Document of Soviet deportation of Lithuanians added to UNESCO Memory of the World Register

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Document of Soviet deportation of Lithuanians added to UNESCO Memory of the World Register

(VILNIUS) – A plan of the Operation Priboi, the code name for a mass deportation of the Lithuanian population by the Soviets in 1949, has been granted the status of a document of national importance and listed in Lithuania’s national Memory of the World Register.

The Lithuanian Special Archives, where the original document is kept, on Monday welcomed this as an important step in preserving the historical memory and honoring the memory of people subjected to Soviet repression.

The document is a plan for the deployment of forces and vehicles that was drawn by the Ministry of State Security (MGB) of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic with ink and colored pencils on a printed map of Lithuania. It bears evidence of detailed preparation and planning for the brutal operation against civilians.

The Operation Priboi, which was conducted by Soviet repressive structures and the armed forces between March and April 1949, was the largest post-war genocide campaign in the occupied Baltic countries. Around 95,000 people were deported during the operation: 32,000 from Lithuania, 42,000 from Latvia and 21,000 from Estonia. Many of them were women and children under 16 years of age.

The operation differed from earlier post-war deportations in that people from the Baltic countries were for the first time sent to the Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk and Irkutsk regions for an indefinite period, that is, for the rest of their lives.

In Lithuania, the operation involved large military forces. Some 2,835 operative-combat groups consisting of 30,452 officers of Soviet repressive structures, soldiers and Soviet and Communist Party activists were set up. The authorities planned to use 1,716 vehicles for the deportees’ transportation and 1,302 rail cars were to be grouped into 21 trains in major railway stations.

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