Tomas Šernas (born 28 April 1962 in Vilnius) is a former Lithuanian customs officer and the only survivor of the Medininkai Massacre on 31 July 1991. He survived the point-blank shot to his head, but became disabled. After extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, Šernas graduated from theological studies at Klaipėda University and joined the Reformed churches as a parson of the Vilnius parish. In 2010, he was elected for a three-year term as the General Superintendent of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania.
Born to a family of music teachers, Šernas studied veterinary in Buivydiškės. After graduation in 1983, he was drafted to the Soviet army and served two years in aviation security in Caucasus.After the army he enrolled into the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy and worked at Kaunas Zoo.
In 1990, he volunteered for pro-independence Sąjūdis and joined newly established State Border Guard Service. After Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union in March 1990, newly built border posts became a symbol of independence. These posts were targeted by Soviet OMON forces – custom officers and policemen were harassed or beaten, cars were stolen or bombed, the posts were burned down or wrecked.On 31 July 1991 OMON troops from Riga executed seven officers in Medininkai checkpoint on the Lithuanian–Belarusian border. Severely injured Šernas was the only survivor. He suffered brain damage and became disabled. After several years of intense therapy, he regained speech and body movement, even though he still uses a wheelchair.
In 1997, he enrolled into Klaipėda University and received a bachelor's degree in evangelical theology. He continued the religious studies at Vilnius University, earning a master's degree in 2002. On 30 June 2002 he was ordained as a priest in Vilnius and headed the Vilnius parish.Several times he was elected as vice-superintendent of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania. In June 2010 he was elected as General Superintendent for a three-year term.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is one of the Baltic states. Situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the southeast of Sweden and to the east of Denmark, Lithuania is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019. The capital and largest city is Vilnius and other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians belong to the ethnic and linguistic group of Balts. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.
Antanas Smetona was one of the most important Lithuanian political figures between World War I and World War II. He served as the first President of Lithuania from 4 April 1919 to 19 June 1920. He again served as the last President of the country from 19 December 1926 to 15 June 1940, before its occupation by the Soviet Union. He was also one of the most prominent ideologists of nationalism in Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Lithuania or Lithuania, was one of the constituent republics of the USSR between 1940–1941 and 1944–1990. After 1946, its territory and borders mirrored those of today's Republic of Lithuania, with the exception of minor adjustments of the border with Belarus.
The Klaipėda Region or Memel Territory was defined by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles in 1920 and refers to the northernmost part of the German province of East Prussia, when as Memelland it was put under the administration of the Entente's Council of Ambassadors. The Memel Territory, together with other areas severed from Germany was to remain under the control of the League of Nations until a future day when the people of these regions would be allowed to vote on whether the land would return to Germany or not. Today, the former Memel Territory is controlled by Lithuania as part of Klaipėda and Tauragė counties.
Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila was an official of the Lithuanian SSR nomenclatura.
Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian poet, prose writer, scholar, philologist and translator of literature. He is one of the five founding members of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group. In 1977, following his dissident activities, he was forced to emigrate and was deprived of his Soviet citizenship. Since 1980 he has taught Russian and Polish literature at Yale University. Considered a major figure in world literature, he has received many awards, including the Prize of Two Nations, and The Person of Tolerance of the Year Award from the Sugihara Foundation, among other honors.
This article is about the administrative divisions of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Riflemen's Union or LRU, also referred to as šauliai, is a paramilitary non-profit organisation supported by the State. The activities are in three main areas: military training, sport and culture.
Vilnius District Municipality is one of 60 municipalities in Lithuania. It surrounds the capital city of Vilnius on 3 sides, while the rest borders the Trakai District Municipality.
Several Soviet OMON assaults on Lithuanian border posts occurred in 1991, after Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 11 March 1990. As a Soviet republic, the Lithuanian SSR did not have a state border with customs or checkpoints. The newly declared Republic of Lithuania began establishing the State Border Guard Service, before it was internationally recognized on 27 August 1991 by the states of the European Community. These posts also became a symbol of its struggle for independence. The Soviet government viewed the customs posts as illegal and sent the OMON troops against the posts, especially those along the eastern border with Belarus. The unarmed custom officers and armed policemen were harassed, beaten or killed, their cars were stolen or bombed, the posts were burned down or wrecked, and work of the checkpoints was otherwise disrupted. Two of the incidents resulted in the deaths of eight Lithuanian citizens. In total, about 60 officers were attacked and injured, and 23 border posts were burned or destroyed.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania is a Lutheran church body comprising congregations in Lithuania. The ELCL is a member of the Porvoo Communion and the Lutheran World Federation.
The Constituent Assembly of Lithuania was the first parliament of the independent state of Lithuania to be elected in a direct, democratic, general, secret election. The Assembly assumed its duties on 15 May 1920 and was disbanded on October 1922.
Leonas Bistras was one of the most prominent Lithuanian politicians of the interwar period. A Christian Democrat, he rose to the peak of his career in 1925, when he was appointed as the Prime Minister of Lithuania. Bistras also headed the ministries of education, defense and foreign affairs in several different governments throughout 1920s and 1930s and twice served as the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas. After the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état and the subsequent fall of parliamentary democracy, Bistras led the Christian Democrats and, despite persecution, acted as an outspoken leader of the opposition to the authoritarian President Antanas Smetona.
Medininkai is a village in Lithuania, located 26 km (16 mi) from Vilnius and 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Lithuanian–Belarusian border. According to the 2001 census, the village had 508 residents. Medininkai is the administrative center of an eldership. According to a 2010 eldership report, it had 1374 residents, of whom 92.3% were Polish, 3.2% Lithuanian, and 2.9% Russian.
The State Border Guard Service or SBGS is the organisation under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior charged with controlling and maintaining the security of Lithuanian borders on land, in the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon. Since December 21, 2007, Lithuania is part of the Schengen Area and SBGS, partner of Frontex, controls about 1,070 kilometres (660 mi) of Area's external land border with Kaliningrad Oblast and Belarus.
Stasys Raštikis was a Lithuanian military officer, ultimately obtaining the rank of divisional general. He was the commander of the Lithuanian Army from September 21, 1934 to April 23, 1940.
The signatories of the Act of Independence of Lithuania were the twenty Lithuanian men who signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918. The signatories were elected to the Council of Lithuania by the Vilnius Conference in September 1917 and entrusted with the mission of establishing an independent Lithuanian state. The proclaimed independence was established only in late 1918, after Germany lost World War I and its troops retreated from Lithuanian territory. What followed was a long process of building the state, determining its borders, and gaining international diplomatic recognition. The signatories succeeded in their mission and independent Lithuania survived until the Soviet Union occupied the state on June 15, 1940.
Vincas Vitkauskas was a Lithuanian general. He became commander of the Lithuanian Army after the resignation of Stasys Raštikis in January 1940. In this capacity, Vitkauskas opposed armed resistance to the Soviet occupation in June 1940 and subsequently collaborated with the new Soviet regime.
Mindaugas Sabutis is a Lithuanian prelate who is the current Primate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania.
Juozas Purickis was a prominent diplomat and journalist in interwar Lithuania and served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from June 1920 to December 1921.