Insurgent Sierakauskas important to Lithuania as symbol of freedom - historian

Zigmantas Sierakauskas

Zigmantas Sierakauskas, the leader of the Lithuanian 1863 uprising against the tsarist Russia, is important to Lithuania as a symbol of freedom, historian Zita Medišauskienė says.

"Without doubt, he carries influence and significance as the leader of the uprising, however, afterwards he was a symbolic figure of freedom for Lithuania for years," Medišauskienė, deputy director of the Lithuanian Institute of History, told BNS on Wednesday.

In her words, Sierakauskas lived in the territory of Russia for most of his life, and his contacts with Lithuania were fragmented, limited and secret due to censorship at the time

Sierakauskas headed the uprising for a few months, however, in Medišauskienė's words, it was the most important phase of the resistance efforts.

"It was the rising part of the uprising," the historian said.

"Even if the uprising did not have any real impact on the situation in Lithuania, the very fact of resistance remained in the memory of the society and was very important to preserve the identity and fight the Russification that was started after the uprising," she added.

"Sierakauskas was one of the main heroes who helped support the memories of the uprising and spirit of resistance, the spirit of independence efforts in Lithuania," Medišauskienė said.

The expert noted that Sierakauskas had been probably very influential for the pro-democratic part of the society even before the uprising, adding that the society had been later involved in resistance fighting.

"He spread the new and modern ideas in Lithuania," said the historian.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Culture Ministry said that Sierakauskas' remains had been possibly discovered on the Gedimino Hill in central Vilnius.

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