The sources of Sąjūdis movement and its spread in Kupiškis area

Algirdas Petrulis

The Sąjūdis Reform Movement (LPS) came to Kupiškis in natural way. Nobody invited it, nobody inspired and nobody forced it. Majority of population met it with warm welcome and approved like their own. It reflected the long depressed outburst of self-expression of people. The first secret meeting of Kupiškis Sąjūdis cell took place on August 17, 1988 in the J. Vanagas mill at the town stadium, but after three weeks it already was registered as the LPS support group that consisted of J. Alekna, A. Baniulis, A. Graužinis, P. Gurklys, A. Seibutis, E. Sokienė, K. Stančikas, R. Urbonas, P. Zulonas and V. Zulonas.

On October 9 of the same year, the heralds of independence invited people of Kupiškis to the first public rally at Lake Pyragiai.

Thus, the Sąjūdis movement marched with the times. There were enough good ideas, but there was lack of activists. The LPS structure had been improved several times. Firstly, a co-ordination centre was formed, followed later by a Little Seimas (parliament) with its council. Finally (in 1994 m.), the council was decided to be formed of representatives of already existing right-wing parties, such as the Conservatives (A. Biveinis), the Nationalists (Tautininkai) (E. Šileris), the Christian Democrats (V. Ruzgas), the Riflemen (Šauliai) (V. Šulma), the Political Prisoners and Deportees (S. Kazilionienė), the January 13 Brotherhood (K. Jazokas) and the Farmers (A. Seibutis). The LPS members developed their activities in various forms: as public events, meetings and actions.

Reaction to urgent political events used to be expeditious, signatures were collected against the proposed amendments and changes to the USSR Constitution articles violating the rule of law principles, people were invited to sign the call to proclaim the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact invalid as of the date of their signing, as well as to withdraw the USSR army from the Baltic states. There were demands to restore the institution of the President of Lithuania etc. The strong will of people was shown in the action Baltijos kelias (The Baltic Way), also by the vigilance at the Parliament, Government, Radio and TV Committee, TV Tower and Press Buildings.

On August 23, 1989 two million people in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia joined hands in a continuous 650-km chain linking the capitals Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn to protest the Soviet occupation and to demonstrate Baltic solidarity. The Sąjūdis activists made great efforts during the first democratic elections into the Supreme Councils of the USSR and the Lithuanian Republic, as well as the Kupiškis District Council. But, when parties became active in the District, the Sąjūdis movement declined and lost their former positions. So, on April 22, 2008 there was the last meeting of the Sąjūdis District Council. During the whole history of this public movement, the leaders of the District Council were as follows: A. Graužinis, K. Stančikas, R. Koževnikovas, A. Daukša, K. Baronas, A. Biveinis (twice), K. Jazokas and A. Seibutis.