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Lithuania – From Soviet Past, Dissidence, and Exile to Present-Day Conflicts

On Tuesday 21 May, the SPF had the great privilege of hosting the poet, writer and translator Tomas Venclova. In addition, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schmid and Dr Yves Partschefeld, experts on Eastern Europe, moderated the evening and the subsequent discussion with the students.

Firstly, Venclova opened by presenting an article he had recently translated into English, which looked in particular at the war of aggression waged by Russia against Ukraine. The lecture was thought-provoking, offering insights into the war in Ukraine through historical context and examining the impact of Russia's actions on its culture and literature. Venclova's statement that the change in Germany after 1945 was proof of the mutability of nations and that he hoped for the same in Russia was particularly memorable because it seems utopian at the present time, but gives hope for the future.

Following the in-depth and ingenious article, the discussion round was opened by the two Eastern Europe experts. Venclova's insights shed light on the relationship between Lithuania and Russia and thus also provided a contribution to the current security policy debates. In addition to the historical explanations, Venclova also offered some interesting insights into his personal history, which provided a lens through which to view the experience of dissidence under totalitarian rule. 

We would like to express our gratitude to Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schmid, Dr. Yves Partschefeld and Tomas Venclova for this memorable evening.

Following these enlightening insights, we hope that further events will be organised around the Baltic States, which are undoubtedly fascinating in terms of security policy. 

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