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Today in Lithuania, the day of the establishment of the modern nation-state is celebrated on 16 February. It is well known that the origins of this celebration go back to the period before the Second World War. However, historians have stated for some time now that in the 1920s, in addition to 16 February, there was another day that was also known as the National Day: 15 May. An attempt is made here for the first time to look at the two celebrations as alternatives set by political competition. The author seeks to find explanations why some politicians wanted to see 15 May as a counterbalance to 16 February, and examines whether this was influenced by their different experiences and different views as to what constituted the starting point of the independent Lithuanian state.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

This article presents an analysis of Soviet law on the family which was valid in Lithuania from 1940, in order to ascertain how it reflected gender equality, how (or if ) it was formed, the legal measures the state harnessed in order to create family and gender relation models in various areas of life, and what kind of family and gender policy formed as a result. The law is contextualised in this paper by immersing it in the social reality of its time. This allows us to determine what norms and provisions determined the political and legal resolutions of the Soviet authorities, and to discuss their influence on society. The two most important periods in Soviet gender policy are distinguished. Initially revolutionary and radical in Lithuania, with the aim of changing society to realise its goals, after the 1950s, state policy became more reactive, and adapted to the changed, modernised society and its needs. This paper proposes to see changes to women’s situation during the Soviet period not as emancipation, but as (double) mobilisation. The reasons for the stagnation in masculinity in Soviet law and policy, for not keeping up with or adapting to the rapidly changing social reality, are also analysed. The contradictions in Soviet policy regarding the family and gender are shown, where it proved impossible to unambiguously apply ‘conservative-liberal’ or ‘traditional- liberal’ distinctions in both policy and reality.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

The article presents an analysis of the formation and activity of the People’s Commissariat for Health Care of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Lithuania and Belarus at the beginning of 1919. The basic structure of the Commissariat was worked out on the basis of various sources. It was found that, due to the outbreak of the 1919–1921 Polish-Soviet war, the efficiency of the Commissariat during its time in Vilnius was limited. The relative stabilisation of the health-care management system was achieved after the Commissariat was evacuated to Minsk, and later to Bobruisk, away from the front line. It has been proven that at the beginning of the Polish-Soviet war, military and civil medical care was combined in a single system, and all medical professionals in the Lithuanian-Belarusian Soviet Republic were required to do military service. The worsening of the military situation for the Red Army in Lithuania and Belarus determined the split of the Health Care Commissariat into two separate divisions: the field division for medical care for Soviet troops near the front line, and the civil division for helping civilians.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies

The article analyses actions taken and normative acts issued that formed the basis for the functioning of the transport service tax (podwoda tax) (1546–1578). The impact of Lithuanian solutions on the system introduced in the Polish Crown (1564–1565) is assessed. The tax base and characteristics of rules and collection are presented in the article. The resistance of the nobility to the introduction of this tribute is described. The resistance was much stronger than that observed for even extraordinary (one-off ) taxes several dozen times higher. Reasons for the marginalisation of this tribute and the ever smaller amounts going into the Land Treasury of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania are also shown.

The article stresses that the only permanent annual tax in force in Lithuania was introduced in 1558. This state of affairs lasted until the reign of Władysław IV. He donated the quarterly tax (kwarta) to the treasury as income. The potential annual revenues resulting from the introduced tax ranged between 2,700 and 4,400 zlotys, and were allocated to the transport system based on transport service provision. The Transport Service Treasury (Podwoda Treasury) was to be supervised by the treasury guardian (skarbny), together with the treasury writer (pisarz skarbowy). Both were expected to pay the calculated amounts to messengers, envoys, and other people travelling for state purposes.

Open Access
In: Lithuanian Historical Studies