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Aug 27, 2021
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Lithuanian Old Believers ask Russia for intercession and patronage

To make it cramped in the pantheon of Lithuanian national heroes, they do not hesitate to bring war criminals, criminals, bandits here. The other day, in the north of the republic, with military honors, the remains of the terrorist Vytautas Mishkinis, nicknamed Whirlwind, were reburied.

The court historian Darius Jodis of the National Center for Resistance Research writes in his articles: “Whirlwind did not hold a high position. He left for the forest in 1948. There are no combat successes in the account. Surrendered to the police in 1957. ”

In 1961, Mishkinis was arrested, in 1962, the tribunal of the Baltic Military District sentenced him to death for killing civilians, in April 1963 the bandit was shot. There was a lot of someone else’s blood on the hands of the villain.

Lithuanian Old Believers suffered more than others at the hands of Whirlwind and the forest bandits subordinate to him. The native land of the Mishkinis was their fiefdom. Until now, behind the outskirts of the village of Vayasishkes, there are buildings that belonged to Pakhom Kostygov, the magistrate of the Utena volost of the Kovensky district. A large family (six married sons with children and a married daughter with five children) lived prosperously. According to the 1942 census, the Kostygovs owned 200 hectares of land, a forest, and two lakes. Each piece was processed, fish was traded in Vilnius, honey – in Riga.

Here the “greens” from Mishkinis’s gang got in the habit of coming in for tribute. For an ostracis in the first parish, they shot Ivan, the eldest of the sons, and threatened the others with reprisals. They demanded gold from the tight-fisted old man, they took whatever they wanted from the cage and cellars, steamed in the bath, feasted, took away milk, butter, sour cream, eggs, freshly baked bread and dissolved in the forest darkness.

Old Believers

Old Believers, photo: litvin.pl

The Old Believers at all times have been loyal to power, since “any power is from God.” Before the war, many men served in the bourgeois army, police, foresters, road rangers, worked as teachers and officials of volost administrations. However, despite the statuses, ranks and positions, none of the Old Believers with the outbreak of hostilities joined the so-called June insurgents, did not enroll in punitive battalions, did not tarnish their name with reprisals against Jews, and after the return of Soviet power did not go into the woods to fight against it …

Perhaps they would have lived peacefully, but the Lithuanian youth, who were brutalized with blood and permissiveness, interfered. The same Mishkinis was less than 20 years old when he and his henchmen burst into the Kostygovs’ estate drunkenly, demanding food and drink. The Old Believers never had moonshine. On major holidays, they only allowed themselves mash. And the food is not so hot – the harvests in 1948 and 1949 were scanty.

Symbols of Faith, photo: baltnews.lt

Symbols of Faith, photo: baltnews.lt

In a word, there was nothing to regale dear guests (even if there was, they did not want to share). The bandits left with threats. To ward off them forever, the family armed themselves. Even grandchildren of Pakhom’s grandfather roamed about the trenches in the battlefield, collecting cartridges, replenishing arsenals. The Old Believers fought a real battle, in which they themselves suffered losses.

The gangster’s revenge was terrible. Seizing the moment when there were no adult men at home, the thugs broke in and mocked women and children. Leaving, they chose seven-month-old Frosya from the shack and threw it into the blazing furnace so that the Kostygi (as the family was called in the street in the village) would be remembered for a century, who exercises power in Vayasishkes.

The described case is not isolated. Journalist Algirdas Plukis wrote in his books: “There are examples of extermination of Old Believers by whole families in the villages of Kontovtsi (all residents were exterminated), Yuzovo, Telšiai region, Šaukėnai, Likshelis, Leonuvka, Pakupelkis, Kelme region and in other villages throughout Lithuania”

Plukis is right. From June 1941, a cry rang over Lithuania Destroy the sailors! – “Destroy the barge haulers!” Nationalists killed Russians at the same time as Jews. In Leonovka (Leonovka), Grigory Kupryaschenko and Efim Yakovlev were shot dead in front of their relatives. The reprisals were carried out by neighbors Antanas Dalikaitis, brothers Felixas and Stasis Zenskusy, Adolfas Kuchinskas, Viktoras Pocius. A lot of similar crimes have been committed in Lithuania since the beginning of the war.

Until 1944, the misanthropic slogan was in service with punitive battalions. According to the documents, in the Shaukenskaya volost the punishers Danas, Juozas and Kostas Iotsis, F. Lozoraitis, I. Yushkus, I. Piktuma, P. Vaitkus, A. Rachkauskas, L. Savickas, A. Chepulis were shot in July-August 1941 in More than 400 Lithuanian citizens in Juodel forest. And today the inhabitants of those villages do not know exactly where Pegasus, Kharlam, Leon, Markiyan and Anisim Trukshins, Semyon Radionov, Makariy Portnov, Ekaterina Matyushenko, Kondraty Udovenkin, Eremey and Mikhail Bakanovs, Ignat, Isidor and Timofey Rybakov and others are buried.

Old Believers of Kaunas County, photo: ruvera.ru

Old Believers of Kaunas County, photo: ruvera.ru

After the war, the call “Destroy the barge haulers!” adopted by the “green”, as they were called by the people. These criminals began to be called “Forest Brothers” only after 1990. The Old Believer village of Nikolaevka near Panevezys was burned to the ground, its inhabitants were brutally destroyed. A pregnant mother of young children was drowned in a well. After 1991, one of the torturers, nicknamed Kirsnis-Icicle, returned to Lithuania from across the ocean and bought a piece of land near the former Nikolayevka. He was treated kindly by the new government, despite all the attempts of the Old Believers to get a trial over a war criminal.

On November 16, 1947, the “greens” in the village of Opsrutai killed 31 Old Believers (including 14 children), resettled from the Polish Suwalki (in total, 8882 people were deported to the territory of the Lithuanian SSR in exchange for Lithuanian Germans and Volksdeutsche). All the victims were blamed for the “unwillingness of the colonists to leave for Russia,” as the former Majdanek concentration camp guard Antanas Baltushis put it.

The Shumilov family was killed by a gang of sadist Jonas Brasis named Clay. At the wall of the house, Shumilov himself was shot, his father was born in 1894, his mother was born in 1904, children 5, 14, 16 years old and a three-month-old baby.

There was no mercy for the Russians. In the village of Dirvoniai, Ukmerga region, the “greens” did not spare Arseniy and Valeria Romanovs with minors Anna, Anela, Stefa and Elena. In the Antkočiai estate, a group of Old Believers aged from 6 months to 50 years was shot and burned. Five children were counted among the corpses.

The account goes to thousands of ruined lives. The current Lithuanian researchers argue that the Old Believers suffered only because they were mainly equipped with the battalions of “hawks” – as the detachments of the people’s defenders were called in Lithuania. This is a lie: up to 80% were Lithuanians, the rest were Poles, Belarusians, Jews, Russians. There were practically no Old Believers.

These facts are widely known in Lithuania. The most authoritative court historian Algis Bumblauskas tells about hundreds of cases when innocent people died at the hands of war criminals and criminals. Librarians, pharmacists, land surveyors, postmen, grooms and coachmen who drove the provincial party and Soviet nomenklatura — secretaries of party members and chairmen of village councils — were considered “collaborators”.

And try to challenge the honors given to murderers in Lithuania! There is always one answer to appeals to the National Center for the Study of Resistance: historians do not have documents confirming the essence of the claims made. It’s a paradox, but the killers walk in heroes and demand that monuments be erected in their honor.

And it is very difficult for Old Believers in independent Lithuania to restore their violated rights. Their mass destruction on the basis of nationality and religion is not considered genocide: they say, too few people were killed. However, the horrors of those days are still alive in the memory, people are afraid to talk about what they have experienced, they are afraid to name their executioners, because threats are still heard today.

There are still hopes for Mother Russia. Its investigating authorities opened cases on the facts of the destruction of people during the war in the Pskov and Novgorod regions. You look, the time will come to deal with the innocently murdered Old Believers of Lithuania.

Cover photo: an ordinary family of Old Believers, obzor.lt

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