Historiography of the Lithuanian national movement

Changing paradigms

  • Darius Staliunas

Abstract

This article shows how the modern Lithuanian historical narrative came into being and evolved with special attention to the perception of the Lithuanian national movement. During the 'long nineteenth century' Lithuanians constructed their concept of history as an alternative to the Polish construct and to a lesser degree its Russian counterpart. The history of Lithuania was considered to be the history of (ethnic) Lithuanians. The concept of National revival was elaborated at that time. The anti-Polish paradigm became even stronger during the interwar period. Historians at that time focused their attention on the Lithuanian opposition to the so-called Russification. After the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940 and again in 1945, the official historical view propagated by the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic had to be not only Marxist but also in line with the ideologem of friendship of the peoples. However, there was also a different approach to the history of the Lithuanian national movement. One group made an attempt not to follow the ideologem without leaving the realm of Marxist methodology; a second group represented the traditional Lithuanian, essentially primordialist, view on nationalism.

Author Biography

Darius Staliunas

Darius Staliunas (1970) is deputy director of the Lithuanian Institute of History, Vilnius (since 2000), and a member of the editorial board of several academic journals, both Lithuanian and international. He is the author of Making Russians. Meaning and practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863 (Amsterdam - New York, 2007). His research interests include issues of Russian nationality policy in the so-called Northwestern Region (Lithuania and Belorussia), ethnic conflicts, Jewish-Lithuanian co-operation in late Imperial Russia as well as problems of historiography and places of memory in Lithuania.

Published
2013-12-31
Section
Articles