«POVILAITIS’ CASE» AND THE CRISIS OF THE SOVIET-LITHUANIAN RELATIONS IN MAY-JUNE, 1940

Abstract

This article is based on the diplomatic documents from Lithuanian, Latvian and Russian archives. It is conserned with the critical moment of relations between Soviet Union and Lithuania in May-June, 1940 and the resulting changments of the Lithuanian government. It was a background for the further including of Lithuania in USSR as a republic. The article emphazises the charges exposed by the Soviet party concerning the Lithuanian secret agencies and personally the director of the Department of State Security (VSD) of Lithuania A. Povilaytis, as well as the reaction of the Lithuanian officials to it.
In the spring of 1940 the possibility of transition of Lithuania to the German sphere of influence was considered by the Kremlin as real threat to the security of the Soviet Union. While Germany has been busy fighting in the West, this threat remained eventual; however rapid victory of Germany in May, 1940 has cardinally changed a situation. The situation was aggravated with the fact that in February, 1940 the director of VSD A. Povilaytis visited Berlin where he met the high-ranking employees of RSHA and upon the request of the president A. Smetona probed a question of possible establishment of the German protectorate over Lithuania. Thanks to the activity of the Soviet investigation intelligence on this visit became soon known to the Kremlin.
Under these circumstances Povilaytis’s figure gained huge political value. As the sondage of a possibility of establishment of the German protectorate was carried out through him, that was essentially important for Moscow to see Povilaytis behind the bars. This arrest would at the same time be both the true evidence of loyalty of the Lithuanian authorities, and the end of the cooperation between intelligence agencies of Germany and Lithuania. Due to this reason the Soviet side tried to obtain Povilaytis’s arrest with that much of an effort. However the Kremlin couldn’t show direct charges to Povilaytis in contacts with Germans, because it would mean the declassification of the most valuable agent of the Soviet intelligence.

About the authors

A. R. Dyukov

Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru

References

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Copyright (c) 2018 Dyukov A.R.

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