The Curzon Line is usually identified as the line of 8 December 1919 (similar to the current eastern border of Poland), running to the east of the Daugavpils-Vilnius-Hrodna railway. Typical historiographical texts state that the Soviet government decided to ignore the Curzon Line after 17 July 1920. But in fact, the Red Army crossed the Curzon Line on 13–14 July and continued to occupy Vilna (Vilnius). Another inaccuracy follows from this one. The prevailing trend is to interpret the Lithuanian state’s situation in 1920 as facing one of two ideology-based alternatives: either Lithuania is sovietised, or it is ‘saved’ by Poland, which occupies Vilnius and separates Lithuania from contact with Soviet Russia. But this raises a whole swathe of questions: how should the Lithuanians’ struggle for Vilnius during the whole interwar period be viewed? How should assistance to Lithuanians from other countries, such as Germany, the USSR and Great Britain, be assessed? Finally, how should the return of Vilnius to Lithuania in 1939 be viewed? There is no answer to these questions, but the possibility of Lithuania as a buffer zone thanks to the Curzon Line, is ignored or hardly analysed at all. Using historical documents from Lithuania, Great Britain and Russia, and referring to the studies by Alfred Erich Senn, this article aims to find an answer to the question, why was the idea of Lithuania as a buffer state not realised in the summer of 1920? The idea that it would be more appropriate to call the line alongside Lithuania established at the Spa Conference ‘the Lloyd George Line’ is also discussed.
This article presents an analysis of the role memory culture plays in information wars. Based on the examples of Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus, it finds that the phenomenon of using the past in information wars can be explained as a fighting measure to entrench the authority of a given country in the eyes of the global community. This requirement emerged among countries in this region following the collapse of the old global systems and with the creation of new political blocs. Associations have been noticed between information wars that exploit the past and the growth of a country’s economic potential. For this reason, this foreign policy tool has not been used to the same degree in different countries in the region, nor did it start being used at the same time. Almost all the countries in the region started to massively exploit the past as a means of soft power only in the 21st century. This tool is especially significant in Poland and Russia, being used less often in Lithuania and Ukraine, and hardly at all in Belarus. The storylines of the past being used in information wars can be divided into two categories: Global identities, whose symbols have become Holocaust and Gulag figures; and symbols associated with the memory cultures and identities of separate societies, such as the idea of Slavic unity (in Russian-Ukrainian relations) or the past of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (in Lithuanian-Belarusian relations). The author predicts that the use of the past in information wars is set to intensify in the future, and as such, the teaching of expert skills is necessary to address this; at present, these skills are lacking in countries in the region.
This article provides two comparisons: (1) a cross-time comparison of real wages of skilled and unskilled workers in Kaunas before the First World War and during the interwar period; and (2) a cross-national quantitative comparison of the wages of unskilled workers in Kaunas and the capital cities of most European countries during the same period. For the second comparison, we use the findings of researchers who applied Robert C. Allen’s methodology of real wage estimation. In this methodology, the wages of unskilled construction workers (known in interwar Lithuania as zimagoras) are used as proxies for the wages of unskilled urban workers, and those of construction site carpenters provide a sample for skilled workers’ wages. Real wages are measured in subsistence and welfare ratios, indicating the distances separating the purchasing power of wages from the subsistence level of a single worker (subsistence ratio = 1 meaning absolute poverty) or his family (welfare ratio = 1 meaning absolute poverty). Subsistence or absolute poverty levels are defined by regionally adjusted (to variations in survival needs) minimum consumption baskets. The main findings are: (1) although during the first decade of independence (in the 1920s) the real wages of unskilled construction workers in Kaunas were lower than in 1913, by 1938 they had markedly surpassed the pre-First World War level; (2) in no year with available data did the real wages of unskilled construction workers in Kaunas fall below the absolute poverty level; (3) the real wages of skilled construction workers in Kaunas had markedly surpassed the pre-First World War level even before the Great Depression in the early 1930s, and remained above this level even in the worst years of the depression; (4) the real wages of skilled and unskilled construction workers in Kaunas in 1913 were no lower than in metropolitan centres of the Russian Empire; (5) in the period 1927 to 1929, the wages of unskilled construction workers in Kaunas were lower than in Moscow, but largely surpassed Russian wages in the 1930s, when Stalin’s policy of industrialisation forced them below the subsistence level; (6) the real wages of unskilled construction workers in Kaunas in the 1930s surpassed those in Riga and Tallinn. While this finding is surprising, it concurs with earlier (2007) findings by Gediminas Vaskela, who compared the mean wages of workers and employees in the Baltic countries in the period 1938 to 1940.
There was one very special document in the life of each adult citizen of the USSR. This document was the internal passport, which was a short chronicle of a person’s life. It reflected almost the whole life of an individual: from the place and time of their birth, to the duties the holder had to their children (indicated by a stamp in the passport about any underage children and any duty the parent had to support them financially). This article presents an analysis of the development of the Soviet passport system in east and southeast Lithuania in the period 1944 to 1989, and efforts to introduce modernisation, revealing the functions and some details of the universal obligatory registration of citizens based on their place of residence.