After visiting new the virtual exhibition, “The Victorious Christmas Eve of 1989: Dethroning of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact” at the Center for Civil Education, President Gitanas Nausėda highlighted the special significance of historical memory in consolidating and preserving the statehood.
“By clearly remembering the events of the past and not allowing these memories to be falsified, we can look to the future with confidence”, the President said.
According to the President, the resolution adopted 31 years ago by the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union on the political and legal assessment of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols marked an impressive victory for the Baltic States on their way to independence. At that time, one of the highest institutions of the Soviet Union acknowledged that the secret agreements with Nazi Germany were illegal and ineffective from the moment of signing, thus enabling their effects as well as the occupation and annexation of the Baltic States in 1940 to be eliminated.
According to the President, such a decision of the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union had also set clear guidelines for the behavior of Russia, which later took over the rights and obligations of the Soviet Union.
“Dreams of freedom and democracy in the neighboring country have not yet come true. Today, however, it is our duty to reject the immoral international policy embodied by the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as did the representatives of the diaspora and dissidents in occupied Lithuania during the Soviet era”, the President said.
In the words of the President, the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and its secret protocols, the existence of which was formally denied by the Soviet Union until December 24, 1989, are among the most important documents of the 20th century. Witnessing the crimes of past aggression, today those documents also serve as a warning of the new threats as we see attempts to rehabilitate the secret divisions of spheres of influence and territories of sovereign states in Lithuania’s neighborhood.
President Nausėda emphasized that Lithuania can count on the support of close allies such as Germany in the fight against historical revisionism. The new exhibition of the Center for Civil Education would not be possible without the contribution of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, at the request of the President, agreed to lend the facsimiles of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols to Lithuania.
The exhibition “The Victorious Christmas Eve of 1989: Dethroning of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact” was officially opened on Tuesday afternoon by a conversation of two historians of different generations, dr. Algimantas Kasparavičius, the curator of the exhibition, and dr. Mindaugas Nefas. During the conversation, the historians reviewed the archival material and pinpointed its most interesting elements.
The virtual exhibition which gives the general public the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Lithuanian struggle for the recognition and condemnation of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is accessible on the website of the Center for Civil Education. Visitors of the exhibition have the opportunity to travel in time starting with the events of the second half of the fateful 1939 when the agreements between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were signed which determined the fate of Lithuania and the other Baltic states for five decades going to the Christmas Eve of 1989 when the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union acknowledged the existence of secret agreements and condemned them.
Detailed comments prepared by dr. Kasparavičius, the exhibition curator, the facsimiles of the secret agreements of 1939–1941 received from the Political Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and documentary photographs from the Central State Archives of Lithuania tell about this difficult period and the protests and rallies in the diaspora and in Lithuania in 1953–1989.