The University of Chicago News Office
February 1, 1995 Press Contact: Sabrina Miller
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Former Lithuanian President Discusses War in Chechnya

Vytautas Landsbergis, former President of Lithuania and the leader of the Lithuanian independence movement, will discuss the legal grounds for Chechnya’s secession from the Russian Federation at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the University of Chicago Law School courtroom at 1111 E. 60th St., Chicago. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Landsbergis will examine, among other issues, the political implications of the war for Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the war’s effect on future democratic efforts within the Russian Federation. The event is sponsored by the Law School’s Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe, which follows the constitution-making process in the post-communist nations of Eastern and Central Europe from the perspectives of political science, legal theory and the sociology of law.

“Landsbergis’ analysis of the crisis in Chechnya, as well as his comments on independence and reform movements, will be uniquely insightful and thought-provoking,” said Stephen Holmes, Professor in Political Science and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe.

In 1988, Landsbergis co-founded Sajudis, the Lithuanian pro-independence movement, and was elected chairman of the Supreme Council. Under his leadership, the Lithuanian government restored its independence in 1990. Later that year, Landsbergis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent efforts to re-establish democracy in Lithuania.

Landsbergis is currently the opposition leader of the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament), representing the conservatives. Landsbergis has worked with the Chechen independence movement in Grozny for three years and continues to promote their use of legal means to gain independence. Recently, he was asked by Chechen leaders to represent their case in debates with Moscow, but the talks were stalled as the Russian Security Council deployed troops into Chechnya.

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, Landsbergis is by profession a musicologist. He graduated from the Lithuanian Conservatory in 1955 and has held teaching positions at the Lithuanian Conservatory and Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. An expert in 19th-century and early-20th-century Lithuanian music, Landsbergis is the author and editor of numerous books and anthologies on Lithuanian composers and music history.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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