In Memoriam
1st November 2009
Zenys Lisauskas 1930.11.04 – 2009.10.11 The Man Who Confronted Gorbachev
Zenys Lisauskas holding his celebrated placard.
Photo courtesy
Zenys Lisauskas, a Lithuanian who passed away recently on 11th October in Vilnius, made news around the world nearly twenty years ago by challenging Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, during the latter’s visit to Lithuania in January 11-14, 1990. This visit by Gorbachev in the dying days of the Soviet Union was an attempt to bring into line the Communist Party in Lithuania which, under the leadership of Algirdas Brazauskas, had declared itself to be independent from Moscow.
During a publicity visit to a factory in Vilnius, Gorbachev was confronted by fitter Zenys Lisauskas with a placard in Russian, which read “Not more rights, but full independence”. Challenged by an angry Gorbachev he declared: “I was born in an independent Lithuania and wish to die in an independent Lithuania”. Zenys’ family was deported from Lithuania in 1949. One brother died as a partisan fighter, another brother died in exile. But Zenys’ wish to die in an independent Lithuania has been fulfilled.

Further information: 13/10/09