In Europe, Europe - East, Post-Soviet Countries, Russia, USSR

Vilnius University is terminating its contract with Andrey Desnitsky, a Russian professor who said the Baltic states were not occupied by the Soviet Union.

Originally published on Lithuanian National Television and Radio on August 17, 2023

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“I would like to inform you that the employment contract with Andrey Desnitsky will be terminated in August,” Professor Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, dean of Vilnius University’s Faculty of Philology, told LRT RADIO.

Desnitsky worked as a researcher and lecturer at Vilnius University since last autumn. While still living in Moscow, he wrote publications in which he denied the Soviets had occupied the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Instead, he wrote that Stalin only insisted that the three countries join the Soviet Union. Desnitsky also said there was no resistance to the Soviet troops, adding that there “formally was more freedom under the Russian Army” than during interwar independent Lithuania which had been a dictatorship.

Desnitsky was employed in the research position because he met all the requirements as set out by the university,

However, since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, Lithuania’s universities have cut all ties with “unfriendly countries and their education institutions”, Solveiga Ramanauskienė, representative of the Lithuanian Council of Sciences, told LRT RADIO.

Desnitsky’s work was funded by an international foundation. However, VU chancellor Raimundas Balčiūnaitis would not reveal its name.

“This professor’s work is funded by a philanthropic family foundation, which cooperates with the world’s best universities and operates in a democratic country. Professor Desnitsky has received support, but we cannot publish the name of the foundation under the terms of the contract,” the chancellor said in a written statement.

Desnitsky refused LRT requests for comment.


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