Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12259/33467
Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Balkelis, Tomas
Title: Lietuvos vyriausybė ir Pirmojo pasaulinio karo pabėgėlių repatriacija į Lietuvą, 1918–1924 m.
Other Title: The Lithuanian government and the repatriation to Lithuania of WWI refugees from 1918 to 1924
Is part of: OIKOS: lietuvių migracijos ir diasporos studijos, 2006, nr. 2, p. 55-74
Date: 2006
Abstract: The article explores how population displacement operated in independent Lithuania in the immediate post-WWI period. The author argues that population displacement presented the Lithuanian authorities with an opportunity to claim and to establish WWI refugees as potential members of a new nation- state, thereby defining its spatial, demographic, and cultural boundaries. According to rough estimates, the total number of Lithuanian refugees who settled in the Russian interior stood at 550,000 at the beginning of 1918. The article explores their fate in the immediate post-war period as well as the official policies the new Lithuanian state adopted towards the refugees. One of the key premises is that the logic of the homogenising nation-state required that the refugees had to be persuaded to abandon their identities born in exile and rooted down in the single space of the national homeland. Nevertheless, the spatial pattern of ‘the homeland’ was still in flux, due to the border wars between Lithuania, Soviet Russia, and Poland in 1918-1920. As a result, some refugees, as in the case of those from Vilnius and Grodno areas, could not be integrated into the ranks of Lithuanian citizenry. Their difficult situation was further aggravated by famine in Russia in 1921, which called at least for limited international cooperation between Soviet Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia. On the one hand, the refugees served as a focus for the propaganda of the belligerent states, while on the other hand their uncontrollable movement compelled governments to co-operate internationally. For many refugees their first encounters with the symbols and institutions of an independent Lithuanian state were crucial in shaping their ‘fixed’ national, as opposed to ‘itinerant’ multicultural, identities. Yet those symbols of state power were read and interpreted in the light of their experience of displacement.
Internet: https://eltalpykla.vdu.lt/1/33467
https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12259/33467
Appears in Collections:OIKOS: lietuvių migracijos ir diasporos studijos 2006, nr. 2

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