Review: “Soviet Lithuania on the Road to Prosperity” – Antanas Sneickus

“Soviet Lithuania on the Road to Prosperity” by Antanas Sneickus, who served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania from 15 August 1940 to 22 January 1974, is a short little book about the history of Lithuania and its progressive socio-economic development under socialism.

Since I know very little about Lithuanian history, I thought it was an interesting read, albeit it is difficult to determine how much of it is accurate. Certainly I think the author’s description of the failed socialist revolution in Lithuania between 1918-19, Lithuania’s backwardness under bourgeois-fascist rule and its incredible transformation under socialism are accurate. All of this is consistent with other former regions of the USSR, such as Central Asia and the Caucasus. However, even if one rejects bourgeois historiography, like I do, I felt rather conflicted with the author’s description of how socialism came to Lithuania. According to the author, the Lithuanian working-class in alliance with the peasantry, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Lithuania, successfully overthrew bourgeois-fascist rule in 1940, with the support of the USSR. There’s no mention of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, which even as a Marxist raises doubts about the historical accuracy of this book.

Nonetheless the book is a good little introduction to Soviet Lithuania. There’s lots of photos of Lithuania’s socialist development, including agricultural co-operatives, new libraries, schools, and other cultural and educational institutions, etc., and even more statistics and figures.