NONVIOLENT DEFENSE FOR LITHUANIA

Lithuanian President Grybauskaite said recently, “We need all necessary means for defense and for deterrence.” It’s helpful to remember that in 1991 the Lithuanians using nonviolent resistance successfully defeated an armed invasion by the USSR.
Several years ago I had a visit from professor Grazina Miniotaite, who was actively involved in the Lithuanian liberation movement Sajudis. In 1990-1991 she headed the Commission for Psychological Defense and Civil Resistance, which became the ministry of defense. In her book Nonviolent Resistance in Lithuania: A Story of Peaceful Liberation [free online], she notes that Audrius Butkevicius, Lithuania’s first minister of defense after declaring its independence “first encountered this idea of noncooperation in the face of military aggression in 1987 when he read a summary of Gene Sharp’s book National Security through Civilian-Based Defense [also free online].
A few weeks after Dr. Miniotaite visited me, she died. Let’s remember her and others who have successfully used nonviolent resistance: it stand on its own legs for deterrence and defense, but it can also augment a military defense until such time as ordinary citizens are confident in their ability to use nonviolent resistance to deter and defend against aggressors. (This acclimation process is sometimes called transarmament.)
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