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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Tamošaitis, Mindaugas
Title: Lietuvos valstiečių liaudininkų sąjungos vadovybės nesutarimai su Vincu Kvieska ir jo šalininkais XX a. 4-ojo dešimtmečio pirmoje pusėje
Other Title: Conflict between Vincas Kvieska and his followers and the leadership of the Lithuanian Peasant Populist Union in the beginning of the fourth decade of the 20th century
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2007, nr. 48, p. 43-74
Date: 2007
Abstract: This article analyzes the conflict that broke out in the early 1930’s between the top leadership of the Lithuanian Peasant Populist Union (LPPU) and one of the party’s leaders, Vincas Kvieska, and his followers named “kvieskininkai”. At that time the LPPU was experiencing a difficult period. The party’s positions were weakened by the authoritarian regime of Antanas Smetona; its activities at the level of party sections were paralyzed; several leaders began quarrelling among themselves. Vincas Kvieska, a deputy of the First, Second and Third Lithuanian Seimas (1922–1927) and vice-chairman of the party since 1931, tried to revitalize the activities of the LPPU by criticizing such famous party leaders as Mykolas Sleževičius and Kazys Grinius. He set out to reorganize the LPPU. By profession a pedagogue, Kvieska stopped working as a teacher after his election to Parliament. He considered himself a politician and also made a carrier in the field of banking. Kvieska proposed that leaders of the LPPU cooperate with the Lithuanian Nationalist Union (LNU), in effect transforming the LPPU into a pro-government party. But leaders of the LPPU did not agree with the proposal and issued warnings to Kvieska. Kvieska did not heed them; as a result he was excluded from the party in 1934. Internal conflicts did not end there. In 1934–1935, opposition to party leadership increased within the ranks of the LPPU; such rebels as Vaclovas Statkevičius, Kazys Šaltenis, Vincas Cibulskis, Emilis Zaleskis, Balys Žygelis sympathized with Kvieska’s proposals. Kvieska’s followers, the “kvieskininkai”, endeavored to have Kvieska return to the LPPU; they planned to elect him as party chairman and eliminate M. Sleževicius from the party. They allied themselves with the LNU, elected their own central committee with Vaclovas Statkevičius as chairman and in 1935 began publishing a newspaper named “Radikal-demokratas”. The original leadership of the LPPU eliminated “kvieskininkai” from the party; the LPPU congress called in June 1935 condemned Kvieska and his followers and approved M. Sleževicius’ position. This signaled the victory of the original LPPU leadership against “kvieskininkai”. The article concludes that the conflict that broke out in the fourth decade of the 20th century between the central committee of the LPPU and “kvieskininkai” indicates the presence of ideological crises within party. Clearly, the LPPU faced internal problems that stemmed from ideological and generational differences among party members as well as the loss of authority by the original leadership of the LPPU. The main activities of the LPPU in the 1930’s focused on the need to suppress inner conflicts rather than oppose Smetona’s authoritarian regime. Dissociating themselves from Kvieska and his followers, the leadership of the LPPU was able to maintain the party’s independence and traditions. However, many members of the party faced penalties from the government. This policy set a precedent and proved useful to the Nationalists because it worked to shatter and weaken the LPPU. One of the consequences of the conflict was that nationalists took command of such cooperative organizations as “Spaudos Fondas” (“Press Fund”), previously controlled by the populists.
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2007, nr. 48

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