parties, might threaten its work and ultimately lead to its early dissolution. Basanavičius opened the congress with a highly patriotic and emotional speech, addressed to ‘Lithuanian men and women’: an opening that barely reflected the fact that there were very few women among its participants. As its main aim, he urged the congress to ‘forge a policy for the Lithuanian nation’.59 However, a tension arose immediately between the two major polit­ ical camps, the social democrats and the liberals (the latter often supported by the Catholic priests in the congress) over the composition of a presidium and assembly’s agenda. Basanavičius’ attempts to push through a committee, dominated by his national liberals, were rebuked by the noisy crowd of social­ ist supporters. The same happened with his proposed agenda, which was heavily dominated by cultural, instead of social and political issues.60This led to the first serious disruption of the congress, which almost brought its early dissolution. Tumas-Vaižgantas recalls: Screams, shouts, and a scandal - that was the election of the presidium, which continued until late lunch. .. . The crowd was just about to depart in an attempt to find another place for the gathering and to leave the committee alone in their tussle with socialists. Another half an hour of this honourable competition and there would have been no more diet.61 It was perhaps one of the greater achievements of the All-Lithuanian assembly that it was able to finish its work without being dissolved - such were the political differences between parties, their hunger for political initiative and the public support from this unexpected peasant constituency.62 One

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The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

contemporary counted at least nine major disruptions in its work, one of which, in the second session, came to the storming of the stage and the presidium itself by a group of socialists and liberals.“ Another noticeable feature of the assembly was the fact that, despite their presence among its participants, the assembly excluded from its proceedings two significant social groups - women and national minorities. Hence, some of the extreme right-wing delegates attempted to exploit the fact that among the participants there was a small number of non-Lithuanian speakers. Issues, such as whether representatives of other ethnic groups should be allowed to deliver their speeches in their native language, or whether proceedings of the assembly should be translated for the non-Lithuanian-speaking participants became one of the most stormy and debated questions.64 Meanwhile, the crowd incited by some Catholic priests booed speeches of a few women participants.65 Despite later claims that the event represented the vox populi of the Lithuanian nation, most of the speakers came from the ranks of the Lithuanian intelligentsia. Among approximately ninety-five speeches made at the four sessions of the assembly, about two-thirds were made by the intelli­ gentsia who comprised only about a third of the participants. Only the third session, devoted to the land issue, had a larger number of peasant speakers (about 20).66 The intelligentsia heavily dominated the presidium, parties and three other sessions of the congress, devoted respectively to the discussions of the political situation in Lithuania, autonomy and cultural matters. The final resolution of the assembly, composed hastily by Basanavičius and Klimaitis, and only slightly modified by the social democrats, contained the four following points: (1) it expressed its support for and solidarity with all the people and nations in Russia in their revolt against the government; (2) it demanded autonomy for Lithuania with a democratic diet in Vilnius within the ethnographic borders of Lithuania and based on ‘federal ties with other neighbouring countries of Russia’; (3) it urged the cooperation of all political parties of Lithuania in their struggle against the Tsarist government by means of non-payment of taxes, closures of state monopolies, boycotts of local government institutions, schools and refusal to serve in the imperial army and (4) it demanded the use of the local language in all government offices and the educational system.67 Political and cultural issues mingled in the final resolution, which seemed to be more a rhetorical statement than a political programme. The land issue, which aroused especially high expectations among peasant participants, and was eagerly discussed in the third session, was not even mentioned in the final text. Essentially this meant that the intelligentsia succeeded in promulgating their patriotic agenda over the social demands of the peasantry. At the end of the event, the social democrat Kairys attempted to explain to the peasant audience the absence of any reference to the land issue by pointing to the fact that only a future democratically elected constituent diet would have a right - - - j - _ - — u „ ™o^i„t,rvn 68T h e n e a s a n t delegates could not easily swallow

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their disappointment after hearing the news; ‘all those theoretical speeches on the issue of land . . . led to their great disappointment’, Kairys admits himself.69 Pranas Klimaitis also notes, ‘the inclusion of the land issue in the agenda of the assembly was only an unsuccessful attempt to touch a painful wound’.70 Paradoxically, the most radical program of the revolution was adopted not by the All-Lithuanian assembly, but by the Union of Lithuanian Peasants (LVS). Some critics later argued that, if not for the radical activism of the young leaders of the LVS, the assembly would have never had such aft impact on the subsequent events in the countryside. The young liberals not only managed to form their party in between sessions of the assembly, but they also won the loyalty of almost all of the peasant participants in the assembly.71 Among other things, their radical resolution demanded the return of land to peasants, the expulsion and replacement of state officials, and a halt to the payment of taxes.72 In contrast to the assembly’s resolution, this was an explicit call for a socially oriented action with clearly expressed aims.75 Throughout the night of 21-22 November, the young liberals printed feverishly both resolutions of the assembly and the LVS in the printing house of Vilniaus žinios.14 The next morning, with bundles of paper in their hands, they faced a crowd of the departing peasants in the city’s train station. After all, this stormy and scandalous congress had not been in vain: the peasants now had something tangible in their hands that they could show to their local communities. Both resolutions, distributed locally and soon pub­ lished by Vilniaus žinios, provoked a wave of mass unrest in the Lithuanian countryside. Kairys later admitted that ‘[the LVS] was the first attempt of the young liberals “to march to the people” . . . It is very possible that this march saved the liberals, who still remained a scattered and small group of the cabinet intelligentsia, from political death’.75 Yet Kairys’ harsh judgment applied equally to the LSDP. Both left- and right-wing intelligentsias, despite their victory at the assembly, were far from control of the revolutionary situation in the countryside, even though they tried to ride a high wave of popular unrest. Stormy post-congress developments in the countryside marked the transition of the revolution to its mass phase. The resolutions of the AllLithuanian assembly and the LVS, taken by peasants as their guides for practical action, promised that alongside national and cultural issues, the revolution would also turn to their social demands. In the wake of the assembly The reaction of the Lithuanian intelligentsia to the assembly, after the initial shock from the unexpected activism of its peasant participants, swung from cautious conservatism and fear of government retributions to a highly euphoric mood. Priest Totoraitis expressed the fears of the Lithuanian con­ servative circles pointing to the wave of destruction and anti-religious feeling

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The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

released by the revolution and also present in speeches of some participants in the assembly.76 A liberal periodical, Lietuvos ūkininkas, in its first issue, reported that ‘the hopes of many were destroyed without any fulfilment’ because the assembly failed to resolve the most urgent issues of Lithuanian farmers.77 However, most of the socialists and liberals welcomed the assembly’s declaration as an opportunity to expand their political influence in the countryside. ‘In the first days after the diet, Lithuania burst into flames.. . . The incen­ diaries were the participants in the diet’, Kairys claims in his memoirs.78 Even though the first wave of unrest swept the Lithuanian countryside after the proclamation of the Tsarist manifesto, its explosive culmination came two weeks following the All-Lithuanian assembly. Of 247 public demonstrations that occurred in 1905, 132 (53 per cent) took place in November and 52 (39 per cent) in December.79 Eighty-eight of them occurred after the assembly.80 Of all forced closures of government institutions and changes of the local government that occurred in 1905-1906, 54 per cent came in the first two weeks following the assembly. During this period the removal of local government officials was the most common practice among Lithuanian peas­ ants along with expulsions of Russian teachers and their replacement with locally elected representatives. Major Lithuanian cities and centres of dis­ tricts remained the only islands of refuge for hundreds of Russian govern­ ment employees who fled the countryside for their safety. On 3 December 1905, Governor P. Stremoukhov of Suwalki province reported that ‘in the Lithuanian districts . . . the anti-government movement . . . has now since 24 November exploded into a revolutionary firestorm which has taken on a mass character’.81 It was no coincidence that the high wave of revolution hit Lithuania after the assembly. The resolutions (especially that of the LVS) rapidly found their way into the hearts and minds of peasants, and served them as guides in their struggle against the state apparatus. Some Lithuanian historians claim that, after the assembly, replacement of local government institutions became massive and organized because it was guided by the decisions of the assembly and intellectuals themselves, some of whom now took to the countryside.82 If one does not doubt that Lithuanian peasants used the resolutions as their guides for revolutionary action, the role of the intelligentsia as the leader of the mass movement in the turbulent period between the assembly and a final military crackdown in May 1906 may be questioned for several reasons. First, in spite of the assembly’s call to unite all Lithuanian political groups in their struggle against the Russian administration, there were no serious attempts by the left or right-wing political groups to bring their forces together. The idea of national unity, propagated first by the liberal Kudirka, was traditionally closest to the political agenda of the LDP. However, already in the assembly, it became apparent that the liberals were not in a position to provide any kind of leadership. Moreover, their old guard felt uneasy about the emergence of the satellite LVS, which attracted the youngest, most

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radical, and energetic members of the liberals.83 In the end, the LVS was the only liberal group that, in the wake of the assembly, took off to the country­ side to participate in the wave of the mass demonstrations. This move of the young liberals contrasted with a policy adopted by the old liberal guard who preferred largely to remain in the city. Their post-assembly activities centred on the publication of the periodical Lietuvos ūkininkas. Thus the refusal of most of the liberals to adopt more populist methods of political mobilization served as a major reason behind their weakening influence. A The group of national liberals led by Basanavičius stood behind the organ­ ization of the assembly, and, therefore, had a strong legitimate claim to undertake such a unifying effort. Vilniaus žinios still enjoyed the largest read­ ership among Lithuanian periodicals, a fact that could have been used as an effective tool for patriotic mobilization. It seemed that some of the national liberals, who, in the wake of the congress, formed hastily into a party (TLDP), realized the importance of the idea of national unity and tried to coordinate the activities of all political groups.84 However, the numbers of national liberals were inferior in comparison with the LDP and LSDP and, most significantly, their ties to the people were second to none. It was no surprise that the national liberals were just another group of city intellectuals par excellence, and it was no wonder that, after the congress, they preferred to stay in Vilna, concentrating their efforts on the establishment of political ties with the Russian national liberals.85 Basanavičius’ effort to bring all major political parties together came to naught: neither the liberals nor social democrats would agree to cooperate. The patriotic clerical intelligentsia that, in the wake of the assembly, attempted to transform themselves into a party fared no better than the liberals. Even though potentially it could rely on the authority of the Catholic church as a channel for patriotic mobilization and its extensive network of parish churches, it was plagued by a major internal dilemma: should the church abstain from revolutionary politics which threatened the established social order and were heavily dominated by their arch enemies, ‘godless cycilisists’, as the conservatives labelled socialists, or should the Catholic priests at least express their moral support for the limited, mostly patriotic and cultural aims of the assembly?86 There were quite a few Lithuanian Catholic priests who preached the resolutions of the assembly in their churches, and called for civic disobedience against the authorities; while some of them, like a small group of priests led by Tumas-Vaižgantas, even tried to defend the social demands of farmers and workers.87 Yet such clergy activities were limited, and in the best cases served as a significant moderating factor against a threat of revolutionary violence.88 The only political group of the intelligentsia that had a serious potential to assume the role of leadership after the assembly was the social democrats. None of the Lithuanian parties (except perhaps the much smaller LVS) enjoyed such popular authority and possessed such an extensive network of local supporters both in cities and in the countryside as the LSDR However,

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The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

despite their commanding performance prior to the assembly, the social democrats appeared to be put off balance by the spontaneous rioting in the countryside.89 The major problem was the inability of their political leaders to control the wave of violent and arbitrary actions such as robberies, intimi­ dations of people and extortions of money that erupted in NovemberDecember 1905. These actions were often committed by or with the tacit support of local socialists. Throughout this period, in Kovno and Suwalki provinces, the local Russian administration was totally paralysed by the mass formation of small-scale armed peasant bands whose major concern was disarmament of the local police.90 However, more than often these bands became involved in ‘people’s courts’, summary executions of local officials, and requisitions of govern­ ment and church money. This development went against the pacifying resolu­ tions of the Vilnius assembly, and split the LSDP into the political leaders, who tried to avoid the mob violence, and the rank and file, who largely supported the idea of armed rebellion. In 1906, one of several proclamations of the LSDP called ‘Lithuanian men and women to arms!’91 No wonder that leadership of the party (Kapsukas and Kairys) became seriously concerned about a dangerous drift towards abdication of control.92 It seemed that spon­ taneous developments in the countryside outpaced the social democrats, who were able only to follow the events without ever assuming full control over the course of the revolution. After the bloody suppression of the December uprising in Moscow in 1905, the Tsarist government was able to recover and moved to a counter-offensive against the rebellious ethnic peripheries of the empire. The fragile link between the Lithuanian population and the intelligentsia that was born at the AllLithuanian assembly now faced its most serious test. Most of the authors who have written about the Lithuanian movement in 1905 agree that the Tsarist repressions were the main reason that brought the revolution down. They forced the intelligentsia to adopt legal political struggle (participation in the Duma elections) or evolutionary cultural strategy (struggle for cultural rights), instead of radical and often violent methods of opposition.93This argument is supported both by the official sources that confirm the scale and effectiveness of the official repression and also by numerous accounts of its victims. On the other hand, it is doubtful whether the Russian authorities considered the patriotic intelligentsia as a political culprit responsible for the revolution. Different political groups of the Lithuanian elite came under different official treatment. The repressions were not the only defining factor that helped to replace the revolutionary politics with the peaceful evolutionary struggle in such a swift manner. This rapid transformation was greatly facilitated by some inherent weaknesses in the elite’s patriotic politics. Those weaknesses already existed prior to 1905 and were only openly exposed by the popular revolution. It appears that the Tsarist authorities were informed about the upcoming All-Lithuanian assembly in Vilna as early as late October, but never considered it a serious threat to the public order or tried to prevent it. Their chief

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

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concern was to avoid escalation of mass unrest in the countryside.94 This attitude was also partly due to the proliferation of similar ‘national con­ gresses’ in other parts of the empire, which did not seem to threaten an established order directly. As a result, the All-Lithuanian assembly had a semi-illegal status, which is also confirmed by its many organizers.9S It seems, though, that what the government feared most was the socialist nature of the assembly, as it was reported in some of the police reports. The Tsarist authorities were quick to grasp the connection bqj^veen mass disturbances in the rural areas and the resolutions of the assembly, as evident from official correspondence in late 1905.96 Under an order of the Tsar, the governor of Suwalki province introduced a state of martial law in the prov­ ince on 2 December 1905.97 Meanwhile, from late December, five large puni­ tive corps were activated in Kovno province, an epicentre of most of the revolutionary unrest. By March-April 1906, the Tsarist government was re-established all over Lithuania without any large-scale military resistance by the armed peasant bands. Most of them simply disbanded in the face of the superior military force of the government. During the numerous arrests that followed, the brunt of the government reprisals fell on peasant participants in the revolution and, particularly, on social democrats.98 By comparison, only a small fraction of the liberal, national liberal and clerical intelligentsias was targeted, except those few young liberals of the LVS who actively worked in the countryside. Most of the leadership of the LSDP and the LVS either ended up in prison, or had to flee Lithuania for their safety, while local networks of both parties were almost totally destroyed.99 Meanwhile, only a few of the national liberals faced serious repression. Most who remained in Vilna were spared the fate of their leftist colleagues. The authorities only briefly questioned and then released Basanavičius, who hurriedly abandoned Vilna for St Petersburg in the days following the assembly.100 Conclusion The revolutionary unrest in 1905 came as a shock and serious challenge to all Lithuanian intelligentsia groups. None of them anticipated its scale and intensity, and all reacted to it with a degree of spontaneity, opportunism and rushed improvisation. All these features were amply reflected in the central event of the revolution in Lithuania, the All-Lithuanian assembly, where intelligentsia for the first time faced the broad masses. Although the assembly was accompanied by stormy debates that almost led to its early dissolution, the intelligentsia managed to define imaginary boundaries of Lithuanian nationhood and, for the first time, to equip it with a political vision. Never­ theless, their political goals (autonomy within ethnic Lithuanian borders) remained moderate (only within the Russian federation), distant (subject to a constituent diet) and unattainable. Meanwhile, the assembly’s failure to include into its resolution social issues led to widespread disappointment

68

The intelligentsia in the 1905 revolution

among peasants. Yet the subsequent decision of some intelligentsia groups (primarily the social democrats and liberal populists) to disseminate their political ideas among the peasantry were highly successful. They produced a new wave of mass unrest, which clearly marks the birth of an era of mass politics in Lithuania. Among all political groupings, the Lithuanian social democrats were the party that was equipped to withstand the test of the revolution more success­ fully than others: they kept political leadership in the early stage of the revo­ lution, yet failed to transform it into the ‘socialist’ one after the assembly. This happened due to the indecisiveness of the party leadership to endorse or reject violent politics, failure to attract well-to-do peasants and the swift counter-offensive of government. For most of the liberal and clerical intelligentsias, the revolution was a challenge that called into question their traditional cabinet party politics. The political groups, such as the LDP and TLDP, that attempted to pursue mostly patriotic, but largely elitist and cultural agendas, which downplayed social issues, lacked popular support. The only liberal group that made some sub­ stantial inroads among peasants were the young liberals (the LVS) who refused to accept the leadership of their liberal peers (the LDP) and, instead, plunged into radical politics. However, the inclusion of the social issues in the agendas of the LSDP and the LVS did not yet guarantee these parties the control of the events - the unrest in the countryside followed its spontaneous ways. The revolution, for the first time, gave the patriots an opportunity to recruit more supporters for their parties. However, only the LSDP and the LVS were able to exploit this chance effectively, which brought them some popular prestige. The Tsarist authorities were quick to grasp that and turned the wrath of their repressions against the Lithuanian leftists, while the liberals and clericals remained relatively unharmed. Most of the liberal and conserva­ tive intelligentsia could not keep pace with popular politics dominated by the issues of land and self-government, and often coloured with violent calls to arms. It is no wonder that in such circumstances the project of national unity had to be shelved until a better time. Thus in Lithuania, the swift replacement of radical politics with the evolutionary and cultural came as a result not only of the rigid govern­ ment counter-offensive but also due to the inherent weaknesses of the Lithuanian elite. The most underlying of them was the weak relationship between the revolutionized population and the patriotic elite. For the major­ ity of Lithuanian peasants, the patriotic aims of the intelligentsia were less appealing than their promises to deliver social justice. The lesson that fol­ lowed from the revolution was that the political programs based on the idea that Lithuania should constitute a certain independent political unit could be achieved only in a society that has a stronger sense of national and social integrity. The idea of Lithuanian nationhood still had to be projected to broader groups of the population to make the nation-making project more credible and appealing.

5

In search o f national brides

The intelligentsia and the women’s issue

The origin of the women’s debate Around the turn of the twentieth century, no debate of the Lithuanian intel­ ligentsia spoke more clearly about its yet to-be-defined identity, or about the early and formative character of the national movement than the debate on ‘Lithuanian women’ and their role in the nation’s politics. This debate surfaced in the last decades of the nineteenth century, and involved a large number of prominent activists. For more than two decades, ‘the women’s front’ was one of key cultural battlegrounds for the nationalist elite along their other ideological concerns. The roots of the debate were shared with other East European intelli­ gentsias. In Russia, ‘the women’s question’ was one of the issues raised by a cohort of the male intelligentsia that emerged in the 1830s. In the 1860s, the so-called nihilist or raznochinnaia generation of Russian radicals, represented by figures such as Chernyshevsky and Pisarev also debated the issue. The first generation of the secular Lithuanian intelligentsia that emerged as graduates of Russian universities in the 1880s-1890s, resembled the Russian intelli­ gentsia by their educational background, social position, small numbers and their public critique of the gender relations of traditional society. The Russian intellectuals, who shared a sense of alienation from their social roots, attempted to create new forms of social behaviour in the middle decades of the nineteenth century.1 According to Irina Paperno, they are credited with a ‘revolution in manners’, imitated by thousands of young radicals throughout Russia, who among other things aimed to change the intelligentsia’s behaviour towards women.2 This radical change was charac­ terized by their rejection of the aristocratic gallantry of the Russian nobility, affirmation of equality between sexes and the adoption of different strategies to educate and emancipate Russian women. Yet the Lithuanian patriotic elite did not share the same degree of criticism of their social environment as the Russian intelligentsia. ‘The women’s ques­ tion’ in Lithuania was important more as an integral part of the nation­ building project rather than a social emancipatory issue as in Russia. The estrangement of Lithuanian students from their social milieu originated

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mostly from their exposure to urban life, and transformation into a semiurbanized elite. This alienation was often expressed as a sense of guilt against their peasant background.3This gap between the cultured and ‘nomadic’ sons of peasants and their uneducated ‘sedentary’ parents could be breached only by a deliberate social and cultural action. At the same time, ‘the women’s question’ served as an opportunity to the intelligentsia (which represented an under-privileged and socially isolated group) to define and consolidate their new, self-appointed role of ‘the public men’. The debate on ‘Lithuanian women’ sparkled in the 1880s and continued well beyond the 1905 revolution. In the course of the time, it was transformed from a discussion devoted mainly to successful marriage strategies for the male intelligentsia to one about the women’s role in nation’s politics in gen­ eral. From 1907 onwards, some of these ideas received popular support and led to the emergence of a movement of ‘public women’, a small group of the Lithuanian female journalists and writers who became engaged in the nation­ building project. But, first, the debate had to break through the realm of ideas into practice, and, as a result, produced new splits among the elite. Although a few separate calls ‘to educate Lithuanian girls’ had been heard as early as in the period of the first secular patriotic periodical Aušra,4 the actual debate started only after a series of publications by Varpas.5 The very fact that it took place both in the private realm (diaries and letters) and in the public realm (patriotic press and literature) was a testimony to its significance for the patriotic elite. Often it was perceived as an issue of primary import­ ance for nothing less than survival of the nation itself. Kudirka was one of the first to recognize in 1891 that the male Lithuanian intelligentsia did not have sufficient numbers of educated Lithuanian women to be their marital partners: Today, the question of marriage seems to be very complicated for the young male Lithuanian intelligentsia. Many of them have to remain single throughout their lives and be lost to society, because they have no Lithuanian women who would suit them. . . . Society, give us some Lithuanian girls!6 Another contributor, Jurgis Gaidamavičius, also noted a dangerous lacuna that opened in the private life of the male intelligentsia after their return home from educational pilgrimages: ‘Lithuanian men are lost for the cause of Lithuania due only to the lack of educated Lithuanian women. Having married foreign women, they are transformed into Poles, Germans, or Russians.. .’7 However, it was Juozas Kėkštas who inspired the debate with his infectious enthusiasm that ranged from despair and drama to imminent revelation. He warned: ‘Our society is in deadly danger . . ., if we do not solve this abnormal situation!’8According to Kėkštas, ‘90 per cent of our educated men are not able to solve this problem, and, while in doubt, remain bachelors’.

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Kėkštas came to several radical conclusions: ‘only the half-Poles (the PolishLithuanian gentry) can supply our educated youth with a required number of educated female spouses. However, can these women be good mothers for the case of Lithuania, can our ideals be their ideals? No, they cannot’. Then he proceeded to attack ‘the half-Polish women’ pointing to their subversive or even cunning nature: ‘the half-Polish woman . . . will always destroy the Lithuanian spirit in her family’. She would Polonize her household, ‘would sever the ties between the educated Lithuanians and the nucleus of the nation, people’, and would rear their children in the Polish spiritf^his would be a total disaster, since ‘in the end, we will end up with the race . . . of national hermaphrodites’. Such a sweeping conclusion obviously called for a drastic solution: ‘But who should we marry? . . . the Lithuanian women from the people’, the author suggested. Kėkštas had no doubt that it was ‘a sacrifice to live with the intellectually weak and insufficiently educated [Lithuanian] woman’, but ‘this thorny path’ had to be taken in order ‘to preserve our patriotic con­ sciousness’. At the end of his article, filled with rhetorical exclamations and recriminations, Kėkštas labelled all the Lithuanian intelligentsia men who married non-Lithuanian women ‘renegades whose bad memory our nation will enshrine in black crosses’. Indisputably, this was a far-reaching call for a new type of marital strategy, or at least, for a limited revolution in the private lives of his compatriots. By enveloping the marriage issue with the rhetoric of nationalist mission, hero­ ism and self-sacrifice for the public good, by questioning the boundaries between the private and public, it also called for self-discipline, limits on individual freedoms, rejection of romantic feelings of love and courtesy, and, finally, a rationalization of marital relations. No wonder that Kėkštas’ scheme produced a storm of articles and letters that flooded the editors of Varpas hotly debating the issue. Kudirka replied, ‘to marry a simple [Lithuanian] country girl is too difficult for an educated man’ and urged the intelligentsia either to marry more refined Latvians or Prussian Lithuanians,9 ‘which would benefit national matters of both coun­ tries’, or to put the responsibility of bringing up the Lithuanian peasant brides into the hands of the intelligentsia: Such an intellectual, when he finishes his studies, should find a girl to his liking from a decent family and should let her study, if he can afford it. If he cannot, he should educate her himself. Such a girl, 17-18 year old, having received a good education for three or four years, will already have basic education, which can be finished after she gets married.10 Kudirka called for an educational strategy for the Lithuanian peasant women that would transform them into more sophisticated ‘national brides’. It mir­ rored the strategy of Kėkštas by its will to transform the Lithuanian woman into an image that would satisfy both the patriotic and marital needs of the

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intelligentsia. More importantly, Kudirka urged the elite to accept the issue of women’s education as their public mission." His views soon were seconded by the others who proposed the idea of special schools for the Lithuanian girls.12 Certainly, this challenged one of the most conservative values of the Lithuanian society, that higher education was only for peasant sons, not daughters.13 The liberal Grinius, future president of independent Lithuania, proposed a totally different marital strategy. He ridiculed the idea of marrying uneducated peasant women since such an arrangement ‘does not want recog­ nize our feelings of love’.14Grinius also attacked Kudirka’s idea o f ‘self-made brides’, since this type of marital strategy would resemble too closely the traditional pre-arranged marriage of the Lithuanian peasants, of which the intelligentsia disapproved. Such an intellectually unequal marriage would result in the spiritual alienation of wedding partners, and also would lead a poor intellectual to financial bankruptcy. According to the author, ‘the pro­ spect for an intellectual under such conditions is cards and alcohol’. Grinius criticized the idea that there should be no marriages with ‘the half-Polish women’ on the grounds that, in fact, only they can be socially equal marital partners for the intelligentsia men. He was supported by Gabrielius Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, who claimed that intelligentsia’s wives should be ‘capable of participating in public life, or at least . .. accompanying men to receptions’.15 ‘We experience metamorphoses within ourselves, why is it so difficult to believe that such a half-Polish woman can change into a true Lithuanian?’ Grinius rhetorically asked. The Lithuanian historian, Dalia Marcinkevičienė, described these two marital strategies of the Lithuanian elite as ‘gentry’ and ‘radical’ projects of the national family.16 The supporters of the ‘gentry model’ questioned the tactics of ‘social engineering’ proposed by Kėkštas and Kudirka. They argued that the Lithuanian intelligentsia would not be able to design a new type of family due to the novelty and weakness of its ideological cause. In the end, they would have to accept ethnically mixed marriages with the Polish gentry women. Even if such marriages could result in husband’s cul­ tural assimilation, they would facilitate intelligentsia’s transformation into a new elite. Gradually, the debate shifted from the problem of marital strategies to the question of the national identity of the Lithuanian women. After Kudirka lamented the regrettable absence of manners and communication skills among the Lithuanian peasant girls, and expressed his displeasure with some of their newly acquired habits (excessive use of cosmetics and cigars!),17 socialist Stasys Matulaitis rebuked him sharply by assuming the role of a defender of their moral values and chastity. He accused Kudirka for his attempts to denigrate the Lithuanian women and recalled that, ‘our holy duty . . . is to perfect everything that is Lithuanian, to protect and educate our women . . . Long live our blue-eyed Lithuanian girls!’18This resembled a call for a cultural battle with ‘the others’ in which women would serve as the prize.

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For Matulaitis and some others, the national identity of the Lithuanian women could be defined through the realm of their superior ‘spiritual’, rural, as opposed to the ‘exterior’, urban (and, therefore, corrupt) values of the Polish-Lithuanian gentry women. This was the familiar strategy of the early nationalists in the constitutive phase of nation-making; its nature in essence did not differ from, for example, the efforts of German national-liberals to extol the moral superiority of German women as opposed to the French, in the era of Napoleonic wars.19 Predictably, the male intelligentsia dominated the early debate on the Lithuanian women. Perhaps the only woman’s voice in the debate belonged to writer Žmona-Didžiulienė, who offered an original solution to the prob­ lem of the shortage of educated Lithuanian brides: In order to resolve this negative situation, in my opinion, we should call an exhibition of Lithuanian girls . .. Maybe ‘exhibition’ is not a right expression, but we should organize certain balls or soirées, which would be attended by Lithuanian mothers with their daughters, and, of course, young Lithuanian men. At such gatherings our youth, at least, would have the opportunity to meet each other .. .20 On the date of its publishing in 1894, this may have sounded naive, but soon different cultural soirées and folk dance parties, organized by small intelli­ gentsia communities, became the principle venues where the Lithuanian patriots were able to find their marital partners.21 Thus, in Lithuania, the emergence of the women’s debate came not as the result of an emancipation movement among the Lithuanian women (that would start only in 1907), but from the efforts of the male intelligentsia to break out of their social isolation and to expand their patriotic ideas among female population. The debate reflected one of the central challenges that the Lithuanian national movement faced at the turn of the century: how to produce a new nationally-minded society that would accommodate their elitist aspirations. This called not only for the critique of marital values of traditional society, the re-defining of traditional family norms, but also for new and radical models of marriage making. Theory versus practice: experimental marriages, politics of bachelorhood and gentry salons Did the intelligentsia manage to establish a new type of family that would serve as a prototype for ‘nurturing the nation’? How did these projects of the patriotic family affect the lives of the intelligentsia in practice? Did they remain in the realm of a nationalist utopia or find their ways into the biographies of the early Lithuanian patriots? As with other social utopias, the radical marital utopia of the Lithuanian nationalism was hard to implement in reality. Still largely traditional but

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heterogeneous, the Lithuanian society at the turn of the century was split by different ethnic and social schisms that often intersected with each other, presenting a serious challenge for the marital plans. On the one hand, the educated peasant sons, by their nationalist and cultural aspirations, stood close to the traditional peasant world from which they came. On the other hand, by virtue of their newly acquired social status, they gravitated towards their ideological contestant, the Polish-Lithuanian gentry. In the end, the resulting tension would produce some interesting marriage patterns in which the Lithuanian-Polish gentry women play a significant role. There were quite a few cases when the male patriots attempted to implement the ‘radical’ marriage project in their lives. Often, they understood attempts to regulate family life and subordinate it to the needs of the nation-building project quite literally, and, when rigidly applied, they resulted in family dramas. As a result, the notion of family harmony seemed to be hardly achievable for some of them. Višteliauskas, one of the earliest contributors to Aušra and a participant of the 1863 rebellion who fled Lithuania to the West and later even volunteered for Garibaldi, attempted to convert his Polish-speaking wife and their chil­ dren to the Lithuanian cause.22 He tried to convince her to recite prayers in Lithuanian instead of Polish, which angered his wife greatly.23 As a result, his wife labelled him a pagan, which presumably contributed to his early neur­ osis.24 Having lost his fortune and family in Brazil, Višteliauskas ended his days heavily in debt in a mental clinic in Buenos Aires. The radical socialist S. Matulaitis in his memoirs recalls the motives of his decision to marry an ethnic Lithuanian countrywoman: I seriously decided to marry a peasant girl. As it was usual for a young man, I even came up with an ideological explanation for such a marriage. I thought if I marry a country girl, my ties with the people would grow even stronger.25 Unfortunately for the groom, his beloved refused to marry him on the grounds that she was already betrothed to another and that she could not see herself ‘as a doctor’s wife’. Matulaitis was forced to conclude ‘that a social and political activist must remain unwed and free, because the family would limit his freedom’, and even adopted the literary pseudonym ‘Widower’.26 However, the urgency to find a wife greatly increased after he had learned of the government’s decision to expel him for his patriotic activities from Lithuania to central Russia in 1898. The family would console him in his long years of exile. Through his acquaintances, he was able to find another Lithuanian-speaking girl who would match his ideal: ‘. . . from St Petersburg I wrote to the Young Blond Lady a letter and offered her to marry me under the condition that in our family we will speak Lithuanian. She replied that she agreed sincerely’.27 In his memoirs, Matulaitis admits later he regretted greatly his decision to marry her. His patient efforts to transform his

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unsophisticated wife into an educated Lithuanian woman-patriot through a well-thought educational programme came to naught: For this purpose [of education], before going to sleep, I started reading to her each day something from the area of sciences. But the results were completely the opposite from what I expected. After a couple minutes of reading, 1 heard a loud snoring, my listener firmly slept. That was the first blow to my family life. [ painfully realized that my dream t