Inventing the Communist Party of Lithuania as a Labour Movement. Narratives in Soviet Historiography

In: Lithuanian Historical Studies
Ugnė Marija Andrijauskaitė Vytautas Magnus University

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This study analyses and shows how the history of the Communist Party of Lithuania (Lietuvos komunistų partija, LKP) was constructed as the history of an organised labour movement in Soviet historiography. Most studies on Lithuanian workers and labour unions written between 1960 and 1988 searched for connections between the LKP and the labour movement, analysed the impact of the LKP on the workers and unions, and sometimes used the terms ‘workers’ or ‘labouring men’ as synonyms for members of the LKP. According to Soviet Lithuanian historians, labour unions, strikes, workers, and the whole organised labour movement that sympathised with Moscow, helped to gain influence among the citizens of Lithuania prior to the occupation in 1940.

Because the labour history of Soviet Lithuania was tied to the history of the Lithuanian Communist Party, it is still hard to draw a line between the history of the workers and the history of the LKP, since the studies on workers, the labour movement and the history of the LKP written during Soviet times are treated as a product of the ideology. It is argued that Soviet Lithuanian labour history must be properly reviewed in order to reevaluate its relationship with contemporary historiography and today’s perception of the labour movement itself.

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