Abstract This article deals with the personal network of Second Secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (LCP CC of the LSSR), which in the Soviet system of governance was under competitive tension and represented a certain alternative for Moscow (the Centre) with regard to the titular (Lithuanian) nomenklatura. Unlike the heads of the Lithuanian nomenklatura, who could capitalise on relations with family, fellow countrymen or others, when forming their networks, the base on which second secretaries sent from Moscow had to rely in network building consisted of formal powers and institutional resources, namely their previous experience as functionaries in Moscow or other Soviet republics, direct links with the central party apparatus in Moscow, and the supervision of the most significant departments of the LCP CC. Cadre stagnation and a policy of trust in the cadres evidenced in the period of Brezhnev’s rule changed the situation of second secretaries as agents of Moscow. The second secretary had to refer in his activities to the interests of the titular nomenklatura leading to the beginning of his localisation (domestication) within the party nomenklatura, which contravened the logic of the institution of the Second Secretary, who was intended to be Moscow’s representative in a Soviet republic.
This article focuses on informal practices and, in particular, hunting, which was perhaps the most important ‘extra-curricular’ activity of the nomenklatura. Hunting became an excellent platform for a new secretary to establish his authority in consolidating the nomenklatura, which was quite fragmented for many years after the death of the head of Soviet Lithuania A. Sniečkus (1903–1974). This article analyses the composition of the hunting clubs of the authorities, their organisation and their leadership in informal activities, and claims that the hunt served the interests of the Soviet Lithuanian nomenklatura, because it allowed the leader of the Soviet republic to structure and consolidate his clientele.
By manipulating the composition of the most important – first – hunting club, into which people close to him were introduced, but ignoring the possible contenders for the informal leaders, Griškevičius took over control of the members of this hunting club. He first introduced the regulations of the first club of nomenklatura hunters. The ‘normalisation’ of hunting was an effective strategy which allowed Griškevičius to establish his authority and power, limiting and restricting the potential of the grouping of the Lithuanian nomenklatura. The consolidation of the nomenklatura not only served to strengthen Griškevičius in the post of the new leader, but also lowered the possibilities for the centre’s intervention in the management of the republic.
The goals of this article are: 1) to examine the factors that formed the group of Lithuanian engineers compared with the case of Soviet Latvia, and to show what reasons determined the interests of the related historical geopolitical, republic government and institutions of higher education; and 2) to show the significance of training ‘excess’ Lithuanian engineers in the Soviet Lithuanian government’s policy of korenizatsiya (the promotion of members of the titular nation for their careers). The article states that the system that formed in Soviet Lithuania due to the historical geopolitical circumstances, albeit briefly, whereby two universities, in Vilnius and Kaunas, existed until 1950, was exceptionally favourable for the korenizatsiya of specialists compared to other Soviet republics, and the education of titular nation engineers. The ‘excess’ contingent of engineers trained in the republic’s institutions of higher education formed the basis of Lithuanian specialists that allowed the leaders of Soviet Lithuania to send Russian-speaking cadres away from the republic and ensure the korenizatsiya of national cadres.