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2012.07.20 15:03

Mission Siberia

2012.07.20 15:03

Expedition Mission Siberia 2012, during which young Lithuanians will visit their countrymen’s exile locations in Siberia, has taken start.

Expedition Mission Siberia 2012, during which young Lithuanians will visit their countrymen’s exile locations in Siberia, has taken start.

A crowd gathered in Vilnius railway station to see off the sixteen selected young people to Siberia.  The aim of this patriotic project is to honor memory of the exiles.

Expedition will take local postcards and wooden crosses created by a folk artist, and present them to Lithuanians who stayed back in Siberia after the term of their deportation, during postwar period.

This year, expedition will travel to Republic of Khakassia, which is about 5 thousand kilometers away from Lithuania. The team will build a wooden cross, meet local Lithuanians and repair the abandoned graves of the exiles; the expedition will last a couple of weeks.

Khakassia was one of the places were Soviets exiled thousands of Lithuanians. Although this location was not among the main exile places, organizers of the project think it is worth expanding our knowledge about less known locations.

Mission Siberia expeditions have been held yearly, since 2006. Thousands of young people usually seek to participate in it. But only dozens, the most willing and determined, get the invitation. Expeditions seek to perpetuate the memory of the deportees.

Stalin conducted series of massive deportations, which had profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union.  About 300 thousand Lithuanians were deported during the postwar period, to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. Many of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition.

Video material that was submitted to European Broadcasting Union:

Shotlist:

Shots of launching the previous expedition

Shots of the previous expedition in Siberia; working at the cemetery

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Dalia Vitkauskaitė, member of the previous expedition:

Among those boundless forests there is a tiny village that has practically disappeared. Only old people live there, all young its inhabitants have left. And in that tiny village you find cemetery where Lithuanians were buried.

More shots of repairing the cemetery

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

Mantas Simanavičius, member of the previous expedition:

People who live there are Lithuanians, so they take care of the cemetery, of course. However, it is impossible to look after all graves, especially that there are 250 of them. So, the cemetery indeed looks kind of abandoned.

Shots of the Lithuanian cemetery